An Irvine author has transformed her hometown into a fantasy world with her series of novels.
Sixty-year-old Mairi Craw has transformed Irvine traditions such as Marymass into a festival called Fairymass in her spell-binding books.
Now living in Southern France, Mairi – also known as Sandra Henderson – writes about Irvine in the early 1960s in her novels.
Intended on being a trilogy, the second part – Between Two Worlds – was released at the beginning of October.
Mairi owes her novels to Irvine and her father, who beguiled her with stories when she was young.
“Irvine was a magical place and I had an idyllic childhood there.
“My father, Captain Ralph Henderson, was the harbourmaster and he was a wonderful raconteur.
“His stories of elves and fairies who lived in our garden in Bank Street were spell-binding. He made them up as he went along, which is exactly how I write my novels. Dad would be amazed to think his stories inspired an entire Scottish fantasy world.”
Mairi’s father died in 1984, long before she became a novelist.
Mairi started writing her first novel – Beyond the Hedge – after she had an epiphany when she was hanging out washing.
“I knew there and then that I had to write about Irvine and a parallel fairy world accessed through an arch in an overgrown hedge at the bottom of our garden in Bank Street.”
Before Mairi started her series of books she worked in publicity and graphic design for the BBC in London.
With Mairi’s novels read across the globe, fans of the series have become familiar with Irvine and the town’s traditions.
“The feedback has been wonderful from folk all over the world. They love the fact that the novels reflect a time when there was a gentler pace of life, but it was a time when magic and fairies were as close as a witch’s kiss on Halloween.”
She goes on: “Irvine has become known through my novels far and wide and I have a Facebook group with members from far flung parts of the globe.”
“My fans think the books should be made into films. The technology is there, and I would like them to be Scottish productions.”
“My motto is ‘dream large’,” she added.
Mairi’s two novels are now available to purchase from Amazon.co.uk or you can visit www.mairicraw.com for more details.