1. That the Isle of Lewis’s famous Callanish stones feature in the Outlander series

I set a good part of this novel on the stunning Isle of Lewis, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. It’s a mystical place with many neolithic sites that attract visitors from around the world. I discovered, during my research, that the famous standing stones at Callanish were in fact used as the blue print for the stone circle that Claire Fraser, et al, pass through in the Outlander series. 

2. That Uig Bay’s water is always mild

Some major scenes in the book take place on the shores of Uig Bay, on the west coast of Lewis. I learned that the shallow Atlantic water there always stays warm, year round, due to the north Atlantic drift. It’s not unusual to see palm trees growing in this part of Scotland, too.

3. That twins report a connection deeper than love

I know two sets of twins and both of them told me of a deep connection between them, an almost sixth-sense – them instinctively knowing when one needs the other. In this book, Cassie and Isla are twin sisters who have that priceless connection. 

4. That a Scottish country garden could inspire a character’s career

Two years ago, my husband and I were walking through the atmospheric gardens at the Ardkinglas Mansion, on the shores of Loch Fyne in Argyll, when we came across a beautiful sculpture of three dancers, standing in a circle, with their hands linked. It inspired me to make Isla, one of the main characters in the book, a talented sculptor. It always amazes me where we, as writers, find our inspiration. This time it was in a beautiful Scottish garden.

5. That I love research

I know that research is not always an author’s favourite part of the writing process. But I find that with each book I write, the research becomes less of a bug-bear and more rewarding.

6. That an air BNB could provide the perfect setting. 

I had in my mind the setting for the cottage that features in this book. While I was researching the area, I found an Air B&N house that was exactly as I had pictured the location in my mind. It’s designed like a neolithic home – built into a hillside – with panoramic views of the ocean. When I checked into it to see if I could go there next year, the house was fully booked through the beginning of 2024. 

7. That I don’t know as much about my homeland as I think I do

All my books are set in the stunning Highlands and islands of my homeland, Scotland. Each time I write a book I set it in a different part of the country, learning about the surrounding towns and villages, local customs, landscapes, and landmarks. With ever book I write I learn more about my homeland. It makes me so proud to be from a place so rich in history, humour, innovation, invention and natural beauty. 

About Alison Ragsdale

A former marketing executive, originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives near Washington D.C. with her husband and dog. She was educated in England and holds an MBA from Leicester University.

For more information on upcoming books go to www.alisonragsdale.com.

My beautiful girl, you are my missing piece. You came into my life and changed everything, placing your warm little hand in mine, and looking up at me with your sky-blue eyes, so full of hope. Little did we know what lay ahead, but for a while at least, we had each other…

When I first met you, darling Marina, you were just five years old. You took my breath away, with your long, dark waves and pink cheeks. You needed me, and I instantly knew I’d do anything to protect you. When six years ago, my heart was shattered, I was left utterly broken – but I didn’t know just how lost I was until you filled that hole in my heart.

You quickly became the centre of my world, your sweet laugh my favourite sound. But then things started to change… I put my pain down to work stress, but when the diagnosis came through it was worse than I could ever have imagined.

Our world is about to come crashing down around us, little one, and I don’t know how to stop it. I’ve finally discovered the truth behind the betrayal that rocked me to my core all those years ago. The pain of my past could be the one thing that saves us – or tears us apart. We’re just becoming a family, Marina, should I risk everything to trust the one person who hurt me? They could be your only hope.

We only have each other… But if I don’t make it, what will happen to you?

The Child Between Us is a heart-wrenching story about an impossible choice and what it really means to be a mother 

Alison Ragsdale's THE CHILD BETWEEN US publishes Wed Sept 28th