Thursday, 31 March 2011
Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour with Janice Horton
When handsome Scottish Laird Innes Buchanan meets beautiful Texan cowgirl Orley McKenna and brings her over to his impoverished estate in Scotland, it’s for more than her expertise with cattle. But before their romance can properly begin, Orley has to contend with a run-down country mansion, a frosty Lady of the manor, and a vengeful ex-girlfriend who puts Lady Macbeth to the shade.
Bagpipes and Bullshot is a wonderful romp of a novel with a hero and heroine to fall in love with and many laugh-out-loud moments. Although it’s a humorous novel, there is real background knowledge of the farming and breeding concerns which lends authenticity to the story. Brilliant fun!
So Janice, let's hear more about you and your novel!
What inspired you to write about a Scottish laird and a Texan cowgirl?
I was in America, standing on a Gulf Coast beach at sunset, thinking of how the warm breezes, blue waters, and southern lifestyle, were a world away from my own life in Scotland. I knew at that moment I wanted to write about two characters from opposite sides of the Atlantic meeting on that beach. You may think that in a contemporary novel, a cowgirl and a laird are far removed examples of what it is to be American or Scottish today, and you would be right. However, the premise of the story is about opposites attracting and exploring the emotional, cultural, and geographical differences between two people from opposite sides of an ocean. It is intentionally larger than life and that’s what makes it entertaining and fun. I’m told there are many laugh out loud moments in Bagpipes & Bullshot! (Definitely)
I love the details about cattle breeding. Did you have to do much research, and do you enjoy that part of writing?
I love the research part of writing, even though I probably only use a tiny fraction of the research I do in the book. It’s important to know what I’m talking about in order to write a convincing storyline. For example, I interviewed a local Scottish Estate farmer to double-check my cattle farming idea for Bagpipes & Bullshot on which the plot is hinged. He had just returned from the US where he had studied a composite cattle breeding programme. I was very excited indeed to find my idea was viable!
Do you ever use real people in your fiction? (Go on, do tell!)
I do remember when my first book was published, everyone I knew locally thought real people were in it and took great pleasure in pointing out which characters and people they had identified. I was horrified. My fictional village is called ‘Thornfield’ both in my first book and in subsequent ones – and my real life village is called ‘Thornhill’ - so I should have anticipated the situation. However, I can assure you I have never and never will use real people in my fiction. My characters are entirely made up from my fertile imagination. If they bear any resemblance whatsoever to a real person, it will be because my mind has conjured up and combined together the traits of people I have known throughout my life. (Good answer!)
Do you prefer e-books or print – and why?
I love both. I’m an avid reader and thanks to the availability of e-books I can download them instantly. If I want to travel, I can take as many books as I like on my e-reader and not have excess baggage. It’s fantastic. But, if you come into my study, you will see bookshelves filled with my favourite print books, many signed, and some by authors I know personally. I also have a special shelf of beautiful antiquarian books and first editions which I’ve collected over the years. In my kitchen, I have a bookshelf filled with cook books – all well-thumbed colourful hardbacks with glossy pages and photographs. You see, in my opinion, there is room for both and space for all. How lucky we are now to have so much choice in what and how we read!
What are working on now? Will you always use your Scottish environment as a background to future novels?
I’m busy writing my next book, which is entitled Reaching For The Stars. It’s the story of a disillusioned celebrity chef who gives up his hard won accolades - three Golden Stars - and goes into self imposed exile in a castle on a Scottish country estate. The heroine of the tale is a rising star in the culinary world, an ambitious chef determined to be the first woman in the UK to get three Golden Stars. So, when these two characters get together, the knives are out and the heat is on! As the novel is set against a backdrop of fine food and steamy kitchens - you can imagine all the fun I had researching this book. I found it all so interesting in fact, that I wrote an article on it for Romance Matters, the magazine of The Romantic Novelist’s Association, which was seen by a TV Editor who contacted me to say she wanted to film my research method for a local TV news programme. If you’d like to see the resulting short film, it’s up on my website.
To answer the second part of your question: I’m not sure if I will keep with the Scottish setting for future books. I have an outline for another book which I hope to start writing in the autumn of this year. So far, I have the premise and the main characters. I don’t usually work out a plot in advance and at the moment the story could be set anywhere at all. That’s not to say, of course, that it won’t be Scotland!
Coming back to your new e-book Bagpipes & Bullshot, how do you plan to get it noticed against all the thousands of others on Amazon Kindle?
Well, it’s very difficult to get new e-books noticed by potential readers unless it features on one or more of Amazon’s Top 100 charts, but because of the way Amazon calculates its sales, just a few sales on one particular day can make all the difference in pushing it through the charts. So I want you to ask your wonderful blog readers to support me by either buying the book on Friday 1st April 2011 (it is £1.38 or $2.24) or by telling other people about it through their own social network. The date is important because it’s the day I’ve asked everyone who might consider buying the book to buy it. I’ll be blogging and tweeting all day on Friday 1st April.
For direction to all of the other places I’ll be appearing on my Blog Tour throughout the whole day please visit my blog. I’ll also be running a prize draw on my blog (Friday 1st April only) to win Kindle beach protectors (an essential and stylish accessory for every Kindle, but alternatively you could always use it to protect your camera or phone!). All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is go to my blog and leave a comment.
But what about people who don’t have a Kindle? Can they download it for their PC, Mac, IPhone, IPad, whatever?
Yes, absolutely. Go to Amazon and download their free Kindle App for PC, Mac, IPhone or IPad and then buy Bagpipes & Bullshot. I’ll be forever grateful.
Thanks for that great information, Janice, and good luck with your book. And I can really recommend it! Don't forget, you can enter the competition on Janice's blog, and you can even listen to Innes playing the bagpipes!
here. You can follow Janice on Twitter at @JaniceHorton. Find her website here.