I last set foot on Zambia’s red soil more than forty years ago but the memories are as vivid as ever.
Growing up in southern Africa gave me the inspiration for my latest novel, Looking for Evelyn.
I borrowed heavily from my 1970s childhood in Zambia and from my early days as a journalist in Scotland for the book, but the central plot is all made up.
Journalist Chrissie Docherty returns to the southern Africa of her childhood and tracks down Evelyn Fielding, a woman at the centre of a scandal that shook a remote expatriate outpost in the Zambian bush in the 1970s.
As I looked at old photos and remembered the people I knew and the places where I roamed free, the colours, sounds and smells of Africa came flooding back, making the book a joy to write.
My two brothers, sister and I had an idyllic childhood in Zambia, climbing trees, exploring the vast, empty bush, making friends with local children and avoiding deadly snakes.
Here are some family snaps from that time – the colours may have faded a little but the memories have not.