I’m privileged to live in Edinburgh, one of the most historic and beautiful cities in Europe. Walking through the Old Town, where there are still buildings that date back to the 12th century, it’s impossible not to thrill to the history, the architecture and the atmosphere, and to wonder about the lives of the many generations who have inhabited these streets.

Take my photograph here, of Lady Stairs Close, off the Lawnmarket and just below the Castle. This photo was taken at seven on a rainy autumn evening, and although it looks dark, the light cast on the wall of the narrow passage (or close) is hundreds of times brighter than the inhabitants would have enjoyed any time up to the installation of gas lighting.

There are many such passages in old Edinburgh. What assignations were enjoyed in these shadowy vennels? What assaults – murders, even? It’s rich material for any novelist, and unsurprisingly I’ve been drawn to it – my next novel is set between 1765 and 1794 and my characters roam these spaces.

As to other news – I am happy to announce that I have sold the German rights to Face the Wind and Fly, and am looking forward to seeing copies in due course,

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