“Redemption” is an allegory for depression and life difficulties that I once experienced. The novel, which set off the northwest coast of Scotland, illuminates startling cycles of maturing and downfall experienced by the book’s main character. The character’s failings and misery are ultimately conquered when he saves the life of a young girl and comprehends the fragility of human existence.
This book is based on a lost manuscript, so what went through your mind when you found it again?
I was astonished and delighted. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about the manuscript. Once discovered, images from my past came rushing back.
Please tell us about your biggest lows when you suffered from depression?
I truly did not realize the extent of my depression and despair at the time. Only looking back do I now realize how troubled I once was. The surprise for me was how could I have written such a book while in a miserable state of mind? I was not in a good place – with a failing marriage in the Hebrides and trying to keep a career going at Carleton University in Canada. I was not doing a good job with either.
How did you pull yourself out of it?
I used detailed shamanic training from an Ojibwa medicine woman. (Note: I think this is vague, happy to go back and ask Ian to expand if you wish.
What can you tell us about the character of Callum Mor?
Callum Mor, the epic main character, takes the reader on a deep Hero’s Journey. It opens with his childhood in the Hebrides, islands off the NW coast of Scotland. He draws wonderful mentors to him; his schoolteacher, who lights the spark of a bard in him, animal friends such as an otter, a brutal fisherman who shields his darkness from the boy as he matures. Callum Mor thrives despite the poverty of his home in an island nurturing with gentle humor and adventure. This novel moves from the rhapsody of Callum Mor’s idyllic childhood through tragedies to the derelict zone of his alcoholic drowning out of pain and suffering.
You also write poetry and factual books so do you have a preference between the three disciplines?
Poetry overlaps prose particularly in descriptions of nature, different skill for books on environment - allb lends are good for their purpose
How much has retirement allowed you the time to write?
I have yet to discern the true meaning of retirement. Since "retirement" I have published 8 books :)
What is next for you?
My last two books left two female characters undeveloped - my hunch is to take them into a future scenario - looking back