Mary Smith – an update on a new book

Mary Smith was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in March 2016. She’s back now to tell us of a non-fiction book, on which she collaborated with photographer Allan Devlin, that’s just been published.

Castle Douglas Through Time
by Mary Smith and Allan Devlin
Published by Amberley Publishing
Genre: Non-fiction, local history, photography

The market town of Castle Douglas, beside Carlingwark Loch in the southern Scottish region of Dumfries and Galloway, is relatively new, though the area has been inhabited from prehistoric times and the Romans had a military base close by. In the fourteenth century, Archibald the Grim, the 3rd Earl of Douglas, built Threave Castle nearby.

The town came into being thanks to fertiliser found in the loch and wealth merchant William Douglas, who laid out the present town in 1792. Though his dream of creating a cotton industry failed, Castle Douglas became a flourishing market town. The opening of the rail line to Dumfries in 1859 improved the town’s connections.

Castle Douglas from Dunmuir Hill. The imposing spire of St George’s Free Church dominates the old picture of the town. Houses have been built along the old railway line and a green space, Burghfield Park, has been created.

Though the railway closed in 1965, the A75 trunk road ensured the town’s survival as a major stopping point for travellers. Today, it is a major tourist destination, with many visitors using it as a base for exploring this beautiful part of Scotland.

All these changes are recorded in this unique and fascinating series of new and old photographs, making this book essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Castle Douglas.

                                                                   Douglas Arms Hotel, King Street. The picture shows the many changes in transport over the years. The hotel was owned for 83 years by the Payne family who offered to send a bus to meet all trains. Charabanc outings to the countryside were popular.

 

 

Background to writing the text: Amberley Publishing approached me about four years ago to ask if I was interested in working on a book, Dumfries Through Time. Of course, I said yes. I teamed up with photographer Allan Devlin who is a stunning landscape photographer and together we began to search for the 90 old images needed. After it was published, Amberley asked if we’d be interested in another book and so we began to work on Castle Douglas Through Time. We both search for old images, Allan takes the photos of the places as they today and I do the research, write the introduction and captions for each pair of images. I loved doing the research but writing the captions is extremely frustrating as there is an 80-word limit. I find it almost impossible to tell the history of some of the images in 80 words!

Where to purchase copies:
The paperback edition of Castle Douglas Through Time is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Amazon CA

Mary and Allan at the book’s launch party.
Photo credit: Keith Kirk

Christine Campbell

IMG_0653 Christine Campbell

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Here at the Gate – Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Quick description: Mhairi had worked hard to build herself a normal, stable life, but there had always been a dark fear inside her. No matter how happy she was, it was always there. It followed her about like a black bat, haunting her nights, hiding in a corner during her days, flapping out at odd moments, scaring the wits out of her.

It was as though she was standing outside a high-walled garden, barred from the secret of her past by the wrought-iron gate. She could see all the bushes and trees, the rhododendron and hydrangea. She could even smell the roses and the honeysuckle, but then the gate would swing shut and she was outside and it was dark.

Now her happy, settled life was being threatened and she knew she had to force through the darkness, and open the gate.

She needed to remember what she had spent a lifetime forgetting.

FINAL Front Cover

Brief biography:
Hi! I’m Christine Campbell and I’m a baby-boomer, a late bloomer, and a writer.

There! I stood in the middle of the circle and owned up. I am a writer: a novelist, in particular. I write contemporary women’s fiction: strongly character-based, relationship novels . . . with a smidgen of romance and a generous dusting of mystery and detection.

I have learned a lot about my craft since that wonderful night when I held my first completed, printed manuscript novel in my arms. My first book-baby. It was many years before I had the confidence to let it go off and make its way in the world, not having it published until 2008.

I have now completed seven novels, four of them published so far, with a fifth almost ready to leave home and see the big wide world and, even more importantly, to be seen by it. It’s so exciting when your book-babies grow up and leave home. As mother of five grown-up, married children and ten grandchildren, I know a lot about babies growing up and leaving home!

Links to buy Christine’s book:
Amazon

Christine’s promo links:
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
YouTube
Amazon Author Page

What are you working on now?
The novel that is with the publisher right now, and will be released soon, is the first of a series, I think of three, but, if my readers enjoy them, who knows how many? The series is called The Reluctant Detective, and this first book in the series is called Searching for Summer. The series is so named because the main protagonist, Mirabelle Milligan, never intended to turn detective, but, when her teenage daughter disappears, Mirabelle gives up everything to search for her, following clues and hunches wherever they may lead. In Searching for Summer, most of the action takes place in and around Edinburgh, but in the second and third books, it moves further North in Scotland, and further West respectively.

Christine’s reading recommendation:
I am a great Anita Shreve fan, and one of my favourite Anita Shreve novels is The Pilot’s Wife, which I read fairly recently.

Janet O’Kane

avatar4Janet O’Kane

What is your latest release and what genre is it? No Stranger to Death is a mystery set in Scotland.

Quick description: Recently-widowed family doctor Zoe Moreland moves from an English city to a village in the Scottish Borders, hoping to make a fresh start among strangers unaware of her past. However, following her discovery of a body in the remains of a Guy Fawkes bonfire, she gets caught up in a murder investigation and becomes the killer’s target herself.

ABSOLUTEFINAL ebook cover nstd

Brief biography:
Janet lives in the Scottish Borders about 50 miles south of Edinburgh with her husband, two dogs, two cats and far too many chickens. Before turning to writing fulltime she had a varied career which included selling underpants to Roger Moore in Harrods department store. These days, when she’s not writing, she can be found restoring old buildings alongside her stonemason husband, and learning to tap dance.

Links to buy Janet’s book:
Amazon Worldwide – eBook and paperback

Janet’s promo links:
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest

What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing the sequel to No Stranger to Death. This book opens during the hottest summer Scotland has ever experienced, and Zoe Moreland is called out to a body which has been found on the banks of the River Tweed.

Janet’s reading recommendation:
I’ve just read Cry Baby by David Jackson. Although it’s the latest in a series of crime novels set in New York, you don’t need to have read the others to enjoy it. And it is absolutely stunning.