Publication day was April 1st 2021. A perfect date and a perfect cover.
A compelling story of roots, belonging and kinship set against the powerful backdrop of two houses and the landscape in Kintyre. When twins Rathlin and Breacán Doherty approach their twenty-seventh birthday, they come together after an absence to fight for their beloved Ballynoe, a house rich in folklore and holding the ghosts of their parents. The revelation of their own secrets and the uncovering of family lies have far-reaching and tragic consequences.
The wonderful illustration is by the incredible Glasgow-based artist, Penny Sharp. You can see more of her work here.
Here are some reviews:
Laura Waddell, author of Exit, UK Publishing Director and The Scotsman columnist – ‘In many ways a tight, classic family intrique, rich with resentments and estrangements, what distinguishes Almost Then is its strong sense of place… Almost Then is ultimately a story about striving for a sense of home, tense and tender in equal measures.’Laura Waddell’s Scotsman review can be read in full here:
Sara Sheridan, bestselling author of more than twenty books – ‘a dark drama about the secret bonds of family. It felt televisual and I particularly liked the sense of place as the story moved from Glasgow out to the wilds. The main characters (twins) were vividly drawn – five stars.’
Paul Cuddihy, author and host of the Read All About It podcast – ‘Almost Then is an emotional rollercoaster – a gripping story of family secrets that left me a bit breathless by the end. It’s a great read.’
Karen Campbell, acclaimed author of seven novels – ‘A heartbreaking exploration of love and loss – and of bonds that can never be broken.’
Hilary McCollum, author of Golddigger – ‘Age-old themes of betrayal and family violence are skilfully mined to bring new insights for the contemporary reader. A story of love and passion, hate and despair, jealousy and guilt, violence and tragedy, beautifully told, about the past’s impact on the present and the future, and the unbearable burden of unbearable losses.’
The Birds That Never Flew
My debut novel, The Birds That Never Flew, was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and Longlisted for the Polari Book Prize.
You can buy it here!
‘The clock had called time and his was well and truly up. The bastard was about to die. Not even the Virgin Mary, whether she was here or she wasn’t was going to get in the way of that.’ Battered and bruised, Elizabeth has taken her daughter and left her abusive husband Patrick. Again. In the bleak and impersonal Glasgow housing office Elizabeth meets the provocatively intriguing drug addict Sadie, who is desperate to get her own life back on track.
The two women forge a fierce and interdependent relationship as they try to rebuild their shattered lives, but despite their bold, and sometimes illegal attempts it seems impossible to escape from the abuse they have always known, and tragedy strikes.
More than a decade later Elizabeth has started to implement her perfect revenge – until a surreal Glaswegian Virgin Mary steps in with imperfect timing and a less than divine attitude to stick a spoke in the wheel of retribution. Tragic, darkly funny and irreverent, The Birds That Never Flew ushers in a new and vibrant voice in Scottish literature.