A FOOTPATH running by Spooyt Vane, the waterfall at Glen Mooar near Kirk Michael, inspired Port Erin resident Tony Wright to write an epic three-volume fictionalised tale spanning several centuries of the island’s history.
Called The Path, the first volume – Birth of a Nation – is available to download online at amazon.com
He said he first got the idea while as teacher at Castle Rushen High School when he was involved in a Duke of Edinburgh trek.
‘We were given a map reference that happened to be near Spooyt Vane, I had never been there before,’ said Tony. ‘I sat around and thought: “I wonder how many people have walked down this path?” A procession of characters strolled into my head and the book wrote itself a lot of the time.’
In keeping with the author’s own epiphany, all the character experience an epiphany on the path that was formed in hunter gatherer times.
Birth of a Nation tells the stories of four people living in the Celtic pre-Viking era in the island.
The description on Amazon’s website reads: ‘It tells the stories of ordinary people caught up in extra-ordinary times: times of war, conquest and upheaval. All human emotion is there: love, hatred, passion, courage and faith. It ends with the coming of the Vikings and their conquest of the island.
‘The first tale is of a princess, the daughter of a minor king, whose life is one of love and revenge. We meet her at her birth and stay with her until her untimely death. The second person we meet is a young boy, orphaned and alone, whose life follows a twisting pathway. Next we meet Fabricius, a young, hot-tempered monk from Ireland with a dark secret hidden in his past but who is swept along a path of redemption. Finally we find ourselves in the company of Athelstane, a Saxon, sent to the island as a punishment but he finds love, peace and joy until a fateful day when the Vikings, the fierce sea rovers from the north, arrive to stake their claim.’
Tony, who is 66, said he had to wait until he retired – latterly he worked at the Isle of Man College in Douglas – before he could immerse himself in writing.
He sent the manuscript off to publishers in the UK.
‘One asked me to change the location,’ he said, adding: ‘ So I wrote back and said the whole point is it’s the Isle of Man.’
Published author Helen Hollick advised Tony that self-publishing is how many authors are increasingly by passing publishers and getting their books read by a wider audience. So, despite being a bibliophile who said he would ‘hate to see the demise of the book’ and finds it frustrating his book isn’t on the bookshelves, he decided to go digital and release Birth of a Nation on Amazon for download on Kindle, iPads, iPhones, Macs and PCs at a cost of £3.60.
‘Hopefully it will lead to publication,’ he said. ‘If it does not, that does not matter, as long as people read and enjoy it and learn a little more about the Isle of Man.’
Tony, meanwhile, is going to learn more about using a Kindle and it’s top of his Christmas wish list.