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Author inspired by ‘remoteness’ of the Highlands after move to Inverness

By Federica Stefani

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Nina Manning is already drawing inspiration from her new life in the Highlands. Picture: Federica Stefani.
Nina Manning is already drawing inspiration from her new life in the Highlands. Picture: Federica Stefani.

A thriller writer who has moved from Dorset to Inverness is finding fresh inspiration in her new Highland life.

Nina Manning (40) started her writing career in 2019 with her debut novel The Daughter in Law, which became an international bestseller, after a career as private chef and restaurant owner and obtaining a degree in psychology.

After serving food to royalty and celebrities, she has now written and published ten books, with a brand new title set to launch at the end of May.

“We came to the Highlands on a family holiday, and we just loved it here,” she said.

“My husband was born here and after a life in a fast-paced, hectic environment, we thought this would be a great opportunity to slow down, focus on the essential, be happy and have space for my kids to run around. It felt fresher.”

The author of psychological thrillers said her new surroundings are inspiring her writing, and she is embracing having more time to work on new projects.

“I love the remoteness here,” she said. “You can pack up in the campervan and disappear for a few days, it’s really great.

“Living in the Highlands, there are so many places where to go and get lost. I just want to incorporate that kind of that kind of feeling of remoteness.”

Her coming book, titled Her Last Summer – which will be released on May 30 – is the first one to have the Highlands as a setting.

“I love to write about where I live,” said Ms Manning.

“For next year I have an idea to write a Christmas book based in the Highlands, I've got a thriller in mind. A main character going off on a writing retreat in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. But then it turns out she's not quite alone.

“I feel as I want to go back to basics. Among thriller authors now – there is a repetitive thing, a formula, with endless twists and turns, and we are all kind of writing to that formula and stories are getting repeated.

“However I recently read a great book by Will Dean called The Last Thing To Burn and it’s brilliant, because it just takes this protagonist and then the nemesis, they live together, and he is holding her hostage. And that’s the book. It felt a bit like like in Misery (by Stephen King), you know what’s going on, but you have a feeling of foreboding fear that something dreadful is going to happen. Sometimes you just want to sit into that feeling of fear and dread.”

Despite finding more time and space in the Highlands, she said she will probably go back to her roots in hospitality, occasionally taking up catering jobs.

“I just couldn’t be at home writing all day every day, I need to be around people. You never know when a good idea for a plot will come round!”

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