Book Week Scotland 2017 is taking place from Monday 27 November – Sunday 3 December.
Welcome to our Book Week Scotland 2017 special. Every day we are featuring guest posts from various Authors with a variety of genres to suit every reader.
Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November.
During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.
To kick-start our feature we have author Lin Anderson stopping by with a guest post. Be sure to check out the information below on Lin’s appearances over Book Week Scotland.
Where the Stories Come From By Lin Anderson
I’m often asked how I come up with idea for a book. In truth the opening chapter appears in visual form, always with the question what if?
In the case of Follow the Dead, I was back in my home village of Carrbridge with my family for Hogmanay. It had started snowing heavily and we were playing daft games in front of the fire, one of which involved having a post-it stuck to your forehead… you know the one I mean.
Looking out at the blizzard, I suddenly wondered what it might be like to be stranded on top of Cairngorm in such weather. Would you play such a game to pass the time?
In that moment the pitch for Follow the Dead came into my head.
Stuck on top of Cairngorm in a blizzard at Hogmanay. What could possibly go wrong?
I wrote the opening chapter shortly after that. Four climbers scale Hell’s Lum only to meet a strong north wind at the top. Realising they won’t make it back to their vehicle, they drop down again to pass the night at the Shelter Stone, a refuge formed when a giant slab of rock fell from the nearby crag to land on other rocks, creating a cave like structure. Meanwhile the same storm has caused the crash landing of a light aircraft from Norway on a nearby frozen Loch A’an.
Thus, the idea for a joint investigation between Norway and Scotland began.
Having no idea how deaths were investigated on Cairngorm, my first move was to get in touch with Willie Anderson, leader at Cairngorm Mountain Rescue. At our first meeting he explained that CMR are essentially the first forensic team at a locus. They preserve the scene and take photographs in locations often too difficult for the police to get to.
Research always drives the story, and I certainly couldn’t have written an authentic account of dealing with death on Cairngorm without the help of CMR.
Death scenes too are different at -15 degrees and advice with the forensic aspects of the story came from Professor of Forensic Pathology James Grieve at Aberdeen University. I, like Rhona, have no idea what has happened in that cave before I enter it. It’s working that out forensically that’s both the challenge and the pleasure.
Having lived in Orkney, I was aware of the islands strong links with Norway, but had never visited the country. I got in touch with the Norwegian Consul in Edinburgh who arranged for me to meet with the Stavanger Police. Inspector Egil Eriksson and his colleagues provided me with a wealth of information on how policing works in Norway, and in particular between Norway and Scotland via the north sea.
When asked about the areas they were most concerned with at that time, the trafficking of unaccompanied minors across Europe from Syria was uppermost in their minds, the bulk of it happening in the very north of Norway where they shared a border with Russia.
Arriving back in Scotland, I wrote the prologue to Follow the Dead, and I knew then that I had my Norwegian character, Inspektor Alvis Olsen and, I had the story that would bring Alvis and Rhona MacLeod together.
They were holding hands, reminding him of Hansel and Gretel, or babes in the wood, although this place was barren of all vegetation. Come spring, the cold hard ground would awaken allowing the tundra to burst into life. Not so for these two.
And yet… in their frozen perfection, you might imagine it possible that with a little warmth and perhaps a kiss on the cheek, the ice might melt and free them from their prison, just like Snow White in her glass case.
The boy was the smaller of the two. Perhaps five or six years old. He imagined her to be ten, maybe eleven. Even as he asked himself what they were doing there, on the border between Russia and his country, he knew the answer.
In the near distance, a herd of reindeer nosed the snow, looking for the sustenance which lay beneath, their thick coats rustling in the encroaching wind. Had they not wandered this way with their herdsman, the children’s bodies would never have been found.
He glanced up, noting the heavy snow clouds moving swiftly across the pale blue heavens. Instinct and the Sani herdsman’s motion skywards told him they would have to leave now with the bodies, if they wanted to get out at all.
BOOK WEEK SCOTLAND events
27/11/2017 18:30 Lin Anderson talks about FOLLOW THE DEAD at Elder Park Library in Glasgow http://events.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/1/lin-anderson
28/11/2017 14:30 Lin Anderson talks about FOLLOW THE DEAD at Forth Valley College in Alloa https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lin-anderson-invites-you-to-follow-the-dead-tickets-37093009189
30/11/2017 19:00 Lin Anderson speaking at Orkney Library in Kirkwall about her popular forensic scientist Rhona Macleod crime series and discussing the short story she contributed to this year’s Bloody Scotland anthology http://www.orkneylibrary.org.uk/special%20events%20page.htm
02/12/2017 15:00 Lin Anderson talks about FOLLOW THE DEAD at North Berwick Library https://www.facebook.com/events/760157894193142
Follow The Dead
Follow the Dead is the thrilling twelfth book in Lin Anderson’s Rhona MacLeod series.
On holiday in the Scottish Highlands, forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod joins a mountain rescue team on Cairngorm summit, where a mysterious plane has crash-landed on the frozen Loch A’an. Added to that, a nearby climbing expedition has left three young people dead, with a fourth still missing.
Meanwhile in Glasgow, DS McNab’s raid on the Delta Club produces far more than just a massive haul of cocaine. Questioning one of the underage girls found partying with the city’s elite reveals she was smuggled into Scotland via Norway, and it seems the crashed plane in the Cairngorms may be linked to the club. But before McNab can discover more, the girl is abducted.
Joined by Norwegian detective Alvis Olsen, who harbours disturbing theories about how the two cases are connected with his homeland, Rhona searches for the missing link. What she uncovers is a dark underworld populated by ruthless people willing to do anything to ensure the investigation dies in the frozen wasteland of the Cairngorms . . .
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