‘Magical’ Arran was author Tony Black’s favourite holiday destination

SCOTS author Tony Black, 43, has penned a dozen novels, several of which were nominated for top crime writing awards

One, Long Time Dead, was optioned for a feature film with Dougray Scott mooted to play the Edinburgh private eye character. His latest book, a DI Bob Valentine story, is called A Taste of Ashes (Black & White Publishing, paperback £7.99) and is just out. Originally from Ayrshire, Tony and his wife Cheryl have a two-year-old son, Conner, and live on Arran. I grew up just a couple of streets from Burns Cottage so it was the sort of place others tended to some for a holiday or a visit. But right from my earliest days my favourite place to go was Arran. Because of the boat trip it felt a bit like going to a foreign country. And there’s so much to do, like the old classics of getting up Goatfell and going to Brodick Castle.

We’d go to the beach at Kildonan and it felt somehow so different from home.

Scots author Tony Black

I went on school trips too and I still see school parties now.

I continued to come back and when I was doing the last book I was really struggling. So I rented a little cottage and the book literally flew off the page.

In fact Arran wrote itself into the book.

So, when Cheryl and I were looking for somewhere to move to for Conner’s schooling the island drew me back, permanently this time.

Another place that’s special for me is South West Victoria.

I was actually born in Australia my parents were Ten Pound Poms who came back to Britain soon after my birth in 1972.

Because of that I always had a hankering to go Down Under and the place I went to was Warrnambool.

I was in my 20s and I ended up staying for about six years.

That coast in Australia is just incredible.

If you ever see these lists of top 10 places to live it keeps cropping up.

The Great Ocean Road is rightly known as one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives.

It takes you past these incredible stone structures in the water which you can’t help but wonder at.

The whole place made such an impression that we went back as a family for a holiday just last year.

It’s not got a crazy, extreme Australian climate, it’s more Mediterranean.

The one other place I love is America, having done the classic coast-to-coast road trip.

I went from New York to LA and took in about 20 cities along the way.

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