Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Virginia Crow, Author of Caledon

18 January 2023

Special Guest Interview with Virginia Crow, Author of Caledon

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

After the destruction of the Jacobite forces at Culloden, Scotland is divided, vulnerable and leaderless, with survivors from both sides seeking to make sense of the battles they have fought against their fellow Scots.

I'm pleased to welcome author Virginia Crow to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book.

Caledon is an historical fantasy, set in the aftermath of the final Jacobite uprising. The main character, James Og, is a self-confessed coward who has fled the battlefield of Drumossie, but what he finds in the Sutherland Highlands is a new life and a new purpose, from which there can be no turning.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I really don’t have one! I tend to just write a few sentences here and there, just whenever the mood takes me. Often, it’s in the morning as I work in the afternoon and evening, but even that does not always stand to reason. One thing which is apparently unusual, is that I write phonetically, so it is quite literally a case of listening to the voices in my head! For a long time, I thought this was how all authors wrote, but I’ve recently discovered this is not the case.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write for yourself. There is nothing worse than a book which has been written by an author who has no connection to the content. You may not be able to afford a mansion, or even a house(!), on the profits you make, but you will have a true and honest reflection of yourself in your book.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Marketing is the bit of being an author with which I most struggle. With the cost-of-living crisis into which we’re entering, books are often the last thing people can afford to spend their money on. One of my best forms of advertising is to enroll in sales, like the Smashwords ones. It doesn’t make money, but it does raise an awareness of me as an author, and the books I write.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research.

While I was researching Caledon, I unearthed some truly incredible and horrific things. It is generally accepted that the government troops were brutal, and I certainly found a lot of evidence to support that, including an event which took place in Ullapool where a man’s family were executed in front of him as a way of making him confess to his role in assisting Charles Edward Stuart’s escape. 

It is difficult to imagine the full scale of the chase against the Young Pretender, or the number of innocent lives which were snuffed out as the Butcher Cumberland hacked his way through the Highland landscape – the Geneva Convention was still a number of years off!

But perhaps the strangest thing to get used to when I was writing, was the research into the change of the physical geography of the landscape. It’s difficult not to imagine little Highland crofts standing alone on an isolated, rugged hillside, but it was the events which followed the 45 which led to that view. Even as late as editing, I was referring to the shieling the clan hide in as “a croft”. 

My editor had stern words with me about that one and all references to crofts have now disappeared from the book! The plantations which cover the hills were not there, but neither were the hills barren. Instead, the native woodland would have snaked up the rivulets of the hillsides and overhung the upland streams across the moors. Thankfully, there are still places in the Northwest Highlands where you can find this, so a trip or two out there was not only desired but justified!

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

There are a number of scenes in Caledon which took the writing out of my comfort zone, but one of the most difficult was to bring James Og’s Eile from the page and into the minds of the readers. The Eile are creatures which share a bond with the clansmen.  There is a raven; a wolf; a pine marten; a wildcat; a stag; and then there is the other one! 

Although it remains something of an enigma during most of the book, when it does make a full appearance, it had to be really something. I wanted to build it up into the enormity of the creature it was intended to represent, so each time it appears it only adds to the suspense. I hope it worked – I’ll let the reader decide!

What are you planning to write next?

Caledon is the first of six books. So far, I’ve written four of them, as well as having written the last scene of Book Six about twenty times! I knew from the off that it would be six books because it had to cover approximately six years, reaching its climax in an event which occurred in 1752. And I knew exactly how I wanted the books to end, as well, and I’m so pleased with the ending! I sometimes reach the final scene of my books and feel like they are missing something, but Caledon ends in the only way it can.

Hopefully, Book Three of the series will be released in 2023, but life has a habit of getting in the way of these things – time will tell!

Virginia Crow

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About the Author

Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together. She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book! When she's not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John o' Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 4th year. She now lives in the far-flung corner of Scotland. A doting spaniel-owner to Orlando and Jess, Virginia soaks up in inspiration from the landscape as she ventures out with her canine companions. Find out more from her website and find her on Facebook and Twitter @DaysDyingGlory


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me and my book today! I hope your readers enjoy my answers!

  2. Thanks very much for hosting Virginia Crow today, Tony. xx


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