Joan Lennon is a well-known writer of novels, poetry and short stories who has appeared all over the UK at book festivals, libraries and schools, where she gives talks and leads workshops for readers and writers of all ages. It was during an event at a school in Orkney that she first decided to write about Skara Brae, the astonishingly well-preserved remains of a Neolithic settlement.
"I think I've been excited about Skara Brae my entire life - it's so spine-chillingly evocative: an entire Stone Age village buried in sand - completely lost and forgotten - and then, thousands of years later, dramatically revealed by a massive storm. And the structures are so intimate and show us so much about the way the people lived - but with still so many questions to be answered. It just begs to have stories told about it.
I'd visited the site several times, but the final push to write Silver Skin came when I was doing a Live Literature visit to schools on Mainland. During a Q&A, one of the pupils asked me why didn't I write a book about Orkney? And I realised I was desperate to do just that!"
A Scottish-Canadian/Canadian-Scot, Joan lives in Fife, in a house overlooking the River Tay. Silver Skin is her debut YA novel with Birlinn.