What, you may well ask, am I doing writing about Harry Potter. Whatever happened to the much loved, admired and respected Angus McKinnon, invincible (if a little hapless at times) hero of my multi-million selling (in my dreams) international, action adventure, espionage thrillers? Well let’s leave Angus out of this for now, languishing uncomfortably in a Latvian gaol. More of that another time…

…and back to Halloween Harry, since it was on the crisp and sunny morning of Halloween that we ventured into Edinburgh (we’re lucky to live near the great city) with our daughter and two lovely granddaughters, the purpose of our mission, to join a Harry Potter tour. Charlie (pictured) was our guide and here we got lucky. Of several other such tours we encountered along the way, ours was led by the most enthusiastic and generally fun-to-be-with guide of them all.

Although wife, daughter and granddaughters were all au fait with the stories, I was not. I am however an admirer of their author, (JK) Jo Rowling. What fellow author wouldn’t be? Of course I knew a bit about her rags to riches story: her early struggles with depression and impecunity, of the coffee shops she worked in as a single mother caring for her baby daughter whilst bashing out the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as I think it’s called in the States.

But, as we explored the streets, graveyards and gothic buildings of the Old Town, Charlie really brought Rowling’s story to life – through anecdotes and the world of Harry Potter.

We discovered Hogwarts School, Voldemort’s grave, Diagon Alley and many more sites including  those cafes where she conjured up and wrote down the stories.  It was a memorable hour or so made more so by Charlie’s infectious enthusiasm and that of his young and not so young audience of fans from around the world, including our own brood.

As an author it reminded me that writing is not just about chaining yourself to a desk, or a café table. Persistence is of course a big part of the process, but roaming around in the right physical settings with your imagination unleashed is just as important – and a lot of fun too.

In future posts I’ll share some of this side of the writing process with you: the people and places, and experiences, that have inspired me to write of Angus and his adventures.

Best wishes,


Nick Elliott


 Author of the Angus McKinnon thrillers:

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