Our ancestral home was Castle Crack in Sullatober on the northern fringes of Carrickfergus. In the Short Story page under Bedsheets and Broomsticks you will find a story based on an incident that occurred there that I heard at my grandfather’s knee. I have obviously enhanced the story but it has a basis in truth.
I grew up in a historic village surrounded by mines and miners and it should come as no surprise that, despite enjoying writing, I decided to make a career in the industry. A fuller description of how I arrived at that decision is included in Sadie’s Boy. That book started as an autobiography but I soon discovered I was being creative with the memories and ‘some of it was true’ as Mark Twain mentioned in his own autobiography.
As described in Sadie’s Boy, my father refused to allow me to go into mining unless I had been exposed to conditions ‘doon the pit’. What neither of us had expected was that it would expose me to the kind of characters described in that book.
After a life of being here and there, I started writing as a freelance journalist, then some short stories, and now novels as well, especially with village characters based loosely on men and women I’ve met going here and there in the mining industry and its small communities.
The Highlanders of Thistledown and Bubbles in the Cauldron are based loosely on a mixture of the characters I’ve met in those small communities where it’s possible to get to understand people and their motivations slowly and properly.
One thing I love to write about is local heroes like my old teachers, who inspired as well as taught; the ladies who couldn’t find husbands because the young men had died in WW1 and took us as their children.
I’m not world famous but I enjoy writing and expressing myself.
My latest interest is the Stuart Jacobite times, but from a Lowlanders point of view, which regards the Stuarts as a bad joke rather than heroic losers. When I write from a Jacobite point of view, I like to think of what the ordinary Highlander would thinks and feel when he got to Derby, several hundred miles from his glen, among the mines and new steam engines with the Peak district, the border country and the Lowlands between him and home. All right for Bonnie Prince Charlie to want the throne but would he look after a bare arsed vagabond from Auchtermuchdie when he was among his Lords and Ladies?
There you are, that’s the author Sullatober Dalton, warts and all, more warts than anything else.