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Anne-Mary Paterson - freelance writer.

I write books - Pioneers of the Highland Tracks a biography of my railway engineering great granduncles was published in 2010.

I write articles for magazines including Scots Magazine, Scottish Field, Your Family History, Scottish Memories and  the American magazine, The Highlander.

My most recent book Spanning the Gaps about the Bridges and Viaducts of the Highland Railway was published in November 2017.

I am working on a new book about Highland Lairds who had either a private waiting room or a private station. For each of these locations I will show how the arrival of the railway benefitted the Scottish Highlands.

May 2020

People’s Books on TV

As I look at my television screen, I am pleased to see that the world of books seems alive and well. I have sometimes wondered if there are far too many books in my house. Being a writer, I need people to buy my books. Like any other business and writing is a business, I need customers. At the moment I work on the kitchen table and around me is a large number of books which I need to check facts for the book I am writing on the private stations and waiting rooms on the Highland Railway. I hope to move my place of work soon to another room. I am going to call it The Writing Room.

As I am in danger of tripping over the books in the kitchen, I sent off for a bookcase online as we are not able to visit the shops. In ordinary times I would have looked in my local hospice shop which has a wonderful collection of things to buy. I chose something that fitted my needs, looked easy to construct and was not expensive as I will probably replace it with something more aesthetically suited to the rest of the bookcases in the room.

And so to the books on the TV screen. They make a nice neutral sort of background away from the clutter that working rooms often accumulate. Sometimes there are few pictures as well, so it is nice to have an idea of the person’s taste in art. My house is also full of paintings as my brother-in-law was an artist and I love landscape paintings. On this front I need to take care that the house does not end up looking like an art gallery – or perhaps a library!

In days gone by, grand houses could purchase, I think by the foot, artificial books so that it looked as though they were studious readers of similar sorts of books as the colour and spines all matched. Thankfully all the books I see look like real books but whether the person has read them is another matter. My last book was a coffee table sort of book on the bridges and viaducts of the Highland Railway with stories about most of them. Someone who must have done most of his reading in bed, complained to me about this to me. He will be pleased to know that he will be able to read my new book in bed.

I hope now that we have all had to embrace new technology, the New Norm will be that more events use one’s homes rather than travelling to a central place. Being a nosey journalistic sort of person, it is great to see people embracing new ways. After all many of us have friends who live in other countries. Now we have learnt how to communicate with them seeing one another and doing it cheaply.

In future I hope my Zoom events will have a nice bookish background. After all books are my lifeline!

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