Transatlantic collaboration leads to a Scottish tale
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.