The Place I Write by Ross MacKay – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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The Place I Write

Roald Dahl famously wrote from a shed in the bottom of his garden. I used to live in Edinburgh, so I know all the places where tourists are told JK Rowling wrote (and the places she actually wrote in). For me, I have my attic. I live in a cottage that was built in the 1890s and the roof space has been converted into a little secret bedroom.

The stairs that lead up to the attic are hidden in a cupboard. They are very compact and resemble the type of stairs you might find on an old ship. Once I am up there, I am in my own little world. Nestled into the sloped roof of the house at one corner is my desk. The place where I can dream up new worlds.

My only occasional visitor is our cat, April. She is quite elderly now and she sleeps a lot. I really love when she nestles down on my lap, and purrs away. She is like a little hot water bottle keeping me warm, especially in the winter months. However, occasionally she does like to climb up onto the desk which looks a little like this:

‘And finally, I can reveal to you the murderer is fnfjfhuiweiownhdolewqnfolngwlrtengj;ekoaj’o[fiqmlknLKJd”

It is very annoying. But it is great to have someone you can blame when your editor spots silly spelling mistakes.

Beside my desk are four small bookcases, all within an arm’s reach. This is great as I refer to the works of authors who inspire me a lot when I am writing.

On the left-hand side of my desk is a little wall where I hang pictures and paintings. These are usually paintings that are close to me. They might be work from a friend, or work about a show I have made (I also work in theatre). But at the moment, there is a small battle in the house. My wife now can at times also work from home. As I said, it is a small little Scottish cottage so there isn’t room for a second desk.

Now my artwork has been replaced with a very organized and sensible looking calendar. I am looking forward to my artwork sneaking back in one day soon.

The space is cramped, my chair is a bit broken and the desk wobbles. But I love it. This is the place I first got to meet Will, The Whisp, Gaby and all the other characters who live in this world I have created. I love them very much and so this place will always hold a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to see who else I meet up there for my next book which will be called…fh9gthioewuhnf; lqwm;fqejlkmGHSFAIDGSkjelw’q

Oh April!!

“The voice was coming from inside him … But it wasn’t his.”

The Whisp is a fugitive. Living in between worlds, she flees from veteran hunters and the General who wishes to corrupt her power. For Will Devine, nothing could be worse than someone else knowing his thoughts. When an unfortunate incident in the boy’s toilet mysteriously binds the two souls together, Will is horrified to find he is no longer the only voice inside his mind. With no way apart, the two of them must work together to find a solution.

But with one teacher dead and another student’s life on the line, can they survive long enough to escape from each other?

Enjoy an Excerpt

The Whisp hurtles down a side street and then spins to the left.
Faster and faster, as fast as she can.

She hears heavy boots on the damp cobbles and the howls and whoops behind her. A glance back shows some of the Hunters grasping electric spears, running them against the granite walls. The sparks crackle in the air as they singe the old stones black. The rain lashes down onto the old slate roofs making the whole city bristle with noise.

Amongst all of this chaos, she keeps running, tries hard to concentrate on the sound that beckons. It’s fragile, like fine thread unwinding from a spindle. She knows if she loses it, inside the noise of the chase, it might never be found again.

The sound is hope.

The Whisp propels herself forward. She has never heard the song of the Thresholds until this night. She didn’t even exist when they were last open. But if a Threshold was open and singing to her, then there was a chance … A small chance, she might escape with her life.

The city is woven like a tightly gnarled knot through which she twists and turns, doubling back on herself when she comes across another squad of Hunters in the alleyway ahead of her. They are systematic, cutting off streets, encircling her, trying to pen her in. She works fast to plot a new route in her mind, turning towards the sound whenever she has the chance.

The Hunters are like a pack of wild dogs catching the scent of prey in their nostrils. They will not lose her. She is quicker than them, but they are relentless. And while she may be invisible, the lashing rain runs down her body, making her shimmer.

They are swooping upon her, again and again. Each trying their best to seize the Whisp in their talons. But agile and quick, she darts across a city square into another crumpled heap of side streets.

The Whisp tries to turn another corner but misjudges the pivot and crashes hard into a wooden door that rattles on its hinges. Trying to correct her balance, she slips as the wet gravel beneath her gives way. Landing in a heap, she looks up and notices a looming shadow in front of her.

The only humans ever out at this time of night are Hunters.

About the Author:Ross MacKay lives in the village of Aberdour in Scotland with his wife and young son, Noah.

Ross previously worked in theatre as the artistic director of Tortoise in a Nutshell. His productions toured all over the world. His shows have received numerous prestigious awards including a Scotsman Fringe First for New Writing and a Critic’s Pick from The New York Times.
In 2020, Ross was the recipient of the William Soutar Award for Poetry and a Tom McGrath Trust Maverick Award. He has been commissioned to write poetry for libraries in Fife, to open a festival in Perth and for two books published by Tippermuir.

Ross’ first picture book, Daddy’s Bad Bed Day will be published in 2022 by Curly Tale Books. The book has been created to help young children with parents with poor mental health. Research for the book has been supported by numerous children’s charities in Scotland.

When Ross isn’t writing or making shows, he spends his time in his inflatable kayak, trying to steer it as best he can. He loves gardening and is currently engaged in a fierce battle with a collection of snails who seem to love the rhubarb and potatoes just as much as Ross.

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