Writing ‘Silent Destiny’

Posted by on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 in Joyce's Blog, Our Books

Stirling Castle & Wallace MemorialIn brief … the story of  Silent Destiny travels to many parts of Scotland and, not surprisingly, also into Yorkshire. Whittle, athough a Yorkshireman, knew virtually nothing about Scotland before he discovered that my paternal lineage held a great deal of fascinating Scottish history. I didn’t even realize how Stirling Castle (at left) was going to fit into mine or William Wallace’s story when I snapped this amazing photo in April 2002. Amazing because the William Wallace National Monument managed to get into this photo (far left) without me knowing it existed! It’s also a slightly different view of our book cover.

My Sandilands ancestors, without a doubt, would have been living in Lanarkshire, not far south of Elderslie (believed by many to be Wallace’s home ground), during these tortured times leading up to and during the Scottish Wars of Independence. My family were aligned with the Douglas family, and also a Sept of Clan Douglas, but I can’t be sure how it all began. History has not given up its secrets prior to the early 14th century when Sir William Douglas apparently named us after the “sandy banks of the Clyde River” which enters from the sea near Glasgow and meanders through Lanarkshire County.

The editing process, always my favourite part of this job coupled with my usual hat of being co-author was a wonderful challenge but I certainly needed more time. I (Joyce), unlike Robert, have instant access to the internet. Many nights I sat here writing about travelling around Scotland and had both a streetmap and Google Earth open to assist me in making the travelogue more realistic. Editing/co-writing Robert’s books has naturally always been my favourite part of this business but this time, I also had the challenge of writing my own history. Until I received Robert’s manuscript on my computer, I had no idea what he was writing. When I realized he had included the Hospitallers and Torphichen Priority, I was thrilled. It was my opportunity to add even more history than he had planned because I felt our readers would want to know more than a teasing bit of history! I appreciated that not all our readers are going to be up on their Scottish history!

King Robert I

King Robert I

The whole book was actually more complicated than I had anticipated (being his usual intertwined style but also because I was out of practice lol It was five years since I had worked on a novel and due to so many factual scenes of very old history (up to and including my 13x great grandfather, Robert the Bruce at left), I had more of a challenge ahead of me than I could have dreamed.

It all sort of snowballed on me and was reminiscent of Robert’s research for the Victoria Chronicles Trilogy … he had all these dates and events to fit into his story. It was also similar, to the style of the Lizzie Series … with her many adventures fitting around other exciting parts of the story. Makes me tired thinking back on all that work!!

Starting to read Silent Destiny in late 2013, I soon realized that was a mistake as Christmas Craft Shows were going to take up all my spare time and energy until the new year. So, by November 2014 after working on it night and day since January 2014, I had the uncanny thought that this was paralleling my initial challenge of publishing our first book, Lizzie: Lethal Innocence … it arrived into the stores on December 8, 1998. I was only slightly ahead of that schedule for Silent Destiny, and I apologize for keeping you all waiting. I hope the wait is worth it!

On behalf of Robert and I, thanks for your patience and your continued support.

Joyce Sandilands Whittle