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Beyond the Story - The Prodigal Son

In the middle of the night, a mysterious phone call from his past, changes his life for ever. Rob MacLaine, seasoned, battle hardened ex Special Forces operative, is summoned back to his family home on Achravie a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

Rob has had no contact with Achravie since his elder brother schemed to blame him for a car accident which killed a young friend. Having been sent away as a gangly, spotty, tousle haired youth by his father at the tender age of eighteen, Rob joins the army and progresses through various war zones such as Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, first as a regular soldier and later as member of an elite group of Special Forces operatives.

But now Rob MacLaine is back on Achravie. Unrecognisable as the innocent young lad who left sixteen years earlier. Back to face his past and encounter friends and enemies alike in an explosive reunion with his elder brother and his “security” people. Rob joins forces with group of National Crime Agency operatives to help them solve the mystery of the dark secrets hidden behind the gates of Hillcrest Estate, Rob’s childhood home, now under the control of his elder brother, Bruce.

My guest this week is stepped out from the pages of The Prodigal Son to answer a few of my questions about himself and his busy life.

SJJ: Can you please tell us your full name and where you live?

RM: Robert (Rob) MacLaine, I live in Bourne End in Buckinghamshire, but my home is the island of Achravie, situated between the island of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre.

SJJ: How would you describe your personality, Rob?

RM: Split. Professionally – confident and competent and outgoing - Personally – Often insecure and lacking in self-esteem but still competitive.

SJJ: I think many of us have split personalities between professional and personal and it’s probably a good thing. 😊

Now this is a two-part question, what do you do for a living? And what is your dream job?

RM: I am the CEO of Harper MacLaine Security. Dream job – Laird of Achravie.

SJJ: What would you say is the biggest obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals?

RM: Time, I will achieve my goals.

SJJ: I suppose time can stand in the way.

Tell us something about you that not everyone knows.

RM: Big music fan, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton to name but a few

SJJ: Rob, are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

RM: A car accident on Achravie, where I was brought up. I was wrongly blamed for the accident by my brother and sent away from my family and friends. - Joining the military made me the man I am today

SJJ: That must have been a difficult time in your life.

Do you have any regrets?

RM: Regrets, I’ve had a few, but yet again, too few to mention, as Frank Sinatra famously sang

SJJ: Ha, ha, well I guess we’ll just leave it at that.

Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now?

RM: Sir Andrew Savage, a good friend and often father figure.

SJJ: When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

RM: Taking ownership of Achravie Estate

SJJ: Perhaps your dream of becoming Laird is around the corner. 😊

What’s your idea of the perfect day?

RM: Tomorrow

SJJ: A chance to start over – perhaps?

What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?

RM: Strengths – Professional confidence and competence. Weaknesses – Lack of self-belief.

SJJ: What do you do for fun, Rob?

RM: I remember fun, I think I enjoyed it if I remember rightly.

SJJ: Well, I think you should try it again sometime.

And what do you do to relax?

RM: Close physical contact with my wife.

SJJ: Do you have plans for the future?

RM: Build up Achravie Estate as a profitable enterprise and eventually make the island my permanent home.

SJJ: That sounds lovely!

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

RM: Douglas Henshaw, he’d get the accent right.

SJJ: And finally, are you happy with the way your story was told?

RM: Reasonably, although it sometimes makes me out to be a violent man. I’m not and I’ll kill anyone who says I am!!

SJJ: Ha, ha, that’s funny! You’re joking – right?


I was born in Glasgow, but spent the first three years of my life in London, before moving back to Ayrshire where I stayed for about thirty years before commencing a world tour of Scotland, living in a number of different locations. Over the years I have accumulated four children, nine grandchildren and most recently a great-grandson.

I served an engineering apprenticeship in the aviation industry and at various stages of my working life, I owned a private hire/bridal car business and later, a fifty cover licensed restaurant. However, I spent most of my working life in business development roles, mostly in the Oil & Gas industry.

I was lucky enough to travel regularly to very diverse countries including the Middle and Far East, Africa, North and Latin America. Eight years ago, I moved from Aberdeen to Kings Worthy with my wife Val.

I have always enjoyed creative activities. I enjoyed art at school and have been allowed to hang some of my more recent paintings around the house. For as long as I can remember, I have had a yearning to write a novel. Travelling around as I did when I was working full time, I spent hours in airport lounges and hotel rooms where the only television programs were in Portuguese or Arabic, so I started to write "The Prodigal Son." The rest, as they say, is history!




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