A new book

Having published my firstย tearoom guidebook a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been feeling a bit lost.

It was great to get the book published after writing it, but there was a feeling of deflation once it had rolled off the presses. I’ve spent the past two weeks distributing and selling it (which I don’t find easy, or particularly pleasant) and now I want to get back to writing again.

I fully intend to continue my series of Tearoom Delights, but after spending 6 months on the first one, I feel I’d like to do something a bit different before the next one.

I’d been puzzling over this, wondering what to write next, when I had the idea of writing a travel book.

The book, as it’s shaping up so far (I’ve only written the introduction and the first chapter) is a bit about tearooms and a bit about other things that interest me on my little outings hither and thither. It’s rather like this blog I suppose, but without the supporting photographs, so I’ll be relying on descriptive text more than I do with my blog.

I’m a big fan of armchair travelling, letting someone else go and see places and report back through the pages of a book, although admittedly such books are usually full of thrills and spills, hardship and endurance, and a dearth of reliable cups of tea.

The sort of travel book I’m writing is slightly different from that, considerably less alarming and eventful, and quite possibly more dull.

Is there a market for this sort of book? I have no idea, but then I had no idea if there was much of a market for a guidebook to tearooms and I wrote it anyway. Sometimes, when something grabs you, you feel compelled to run with it, whether or not it looks like a good idea to anyone else. This has, admittedly, been my downfall on many occasions, but my thinking is that if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Chapter 1 is all about Aberdour, a village in the Kingdom of Fife that boasts many interesting attractions, including one of the oldest castles in Scotland, one of the oldest churches in Scotland, and a prize-winning railway station. Here are a few pictures to give a taste of the place.

St Fillan’s Church, dating back to 1123:

Inside the church:

The lovely lane leading to the church from the street:

An exquisite bit of stone carving on one of the many interesting headstones in St Fillan’s graveyard:

An impessive beehive-shaped dovecot in the garden of Aberdour Castle:

What’s left of Aberdour Castle, the oldest parts dating back to the 12th Century. The big chunk in the foreground fell off at some point:

The most complete part of the castle:

One of the beautifully kept platforms at Aberdour railway station:

A street leading down to the beach:

Stormy clouds over the Black Sands of Aberdour (the more well-known Silver Sands are just around the coast from here):


45 thoughts on “A new book

  1. Love the idea. You have such a gift for words and the perfect pictures to go with. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love, love, love travel books. They give me the opportunity to see places that I may never in this lifetime get to visit, or show me things that I may have missed along the way.

  2. Good luck with this new venture, Lorna. I have no doubt you will do a marvelous job. You may want to consider getting a publisher for this one. Do you know how to write a non-fiction book proposal and pitch to agents? Google it. You don’t have to write the whole book- you just have to present the idea and make it sound like hot cakes and the publisher will sign you up and give you an advance. “The Writer’s Digest guide to Query letter” explains the process very nicely. The sad truth is, books don’t walk on their legs. Books have to be marketed. It is an involved process, painful for most writers and best left to the publisher. Sending you good thoughts!

    • Thank you very much Shona, I am hoping to get a publisher for this one, principally because I don’t know how I would sell it otherwise. I was fortunate to have a chat with a publisher through an enterprise agency set up in Scotland for writers and he gave me the low-down on what to send to a prospective publisher and how to get them interested. Of course, what might interest one may not interest another, so I appreciate it will be a case of trial and error. It could take considerable time to find a publisher who has any interest at all in taking on a new author like me, so I’ll start contacting them soon while I write the rest of the book. I’ll check out that query letter you mentioned, thank you, and am glad of any tips! I’m all too well aware of the marketing side, with trying to tackle that on my tearoom book, and it really isn’t my strong point!

  3. Lorna, you whiz–you make my head spin! I admire your efforts, your energy, your spirit, and your talent, and I think that a travel guide book (is that what it is?) is the perfect companion to your tearooms guide book.
    I don’t know what the publishing world is like over there, but here it is usually important to query to agents rather than publishers. Agents are the gatekeepers to large publishing houses; my understanding is that most “unsolicited” or “unrepresented” queries go straight into the slush pile. On the other hand, small “boutique” publishing companies are usually open to unrepresented queries. Thought I’d offer my two cents’ worth, and I hope it’s helpful.
    Best of luck with this exciting new endeavor!
    (Also, and while I’m here–If I want to send a guide book to my brother in Scotland, could I purchase it directly from you?)

    • Thank you Robin, you’re such an encouragment! I think it must be different in the UK because from what I can gather it’s more difficult to get an agent here than to get a publisher. I’ve spoken to two publishers in Scotland and both of them advised going straight to publishers rather than through an agent, although with some of the big publishing houses in London, I think the only route in is via an agent. I would probably approach smaller Scottish interest publishing houses initially. There’s a book called The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook published annually in the UK and it gives a list of all the publishers and how to contact them (some don’t like to deal with emails, others only want submissions electronically, so it’s a case of just reading through each entry and refining your approach to suit each one).
      As for the guidebook, it is possible to purchase from me directly, but unfortunately I can only take sterling cheques, sterling traveller’s cheques or international money orders as payment. The cost of changing a dollar cheque is more than the price of the book! If you don’t have sterling, I’m afraid ebay is the only way of purchasing at the moment, sorry about that. Your brother could send a sterling cheque but if you want to buy it for him that’s perhaps not a very good option!
      Oh, and it is more of a travel book than a guidebook, because I’m not including detailed information about transport, accommodation, etc.

      • Well, you’ve certainly done your homework!
        Okay, I’ll have to gather some troops around me who are more savvy than I, and see if we can’t break through the ebay code. Rest assured–we will, and I will get my hands on your guidebook! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • I researched it all before I decided to self-publish the first one, that’s really why I know a bit about it now. I’m very sorry about the ebay palaver, I wish I could make it easier somehow.

  4. I love your writing, so, just write! Your use of language on any subject will be fascinating…the more boring the subject, the bigger the challenge in my humble opinion. Also…can relate to how you feel once your book is published, mine took 7 years to finish and I was a bit lost once done…nothing to fall back upon when I needed something to do. Means it’s time for a new project, and yours sounds like it will enlighten your readers.

    • You are far too generous Linda, but thank you! Seven years to finish your book seems incredible to me, how on earth did you stay motivated during that time? I’m sure I would have become dejected and dispirited and given up long before that, but then I have a very short attention span. I think the fact that it took you that length of time says a lot about your staying power and dedication, I’m quite in awe.

  5. i love the idea! i haven’t written a book yet but i can relate to the loving the writing, not so keen on the marketing feeling. i am quite sure i would be the same way. i think i can understand your need to start writing again. absolutely fantastic idea. as someone who is planning to bring small tour groups to Scotland, it would be beneficial for me to have a birds-eye view of some not so obvious places to see. i could definitely benefit from your expertise and research skills. cheers!

    • Thank you ajb, that’s very good to know, I hadn’t thought of it as being of interest in that way, but naturally anyone visiting a different country wants to know about some special places, I would if I were planning a trip somewhere. I’ll certainly bear your comment in mind when I think of what sorts of places to include, thank you for that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. At one point I read as many of Paul Theroux’s books as I could find. You just reminded me how much I enjoyed them. I’m also very fond of John McPhee. I’m not sure if it’s related, but since you’re a geophysicist, have you read any of his geology/geologist series? (Title of one: “Basin and Range”) He can make rocks fascinating even to a liberal arts major, although the first thing I read by him was “Coming into the Country,” more or less a travel piece about Alaska. I was mesmerized.

    Is every village in Scotland so adorably quaint and picturesque?

    • I haven’t read any John McPhee but I will be looking out for him now, thank you for the tip Marian. Anyone who can make rocks sound interesting gets the thumbs up from me! Not every village is quite this picturesque, but now that I’m looking at things in a slightly different way, I’m surprised by just how many nice little places there are tucked away quietly. I used to assume that quaint villages were restricted to England, but not so!

  7. Hi Lorna, how fantastic to have that second project in the works. I think you should go for it, you’re obviously passionate about finding your niche and sharing it with your fellow readers. Good luck!

    • Thank you Alice, your enthusiasm is always uplifting! It’s nice to have found something I feel at home doing, having had multituinous jobs that never quite felt right to me. I always wished I was one of these people at school who knew exactly what they wanted to do and could focus on achieving it, instead of which I ambled along without a clue. Still, better late than never!

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about another book. I’m interested in knowing more about the process and steps. You’ve inspired me – I might like to try something like this too! And your pictures are beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Meg, I honestly think you would make a brilliant job of a book. You write in an admirably concise manner (I wish I could do it as well as you do!), and you have a real eye for catching interesting subjects in your photos, so if it were including some of them it would be excellent. If I can help at all I’d be delighted to share what I’ve learned so far. One thing’s for sure, writing and publishing a book is quite a learning experience!

  9. I think if you can see the book in your mind, you’re already halfway there! Have you considered including any colour pics or is the cost too prohibitive? I’m sure you will make a great job of this, as you did with the last one. Look forward to hearing more!

    • That’s extremely encouraging Jo, thank you. I’m glad you mentioned the colour pictures thing because I think after the last book I was assuming it would be a no-go, but in fact I would love to include some photos for this one. I’d really like to find a publisher who would take it on, and perhaps include a stack of photos in the middle of the book, ideally one for each place visited. I’ll certainly look into that.

  10. Wonderful pictures, I now want to visit Aberdour. And congratulations on your book, what a brilliant achievement. As I’ve probably said before, it’s one of my dreams to write a tea shop guide but you have actually done it.

    • Thank you kindly! Aberdour is worth a visit. I think that if you really want to write a book you’ll find a way of doing it. It took me years to get round to it, but it happened eventually when the time was right. In the meantime, you can dedicate yourself to tasting as much tea and sampling as many cakes as you can, which as you know is one of the best bits of the job! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Sounds like a lovely idea Lorna. When you’ve finished that one, is there any chance you would ever write fiction? I LOVE Alexander McCall Smith’s novels based in Edinburgh – you could write a novel based in your favourite areas of Scotland. How about a murder mystery in a community who centre around their local tea room!?

    • Thank you Leanne, but you’ve spooked me! I feel as if you’ve read my mind, because believe it or not I had exactly that idea – how weird is that?! I’m a bit nervous about fiction because I really don’t know if I can do it or not, but it is one of my dreams to write a good murder mystery. I love reading them and I can never guess the perpetrator, so it would be wonderful to think up a good story myself that keeps people guessing till the end. I definitely have that in my mind as a possibility one day, and I’ll let you know if I ever manage it!

  12. Can’t wait to get my copy of the book (will see my friend on Saturday!) and I’m so excited that you have started on the next book. Keep writing! I want to have your book in hand for our trip over next August. ๐Ÿ™‚ Funny how one is compelled to write, isn’t it?

    • Ooh, I’m excited for you but also a bit nervous….I hope the book is what you’re expecting. It is a strange compulsion, this need to write, but it seems to be part of life for an awful lot of people.

  13. Wonderful idea Lorna! Wish you luck with your new enterprise. Going by the first chapter, I have no doubt it will be a huge success ๐Ÿ™‚ What a charming place!

    • Thank you Madhu, what very kind words. I’m doing the second chapter now, which is very different from the first, but that’s what makes it interesting for me because I get bored very easily!

  14. I agree with you about writing what you love and worrying about a market later, or words to that effect. You are delighting in the attainable, Lorna. You point out the interesting and captivating world in our own backyards, and offer reason to look more closley at what is in our own line of sight. Good for you! The photots are beautiful and your writing is absolutely enchanting. I’m looking forward to the book.

  15. Lorna, Congratulations on publishing your book! That is quite an accomplishment! I would love to order a copy:) Is that possible? As for your travel guide I think it is a fabulous idea! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Scotland and how you present it seems magical:) I really cannot wait to visit!

  16. Hi Lorna, I am slowly getting back into my routine and have had a little bit of time to look at my favourite blogs. Great to find out you have published your book and are already planning another venture.

    My mum and dad were married in Aberdour and spent the first couple of years of their married life there. My dad was in the Air Force.

    • Thank you Heather, it must be a bit strange to be getting back into blogging after such a long time away from it, but it’s good to have you back safe and sound. Aberdour really is a lovely place, did you visit while you were over here? I know you had a lot of other places to go, and you can’t do everything! I think of you when I go through Cupar now. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • No we didn’t get to Aberdour but we did get to Cupar and even had lunch at Fisher and Donaldson’s. I remembered it from when I went to high school in Cupar.

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