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Forest Brothers goes North to the Shetland Islands

My thanks to my lifelong friend, Dr Paul Brooksby, who felt inspired to donate a copy of Forest Brothers to the Shetland Bus museum in Scalloway. I don’t know what they made of it!

The Norwegian  navy were based in Shetland during the war and launched resiatnace operations to Nazi-occupied Norway. Their exploits are legendary and I was glad of the opportunity to feature them in the novel. Having sailed across the North Sea from Shetland to Bergen in a 33 ft yacht, even in summer, the journey is ‘busy’!

I am hoping to write a sequel in the future. If so, it would have to start in those magical lands. Yes, i know – Shetland… North sea meets Atlantic ocean. No trees. Windy. Brrrrr. Take it from me, the islands are a mainly unspoilt beauty, whether it be warmed by the glow of the Northern Lights in winter or basking in the dusky glow of the midnight sunset in summer.

I was best man in the Shetland wedding of the Brooksbys and I have always felt welcome there. I delivered part of my best man’s speech in Shetlandic and always felt a link with ‘da isles’To me, it’s  one of those special places that you discover as you pass along life’s journey. so many thanks, Dr B!

Finnish Boys – the next novel

Q. So what’s it about?

A. It’s a prequel to the novel ‘Forest Brothers’. It is set in 1941 during the first Soviet invasion and starts on the eve of the Red Terror, when 10,000 people were deported to Siberia. the story ends where Forest Brothers begins – on the shores of the North coast, with a lone kayak paddling to shore.

Q. Why a prequel?

A. i wanted to continue the tale and to remain an Estonian story. I felt Märt deserved to feature, to explain a lot of the back story.

Q. So, do many of the characters from Forest Brothers feature in this.

A. Many do, bar Huw Williams and Oleg. It gives me a chance to show how some characters met and how the walls were built with others. It also allows me to feature more of Estonia’s history as background to the human story

Q. Where is it set?

A. In Estonia, mainly around the centre and north coast. A slightly different part of the country from last time.

Q. Do we get to see Maarja again also

A. Yes, she’s a tough cookie, that one. Although she’s not perfect – none of them are.

Q. So, no Brits this time?

A. Yes, there is one character. A Scots maverick called Monty. It’s difficult to pin down what his game is until the end.

Q. When will it be published?

A. Whoah, slow down! I have only 33,000 words written – which is not quite half way. then I will see if CG want to look at it again. If they do, maybe it will happen sooner. I will keep you posted.

Q. Will you be using the same artwork.

A. I hope to use another Rita Roberts painting, possibly based on an image from a photo as before. I would love to use another Kalli Piht photo, her pics are superb.

Q. Are you dropping the definite article in Estonian speech?

A. Not sure yet, it was useful last time to distinguish Huw from his Estonian colleagues and mirror the way that Estonians can sometimes utilise the English language. It also took weeks to try and condition my mind to automatically ignore that they were there. it was a nightmare to take them out. I still think there’s one or two lurking within FB…

Q. Is there a trilogy brewing?

A. I have an idea for a sequel to FB. It would be based around Juhan and set in Shetland and Norway, maybe the Faroe Islands. That would be more difficult, as it no longer becomes an Estonian tale or certainly is less of one.