#AuthorSpotlight with Lindsay Littleson @ljlittleson @DiscoverKelpies

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Lily’s hoping to put all the madness of the previous summer behind her. Telling people you hear voices doesn’t win you many friends. Especially when you’re starting high school. Especially when everyone thinks you’re just like your troublemaking big sister. At least Lily’s best mates Rowan, David and Aisha will stand up for her. But when she finds nasty messages in her locker, Lily knows someone’s out to steal her friends and leave her all alone. Lily hopes a fun trip to the Isle of Arran will bring her friends together, but soon those dramas seem like the least of her problems. Back home, her big sister’s in big trouble: She might end up in jail — or worse. The last thing Lily wants is to start up that weird psychic stuff again, but it might be her only hope…

Inspirational Islands By Lindsay Littleson 

The Mixed Up Summer of Lily McLean is set in Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, partly because the island is so familiar to me that I didn’t need to research my setting, but mainly  because it’s one of my favourite places in the world. There’s something magical about a small island, and Cumbrae is very small, only 11 miles in circumference. It has such a peaceful atmosphere, particularly in the early morning, but it’s only 8 minutes ferry ride from the mainland.

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More than 60 years ago, my mum and dad met at a dance in Millport. It was love at first sight, but my mum was going out with another lad, who had been posted overseas, and she didn’t want to send him a Dear John letter. The following year, single again, Mum returned to Millport with her parents for a week’s holiday and was over the moon to discover that my dad was there too.

My parents married in 1959 and for the last 60 years, they have returned to Cumbrae several times a year. Every summer holiday in my childhood was spent on the island. My three sisters, brother and I have many happy memories of cycling around the island, clambering on the Crocodile Rock, singing along to hymns at the Seaside Mission, watching cartoons in the little cinema, crabbing on the pier and eating marshmallow ice-cream at the Ritz Cafe.

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In recent years my mum and dad bought a tiny attic flat in Millport and now spend many weekends on the island, sitting on their favourite bench enjoying their books and the sea view. They were so pleased when I set The Mixed Up Summer on the island and thrilled that I dedicated the book to them. My main character, Lily, loves Cumbrae too and is keen to go on holiday there with her gran, where she thinks she can escape the stresses of her life on the mainland. Unfortunately, Lily is being haunted by a very persistent ghost, who hitches a ride on the ferry and seems determined to ruin her holiday.

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My own children loved Cumbrae when they were small, but life has got busier and busier and we visit less often now. When I do get the chance to get over to the island, I love to sit on the flat’s window seat, throw the window wide open, breathe in the sea air, watch the little boats bobbing in the sheltered bay, taking in the glorious view of the Isle of Arran in the distance.

When I needed another island setting for my second novel, The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean, Arran was the obvious choice. The Isle of Arran wasn’t a place I got to know as a child, but as an adult I’ve visited several times and every time I’ve been gobsmacked by Arran’s beauty and the diversity of its wildlife. On an evening cycle along the seafront to Lochranza Castle, we came across a herd of red deer, led by a magnificent stag. On the way back we saw an enormous basking shark in the water. So I took Lily there for a weekend with her friends, to give her a break from all the dramas at home. And she has a wonderful time, despite the fact that there’s plenty of drama on the island too!

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Learn more about Lindsay here www.lindsaylittleson.co.uk

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Merry Christmas from Kelly & The Team, thank you for all your support and love in 2017.

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