The north-east is featuring as the setting of a successful Australian novelist’s book after a visit to Portsoy while she researched her latest work.
Karly Lane’s visit to Scotland in 2019 inspired the backdrop to her latest book Take Me Home , which is being released this spring.
Mrs Lane says she “fell in love” with the area which now features in the book, and even made time to visit a local fan, signing a book for Portsoy Co-op worker Jake Gardner.
“We just fell in love with the whole country and there’s so much more we want to explore and experience,” she said.
“We had a list of things we wanted to see, and one of the big ones for me was visiting the Isle of Skye and Dunvegan Castle – which is where my father’s family came from.
“We based ourselves in Portsoy while we explored the area.
“I also met a lady via Facebook who had already read some of my books which was very exciting, and I managed to catch up with her and sign one of her books while we were there.”
The couple stayed at Durn House, which they said was the closest to a fairytale castle they could find at an affordable price, and it gets a special mention in the book.
“I was so thrilled to be able to include so many of the places my husband and I stayed at and visited during our trip, which made it so much more special to write,” she added.
“I wanted to show people there’s more to Scotland than just the tourist places, although there’s quite a few of them in the book as well.
“I wanted to highlight little places like Portsoy, which I hadn’t heard of until I stumbled upon Durn House when I was looking for accommodation.
“I was actually pouting because I really wanted to spend a night in a castle…until I realised how expensive they were and that my budget didn’t quite stretch that far.
“However, my pouting stopped the moment Durn House appeared on my computer screen. I fell in love with the place as soon as I saw it and it was truly one of the highlights of my trip getting to stay in this beautiful old house.”
She’s hoping the book will not only put the north-east on the map for Australians planning a trip, once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, but for other Scots too.
“We loved Portsoy as well, and my hope is that readers will want to add all the places mentioned in the book to their own itineraries when they’re planning their next Scotland trip,” Mrs Lane added.
“Living in rural Australia, I understand how important attracting tourism is for these small communities.
“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing this book and including so many local places.”
Published by Allen and Unwin, the book centres around a young woman who is fulfilling her granmother’s last wish of being taken back to her birthplace in Scotland one last time, resulting in a road trip which incorporates the pair’s love of Outlander television programme and Scotland’s history.
“My own family history was the driving force behind our trip to Scotland,” Mrs Lane said.
“I have Scottish heritage on both of my parents’ sides and was brought up on stories of clans and castles and everything in between.
“I just adore Scotland and can’t wait to return when we’re once again able to travel.”