Friday, January 18, 2013

The Dog is in the Details with Guest Blogger: Sandra Ireland

Win a copy of Foxfire &
 meet our Featured Author Sandra Ireland 
today at the Book Boost!

Appearances can be deceptive!

I believe January is ‘Be Kind to Food Servers Month’ and what a lovely idea that is.It’s a reminder that we should get to know our Food Servers- they could be the next Ryan Gosling or Anne Hathaway! Customers too aren’t always as they seem. I’d like to share with you the story of one of my all-time favourite customers.

Iain was a regular at the little café I used to run in Carnoustie, on the east coast of Scotland. He would come in every day, exactly fifteen minutes before closing time, and order a large mug of coffee and a bacon roll, which took twenty minutes to prepare. So you can see, right there, that he was a prime candidate to go on record as my most annoying customer!

Iain was tall and thin, with a grave expression and long, straggly grey hair. His clothes were shabby and creased, and he always brought his dog, Brodie, with him. Brodie, of course, wasn’t allowed in, but would sit outside on the front step, barking at passers-by. Yes, a real pain! However, there was something very appealing about Iain and I began to look forward to his daily visit, and always tried to find the time to chat with him.

He told me he was a photographer, but other than that I got to know very little about him. Other customers told me he was something of a recluse, an odd character whom nobody bothered with. I felt quite sad for him. One day he turned up late, just as I was locking up, but I could see that he was upset. I put the lights back on and made him a coffee. His dog, his only friend, Brodie, had died. Time passed, and Iain adopted another dog. I often met the two of them while walking my own dog, and we would stroll along the beach, chatting about art, books and films.

One day, Iain confided that he wasn’t well, but he didn’t go into details. Instead he began to reminisce, about the Sixties. He talked about sharing an apartment in New York with ‘John’ and little snippets about his career as a photographer. I listened politely but didn’t ask too many questions. A little while later, I heard that Iain had died. I was very upset; he was a kind and gentle man.

I was stunned, however, when someone handed me his obituary in a national newspaper. My favourite customer Iain, was actually Iain Stewart Macmillan, the guy who took that iconic photograph of the Beatles on the zebra crossing for their 1968 ‘Abbey Road’ album. He’d worked with John Lennon and Yoko Ono and even stayed at their apartment. Around the time he was eating bacon rolls in my little café, he’d also been working with Paul McCartney!

I often think of all the questions I could have asked while pouring his coffee. I wasn’t a writer back then (I guess I was too busy serving food!) but I think the notion of ‘things being not all they seem’ is something I love to explore in my stories. In my new novella, Foxfire, by heroine Myrrh is forced to  trust  the shadowy, unknowable Reyner, in order to rescue her best friend Willow from the clutches of a bloodthirsty duo.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I've wondered if this happens more often than not.  Who is not guilty of treating someone different just because they know they are famous and whatnot?  Just goes to show how treating all with kindness and respect is always the way to go.  You were probably a very important person to him and didn't even know it.  Nice post, Sandra!  Thanks for joining us.


Modern-day Edinburgh. Psychic Myrrh devotes her days to contacting other people’s lost loved ones, all the while waiting for a sign that never comes from her dear departed Frank. Meanwhile, in the vaults and alleyways of the Old Town, the phenomenon of streetslip is growing stronger, tearing down the walls of time and allowing grisly characters from the past to prey on the present. Someone else’s problem? Myrrh thinks so, until her best friend Willow disappears and then it suddenly becomes personal. Enter Reyner, the irresistible stranger who has emerged from the shadows to turn Myrrh’s world upside down. Has he been sent to protect her, as he claims? Or is he hiding a dark, unearthly secret of his own?


“How did you get in?” I breathed.

“Details, details.” He gave an odd little shrug that tilted his head so that he looked at me sideways though the curtain of his hair, like a predator eyeing a juicy mouse. But there was a warmth about him that calmed me down a little, and a shrewdness that promised to back off if I started to scream. I didn’t. We both relaxed a little.

“I want answers,” I said, in a voice that had slid back to normal. 

He put the fiddle and the bow down carefully beside the computer, which was probably not a good thing since it released both of his hands, and I was still wary of him. Thankfully, he folded them across his chest as he turned to face me, then leaned one hip casually against the edge of the table. 

“You won’t find answers in this room, talking to the dead,” he said helpfully.

“I want answers from you,” I clarified.

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1 comment:

Debby said...

Do you get to chose your cover? There is something with the eyes.
debby236 at gmail dot com