Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Inspiration

I want to start with a question on the blog today. What do Arthur Conan Doyle and I have in common? Have a think about that one and I will get back to you with the answer later in the blog. Don't let me forget now.

Yesterday I was through in Auld Reekie for the day. For those uninitiated in the Scots language. This is a nickname for Edinburgh from the days when coal fires left a black haze of smoke over the city. Translated, Auld Reekie means Old Smokey. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it in English. No offence to my English readers but us Scots certainly know how to romanticise language. 

Anyway, enough of the lessons in the Scots language. Whilst I was there I went to the Scottish National Library. This fabulous old building houses an array of books both ancient and modern. A book lovers paradise. I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. They have a couple of exhibitions on at the moment. One is on the Jacobite Rebellion and there are a number of ancient documents and books  about the rebellion. One of these is Bonnie Prince Charlie's birth certificate as seen below.

Now that is what you call history as Bonnie Prince Charlie, or to give him his real name, Charles Edward Stuart, was born on 31st December 1720. 

There were also many other Scottish writings from this time and some can be seen in the photo above. This made me think about my heritage both as a Scot and a writer. I am proud to be part of a history of Scottish writing which started before I was born, and will continue long after I am gone. Looking at the books and documents has inspired me to write more and to be the best writer I can be. I don't want to let my fellow writers, whether living or dead, down. If you can get to the national library of your country then I would urge you to do so. It is the most inspiring day I have spent.

The other exhibition was about different aspects of Scottish writing and had many items about Arthur Conan Doyle. Many people forget that he was Scottish, as his most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, is London based. It was fascinating to find out more about him and his work. We often forget that he wrote many other books several of which were in the exhibition. He takes his place amongst other great Scottish writers such as Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

What's that you say? What do Arthur Conan Doyle and I have in common. Well firstly take a look at the photo below.

This is me with a copy of my book sitting in Arthur Conan Doyle's chair in his study. So we've both sat in the same place and thought about writing. 

The second thing we have in common is the fact that his books, and my books, are now in the Legal Deposit Libraries in the National Library of Scotland, The Bodleian Library in Oxford, Cambridge University library, the Library of Trinity College Dublin, and the National Library of Wales, as well as the British Library. I was depositing five copies of Killer's Countdown for legal deposit. I felt quite famous for five minutes.

This post was brought to you by a very proud, emotional and inspired Scottish author.

I'm going to finishes with a question. What inspires you to write? If we share in the comments below we will be able to help each other be inspired and to be better writers.

See you all back here very soon for another reading and writing frenzy. Until then, keep reading



  2. Don't know about legal deposits. How about a blog about them?

    1. good idea Fran. I will do. Thanks for the suggestion