Today, I’m thrilled to host in my Author Interviews Scottish native but now English resident, Lizzie Lamb.
Normally, I conduct these interviews in my cozy lounge here at Celtic Connexions, but today, since today is too nice to be stuck indoors, I thought sitting by the river on a bench at Blockhouse Island looking over this beautiful part of eastern Ontario and New York State was more suitable. And look! We’ve been lucky enough to see a freighter coming up river.
After a slight diversion and the tea and biscuits I’ve brought along with us, it’s down to the business at hand.
I love the title of your book – Tall, Dark & Kilted. How did you come up with it?
It was a bit of a fluke really. I had a one to one with an editor at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Convention a year ago where she read three chapters and the synopsis of the novel – which was then called BIG BAD WOLF. Her feedback suggested that the title told the reader nothing about the setting or what the novel was about. Furthermore, she said that most readers took between 3-5 SECONDS to decide if they wanted to buy a book without moving on. I thought about calling the novel HIGHLAND FLING but there were already about two dozen novels of that name. Off the top of my head I suggested Tall, Dark and Kilted and she LOVED it. The name stuck and I’m glad I changed it.
Your book is set in the Scottish highlands. What made you decide that part of Scotland? Is there a specific area that readers will recognize even if it goes under a fictitious name?
A Scot by birth and heritage, I’ve loved the west coast of Scotland ever since I can remember and have spent many holidays there. The scenery, the history and the fact that the Gulf Stream touches its shores and palm trees and other tropical plants thrive in the shadow of snow topped mountains has a real resonance for me. I also adored Monarch of the Glen (the TV series) although that was filmed elsewhere and the movie Local Hero (filmed in Pennan). Kinloch Mara is an amalgam of lots of the places I’ve visited but Port Urquhart was based on the towns of Oban and Portree.
I love the TV series Monarch of the Glen and the movie Local Hero. The first time I saw palm trees in Scotland was when I visited Finlaystone Estate at Langbank. The next time was when I was in Plockton. I’ve never been to Oban or Portree but hope to rectify that very soon.
You have a rather catchy tagline for your novel. Would you share it with us?
NOTTINGHILL MEETS MONARCH OF THE GLEN
I chose that tagline because I thought that non-UK readers would have seen the movie and/or watched the TV series and they would understand what my rom com was about.
You recently took part in a “literary lunch” with another author. Enquiring minds need to know… was this something you both organized or did the venue do it and invite you? Would you deem the event a success?
The event came about because Adrienne (one of The New Romantics 4 – our indie group) is managing director of her own PR company. She was having lunch with the owner/manager of the hotel and he was looking for a range of events to draw customers into the hotel. As the Leicester Book Fest was looming on the horizon, Adrienne suggested a literary lunch and he jumped at the idea. Adrienne asked me to join her as I am used to public speaking and am confident when talking about my path to publication and Tall, Dark and Kilted to potential readers. The lunch was a great success and we hope to host another event there in the run up to Christmas/ Valentine’s Day.
You can read more about the event and see photographs of it on our blog www.newromantics4.com/blog
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
To be honest I seem to have so little time when I’m not writing in one form or another!
I like to visit friends, have them for dinner or afternoon tea and meet up with girlfriends in coffee shops. I try to read as much and as widely as I can and write reviews of the books I’ve read, which takes up quite a bit of time. I have this dream of sitting in the garden in the sun and doing nothing at all – but the weather won’t play ball and my mind is always buzzing with new writing ideas. Before I know it I’ve reached over for the iPad and started typing … I also like listening to music on my iPhone through headphones and watching movies. My latest resolution is to spend less time social networking and more time chillin’ and unplugging from the wonderful but time consuming career I’ve chosen. Hm, wonder if I’ll manage it.
Of Scottish/Irish/Brazilian heritage, I was born up in a steel mining town in the Scottish Industrial Belt. The massive RAVENSCRAIG steel mill was quite literally in my back garden. In order to escape from the forbidding industrial landscape I learned to play imaginatively with my friends in the back garden and then started writing extra scenes and characters for the movies I saw on a Saturday morning. I was bitten by the writing bug and never looked back. I lived in Scotland until I was 11 when my parents moved to England in search of work and better opportunities for me and my siblings… Scoll forward to 2006 –
Sorry to interrupt, but if I recall correctly, Ravenscraig was in Motherwell which is a part of Greater Glasgow? Do carry on.
After teaching my 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, I decided it was time to leave the chalk face and pursue my first love. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers Scheme, honed my craft and wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted. I’d always wanted to write a romantic novel set in the Highlands and Islands and Tall, Dark and Kilted is the result. Not a steel mill in sight!! Much of my time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and finishing my second rom com which will be published autumn 2013. I am also a founding member of an indie publishing group: The New Romantics 4 and enjoy meeting readers and talking about my writing.
I live with my husband (also a retired primary deputy head teacher) and my naughty parrot Jasper in Leicester and I have the best job in the world.
You can buy Tall, Dark and Kilted from amazon via this universal link.
Goodreads: Tall, Dark and Kilted
I hope you’ve enjoyed my chat with Lizzie as much as I have. Thanks for making the “virtual” trip from England to Eastern Ontario and my wee corner of the world.