Sunday, 9 July 2017

Joan Fleming and the Magic of Mull Series

I’m delighted to welcome friend and writing colleague, Joan Fleming, to the Reading and Writing blog again. Joan’s lovely books are set on the beautiful Scottish island of Mull and are an ideal read for summer. The third in the series, Daughter of Mull, is now available and Joan is kindly sharing the inspiration behind them. First a little about the book.

Daughter of Mull

Anna Ballantyne is devastated when her hopes of meeting her birth mother are dashed. Determined to discover the reason for her mother’s refusal to meet her, Anna decides to track her down on the Scottish Island of Mull, where she lives. As a freelance researcher, she is able to use a commission to investigate the story of The Lords of the Isles as cover for a trip to Mull, and she leaves the flat in Glasgow that she shares with the owner, Roddie Fraser, to journey to the island.

But complications soon follow. She finds herself falling under the spell of Finn Ericson who works on the island as an unofficial guide. When Roddie turns up, he makes it clear that his feelings for Anna are more serious than she realised.

With her personal life in turmoil, torn between Finn and Roddie, and confused about the value of pursuing a mother who does not want to meet her, Anna has to make some important decisions.

Captivated by the island, she wonders if there is a future for her with Finn on Mull? Or is she ignoring the whispering of her heart that it is Roddie she truly loves?

Daughter of Mull is available from Amazon and in all e-formats via Tirgearr Publishing

Thank you, Rosemary, for inviting me onto your blog today to write about the inspiration for the novels in my Magic of Mull series. Daughter of Mull, recently published by Tirgearr Publishing, is the third book in the series.

So why have I set these books on the Scottish Island of Mull?

I was born, brought up and educated in Edinburgh, and it was not until I met my husband at university that I developed an interest in Mull. My future father-in-law was born on the island, which gave him the right to call himself a Mulleach. Although, like many of the local men, he went to sea and became a ship’s captain, his twin sister, my husband’s aunt, remained on the island. We visited often, and I gradually fell in love with Mull and also with her smaller sister, the Isle of Iona. The family lived in Fionnphort, from where we could look directly across the Sound of Iona to the famous Abbey a short distance away.

As I had married into a Mull family, over the years, I met many of the islanders and was invited into their homes. Their life-style was so different to that of the people of the cities of Edinburgh or Glasgow (‘There’s no hurry in Mull.’), that I felt I wanted to capture that contrast in my writing.

Not only was I charmed by the inhabitants of the island, however, I was also captivated by its haunting beauty: the landscapes – and the seascapes – are breathtaking to see. A new, awe-inspiring vista meets you every time you change direction as you travel round the island. Added to the friendliness of the people and the magnificent views on Mull, there is a certain something in the air which I can only describe as magic. It is a combination of the way in which this island affects your senses – the scent of burning peats, the taste of salt in the air, the call of the birds circling above the sea which at times can barely be heard as the waves dash against the shoreline.

Of course, like all islands, it has its myths and legends, but perhaps this ‘magic’ is better appreciated by its absence. When you return to the mainland after a visit to Mull, you are aware that something you captured on the island is no longer available to you: that’s the magic of Mull.

In my books, I hope to convey this magic, and show how it interacts with the characters I have created.

It’s been a pleasure to be on your blog, Rosemary. Thank you once again.

You’re very welcome, Joan, and thank you for sharing such an evocative post!

About the Author

I was born and educated in Edinburgh. After graduating in Modern Languages at the University of Edinburgh, I became a teacher of French and German, mainly in schools in the West of Scotland. Since leaving teaching, I now have more time to devote to writing.

I’d been writing for pleasure for many years, and decided to join Erskine Writers, a supportive group which has members at all stages of their writing development – from published novelists to complete beginners. This group is affiliated to the Scottish Association of Writers. I am a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) and also of the Society of Authors.

I write short stories, children’s stories and articles. My first novel What the Future Holds was published in 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. I had submitted it to the New Writers’ Scheme of the RNA and in 2015 it was a finalist for their Joan Hessayon Award. It became the first book in a series (Magic of Mull) when my second novel, Spirit of the Island (Magic of Mull series #2), was published in 2015.

Daughter of Mull (Magic of Mull series #3) followed in June 2017.


Edyth Harrison said...

Thank you Rosemary and Joan. A very interesting and enjoyable read. I've read the three books in this series and thoroughly enjoyed them. I'm not very familiar with Mull or Iona having only visited once but it made a big impact on me and I would love to return one day. In the meantime these three books have taken me back there for a while.

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you for your comment, Edyth. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the three books in the series.

Julia Thorley said...

This latest book sounds most intriguing. I love the idea of magic in a place - or something missing. Somewhere else to put on my 'must visit' list.

Rae Cowie said...

Visiting both Mull and Iona has been on our holiday places to-see list for some time, Joan, and your beautiful descriptions make me want to plan a trip sooner rather than later. Congratulations on publication of the Daughter of Mull - sounds like the perfect summer read.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Many thanks for your kind comment, Edyth - and your continuing support for both of us!

I love the 'magical' quality of places, especially islands, Julia!

It's a lovely descriptive piece Joan wrote, Rae - thanks for commenting!

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you for your comment, Julia. I can certainly recommend a visit to Mull.

I don't think you'll be disappointed when you experience Mull for the fist time, Rae. Thanks for your comment, and your kind words about Daughter of Mull!

El's Book Reviews said...

You have a great blog! :)

I would sincerely appreciate it if you checked out my book reviews blog at and possibly give it a follow as well! Excited to read more of your posts!

- El

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi El - many thanks for your kind comment! Off to have a look at your blog.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

El - just in case you see this. I tried to follow your blog but I'm not on Google + and can't seem to follow any other way, sorry!