IT ALL STARTED on 4 November 1968, in Broadford on the Isle of Skye. Only then my name was Morag ….
My earliest experience of writing was in my first years of primary school, where inspired by the likes of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, I churned out stories like there was no tomorrow. I made several attempts to write a novel during my mid-teens but the pressures of family life meant that these went straight in the bin.
My creative side wasn’t exactly encouraged, partly because being pigeon-holed as ‘bright’, I was mis-labelled as academic. So by the time I left school, I was totally confused about what I wanted to do. In a panic, I made the unlikely choice of studying Secretarial Studies with French and German at Glasgow College of Technology, the only thing bearable or remotely creative about it being the languages. It was during my time in Glasgow, living in one of the infamous Red Road flats, that I wrote my first poem not to end up in the bucket.
After going on to spend 10 months at a school in France as an English assistant, I landed my first ‘real’ job at a French software development company. Although on paper I was a bilingual secretary, I was spirited into the realm of technical writing, my earliest introduction to ghost-writing. Learning the art of getting the knowledge of tech-heads into a form that could be understood by mere mortals, I was in my element.
On returning to Scotland, I reverted to mainstream secretarial roles, with the intention of saving enough money to visit the rellies Down Under. However, the longer I stayed in Edinburgh, the less likely it became that I would ever get there. It was while working as a secretary at a law firm in the early to mid-nineties that I changed my name from Morag to Morgan. Long story.
From the mid-nineties to the early noughties, my professional career was convoluted (or messy, depending on which way you look at it) but it did allow me to hone the skills that an independent writer would find useful. I didn’t yet feel I had a ‘story’ in me, so I concentrated on finding out about the art of writing and getting published, and produced a stream of poetry, some of it worth raving about, some of it a word that rhymes with trite. As always, the pressures of keeping a day job to pay the bills prevented me from getting a real run at the more heavy duty stuff.
Then in 2002 I met Cumbrian sculptor Shawn Williamson. Within six months I was living in the north of England and a year later we were married. As well as acting as my now ex-husband’s personal assistant, I experienced a creative explosion of my own. While helping Shawn fulfil his writing ambitions, ideas for creative projects of my own came thick and fast. All the while I fine-tuned my own writing skills and developed my knowledge of the publishing business. I co-edited Shawn’s first novel Mauler and published his second, Caution Red Squirrels. Although the latter was a long way from hitting the Sunday Times Best Seller list, it did give me the experience and confidence to publish not just my own work but other people’s. This was in 2007, before self-publishing became fashionable.
Following the breakdown of my marriage in 2008, I started afresh back in Edinburgh. I had no thoughts of writing as I sought to get back on my feet. Then in 2012, following a four-year period in which I half-heartedly returned to temping, I caught the bug again, but not before the decision had been made to join my boyfriend Alex in Lochcarron to help him run his bistro.
After two years of juggling the commute from Edinburgh to Lochcarron with work on my first novel, I moved back to Edinburgh full-time. I jumped off the hamster wheel, though not the rollercoaster, to become a self-employed writer, then ended up back in a day job to pay the bills. I now have the best of both worlds.
My goal is to write my own material, as well as ghostwrite in collaboration with other authors. Current projects include a fresh wave of short stories (ghostwritten and fictional), two novels and three scripts (two shorts and one feature length).
Watch this space.