Beth Anne Miller’s Conversation with Rory Sutherland from Under A Storm-Swept Sky
Beth: Rory, thanks for taking a few minutes of your evening to chat with me in the bar of this lovely hotel by the sea on the Isle of Skye. What a view!
Rory: Oh, aye. It’s beautiful here. (Said in sexy Glaswegian accent.)
Beth: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Rory: I’m from Glasgow, and I’m a Mountain Leader, guiding long distance walks all over Scotland.
Beth: That sounds like an amazing job. You sure you don’t mind chatting? You must be tired after your first day on the Skye Trail.
Rory: No worries, Beth. Today was just eight miles, a light day.
Beth: Eight miles is a “light” day? So what would be a “heavy” day, then?
Rory: Tomorrow will be a heavy day, over seventeen miles on the Trotternish Ridge, where we’ll summit ten peaks.
Beth: That sounds pretty challenging. Is your group up to the task?
Rory: Aye, most of them should be fine.
Beth: You sound uncertain.
Rory: (Shrugs.) There’s a lass in the group, Amelia, who I think is too inexperienced for the challenges of this trail.
Beth: What makes you think that?
Rory: She wasn’t paying as much attention as she should be. Today was an easy day, but this trail has cliffs and bogs and steep ascents and descents. If you don’t pay attention, you get hurt. (Shakes head.) She shouldn’t be on a trail like this if she’s not all in, you know? (Sighs.) Anyway, she’s here now, so I have to put my feelings aside and look out for her as best as I can.
Beth: She’s lucky to have a concerned, attentive guide like you. How long is the Skye Trail?
Rory: It’s about eighty miles along the eastern side of Skye.
Beth: It must be awesome. I can see the mountains from here. Not a bad place to spend a week.
Rory: (Smiles faintly.) There are worse places, for sure.
Beth: What’s the best part about being a guide?
Rory: Getting to be outside, in scenery like this. It’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist. You can be completely turned off from the world. (Mutters under his breath.)
Beth: Did you say something?
Rory: (Sighs.) That lass in my group?
Rory: Yeah. She hasn’t put her phone down once since she got in the van in Fort William. Every time I look at her, she’s snapping photos.
Beth: Well, I mean, doesn’t everyone take pictures? How could you not?
Rory: (Shakes head.) This goes beyond that. I just hope…
Beth: You hope what?
Rory: That she takes time to look with her eyes, and not just through the screen on her phone.
Beth: You can give her a gentle nudge in that direction.
Rory: (Looks doubtful.) She’s not my biggest fan right now. I was a bit of a jerk to her today. (Mutters.)
Beth: What’s that?
Rory: I was kind of a jerk yesterday, too.
Beth: Maybe there’s more to her than you think—a reason she’s here and taking so many photos?
Rory: (Shrug-nods.) Maybe. I shouldn’t judge her. We all have baggage. (Gets distant look in his eyes, shakes head as if to clear it.) Anyway, I’ll be better tomorrow. It’s going to be a long, difficult day, and she doesn’t need me being a jerk. (Starts to fidget.)
Beth: Well, I’m sure you have things to do, so I’ll wrap this up.
Rory: I was going to take a walk on the beach.
Beth: Because you “only” walked eight miles today?
Rory: (Grins, and his eyes twinkle, and they look so green, and the late day sun is shining on his lovely red hair…) Aye. I need to get in at least ten miles, or else… Are you all right, Beth? You look a bit flushed.
Beth: (Fans self, takes sip of water.) Oh, um, yes, I’m okay. I just got a bit warm. You were saying…?
Rory: I like to take a walk to clear my head at the end of the day sometimes. Especially here, where I can dip my feet in the sea.
Beth: I’ll let you get to it, then. (They both stand.) Thanks so much for chatting with me. Enjoy your walk, and I hope you have a great day out on the ridge tomorrow.
Rory: Thanks, Beth. Enjoy your evening as well.
Beth: (Reaches out her hand for Rory to shake, nearly swoons when he pulls her in for a hug instead.)
Grab your copy of Beth’s Under a Storm-Swept Sky today!
But I have to finish it, even if it kills me. I have no choice.
With the ever-changing weather and relentless terrain, I’m in over my head.
Rory Sutherland, my guide on this adventure, is not happy. We clash with every mile, but we recognize a shared pain. Not only is the journey a struggle, but the tension between us is taut with unsaid words. And hope.
He’s broken. I’m damaged. Together, we’re about to make the perfect storm.
My love for the sea began when I became a scuba diver at age 14. That led me to a college semester at sea. I returned with fond memories of being on a schooner under full sail, less fond memories of hurling over the leeward rail on a daily basis, and a sailing bug I couldn’t quite shake. I also have a fascination for all things Scottish (including, but not limited to, men in kilts), which I explored with my first novel, INTO THE SCOTTISH MIST, and carried into my new novel, A STAR TO STEER HER BY (Entangled Embrace, March 2017). I’m a native New Yorker, and am always looking ahead to my next voyage, whether a short one on a dive boat or whale watch, or, with luck, a longer one on a tall ship.