The Inspiration of ‘When Fate Dictates’

In February 2010 we were on vacation in Scotland staying at the Isles of Glencoe
Hotel, Ballachulish. My husband had come to stand beside me in front of the window
and, like me, was
staring in awe at the magnificence of the view. 


“What is that island?” I asked trying to stare through the gentle mist that clung teasingly to the island.

“I think its Eilean Munde,” he replied.

“Isn’t that where the MacDonald brothers buried their father after the massacre of Glencoe?” I replied, desperately wanting to brush the mist aside and see what mysteries it hid.

“Yes, I think it is,” he said, softly.

“I want to go to Glencoe village.”

“Well it’s not far from here, we can go after breakfast if you want to," he offered.

“I would like that a lot, thank you,” I said, struggling to take my eyes off the island. 

  We stood on the quiet street that runs down the centre of the village of Glencoe. Great mountains rose up around us as we wandered up a small hill towards the Glencoe memorial.


“What date is it?” I asked.

“It’s the 12th, why?” replied my husband.

“Well, tomorrow is the anniversary of the massacre,” I said,
pointing to a sign on the memorial which read, ‘Massacre of
Glencoe, 13th February 1692.’


I looked back down the hill and into the village. Tidy little cottages lined the street. Grey clouds of smoke rose from
chimneys and hung poignantly against the clear blue of the
morning sky.


Suddenly I could smell it: –

the sickly, metallic copper stink of fresh blood and death. I could hear the terrifying crackle of flames as they leapt around the walls of cottages.

  I could see the smoke as it hung thickly and heavily in the air. Cries of panic and terror as families stumbled from their burning homes; the blaze of musket fire, the sulphurous smell of a fired gun and the bodies which lay upon the snow filled streets.


Without realising it, I had found the inspiration for my
story. When I stood in the village of Glencoe, absorbed by
the events that had destroyed the lives of the people that
had lived there, my thoughts were of those who had
survived?  What had life to offer them; driven from their
homes and into the wilderness of despair and loss.

In my imagination I could see her, a young girl called Corran, ‘dying’ on a mountain. I saw a single Stag appear from out of the freezing morning mist. Bending slowly, it gently lowered its head through magical rays of light to nuzzle the tip of its nose against Corran’s face and saved her from death.

Confused, alone and frightened, I watched her as she made her way back to her village and there came face to face with one of her enemies, Simon Campbell. 


And so the story ‘When Fate Dictates’ was born.