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July 1982

As the Secretary of the Garansay Society of Hill Walkers, Isabel felt obliged to take part in at least a couple of their outings a year. On this sunny and warmish July afternoon, it seemed like a pleasure as well as a duty. The group of eight walkers had already completed a short hike along the stony path that led away from the outhouses of Lower Kilduggan Farm. As a result, they had now reached the first stile, which led them into a pretty wild flower meadow that lay just beyond the boundaries of Isabelโ€™s land.

At this point, Isabel stopped to take her breath and she turned to gaze out across the Kilbrannan Sound, where she could just identify the outline of the impressive mountains of Jura through the hazy cloud. Isabel had not often taken the time to admire this remarkable view during the summer months. Particularly since Gus had died and left her with the farm, the boarding house and three children to support single-handed.

The children had certainly helped her out, but Michael had already left the Island and she felt strongly that Imogen and Allan should be allowed some of their childhood freedoms. Isabel temporarily shrugged off these perennial concerns and tried, instead, to appreciate the glassy stillness of the calm waters that stretched out far below her. Then, beyond this shimmering sea, she surveyed the rolling hills of Kintyre; which appeared deceptively close in the clear morning sunshine, as if she were looking at them through Gusโ€™s old, battered binoculars.

This is an extract from my book ‘Aoife’s Chariot’ which I was inspired to write because I absolutely love reading psychological thrillers but I was becoming frustrated that all of the new books on the market in that genre were placing violence and shock tactics above plot and characterisation. So, I decided to write my own! Weirdly enough, I enjoyed writing it in the same way as I love to read a good, gripping thriller- even though, in theory, I knew what was going to happen next! Of course, the editing and the checking for errors wasn’t quite so fun, but there were certainly times when it felt as if the story was ‘writing itself’ and the characters were following their own paths and making their own decisions. This sounds crazy, I know, but if you have written yourself then you probably know exactly what I mean.

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