I'm Joe Donnelly.
On the left is a picture of Dumbarton Castle, the great landmark of my home town in the west of Scotland. The River Leven (foreground) spills out of the famous Loch Lomond and runs through Dumbarton. Beyond the castle rock the River Clyde carries ships from Glasgow to the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The town is surrounded by hills and valleys and some spectacular scenery. This is where I grew up.
Dumbarton is an old town. It was the ancient capital of Strathclyde and became a Royal Burgh in 1222. Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner in the Castle, as was William Wallace, and King Robert the Bruce died near here. The Roman Ninth Legion marched north from here and legend has it that it was never seen again. The castle is the oldest known fort in Europe and people have lived on it since the end of the ice age. I haven't been here for quite as long, but it was a great place to grow up in.
I became a cub reporter on a local newspaper at the age of 18, which taught me to type fast and become more observant. At 22 I was the editor of two newspapers, the Lennox Herald and the Helensburgh Times before moving to national newspapers where I became an investigative journalist. During that career, I won the UK Campaigning Journalist of the Year Award, the Scottish Reporter of the Year Award and the UK Consumer Journalist of the Year Award.
After leaving newspapers I gained an M.Phil degree at Glasgow University.
But during my newspaper career, I began to write as a hobby and was taken completely by surprise when my first novel "BANE" was published in hardback and paperback by Michael Joseph and Arrow Books.
Hugely encouraged, I went on to write more, 13 so far, mostly supernatural chillers more or less based on Celtic Mythology, all of them set in and around my home town (known in the books as Levenford). Three others include the Book of Ways Trilogy first published by Orion, and are mythic adventures for young people, though adults seem to enjoy them just as much These have been renamed and remastered and are now available in Ebook/Kindle format as MYTHLANDS, SPELLBINDER and The SHADOWMASTER. All of my books have been re-edited and in part rewritten. A further two books, RISK and FULL PROOF are crime/suspense novels, though the latter is a light-hearted romp of a crime novel. STONE and THE SHEE will be available on Kindle soon.
I am working on several other novels at the moment and hope to complete two by the end of the year.
If you do read any of them, and especially if you enjoy them, I'd be delighted if you would post a review, and perhaps even recommend them to your friends.
Above: The Witches Tunnel near Overtoun, Dumbarton, where I played and fished as a child. This image is used in the cover of BANE