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Travel with Jenny Colgan to Scotland and its islands

  • Submitted: 1st October 2023

Travel with Jenny Colgan to Scotland and its islands

The Summer Skies is a novel set on a fictional archipelago of islands in the north of Scotland.  In the lead up to Edinburgh Women’s Fiction Festival, Jenny is here at BookTrail Towers to showcase her Scottish setting and more!


She takes inspiration from numerous different places but tries to avoid setting books on a specific Scottish island because locals will always notice what an author gets wrong. However, when it comes to cities, she feels it easier to include real city streets and characteristics. So, in her next book, Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop, the shop is located in the very real Victoria Street in Edinburgh.

Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop Jenny Colgan

Back to the Jenny’s Journey into Scotland …….her personal recollections of how special Scotland is and always will be to her.

Jenny Colgan

I think a lot of the setting of my novels comes from having lived away from Scotland- I was born in Ayrshire, then went to university in Edinburgh, then at 20 I moved to London and since then have lived in LA, the Netherlands and France. We moved back to Scotland about eight years ago, and I think it was the experience of coming home that really made me look at it again, in a new light.

Endless Beach Jenny Colgan

Visit locations in Jenny Colgan books

It had changed, of course, since I’d left in the early nineties; it was a much more confident country, culturally very sure of itself and I really noticed the difference. And all the things you don’t notice when you are young and in a tearing hurry; the beauty of almost every part of the countryside, from Wigtown to Lerwick; the shifting shades of the light.

A Very Distant Shore Jenny Colgan

Visit locations in Jenny Colgan books

I am biased, but I live in Fife, and the short bright Scandinavian days of winter are just so beautiful. But then I will immediately think of the little white cottages of Islay, or the Victorian West End of Glasgow, or Weymss Bay railway station or the view of Edinburgh when you’re driving up from Melrose; or the streets of Birnam or Dornoch, or fish and chips in Elie, and I realise I think a huge amount of it is incredibly beautiful and rewarding, and how lucky we are to live here.

Visit locations in Jenny Colgan books

My husband is from New Zealand and it’s interesting what he notices too. He loves BBC Radio Scotland so he is always far more up on politics. He also says when we lived in the South of France, where the sun shines every day, people are constantly moaning and complaining, whereas so many people in Scotland are cheery and welcoming. I definitely find this to be true. I used to hate it as a child when my mum had to stop and have a wee chat with everyone she met out and about; now I love it. And I really love that ethos of Scotland- if you choose to come here, you belong here.

Visit locations in Jenny Colgan books

My tips to visitors would be, take a ferry somewhere- even if it’s only to Bute, or Millport, it is always worth it. (The pic above is the castle in Rothesay, Bute)

Visit locations in Jenny Colgan books

Go for a drink in one of the grand old lady hotels of Edinburgh; the Balmoral (above) or the Caledonian. Hit the Modern Art Galleries. Don’t miss the highlands, but don’t underestimate the borders. Make sure you eat at Mhor 84 (below). Fly to Barra if you can, and swim in the sea there if you dare. And enjoy every minute. (Bring a jacket).

So, there you have it. A Scottish holiday and booktrails wrapped in one lovely Colgan parcel. Be sure to take pics and send them in to the BookTrail if you visit any of these places and others of course!


BookTrail Boarding Pass : Jenny Colgan Books

Twitter: @jennycolgan  web:  www.jennycolgan.com/

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