Smorgasbord Coffee Morning – Bring a Guest – Editor Alison Williams and Author Norman Matheson – A Speyside Odyssey

Recently I ran a series Public Relations for Authors which focused on how we are perceived by those who view our profile photographs, biographies and presence on social media. This included guest posts on other writer’s blogs. Here is an opportunity to not only promote your own blog or books, but those of someone you admire as well.

Is there an inspiring individual, blogger or an author you would like to give a boost to who might enjoy joining you for a coffee and a piece of cake with us all? 

Details on how to participate are at the end of this first post in the series.

Smorgasbord Coffee Morning – Alison Williams and guest Norman Matheson

For the first post in this new series, editor Alison Williams has brought author Norman Matheson as her guest. Norman as you will discover, is an inspiration to all of us who might think we are too old to take on a new challenge.

Picture by Jim Irvine 10-1-20 – Press and Journal UK

Introduction by Alison Williams

I began working with Norman Matheson in 2018 when he contacted me regarding a book he was writing about the fascinating and dangerous journey of the Atlantic Salmon – ‘A Speyside Odyssey’. I was so impressed by the manuscript and the illustrations, and knew the book, and the author, were very special – not least because he is eighty-eight.

Working with Norman, I came to know what a fascinating and talented man he is. A retired consultant surgeon, with many years of working in the NHS behind him, he was awarded an MBE for his involvement in an art project at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary aimed at making the hospital a more welcoming and relaxing place for patients and visitors.

He has also been a keen supporter of the Ballater Highland Games, receiving an award from Prince Charles to mark 45 years of continuous service as a piping judge.

Both books are absolutely beautiful, and testaments to this very special gentlemen, who is an absolute pleasure to work with, and to know.

About A Speyside Odyssey

Filled with beautiful illustrations, “A Speyside Odyssey” details the fascinating life story of the Atlantic Salmon as it undertakes one of the most remarkable, and most deadly, journeys in nature.

The story begins with conception in a remote highland burn, and follows the hazardous journey the salmon take through small tributaries, to the River Spey, and from the estuary on to distant oceanic feeding grounds.

After gorging for one or more years on the prolific food sources of the North Atlantic, the odyssey draws to its conclusion as, with remarkable accuracy, the salmon complete the long journey home, to spawn in the burn of their origin.

The salmon’s life-cycle provides a unique background for a natural history of Speyside. As the year unfolds, the changing topography of the landscape and river, the details of bird and animal life, wild flowers and salmon fishing lore are brought to life in words and beautiful watercolour illustrations.

“A Speyside Odyssey” is an emotive celebration of natural history in a breathtaking and captivatingly beautiful area of north-east Scotland.

The book took Mr Matheson almost three years to write, and he also delicately painted more than 40 watercolour illustrations of sea creatures, birds, wildlife, natural flowers and, of course, the Atlantic Salmon to illustrate it.

Profits from the book’s sale will go to the Atlantic Salmon Trust.

Foreward for the book by Prince

In his forward to the book, the Prince writes: “It gives me enormous pleasure to commend the work of Norman Matheson, whose unrivalled knowledge and infectious passion for the fascinating story of Atlantic salmon is greatly enhanced by his own splendid watercolour illustrations.

“Today, more than ever, with the challenges of falling salmon stocks in many of our Scottish rivers, we require a better understanding of the lifespan and journey of this most resourceful and determined of creatures.

“It is a story that has long been an inspiration to me and I have no doubt that the charm and detail of this book will provide a memorable illustration of the salmon’s life cycle against the backdrop of the natural beauty of Speyside.

“The salmon that breed and return to our native Scottish rivers deserve our most strenuous efforts to provide them with a safer and more sustainable existence in the years to come.”

The book is available in W.H. Smiths, Waterstones and online with reviews at : Troubador – And: Amazon UK – Amazon US 

Also by Norman Matheson

About the book

This book by Norman Matheson follows on as a companion volume to his highly regarded A Speyside Odyssey (Matador 2019). It is a compilation of eleven autobiographical short stories. These stories begin with the author’s childhood wartime experiences of life on a small farm in upper Speyside. The description of the rather harsh existence, with utilities limited to a trickle of cold water, is relieved by pervading humour, brought to life by the author’s numerous cartoons, which enliven and enrich the visual attraction of the whole book

The book is available at W.H. Smith and Waterstones and online:  Troubador – And: Amazon UK  – Amazon US 

About Alison Williams

I trained as a journalist and currently work as a freelance editor and writer, with articles published both online and in a variety of print publications. I have edited books in a variety of genres including dystopian, memoir, erotica, YA, fantasy, short stories, poetry and business and have worked on over three hundred projects. I have worked on a freelance basis for US clients and am happy to edit in either UK or US English. I have previously worked on a freelance basis for several academic writing companies, writing model essays, proofreading essays and dissertations and editing and improving academic work at all levels from foundation to Ph.D. standard. I have taught creative writing with a focus on grammar, punctuation, creativity, voice and expression. Find out more about my editing services.

I have a first degree in English Language and Literature and a master’s degree in creative writing. I am fascinated by history – but not so much the kings and queens, the emperors, the military heroes or the great leaders. More the ordinary people whose lives were touched by the decisions, the beliefs and the whims of those who had power over them and who now fill our history books. It is their stories that I want to tell. As part of my Master’s degree I wrote my first historical novel ‘The Black Hours’ based on the notorious Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. I have also written a novella ‘Blackwater’. I am currently working on my next full length novel.

Read testimonials from clients.

Connect to Alison Williams: Website/Blog: Alison Williams WordPress – Facebook: Alison Williams Writing –  Twitter: @AlisonW_Editor 

Thank you for joining us for coffee this morning and I hope to hear from you with the information about your guest and your work (if you have not been featured here before).. thanks Sally.

Some ideas of the guests you might bring to coffee.

  • An author you have just read for the first time who you would like to introduce us to.
  • A blogger who is very supportive of your own blog or books.
  • A new blogger who you would like to showcase
  • An author or blogger who inspires you and your work.
  • A blogger who goes out of their way to support others by reviewing books and promoting on social media.
  • Someone in the public eye who is inspirational to others in medicine, charity, education, who has overcome challenges to succeed.
  • Anyone you feel deserves a boost.

The format of the post

  • An introduction by you of around 200 to 400 words about your guest. Be creative and tell a good story
  • Their photograph, biography, Amazon or book links and if you have them their social media links. I will find if not.
  • Your photo, biography, Amazon or blog links and social media links (if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore I will have those).

Send your introduction and the links to and we can sort out a date to air your post.





32 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Coffee Morning – Bring a Guest – Editor Alison Williams and Author Norman Matheson – A Speyside Odyssey

  1. What an interesting guest, Norman must be pretty unique; how wonderful to illustrate your own writing and they sound like beautiful books. I’m sure we all vaguely know about salmon swimming upstream, but it is a miracle how they know their way back to that one special burn. Norman’s wartime stories must be equally interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 11th -17th July 2021 – Podcast, Hits of the 70s, Stories, Reviews, Chicken Pox, Pet Health and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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