The idea for this book came to me by text. I was contacted by a local midwife who had delivered my granddaughter, so I already liked her. She had my mobile number because she was married to a local photographer who had often visited my house.
Mandy Rowbotham (known in our town as Mandy the Midwife) was doing a Masters in Creative Writing and wanted a bit of help. My instant reaction was, happy to help as long as I can find out about being a midwife in return. She loved the idea and we had regular meetings exchanging knowledge. (I’m happy to report that her book, A Woman at War is coming out early next year.)
So I had my heroine. Then, by chance, my agent, who is also George Orwell’s agent sent me an email from Jura. He told me that he’d just seen a Puffer (small Scottish cargo vessel) in full steam. I replied that I’d known the owners of this particular puffer since before they had it. Before either of these things, I knew I wanted to set a book in Scotland because I’d so enjoyed writing 'To Scotland with Love', a long short story that is in A Christmas Feast.
Then we had to do a couple of research trips to Crinan (oh the hardship!) and I was all set.