The Story of Smailholm

Let me tell you a story...

Two years ago, almost to the day, my dad died. It wasn’t a particularly unusual death or the least bit unexpected. Having experienced the death of my mum 15 years earlier, it was just another part of the relentless crawl of time, another deafening tick on the clock of life. After all, the older we get the more that changes. It is, at its very simplest form, just a mathematical equation. The science of time. To the uninitiated into the mind of Claire Lesley Williams, this could be a mighty depressing introduction to how I began writing a novel. I write fantasy so perhaps you’ll indulge me in a bit of darkness. And, also let me explain. With every one of those ticks comes a gift. The gift my dad's death gave me is Smailholm. Smailholm isn’t about him, but he’s a part of it; his life indelibly inked on the black letters of white page.

Sometimes it takes a breath snatching change to make you do something different. Hell, in your mid 40s you need a push. And so, losing my Dad was my push to start writing the book I’d always wanted to write but never quite believed I could. Two years later, those black letters on a white page represent my tick on the clock of life. It’s been the privilege of my life to create it and share it with you all. I hope you love its fun, adventurous spirit, dusted with magic. It very much represents me – from the battlements of the Scottish Tower I stood upon, looking over a forbidden moor, hoping the wild wind would blast away my grief. To the ingenious mining quogs of Rubers Law that represent my childhood growing up in the industrial Potteries. And finally, to the miniature village of Smailholm itself, the comforting echo from my past. Those perfectly formed villages, yet in miniature that dot the seaside towns of Britain hoping to pull in the odd punter for a pound.

So, kneel down, peer into those little windows and wonder. What do you see?  Is it a crackling fire and pint of frothy ale? Or a tiny woman singing a song about baking buns? Or even a fearless girl with a bow and arrow?

Come in. Smailholm is waiting.