Deveney Finds Escapism in Writing Fiction

Scotland on Sunday’s award-winning features writer, Catherine Deveney, has hit the bookstands with her debut novel – ‘Ties That Bind’, a fictional work in which the central character, Carol Ann, uses a financial windfall to escape to a new life in Ireland.

Deveney, who lives and works from her home on the Black Isle, is one of Scotland’s best-known and admired journalists – she has garnered umpteen media industry awards for her insightful and distinctive journalism as chief feature writer of Scotland on Sunday’s Spectrum Magazine.

A half-page photograph of her appears in her local newspaper, the Inverness Courier, accompanied by a lively interview.

As part of a two-book deal with Old Street Publishing, she is already working on her second manuscript which, she says, has confirmed for her that what she really wants to write about are human relationships.

She told the Inverness Courier: “If I hadn’t been a journalist, I don’t think I would write fiction. That probably sounds a bit odd, but as a journalist you get to speak to so many people in such extreme situations. It gives you experience which I would never have had if I’d remained in my first job, which was as a teacher.”

Part of her inspiration for ‘Ties That Bind’ was the story of Moray lawyer, Alistair Liddle, who vanished from his home in December 1997, only to turn up months later as a labourer on a farm in Cornwall.

“I was quite fascinated about this guy leaving his high-powered job and creating a new life for himself picking daffodils in Cornwall. I always wondered what was the difference between the 99 per cent of people who idly think: ‘I could walk away from this’ and the person on the train who ends up going to Cornwall.”

For Deveney, the act of writing the book has provided its own escape.

She continues: “Writing fiction was a kind of freedom for me. As a journalist, you speak to someone and the material is there, but you have got to bring it out. Even if it is dull, it has to be made interesting.

“In journalism, you are always facing deadlines and making cuts in what you write. Fiction is almost the opposite of that and I found that very liberating.”

She adds: “Sometimes journalism is really, really hard, but you do have this incredible sense of privilege that you are talking to people about things that really matter and they trust you to tell their story. That for me is the best part of the job.”

* Ties That Bind, by Catherine Deveney, is published by Old Street Publishing, price £7.99.