AUTHOR Sylvia Mayall visited Waterstones in Morpeth to discuss her first book The Silent Mentor, which has been written over a seven-year period. She spoke to HEATHER MURDOCH. Sylvia currently spends her days wild camping in the Islands and Highlands of Scotland, relaxing and working on her next book.
Can you describe the form and content of the Silent Mentor?
You could say it is a semi-autobiographical mystery set in Scotland and it has an inspirational theme running through it.
How did you come up with the story of the Silent Mentor?
About eight years ago, I decided to leave, I knew not where, taking a tent and a group of scribblings with me. As I travelled my writing grew and came together as this book. I’m reluctant to say much more as the book is dependant upon how each reader interprets it. The feedback I get from my readers is very different and varied.
I love all of the intriguing characters in the book. Who is your favourite?
It’s difficult to say, but I love Eileen who runs a cafe, she is so diametrically different to the narrator. I have to say that my other much-loved character is Mick, a small mouse, who is a good listener, but never has much to say. I’m sure his IQ is much greater than mine.
I’m glad you mentioned Mick, how did you come up with the character of a mouse?
He just appeared in a small bothy. Because I live in a tent, I often get small uninvited guests (frogs, birds, insects) who are welcome to stay as long as they don’t bring along too many friends.
Excerpt from The Silent Mentor:
“Here I was driving back to my newly-acquired property, past the village stores, the Buck Inn, a single-storey community hall, the playground of the junior school, and the Singing Kettle cafe; all strung together along the narrow lane by stone cottages. The land had no reason to travel any further and simply blended into the countryside around and beyond.
“Entering the bothy, I still felt like a trespasser. How could I disturb, rummage through, a stranger’s private life? I had no right. It was only when looking around in daylight, that I saw there were no drawers, no cupboards, nowhere to enclose anything, all was in view. There was nothing else to see. Maybe it would be better to lock up and leave; maybe that was the answer. Whoever had lived here, perhaps I should leave their memories at peace. But why should anyone leave me nothing. And who was Avylis?”
Waterstones Morpeth thanked Sylvia Mayall for visiting the store to meet and chat with customers.