Today, I have the pleasure of not just one guest in the “hot seat” for a fireside chat, but two. Sarah Shand and Robert Robertson, from Melanie Robertson-King’s novel, A Shadow in the Past, are with me here today.
Welcome to both of you. I have a selection of single malts, if you want something to drink, along with some chilled bubbly. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, I got in some Irn Bru. I believe that’s Scotland’s other national drink? The ice bucket is full. I have some lovely nibbles, too. Haggis in puff pastry, oatcakes with Isle of Mull or Strathdon Blue cheese (Sarah wrinkles her nose) and of course, shortbread.
Sarah: Pulls the tab on a tin of Irn Bru. “Thanks for inviting us. It’s great to be here. And yes, Irn Bru has been referred to as Scotland’s other national drink.”
“So happy to host you. You’re sure you don’t want a glass of bubbly?”
Sarah: “Maybe after our interview. I like champagne but it goes straight to my head.”
Robert: Chuckles. His golden brown eyes sparkle and a dimple forms in his cheek. “She’s right. If you want to get any sense out of her, keep her on the Irn Bru. Otherwise, she’ll babble on and you won’t understand a single thing she says. I’m going to have a wee dram of Glen Garioch, though, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not, do help yourself. Now have I heard this correctly, you two had a rather unusual first meeting?”
Sarah and Robert: Giggle. “You’re right there.”
Robert: “You tell it, Sarah. It sounds so much better when you do.”
Sarah: Shifts in her chair. “You or your readers aren’t going to believe this. I still don’t.” Reaches out and takes Robert’s hand. “I’m a bit nervous.”
“Don’t be. Go on, then.”
Sarah: “Okay. I had been at the stone circle on my parents’ farm and the next thing I know, I’m waking up on a sofa at Weetshill mansion. The mansion is visible from the hill where the stone circle is but it’s a couple of miles away. How I got from one place to the other, I don’t know.”
“That’s not overly unusual.”
Sarah: “This is where things get weird. When I was at the stone circle, the year was 2010. When I woke up on the sofa at Weetshill, I was back in 1886.”
Takes a sip of bubbly and coughs.
Robert: “I heard a noise outside the front door so went to investigate. I found her passed out on the ground. At first I thought she was a laddie because she wore trousers. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered she was a lassie, and a rather pretty one at that.”
Sarah: Blushes. “You say the sweetest things. I’ve never really thought of myself as that. Ordinary and some days it stretches to moderately attractive but never pretty.”
“That is a most unusual meeting. So Robert, Weetshill mansion, it sounds like you’re well-to-do. What do you do for a living?”
Robert: “I’m the Laird of Weetshill.”
“So like Hector MacDonald in the television program Monarch of the Glen.”
Robert: “I don’t know what you mean.”
Blushes and pats him on the knee. “I’m sorry. I forgot for a moment you’re from the Victorian era.”
Sarah: “I know what you mean. And Robert is nothing like Hector MacDonald. If you want to compare him to one of the characters in the show, I would say he’s more like Archie.”
Smiles. “I always liked Archie. Thought he was a handsome fellow. As are you, too, Robert.”
Robert: Blushes. “Thank you.”
Sarah: “He’s so modest. That’s one of the things I love about him.” Reaching over and squeezing his hand.
Picks up the book and flips through it. “I’d like to ask you some more questions about your relationship.”
Robert: Holds up his hand. “I have to stop you there, I’m afraid. We don’t want to spoil it for Melanie’s readers. We can’t tell everything here because then they wouldn’t buy the book and that would never do.”
Traces her index finger over the cover. “Right, right, but you can’t blame me for wanting to know. I love this cover. The artist has captured your essence beautifully, Sarah.”
Sarah: “Actually, Melanie designed the cover. She did a brilliant job of portraying me. And you have to believe that because I’m not one to be ‘out there’ and now look at me. Not only did Melanie write the book, create this brilliant cover, she also created a book trailer.”
“Trailer, like you see for advertising films.”
Sarah: “Yes. Let’s watch it.”
“It’s amazing. The music adds an air of mystery and suspense.”
Robert: “That is does.”
Where can A Shadow in the Past be purchased?”
and in paperback
There you have it, folks. The first in what I hope will be a number of fireside chats with characters from Melanie’s books. I hope you enjoyed it.