Second novel for award-winner

Barbara Morris and her new book.
Barbara Morris and her new book.

A Northumberland author who was shortlisted for a prestigious fiction award for her debut novel has now published the much-anticipated sequel.

Road Without Signposts is Barbara Morris’ follow-up to One Missed Step, a tale of family intrigue set on the Isle of Skye and Canada’s Vancouver Island, which continues the story of Kate Wilder and family.

Barbara, who was brought up in Langholm in the Scottish Borders but has now settled in Wooler, won a Rising Star Award for Screenplay at the Canada International Film Festival in 2013 for the screenplay of her first novel. The book also reached the final of the 2014 People’s Book Prize (Fiction), which is voted for by readers, and as the author she has been invited to speak at Berwick Literary Festival, for the second time, this October.

The initial novel was more than two decades in the making and started life as a screenplay. The sequel has been brought to the page much more quickly and Barbara has already completed the third part of the trilogy. She writes in the evenings and weekends around her job as exams manager at Berwick Academy. Her busy life is perfectly complimented by her love of nature and the countryside.

Barbara said: “I draw inspiration from the Cheviot Hills and the beautiful scenery in Northumberland. I love the fresh air; the rolling hills and the sense of space and peace that typifies the area – book three begins on the top of Humbleton Hill.

Barbara held her book launch on Humbleton to reflect her love of the area and the significance of the location for her inspiration and the unleashing of her creative talents.

“I like to visit Skye twice a year but I’ve never been to Canada. I’d love to – but I have to get over my fear of flying first. It’s my life’s ambition to visit, but until I feel happy to board an aircraft, I have to make do with images from the Internet and descriptions of the area from friends. Technology such as Google Earth has been fantastic for research, helping me to get the feel of the place and the people.”

Road Without Signposts takes up where One Missed Step left off and features a number of the same characters as in the first book. It also sees a return appearance by Scottish folk rockers Runrig, who were formed on Skye. Barbara was delighted when the band’s fan club ran a piece about her passion for the band and her writing last year.

Barbara said: “I’ve always loved writing, music and watching films and I’ve been lucky enough to bring them all together. It can be challenging writing around a full-time job, but it’s also very soothing.”