Transat­lantic col­lab­o­ra­tion leads to a Scot­tish tale

The Oban Times - - LEISURE -

TWO peo­ple, who had pre­vi­ously never met de­cided to co-au­thor and pub­lish a book set on the West Coast of Scot­land.

The Se­cret Labyrinth is a story of a mys­tery and ad­ven­ture, where 12-year old Hal­ley has moved with her par­ents from Florida to the Western Isles. An ad­ven­tur­ous and in­de­pen­dent girl, one day she sees what could be a mer­maid in the sea near her home. Hal­ley’s at­tempts to dis­cover more about the mys­te­ri­ous woman lead her, via Oban and the Cor­ryvreckan, to dis­cover se­crets about her an­ces­try that have been hid­den for gen­er­a­tions. She is drawn into ad­ven­tures that lead to the ul­ti­mate ques­tion: does she be­long to the hu­man world?

Pat Dono­van, who lives in Mi­ami, was tak­ing part in an on­line cre­ativ­ity work­shop where the par­tic­i­pants were be­ing en­cour­aged to see them­selves dif­fer­ently.

As­pir­ing au­thor Pat had al­ways wanted to write fic­tion, and was in­trigued by Jackie Stan­ley, who has joined the work­shop from the East Mid­lands. When Jackie said that if she was su­per­hero she would have ‘webbed fin­gers and fins on her feet so she can fly like a pen­guin un­der­wa­ter’, Pat over­came her nat­u­ral ret­i­cence and told her Jackie that she wanted to write with her.

Jackie was sur­prised into say­ing yes, but had no idea this un­usu­ally bold step would lead to the book be­ing pub­lished eigh­teen months later.

They be­lieved in the story, and both wanted to pub­lish some­thing that would help young­sters to see that en­joy­ing their own com­pany and want­ing to spend time in na­ture is as valid as be­ing so­cial and hav­ing loads of friends. Hal­ley had be­come what the au­thors wanted to be when they were girls. Al­though the book is aimed at young peo­ple, adults will also get drawn in by the story. It works on dif­fer­ent lev­els – an ad­ven­ture full of in­trigue and ten­sion, a com­ing of age story, a his­tory of love, loss and sac­ri­fice and an evo­ca­tion of a wild land­scape in which the eco­nomic re­al­ity of life can be very hard.

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