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Carrbridge writer publishes his first thriller

By Margaret Chrystall

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WHEN two characters from an early short story wouldn’t leave Carrbridge’s Charlie Gibb alone, he wrote them their own novel which has just gone on sale.

Moorland Blue is the first thriller by Charlie who years ago started writing stories for his children. But it wasn’t until he semi-retired a few years ago that he moved on to writing novels.

He explained: “For some reason Paul and Solley stuck in my head and were begging to be brought to life.”

Thriller Moorland Blue opens as the London property developers and old childhood friends learn confidentially through a contact that the extension of the HS2 railway line to Leeds will pass near a dilapidated property ripe to become luxury flats. They set off North to buy it, but find they are not the only ones interested in the place. And soon – in an ingeniously twisting plot – they are caught up in bribery, double-dealing and blackmail with a cast of characters including gangsters and corrupt officials.

Though Charlie has family links with Scotland, he was brought up in London where he worked in property conversion and the decorating, tiling and landscaping work that goes with it.

“We moved up to the Highlands with the three kids, having sold our house down there in 1992.

“I did similar work up here and it has been an amazing life here. We’ve been very fortunate and the kids have all grown up here and had a great childhood.”

It was for his own kids that Charlie first returned to the story writing he had loved as a youngster at school.

“I didn’t do terribly well there and left with very little in the way of qualifications. My handwriting and spelling are appalling and sometimes I find if I am in the zone writing and stop to think ‘How do I spell that?’ I lose the moment. So I just put it down in whatever form I can, then translate to my wife Sandra afterwards. If it wasn’t for her academic skills …”

New thriller Moorland Blue.
New thriller Moorland Blue.

Charlie said: “If you have a problem with spelling, unfortunately it does make you shy and embarrassed to put yourself out there. You try and steer away from situations where you have to try and write anything down, so therefore it limits you as to what you can do.

“Only in the last couple of years of my education a lady teacher encouraged me. She brought me a book one day which is my favourite book of all time, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men.

“I would have been 14 then and up to that point I had never really bothered picking up a novel, maybe an odd Batman magazine.

“Having this presented to me, I read it in one evening and was transfixed.

“I wouldn’t go as far as saying it changed my life, but it changed me and made me feel very different to the person I was before I read it.”

Now Charlie has written about 10 novels – and he is hoping to try and get his original children’s stories published too.

“It’s only in the last couple of years when people have read the stories and said ‘It would be a shame if nobody got to read them’ that I finally galvanised myself into action.

“It sounds silly but because my education wasn’t particularly brilliant I always felt that anything academic was kind of beyond me. It was for others and not a territory I should trespass on and that it would be wrong of me to do so.

“But with encouragement from so many people I have got round to having Moorland Blue.”

Charlie said: “If somebody reads it and enjoys it, that is all that matters.”

Moorland Blue (Book Guild £9.99) is now in bookshops and on Amazon.

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