In my author spotlight today is Scottish author Margaret Kirk whose latest novel is due out in exactly one month on the 29th of April. Thanks for joining me Margaret. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Delighted! I’m a Highland Scot, living and working in my home city of Inverness with a long-suffering husband and two spoilt ragdoll cats. After working in a mental health recovery unit for several years, in 2015 (and encouraged by my husband) I took the very scary decision to give up work and write full-time.
It wasn’t an easy decision, and it definitely caused me a few sleepless nights as I was still helping to care for an elderly relative at the time. But I’m happy to say it all worked out fine in the end!
What inspired you to start writing?
I’d always written little bits and pieces (I wrote and produced a truly dreadful play at the tender age of 10!) but I never really considered trying to make a career out of it. But by 2015, with my daughter grown up and my caring responsibilities beginning to decrease, I started to think, ‘If not now, when?’
I do think we most regret the things we didn’t do, not the ones we did.
Tell me about your journey to publication
It was a very unusual one! I’d been lucky enough to win a few prizes in short story competitions, but my real breakthrough came when I attended a crime writing course at Moniack Mhor, near Inverness. The course was tutored by the wonderful Louise Welsh and Val McDermid, and they were both really kind and encouraging.
Their support gave me the confidence to enter a couple of first novel competitions with an idea I’d been working on – and to my utter shock and disbelief, I won the Good Housekeeping First Novel competition in 2016!
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
‘Ritual murder and ghosts from a chilling past haunt DCI Lukas Mahler in his latest case, set on the ancient Orkney Islands.’ That’s basically it – this is the third book in the Lukas Mahler series, and I had lots of fun sending him off to Orkney, somewhere I’m very fond of! Though I don’t think he enjoyed his stay as much as I did …
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
Hmm. At this stage, I’m trying to be optimistic and looking towards a proper physical launch for the paperback edition, probably in the autumn. People have been so inventive in finding new ways to showcase their books during lockdown, but I think we’re all more than ready for the return of all the bookish things we used to enjoy so much. So assuming we do get there, I’m happy to announce there will definitely be cake!
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do! I’m continuing my Lukas Mahler series, but I’m also working on something new and exciting, but also a little scary with a female protagonist and lots of disturbing goings-on.
What are you reading just now?
What Will Burn by James Oswald. Then Elly Griffiths’ The Night Hawks. My last read was the incredible Hyde, by Craig Russell.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
I’ll cheat slightly and say the Lord of the Rings trilogy – they’re one of the very few books I’ve read more than once. Or the Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, a true Scottish classic.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
Maybe not a film, but I’d love to see Jodi Taylor’s St Mary’s books on screen, maybe as a Netflix series?
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Ooh, what an interesting question. Given my love of detective fiction, I quite fancy being a female Sherlock Holmes – Charlotte, maybe? But I’m a huge fan of horror and fantasy, so I reckon I’d make a perfect Van Helsing!
From the back of the book
Some cases are personal…
Tied to a derelict pier on Orkney, the bloated remains of a man bob in the waves, under the shadow of forbidding Sandisquoy House. The locals know him as William Spencer.
But DCI Lukas Mahler identifies him as Alex Fleming – his former boss.
Unable to step away from the case, Mahler tries to piece together why Fleming would retire to such a remote location. But the deeper he digs, the more disturbing the investigation becomes.
Seal bones, witches’ salve, and runic symbols appear everywhere he looks, ushering Mahler towards Fleming’s most notorious unsolved case: the ‘Witchfinder’ murders. And towards a dark and uncomfortable truth someone has gone to great lengths to bury…
In The Blood will be published by Orion on 29th April and is available to pre-order now: In The Blood