Jack Strange is the pen-name of Malcolm Archibald, one of the writers from the Creativia stable. Born and raised in Edinburgh, he now lives in Moray, in the north of Scotland, next to a 13th-century monastery and writes strange books with a unique blend of history, folklore and mythology.
Author's note: Strange Tales of the Sea
I was brought up on sea stories. My dad was a seaman; at the age of 15 he decided that somebody had to go and stop a certain Adolph Hitler, so he left his apprenticeship and went to sea. His contribution must have turned the tide, as four years later, Hitler jacked it and peace returned. I gained a plethora of sea stories that I added to over the years, some from personal experience, others from old newspapers, old sailor men and through working with log books and journals in museums and archives.
Naturally a strange sort of person, I put the tales together in this short book.
Author's note: Strange Tales of Scotland
Possibly the easiest book to write in the strange history of writing, Strange Tales of Scotland is a compilation of only a few of the hundreds of tales in my own country. I doubt that there is any corner of this land that does not have a strange tale. Some are world famous, such as the Loch Ness Monster; others are known locally, such as Major Weir in Edinburgh. This book was fun to research; I do like to write on location wherever possible, so one could find me huddled in a close in Edinburgh’s Auld Toun, or under the shattered battlements of a haunted castle. It was this book that led to the next...
Author's note: It's A Strange Place, England
England is the next country south of Scotland, equally strange but in a different way. Most of the legends are not as old, as if the original folklore of the land was swept away, which in itself is strange. Enough remain, however, to give a hair-prickling background to the later strangeness. Roman legionnaires and ghostly hunts join the highwaymen and really weird pastimes. There are the eccentrics for which England is noted, more dragons than I had expected, a time slip to make one think, some really creepy people and witch finders that chill the blood. After a strange day out, it is a good idea to retire to a cosy English pub. . . to find it is probably haunted as well. I perambulated the length and breadth of England for this book and loved every minute of it. I have only one thing to add: it’s a strange place, England, in the best possible way.
The Strangeness That Is Wales
After writing It’s a Strange Place, I had not intended any more Strange books. However, a fellow Creativia author suggested that I write about Wales, so I did. It was a decision I have no cause to regret. Once again I was off on my travels, from the Portmeirion, the most delightfully strange village I have ever visited – and one my wife insisted we spend time in – to Tintern Abbey in the south. As expected, dragons and dragon legends abounded, but I did not expect to find lake monsters to rival Nessie. King Arthur features too, and the Welsh people were only too ready to share their strange stories. What a fantastic country!