Book of the Month

Discover our special book this month! Read both the first chapter online (see icon link below, above the title) and an exclusive author interview asking all the questions YOU want to know.

Plus, we have five copies to give away to lucky Kelpies newsletter readers!

Cover image of The Sign of the Black Dagger

The Sign of the Black Dagger

Joan Lingard

You can buy this book now, online or in your favourite bookshop.

Win a signed copy of the Book of the Month

Win one of 5 signed copies of The Sign of the Black Dagger by answering this simple question (Hint: The answer is in the interview below)

What is Joan's favourite place in Edinburgh?

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If you are under 16 years old, please ask your parent or guardian for permission before you enter.

Author Interview

This month, we interviewed the wonderful Joan Lingard about her book The Sign of the Black Dagger. Read carefully to find the answer to our competition question!

Hi Joan, thanks for talking to us! Let's get right into the questions. Did you always want to be an author?
Joan Lingard [JL]: I wanted to be an author from the age of eleven so I wrote my first novel about smugglers set in Cornwell (where I had never been – I was living in Belfast) and a girl who brings them to justice. I then made a cover for it and regarded it as my first published book.

What inspired you to write The Sign of the Black Dagger?
JL: I had always been intrigued by the Royal Mile - by its closes and alleyways reeking of history - and especially since I was born there, in a taxi, right in the Canongate. The idea of Sanctuary, too, intrigued me.

So what's your favourite place in Edinburgh?
JL: My favourite place in Edinburgh, inspite of my strong affiliation with the Royal Mile, is overwhelmingly the Botanic Garden. It is a most spectacular garden in every season of the year. I am there three or four times a week. I love it!

Lots of the book is set in 18th Century Edinburgh. How did you research the historical aspects of the story?
JL: I researched by reading and walking and loitering in and out of closes looking at all the buildings and imagining how it would have been to be living there in 1796.

Did you base any of the characters on someone you know in real life?
JL: No, they all came out of my head.

What's the best thing about being an author?
The best thing is when people tell you they enjoyed your book!

You've written books for adults as well as books for children. Do you prefer one over the other?
JL: I prefer writing for children. The response is so much warmer from children and they don't mind telling you that they absolutely loved your book. They show their enthusiasm freely. It warms the heart and makes one want to write more books.

If you had to recommend one book for our Kelpies fans to read before they grow up (apart from The Sign of the Black Dagger of course!) what would it be?
JL: Across the Barricades. It is still in print after more than forty years and read worldwide. I think this is because, sadly, couples like Kevin and Sadie [from Joan's popular book series, check them out when you finish The Sign of the Black Dagger!], coming from the opposite sides of a divide - whether it be religious, political, racist, or financial - exist everywhere. There are divides in every society.

Thanks Joan!

About The Sign of the Black Dagger

This book costs £5.99.
It is a paperback with 208 pages.
If you're searching for it online, it might be useful to have the book's unique number, which is 9781782501312.

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