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Fatima Revisited

On the Edge of a Lifetime

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The Leaf

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Writing Background

I remember wanting to become a writer when I was very young. My mother once claimed she'd felt me scribbling in utero, but I doubt it.

As described in: On The Edge Of A Lifetime, (Mainstream, Edinburgh/London, 2002) I was born into a working class family in a town near Glasgow, in the West of Scotland, in 1948. There were two parents, three children, and one less than modest wage. Another brother joined us some years later.

Life wasn't filled with promise academically. I'd been born with a serious heart condition--or so they said--which meant attending a special school for what, these days, we'd call "disadvantaged" children. Back then the names they called us were more imaginative.

However this early marginalization was the catalyst for much I've learned and done since then. So I suppose it's been a mixed blessing: if "blessing" is an appropriate word for that sort of thing.

A decade later, fate, fortune, or just plain chance intervened, and I obtained a place at a normal state school where I received a normal state education. From there I went on to the University of Glasgow and a doctorate, then spells at Oxford University, and City University, London. I ended up with one graduate, and three postgraduate qualifications.

I pursued research into the Royal Disease: acute intermittent porphyria, then moved on. I'd married as an undergraduate, and had two daughters while still a student. So when the opportunity presented itself, I joined a multinational where I finally arrived trance-like in an international marketing job: the last thing I'd been put on earth to do. But there I was anyway.

I'd won a university creative writing competition while at school, and published lots of, mainly academic, work by my mid-twenties. I'd moved to London too, where, after travelling around for a time, I still live. I also started studying some fairly exotic subjects, which, while not exactly scientific, were intriguing nonetheless.

I wrote my first popular book, The Opening Eye, which was a scientific look at esotericism. It was published when I was thirty-two, and I knew then I wanted to write full time. But it took a number of years, and some highly salutary and prosaically transformative life experiences, before that finally, and maybe inevitably, happened.

Until recently my writing interests have been fairly eclectic, and, apart from my academic writing, have been concerned with exploration of the psychological, the philosophical, and the esoteric: what I term these days: "the uneasily Romantic." My novel, The Leaf - A Novel of Alchemy, is a literary exploration of such areas, and Blinded By Starlight - The Pineal Gland and Western Astronomia, (due late 2002) is probably my last attempt at synthesising a number of these scientifically.

With On the Edge of a Lifetime, I reckon I've found my literary voice at last, and it seems it's been heard. A major publisher has spontaneously said of it:

"It truly is an amazing story, and McGillion’s writing is superb."

This delights me.

With this book and its sequel(s)I hope I've found the sort of genre and subject matter I was really sent here to write about, whether I started scribbling in utero, as my mother claimed, or not.