Okay everyone.  I’d like you to have a look at my very first guest blog.  He, like I’ve said before is an excellent writer and the winner of Dundee Writers award.  His most recent work is the recently published Darkest Walk of Crime.  He’s been at this for a while so I suggest paying attention to what he has to say.  Now I’ll step aside….

Good day, good people

You will all be expecting to read the pearls of wisdom that ease from Krista’s mind, but today I am afraid you will have to put up with me. Krista has kindly allowed me the opportunity of blogging this day.

My name is Malcolm Archibald and I am a writer, researcher and lecturer from Scotland. You may have heard of that small country, but if not, let me introduce you to the capital city, Edinburgh. It is the city that inspired Jekyll and Hyde, a book based on one Deacon Brodie who was an upstanding citizen by day and a thieving blackguard by night. He was hanged. It is the city of Major Weir, who commanded the Town Guard by day and worshipped the Devil at night. He was executed. It is the city of Burke and Hare, who murdered an unknown number of people and sold their bodies to the local surgeon to be publicly dissected. Hare turned King’s Evidence and escaped; Burke was hanged and his body publicly dissected.

Edinburgh is also reputed to be the most haunted city in Europe. That could be true. The castle alone is home to a number of ghosts, from a drummer boy without a head to a piper who walked into a secret tunnel and never reappeared. His pipes can still be heard, wailing on the long dark nights deep underground, somewhere along the length of the Royal Mile. They may be under the site where hundreds of witches were burned; or in Mary King’s Close, a narrow lane deep beneath the surface of the street. Mary King’s Close is also haunted, of course, as is the Royal Palace at the other end of the street. I could go on, but I think I have given the gist of the place.

Growing up in such a place, it is hardly surprising that my first books included a supernatural slant. Fiction and non fiction alike were shadowed by darkness from the past. There was no need to seek far for inspiration: stories seeped from every building and waited, shadow-like around every dark corner. But that is probably true of any city, anywhere, if you look; and most patches of countryside too.

Just now I live a few hundred miles north of Edinburgh,  but there is still inspiration. Walking helps: walk and ask: why is that tree twisted? Was there a lightning strike – or is it cringing from past evil. Why is there a light glowing at the window of that isolated farmhouse? Is there something happening inside? Or did something happen once, long ago. Why do the black rooks gather in that particular corner of the field? What attracts them. . . what is beneath the soil?

Maybe there is no need to seek an outside source of inspiration. Maybe the best or worst of all comes from within. If we turn ourselves inside out and examine what makes us tick and from where we came, we may see more stories than the history books hint at. After all, wherever we live and whoever we are, our ancestors lived through the times of ghosts and witches and horror; their impressions are twisted deep in out DNA – they are part of us. So look inward, good people; if you dare.

Thank you for reading this. Normal service will resume tomorrow with the far better writer: Krista will return.

Malcolm Archibald