What attracted you to write a book about the Highlander and their regiments?
It’s partly because of my family roots, but also all the fascinating stories you hear about them made me want to explore their history.
The book holds a wealth of information. Where did you find your resources and how long did the research take you?
I have studied Celtic warfare for twenty years. I visited all regimental archives, in Inverness, Aberdeen, and Stirling. I looked at personal diaries and letters. It took me six months for completing the research.
You use individual stories to show the bigger picture. What made you choose this structure?
I like showing the everyday life of a soldier. It helps debunking myths.
What is the key take away you want the reader to get from your book?
How the individual characters contributed to the legend and the big stories, how they transformed the Highlander’s image of rebels and bandits into heroes of the British Isles. Seeing the Highlanders’ successes, the English people embraced and respected their fighting spirit.
In fiction we like to travel to the place our stories take place. Do you visit locations of your book events, too?
Yes, of course, for instance Culloden. You have to be there to understand and to appreciate what had happened. Once you’ve tried to ran on the boggy ground of Culloden, you’ll understand how difficult it must have been for the Jacobites to advance.
Readers are always interested to get a glimpse of your personal life. What does your favourite work place look like?
It’s a desk surrounded by a lot of shelves of books, and stretcher to lie down and think. I love to be surrounded by books.
You prefer writing books about military subjects.
My interest is in history all together, medieval arts. I wrote a thesis about painted armour, so I’m not a typical armchair general. I’m more interested in the individual.
What is your next project?
It’s going to be about Irish soldiers fighting abroad.