Inspiration from Mearns

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writer David Carnegie Young lives in New Zealand, however his paternal ancestry can be traced back to the Mearns and it is his Scottish roots which provided the inspiration for his book, Coast, which is the author’s first novel.

David wished to base the novel on his grandfather who, originally from the Mearns, emigrated to New Zealand around 1908, to work as a ploughman in the Whanganui-Rangitikei distict of the North Island, close to the beach Turakina.

His grandfather passed away whilst David’s father was very young and so very little was known about his Scottish heritage.

When he visited Scotland to research his ancestry and the novel, David was greeted by the St Cyrus coastline and was surprised by its similarities to the coastline where he grew up, over 10,000 miles away in New Zealand.

During his time researching St Cyrus, David describes himself as growing to love the area, and this is evident within the book, with his love of both his homeland, New Zealand, and ancestral land of Scotland very evident in his vivid descriptions throughout the novel.

The resonance between the coastlines features strongly throughout the novel which deals with the effect that the two coasts, New Zealand and Scotland, have on three generations of men - grandfather, father and son - as they deal with the effects of war, from both fighting in wars and dealing with the aftermath of violence.

Before writing the Scottish section of his novel, David spent time visiting and researching the area, this is evident in his descriptions in the book.

He describes his first view of a famous Stonehaven landmark: “Dunnottar Castle, at the cliff edge near Stonehaven, looked ruin enough for the whole of Scottish fighting history to have passed through it.”

The description of well-known landmarks such as Dunnottar Castle, are not the only sections which will stir memories in local readers but the book contains descriptions from many of the wee places along the coastline, describing them with a familiarity which assures you that the writer has been to them all.

David Carnegie Young’s family, now live back in the area with his daughter and grandson now living in Aberdeenshire. Coast published by Pegasus Publishers is available to buy now,