When I bought The Lewis Man at a Chapters store in Calgary I received a book mark. Sometimes bookmarks barely register with me but this bookmark was unique. On one side it had a small map in the upper left hand corner of the Outer Hebrides superimposed on a lovely photo of a house (Johnny’s house) on the edge of the sea with the machair going down to the ocean. On the other side was a larger map with circles marking points on the islands with the following explanation:
Visit the locations in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides that inspired Peter May’s award-winning Lewis Trilogy.
Below the map was noted the website – www.petermaytrail.com. I thought it a simple and brilliant bit of marketing for book and the Hebrides.
Because of the bookmark I was inspired to look up the website. It is sponsored by the Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association. It is great to see a series of books is inspiring visits to the Outer Hebrides.
You can make a journey through the islands looking up the actual sites used by May in creating the trilogy. An example is the photo below of the fictional town of Crobost. As explained at the website May used two towns for his town:
As the basis of the story, the villages of Adabroc and Skigersta were amalgamated to form the village "Crobost" in the books. This meant the houses which are strung out along the crest of the hill above the beach at Port of Ness and the little harbour at Skigersta all formed part of the village of Crobost. Crobost was where Fin grew up and near Port of Ness, where the first murder takes place.
On my cover of The Lewis Man is a picture of an old boat. At the top of this post is a photo of the real harbour with some small boats with one showing traces of purple paint:
Skigersta harbour is where Peter May imagined to be "Crobost" harbour….. The harbour is where his father renovated an old boat, painted it purple and called it after his wife, Fin's mother. Fin remembers his youth as purple. This was following his father's find of a drum of purple paint, whilst beachcombing. The result was that every door, shelf, cupboard, skirting board and his boat were painted purple!
After his parents died Fin grew up with his Aunt. There is a photo below of the house:
This derelict house was the house that Peter May imagined to be Fin's Aunts house. Set overlooking the bay at Skigersta harbour, the window in between the dormers was Fin's room. Fin went to stay with his aunt, as a youngster, following the death of his parents. It was a cold and miserable place, made colder by an aunt who treated him well enough, but never loved him.
I get cold looking at the house which was never a home for Fin.
I think more publishers and tourist authorities could gain some visitors with comparable bookmarks and travel trails for books set in other distinct locations.