I t's not quite as cold today as it was that weekend a year ago, when 15 of us gathered within sight of the Cairngorms to start plotting this book (though there was a brief flurry of snow this morning). March in the Highlands is still the tail end of winter, without much hint of spring yet in sight. The lambs aren't due here for another two or three weeks, and this time last year there was a corresponding sense of impending birth, though none of us really had much idea what the offspring would look like. But early chapters started to appear soon after and the infant began to find its voice, or perhaps I should say voices. One of those was Angus, my character, a cameo part for a canny Highlander who, perhaps uncharacteristically, has lived a life of pleasure and now finds himself reflecting on a sudden and unexpected loss. Now, a short year later, he and his fourteen fellows are poised to step out into the full glare of publication. By then spring will have arrived, even in the Highlands, and with it the small literary miracle that is Keeping Mum.
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