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Inverness-based Barbara Henderson is the author of historical novels Fir for Luck and Punch. Her energetic school visits are increasingly taking her across the length and breadth of Scotland, and sometimes beyond. As a Drama teacher, she loves to get young people on their feet as they respond to stories.
‘Writing is like magic,’ she says. ‘I see something in my imagination, and I try to capture it by writing it down—nothing more than black marks on white paper. Much later, young people see these black marks on white paper and suddenly they see something too, feel something of their own. I cannot think of anything more special than that.’ Barbara shares her home with three teenage children, one long-suffering husband and a scruffy Schnauzer. Her garden always ends up a wilderness, however hard she tries.
Over the years, writing has always been what she loves most: Barbara has won several national and international short story competitions and was one of three writers short-listed for the Kelpies Prize 2013 with a previous novel manuscript.
Scottish islands have provided the background for some great adventures recently, from Geraldine McCaughrean's Carnegie winner Where the World Ends to Julia Green's To the Edge of the World and Kerr Thomson's The Sound of Whales. Barbara Henderson takes readers to just such a remote island and stages a tense and exciting confrontation between humanity - represented by the narrator, Em, her family and others involved in the creation of a new luxury hotel - and nature, represented by the island's furred and feathered inhabitants. There's a very good sense of the wild and scary power of the natural world, and it puts human behaviour in the spotlight too. Em is a strong central character, a good companion for readers throughout her intriguing, often scary adventure.
Would you be brave enough to fight back?When 12-year-old Janet's village is under threat she decides to take action. It's a split-second decision that could cost her everything: her home, her family even her life.Can Janet save her village from being wiped out? Or will her family and friends be forced from their homes to face an uncertain future?Based on real life events, Fir for Luck is a tale of the brutal Highland Clearances, when land owners cared more about sheep than people. ';Steeped in atmosphere, tension and the lyric cadences of the Highlands, Janet's tale lights a fire of courage and hope in a shameful and tragic period of Scotland's past. Henderson's debut is brave and beautiful.'Elizabeth WeinAuthor of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire