A Largs author is mourning a crucial book chapter he ‘lost’ in the hills above Douglas Park.

Mike Kernan, 66, has just published his second novel, Stopping To Rain, conceived during his daily exercise walks around Largs.

The novel is the follow-up to his hit debut book The Fenian, but he is convinced the book is missing what would have been one of its standout scenes.

He explained: “I do a lot of my creative thinking and plotting while out walking and send myself dozens of texts and voicemails which I write down when I get home.

“I was heading up through the park one autumn morning when I had an idea for a big showpiece scene and started piecing together the dialogue on the steps leading up to the viewpoint.

“When I got to the top, I sat on the bench with the town and the Firth of Clyde stretching before me, and recorded the whole exchange between the two main characters on my phone.

“I was really excited about it, convinced it was a great piece of writing, very funny, and pivotal to the book.

“Then I got home, sat at my computer, put on my headphones – and couldn’t make out a single word for the howling wind.

“I pieced it together from what I could remember but I still believe I left much of the magic behind in the hills.”

Stopping To Rain is the sequel to Mike’s acclaimed debut novel, The Fenian, which came out in late 2020 after he wrote it as a lockdown project.

The new book tells of a group of teenagers discovering friendship and love, booze and bullies, loyalty and betrayal, as they grow up in the west of Scotland in the 1970s.

Their bond is shattered when a drunken prank ends in tragedy but 25 years later, they are drawn together again as the dark secrets of the past come back to haunt them.

The former newspaper exec and lecturer said: “The plot is based loosely on a real incident from my own youth although the consequences were nothing like as drastic as what happens here.

“Much of the book, in fact, is inspired by events and characters either from my own past, or from stories picked up from friends and family.

“I feel I should give my acquaintances fair warning whenever we get together these days – a bit like police reading people their rights when they make an arrest.

“I tell them that anything they say is liable to be taken down and used in my next novel.”

If part of his latest book was “lost” in the hills, Mike, who has lived in Largs for 30 years, can at least point to other familiar locations where the story took shape.

He said: “I try to go out walking every day to keep fit after some medical issues and I vary the route – we’re spoiled for choice in and around Largs.

“There are now spots I associate with particular parts of the novel, like the rocks at the Pencil where I wrote the prologue and the boating pond at Aubery where I dreamed up a betting scam.

“And, of course, there’s the lost scene I think about every time I head up into the hills from Douglas Park.”

Stopping To Rain is available to purchase on Amazon now.