top of page
  • Writer's pictureHelen Forbes

Three years later ...

It's been a while. Three years, actually. Yikes. A new website, a new year, new ideas - I thought it time to start blogging again. Not that I ever really got started - three blogs published on Goodreads at the end of 2017 was the extent of my efforts. I will try to do better from now on ...

So, what's been happening? No publishing news, I'm afraid. It's been a hard slog of writing, editing, submitting, waiting, getting impatient, and writing some more. Lockdown, and a three month period with no work, gave me a great opportunity to concentrate on my novel, Unravelling, a psychological thriller set in Inverness. Unravelling came about after a work visit to the Highland Archive Centre, where we were shown old records for Craig Dunain Hospital, the former Northern Counties District Lunatic Asylum. The records are fascinating, and I immediately felt a story coming on, although I wanted to set it in a more recent period than that covered by the records. There wasn't much available by way of more recent research. Roger Hutchinson has written a wonderful book about a patient from South Uist, Angus MacPhee, who made objects out of woven grass and other items during his long stay in Craig Dunain - The Silent Weaver is published by Birlinn Ltd. and it's well worth reading. A trip to the National Library in Edinburgh was helpful, and I chatted to people that had worked in the hospital. I do have some childhood experience of the hospital myself, from regular visits to an elderly relative. For a child, it was fascinating and terrifying, in equal measure.

Craig Dunain sits in a prominent position on a hillside on the outskirts of Inverness. The hospital closed in 2000. Following a fire in 2007, and a long period of renovation, which is still ongoing, it is now Great Glen Hall, a complex of luxury apartments and town houses. The adjacent Dunain Woods are still there, and they play a significant role in the novel. It is written in a dual time-frame. Parts I and III are set in 2016, and Part II takes place from the mid-80s to early-90s.

Incarcerated in the gloom of a Highland asylum, a young mother finds illicit love. And death. Twenty years on, two bodies are found in the adjacent forest. Can her daughter unravel the twisted truth and save her own life?

It is a tale of loss and murder and intrigue, but also one of hope. Speaking of hope, I really hope Unravelling will be published before too long. These are difficult times for writers and publishers, and I am now leaning towards the idea of independent publishing. I'm not quite there yet, but it may not be long ...

In the meantime, if you want to be kept up to date with my writing journey and decisions, please subscribe to the website using the link below. You'll be the first to hear as soon as I have any news!

The pauper cemetery in Dunain Woods - it was full in 1895, less than 30 years after it opened, yet there are only two or three gravestones, which is intriguing ...

The burned out shell of the east wing of Craig Dunain - still under development

Great Glen Hall - luxury flats and townhouses

152 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page