Like climbing a mountain

I was puffing up the Hill of Fire (Tinto in Lanarkshire) the other day when it struck me that writing a book is a lot like climbing a mountain. The day was quite a changeable one so it wasn’t such a stroll in the park.

There is the view from the base of the impressive task in front of me, scary to consider the climb, but awesome in its potential majesty. Image looking down from the top, the world will look quite a different place. That sense of achievement, the view. How many others have managed this. I am not the first, only the first today, under these conditions.

I have planned things and am equipped for the journey. Foot-ware, clothes, refreshments, water. I have done my homework and am ready for the task.

How do I start? Well, one foot in front of the other. Setting small goals to break down the overall task into manageable pieces. Picking out a route that suits my abilities and time.

Each step achieved is rewarding. Breaks are required and its fun to look back down the slope to see how far I’ve come. I can make good progress in the early stages and it looks like I am progressing fine. From the start, the top of the mountain is  lost from sight and becomes only a memory, a distant goal to focus on. I know its there, even if I don’t see it clearly.

But then the elements hit me. Its not all just a series of steps after all. There’s the weather, unexpected gusts of wind and rain, or more extreme circumstances that imped our journey. It takes a stronger and stronger will to keep going.

Ahead appears another ridge, the climb gets stepper and I persevere. On the top of the ridge I pause and look back. There’s my starting point, a long way away. I think I know how many ridges and how much time I need to take to finish the task, but I am not really sure any more, the lay of the land looks different up close. The cloud comes in and the going gets very tough. Its hard to make progress when I can only see a little way.

Another steep ridge and surely this must be the last. But no. Beyond is yet an even steeper climb.

Then the rain starts hard. Pelting down, driven by wicked gusts that snatch at my clothes. Many would turn back. its all just too much but I keep going. Stubborn, mule-like, refusing to give up. I know it’ll be fine in the end. But boy it would be easier without the wind and the rain.

A bright patch lights up the scene and I am heartened. My strength and sense of purpose renewed.

But a roaring sound grows and as I top the next ridge there’s a river washing away the path. Life’s curve-balls, Murphy’s Law, those gremlins and trolls sent by Loki and other such deities to cause me mischief. Somehow I find a way through, round, over.

I am now drenched. Wringing, tired and still I cannot see the top clearly. Only the feet moving one in front of the other keep me going. If I stop now, if I sit down, I might never get back up.

With a surge of willpower I march on. The rain eases and now its just mist, cold and eerie. A pervading dampness that fills my world with shadows and doubts. Am I still on the right path? What else is up here? A sudden movement off to my right  startles me, but its only a sheep.

Another ridge is topped and the path leads on. Sodden gravel slips under my boots and my muscle ache. I have to keep climbing. Its not about anything else now, but the conquering.

And there it is. The top. The mists lift as I break through the cloud. The wind is fresher, cleaner and more invigorating. Its only a short way now and the cairn is clear to see. My pace picks up and I rush the last steps.

Standing at the peak I spread my arms wide. The wind is unrestricted and wild. The energy I feel electrifying. As if by magic the cloud below me moves away and the sunlight illuminates the panorama around me and what a view. The struggle and ache to make the climb are but a distant feeling. I have made it.

Tinto done, now I must get on writing my stories.


Memories as muses

My memories of my childhood in Malta are still precious to me, even if it was the other end of my life. We lived in Malta for three years back in the sixties. The world felt different then, but the eternal qualities of the island were easy to see, especially for one so young.


The spectacular fireworks of Valletta are amongst my fondest memories. Evenings full of magic and surprise without needing to leave our home. You see we had a grand stand view from our flat as we lived in Sliema and Valletta harbour, with the city’s majestic walls and bastions, was our backdrop. I can still recall the feelings of excitement and joy as the star-filled summer skies were brightened with the colourful explosions which went on for what seemed like forever.


The history of Malta is abundant with heroic stories and tales of knights. The island saw many different civilisations and influences over the centuries, from the neolithic people before the Romans and Carthaginians came. After the collapse of the Roman Empire the Arabs and Byzantines fought over the Island until the Normans took the island. Since then its government has been influenced by France, Spain and Britain. Now its independent from outside rule, though it did join the EU. But that was after our time on the island. With all this history the island saw a lot of castles and temples built and we often toured these, filling my head full of daring deeds and heroic adventure.


The beaches and rocky shorelines were a constant source of fun. My brothers and I enjoyed chasing crabs and lizards in the pools and rocks. Sometimes we even went out on a boat and swam out in the Mediterranean. I used to daydream about adventures at sea (maybe these thoughts are one of the reasons I spent much of my life at sea).


Then there are the catacombs, rumoured to run from one end of the island to the other before they were sealed up. Legend has it they may contain strange creatures and were used in neolithic religious ceremonies by the island’s previous inhabitants. Their look and smell still hang in my mind and I often wonder about the secrets they are hiding, secrets only children can reveal.


These memories of Malta and Gozo islands have inspired my creativity for my forthcoming series under the working title, The Everlasting Fantastical Adventures. From the warmth of the Inland Sea to the magic of the Azure Window, my thoughts delve deep and enter the catacombs then soar high into the air to explode as fantastical fireworks.


When people ask me if I have any problems thinking about new worlds and adventures, I just smile and say I am lucky, I don’t have that problem. I have the memories of Malta as some of my muses.


As the newest author to Link our pages I would like to introduce:

Nomanono Isaacs  who has authored the book – Escaping Apartheid – A Letter to My Mother

Check out her website at:


From Roseanne May:

I was heartbroken, not just from romance but from the deep emotional wounds of life. Nomanono Isaacs offered vital support in my own need to understand and undertake a healing journey. In essence she was a loving, caring mentor who was willing and able to navigate alongside me. Nomanono guided me to the value and worth of my own inner self.Without fear of judgement or rejection, I was able to show and tell who I was, and reveal my emotional responses to life. Nomanono gave me wise and loving and honest counsel her sound advice came only from ‘a loving yourself’ place. In so doing, I found the strength to change what wasn’t working for me. It will be a dynamic, healing relationship with Nomanono, ever-changing ever growing, best of all there may be tears but there will be laughter too.


Who am I and what am I writing?

I’m Sean and this is my new author’s info site (hence the name). In it you can find out what I am and my myriad characters are up to.

My Photo

You can also find out about other authors and their work. I hope you enjoy visiting. 


My Bio: Born in Scarborough and fortunate to grow up in different parts of Europe, finally finishing school in the Kingdom of Fife. The Author first went to St Andrews University, but preferred adventure so spent the next 20+ years as a Salty-Seadog sailing the Oceans and being fascinated by its wonders.

Finally he ‘swallowed-the-anchor’ and came ashore as a Management Consultant.
Married to Liz with two kids. They live in Scotland and look forward to entertaining youngsters of all ages in the years ahead.


1. What am I working on? Currently I am writing a series of books with the working title of the Everlasting Fantastical Adventures. The books are about an adventurous place where two children go to escape from the rules and restrictions of their parents and other interfering adults. The tales take them deep into this other reality which is filled with a variety of characters such as a talking Badger called Rodger Meles who knows where the best fun to be had is; a Twelve Toed Ugly Troll who doesn’t yet have a name and is totally troublesome; and a Great Wizard called Grumphspawn who likes fireworks, but is otherwise quite a grumpybum. The stories are for middle grade readers, though I am lucky to have quite a few adult fans around the world from earlier versions of the tales.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre? All writers live in a world created from their own experiences and learning. Each will be different. It’s the ability to fully reveal those inner thoughts and visions in a way best accessible to the readers that set the great writers apart. There are two main characters in my stories, a brother and sister, who venture into a different reality. A place with many characters and an abundance of magic, all in the background of danger as the influence of the alien race of Grimlees disturbs the peace and harmony in this Land of Dreams.

3. Why do I write what I do? For fun, adventure and the characters I have in my head won’t let me write anything else until they have had their day, especially Grumphspawn the Great Wizard and Shehalogon the Grimlee.

I started writing just to make a better connection with my own kids as I do travel a lot, even now. The stories always bring us closer together and they often ask to read the latest episodes I’ve written. It’s a wonderful feeling to see the look on your own kids’ faces as they enjoy the stories.

4. How does my writing process work? I am an unconventional writer. I had no literary background, being a seafarer and adventurer by nature. I even won an award for the Worst Writing in primary 7, in front of the whole school. A strange day I’ll never forget, but I didn’t let that stop me. I have done a lot of work and research, particularly with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in the last three years.

Now before I write I always visualise, like I am running through a movie set in my mind. I believe that writing is a link between the conscious and the subconscious, a mixture between the science and the art of it if you will. This is something that each writer does in a way which is unique to them.

I have always been a dreamer and my first quote (in a school magazine from Malta) was “I enjoy school, because I get to take trolls in my pocket”. Nothing more needs to be said about that.

Often when I write the world just fades into the background, once I remember sitting down to type when I was in Alexandria, Egypt. I wrote for what I thought was a couple of hours, but when I checked my watch, ten hours had flown by. This was quite a shock to my stomach and it protested loudly, as you can imagine. This ability to shut out what is around me means I can write almost anywhere, I just have to remember to set an alarm if there’s an appointment I need to attend.

I am about to start work on what I hope is the ultimate version of the stories, probably a twelve book series.

Wish me luck please!



For other author’s blogs please follow these links.

I’m Christina Banach, author of Minty and other young adult fiction. I’m in a state of excitement right now because it’s only a few weeks until Minty is published. Here is what Helen Bryant of Three Hares has to say about the book:

Minty is one of the most moving books for YA I’ve read in a long time. It’s a real weepy from start to finish but with heart and warmth at the core. It’s a cross between The Lovely Bones (without the grim murder) and Ghost and it stays with you long after you’ve finished the book.