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Author Shejee Hunter has novella Year of the Horse published written in and partly inspired by Forres

By Garry McCartney

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Shagufta Arthur AKA Shejee Hunter.
Shagufta Arthur AKA Shejee Hunter.

A BOOK has been published that was conceived and written by a science teacher while she stayed in Forres.

Shagufta Arthur lived in Corries Way from 2011 to 2015 and was inspired by the beauty of the town and the Scottish Highlands to write 'Year of the Horse' under her pen name, Shejee Hunter.

She explained: "I studied in Glasgow for my PhD degree before I got married. We moved to our first home together in Forres where I worked as a supply teacher in a number of schools.

"Initially, my future parents-in-law who lived in Elgin took us for dinner at the Ramnee Hotel for our engagement. It was a snowy, cold night but I loved the place and the surrounding area.

"There is something magical in Forres which captivates you. Alongside the lovely flowers, the vast green fields and the old, tall trees are my favourites.

"We also enjoyed the nice, little coffee shops and other restaurants. The people are considerate and we have lots of stories of kindness."

She added: "We joined Saint Leonard's Church which we remember with fondness.

"My first part-time job was at Chapter One restaurant. On my first day the staff heard my birthday was coming so made me a beautiful cake and delivered it to my home! We enjoyed their delicious and generous meals and have fond memories of working with many lovely people there.

"Unfortunately my husband was made redundant so one of us needed a full time job - I was offered one in England so sadly we had to leave."

Shagufta enjoys writing stories whenever she can.

The novella's cover.
The novella's cover.

Year of the Horse is based in Loch Lochy in Lochaber and on the Isle of Harris. The story is inspired by a Scottish myth but Forres influenced her writing and the creation of her characters. The plot centres on Hamish Mackenzie who is married to Oona. They live in a grand stone house in the Highlands and start a business. One day Hamish finds out an unbelievable secret about a stranger called Séamus who turns up at their door.

Fans of drama and mystery will best appreciate the secret unfolding.

Shagufta said: "The beauty of the town in the story, its people and their names are inspired by Forres folks. The physical description of Seamus is based on someone I saw in Corries Way through my window as I was sitting at my writing desk!"

The excerpt reads: "He looks much younger than I am but he commands a very strong presence ... He's wearing trendy denim shorts and a crisp, white, fine summer shirt. His muscular body is like a seasoned athlete. His long, brown wavy hair hangs around his neck and shoulders. There's an inky blue-black scar on his right cheek near his ear, which runs down along his neck. A worn out brown leather rucksack hangs on his right shoulder. A pair of walking shoes and a scarf is dangling on both sides."

Shagufta's book is available to buy on Amazon but she is ready to giving away seven free copies on a first-come-first-serve basis. Email shagufta.arthur@gmail.com for a chance to get one.

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