This week I’m happy to welcome the lovely Lizzie Lamb to the blog to find out more about her latest romance, Scotch on the Rocks – and her writerly leaning towards men in kilts 🙂
First, the cover and blurb . . .
Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast -where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – Brodie. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.
In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie. However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s B&B on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down twice by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is it wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?
As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .
I love the sound of it, Lizzie! Tell me, how long have you been writing romance?
It seems fanciful to say ‘since I was about 11 years old’, but its true. I have the embryonic romances I wrote (all about highwaymen and Jacobites!) in a box file to prove it. Seriously, though, I have been writing with a view to publication since about 2009, which was when I left the teaching profession to concentrate on writing. I have now written and self-published three novels.
What is it that makes a good story, do you think?
I forget which author said it, but this phrase sums it up for me – a good story should keep children from their play and old men from the fire. When I was working full time as a teacher, I wanted to kick back at the end of the day with a good book and forget planning, marking and preparation and drift into another world. I read most of the classics when studying for my degree and I have little desire to return to them, now. Instead, I like novels written with humour and wit, great dialogue between the hero/heroine, not too much purple prose and l-o-o-n-g descriptive passages. And – pul-eese, authors, keep tea making and sitting round the kitchen table to a minimum. It slows down the action and makes me want to press fast forward!! I want to keep turning the pages for all the right reasons, finding out how the novel ends because I’ve come to care about the characters. Most of all, I enjoy the moment when the hero/heroine fall in love and live through them, vicariously, as they overcome obstacles to stay together and live happily ever after. I hope I manage to include some of these elements in my own writing.
Could you tell us a little about the main characters in Scotch on the Rocks?
The heroine is Ishabel (Issy) Stuart. The hero is Brodie, an American guest staying at her Aunt Esme’s B&B. (I can’t reveal his surname as that is part of the mystery embedded into the book). Issy has left a failed relationship behind in Edinburgh and intends spending her life on Cormorant Island establishing a craft centre for designers, much like one she’d visited on the North West coast of Scotland at Balnakeil. She’s also sworn off men and vowed to die an old maid, surrounded by cats and copies of Vogue. That all changes when her left-wing Aunt Esme goes off on a fracking demo and leaves Issy in charge of the B&B – and Brodie.
Where is the book set?
Scotch on the Rocks is set on an imaginary island off the west coast of Scotland – Eilean na Sgairbh, where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants 10:1. Gratifyingly, readers have told me that once they have finished the novel they really miss being on ‘my island’.
You obviously enjoy writing about Scotland . . . and its men! May I ask why?
I think I like writing about them because I can weave lots of history and atmosphere into the story and it feels ‘right’. Doing that is more difficult in an urban setting. For me, the highlands of Scotland is a magical, mythical place – the ideal setting for writing the perfect romance. This sense of ‘other worldliness’ and thousands of years of history is embodied when someone tall, dark and kilted puts on plaid (natch). And of course, the thought of a kilted hero, such as Jamie Fraser in Outlander series would make the heart of any romantic novelist beat faster. In Scotch on the Rocks, Brodie the hero, wears his grandfather’s and sets off a chain reaction.
Mmmmm . . . Better change the topic before I get all hot and bothered! Whereabouts do you prefer to write?
One of the reasons we bought our house 19 years ago is because the previous owners had turned the back half of their ‘tandem garage’ into a second sitting room. You guessed it, that’s now my ‘study’. It has central heating and looks out into the garden and also into the conservatory which links it to the rest of the house. This is my space and beware anyone who trespasses – especially husbands in search of post-its, pens, sheets of paper etc. I can leave my things set out and get down to work straight away each day. We also have an old second hand caravan which we bought last year. One end has a small table flanked by two chairs, that’s where I write when I’m away from home.
Sounds perfect! Thanks for visiting, Lizzie – it’s lovely to get to know you better 🙂
You can buy Scotch on the Rocks here: Amazon buy link
For Lizzie’s other books, visit her Amazon page: Lizzie Lamb at Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided it was time to leave the chalk face and pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, honed her craft and wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Lizzie loves the quick fire interchanges between the hero and heroine in the old black and white Hollywood movies, and hopes this love of dialogue comes across in her writing. Although much of her time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, she has published a third novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS and started research for number four. Lizzie is a founding member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press. In November 2014 they held an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London the icing on the cake as far as they are concerned – and a fitting way to celebrate their achievements. As for the years Lizzie spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building up a reputation as a go-to speaker on the subject of self-publishing.
You can find Lizzie at the links below:
Twitter: @lizzie_lamb and @newromantics4