Tag Archives: Scotland

Author walked 500 miles across Scotland for finding true love stories for a book

2018-02-22

Writers spend most of their time thinking of their work and tapping a keyboard, but that is not all they do. Many writers are more than happy to venture out to the big world for research trips and to talk to people who perhaps know something that is required to complete a planned book manuscript. An author decided to hike 800 kilometers / 500 miles across Scotland in order to discover real life love stories for his book.

Scotland scenery, a castle on a small island
Matt Hopwood hiked five weeks along Scotland’s west coast and on the islands along the coast. His route went through the Borders, along the Central Belt to Oban, across the Western Isles from Barra to the Isle of Lewis. He was on a mission to collect true stories for his manuscript that was published as a book in early 2018 A Human Love Story: Journeys To The Heart. The Sunday Post has published samples of short stories extracted from the book.

Walking as a way of finding inspiration or discovering people who can provide information for a book is an old and tried method.

In the early 19th century, a young doctor Elias Lönnrot decided that he wanted to collect ancient stories from the border district of Finland and Russia. He walked from village to village for years, and managed to put together an epic saga, Kalevala. You may have never heard of it, but J.R.R. Tolkien did, and got inspiration for his saga the Lord of the Rings.

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was known for his long walks in the woods near Vienna. He took inspiration from those moments. The sixth symphony has so many elements related to nature, life on a farm, and countryside villages that he must have been affected by the walks.

Then, there are artists who write or make films about walking. Keith Foskett, who likes to do long hiking trips, has written many books about those adventures. Also film makers have recently documented long walks. For instance, As It Happens is a true story of two hikers who trekked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Do More with Less is a film with interviews of people who like to make long hikes.

Book lover’s dream holiday: running a bookshop in Scotland

2017-11-08

This is one of the most brilliant ideas I have ever heard of: a bookshop in Scotland lets a book lover run the store for a two week period. Then, the next shop manager moves in and does his or her best in the small bookstore. Two-week time slots for managing the Open Book shop have been almost fully reserved until 2020.

Wigtown, SCotland, Open Book, bookshop
The Open Book shop is located in the village of Wigtown in Scotland. The Scotsman reports how the system works. Shop managers, or guests, book their stay via Airbnb, and pay for the privilege of becoming bookstore managers. The guests can stay in the apartment above the store.

The concept was created by an American Jessica Fox who had dreamt about working at a bookshop in Scotland. She moved to Wigtown to work in another bookstore before acquiring the shop that was to become Open Book.

“Wigtown is an amazing, unique place. It has a population of only 900 but it has 16 bookshops and they welcome people from around the world with open arms. I thought, ‘I’m sure I’m not the only crazy American out there who’d love to run a bookshop’ and that’s how The Open Book was born. People book through Airbnb and we’ve been overwhelmed by its success.”

Wigtown, Scotland.
Shop managers do real work in the bookstore: they sell books, set prices for acquired books, organize book readings and other events, and redesign shop windows. Shop managers write a blog that is fascinating to read. For instance, someone has been waiting for two years for her turn in the shop, and now, in the shop, she is busy with customers and books.

A computer with Internet connection lets managers keep up-to-date in the shop, unless they want to go for a bicycle ride to the Scotland countryside.

The concept has been noticed in China and South Korea where companies planning book town concepts have been in contact with Jessica Fox.