Thursday, 12 February 2015

Author Inspiration: Myra Duffy

It’s a pleasure to welcome again friend and Scottish crime author, Myra Duffy, to the Reading and Writing blog. Myra writes a popular cosy crime series set on the lovely Isle of Bute where her heroine, Alison Cameron, falls into one adventure after another. Ideal reading for anyone who likes a mystery or murder to solve, without the gruesome details. Myra kindly shares her inspiration for the latest two books below. But first here’s a little about Grave Matters at St Blane’s.

Grave Matters at St Blane’s

In this latest Isle of Bute mystery series Alison Cameron agrees to write a visitor guide for a theme park planned for Kingarth, but it proves to be a dangerous assignment. There is fierce local opposition to the proposal; the manager has left suddenly with no explanation and the on-site archaeologists appear to be in no hurry to complete their survey.

There is a rumour that Alexander Crombie, who is financing the project, is about to run out of money and then, when Alison thinks things can't get any worse, the first body is found.

Grave Matters at St Blane’s and the previous books in the series are available on Amazon UK and Amazon US. The print version is available at selected book shops including the Print Point on Bute.


Inspiration behind the Story

Last year I set myself the task of writing two mystery novels set on the Isle of Bute, featuring Alison Cameron, an ordinary woman who finds herself involved in extraordinary events.

I started Grave Matters at St Blane's early in the year, inspired by the site of the ruins of the 7th Century monastery at Kingarth, a place popular with tourists and with Christians who make the climb up a fairly steep hill to greet the sunrise on Easter morning. (More about this on my latest blog post at http://myraduffy-awriterslot.blogspot.com)

With the current fashion for historical theme parks I wondered how the islanders would respond to a proposal to build such a place at Kingarth, near St Blane's. I'd recently read an article on the Monymusk Reliquary on display at the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and as by law you must have archaeologists present in such circumstances, it was inevitable there would be something found. And one thing, as they say, led to another!


Grave Matters at St Blane's was launched in August 2014, but by then Death at the Kyles of Bute was underway. I wanted to have this one out for Christmas as it is set at that time of year and there is a decidedly ghostly element in the story. Besides, the story of the old Kyles of Bute Hydro, set high on the hill above Port Bannatyne was one that had long intrigued me. It was a huge Hydro and Spa, popular with visitors and locals alike. What would happen if it was rebuilt? That was a plot hard to resist.

At the moment Grave Matters at St Blane's has just been released on Kindle as well as print. Death at the Kyles of Bute will follow in e-book later in the year.

With this latest Isle of Bute mystery bringing the total to six (plus the prequel When Old Ghosts Meet) my intention is to take some time to concentrate on the other novels languishing in various states of completion. But Alison Cameron keeps whispering in my ear that she's not quite finished yet!


Although Myra Duffy is a well published author of non-fiction, she's been writing fiction for as long as she can remember (winning a national competition when she was thirteen), but has in recent years turned to a life of crime. A writing life, she hastens to add.
                  
For many years she's been a frequent visitor to the Isle of Bute, just off the West coast of Scotland and a firm favourite with visitors from Glasgow. Holidays on the island inspired her to write the first Bute novel: The House at Ettrick Bay (an archaeological mystery) and this was followed by Last Ferry to Bute (dark deeds during a college reunion), Last Dance at the Rothesay Pavilion (past events cast a long shadow as the Pavilion is refurbished), Endgame at Port Bannatyne (the world of film making hides a deadly secret), Grave Matters at St Blanes's (a proposal to build a theme park is the catalyst for violent events) and Death at the Kyles of Bute (ghostly happenings as the Kyles of Bute Hydro is re-opened).

Myra has been published in various magazines such as My Weekly and in the Ireland's Own anthology and has also won a number of awards for short stories, poetry and non-fiction, but novel writing is what she enjoys most.

You can find out more about Myra's writing on her AmazonCentral page, or at her website or on her blog and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@duffy_myra).

21 comments:

Anne Stenhouse said...

Morning Myra and Rosemary, really interesting to see how you can fashion the extraordinary from the ordinary. Good luck with all your writing projects. Anne Stenhouse

Joanna said...

Thank you, Rosemary and Myra, for this lovely and fascinating post. I love hearing about the inspiration behind an author's work. I especially love knowing about those 'what if?' moments that lead to the development of an intriguing plot. I am sure I shall enjoy these books - they look wonderful. Congratulations! xx

helenafairfax.com said...

Thanks for this interesting post, Rosemary and Myra. Bute sounds like a fabulous setting for a novel, and an island is a great place for a murder mystery. Your novels sound a great read!

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you to both for an interesting post. I've read all of your Bute mysteries, Myra, and enjoyed every one.

Such a lot of crime for a small island! But when Alison Cameron's on the job...

Bill Kirton said...

Interesting how the tiniest, seemingly mundane thing triggers thought sequences that lead it in devious, complex directions. Your blog's a great testament to how a writer's imagination find gold where others don't see it.

myraduffy said...

Thank you,Anne. I do try to keep Alison's feet on the ground!

myraduffy said...

I'm grateful for your thoughts, Joanna. Writing can be such a solitary occupation.

myraduffy said...

I'm still trying to decide whether to leave Bute for a while or not, Helena! It's a difficult decision.

myraduffy said...

Thank you, Bill. Sometimes the ideas flow more easily than others!

myraduffy said...

And I've much appreciated your help, Joan.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments for Myra, and for visiting today Anne, Joanna, Helena, Joan and Bill!

Gwen Kirkwood said...

I an getting behind with Alison Cameron. The ideas seem to be pouring into your head Myra and it is wonderful to have such inspiration. Well done.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for visiting, Gwen!

myraduffy said...

Thank you,Gwen. I'm not sure I can keep up with her myself!

Jenny Harper said...

Great blog, thank you Rosemary and Myra. The Bute mysteries are firmly on my TBR pile, but I'm ashamed to say I haven't read them yet. Off to download one now - what a treat in store!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for commenting, Jenny - you should see my TBR list too!

Patsy said...

I like a bit of cosy crime and I like Scottish islands, so these two are going on my list.

myraduffy said...

Thank you, Jenny and Patsy. I well understand the TBR list and I hope you like the background of Bute,Patsy. In fact Bute is one of the main characters in the books!

Gill Stewart said...

Fascinating, Myra. And I'm so glad Alison keeps whispering in your ear!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for commenting, Patsy and Gill!

Vikki said...

Got a lot of posts to catch up on so sorry I'm late to comment. It's always good to hear where ideas spark from - I think newspaper articles and the like hold many an inspiration! Fantastic you have written so many books now in your series, Myra