I’ve recently finished reading The Consolation Prize and enjoyed it very much for its wonderful setting and descriptions of the Scottish Highlands, as well as its cast of interesting characters. A feel-good escape for summer! Fiona also used her artistic skills to design the cover and some lovely cards illustrating the Highland scenery.
The Consolation Prize
Londoner Heather McAndrew has a funky flat, a plum job, a glitzy social life, great friends and, best of all, she has ad exec, Aidan.
When Aidan betrays her and returns to his ex, she is heartbroken and takes refuge in her great aunt’s cottage in her second home: the village of Kirklochy in the Scottish Highlands. Heather settles into a tranquil existence, returning to her first love, painting.
But her new home is full of intrigue and tangled relationships. Heather is drawn to two very different men: troubled artist, Sean, and childhood friend, Euan. But Sean is in love with his late wife’s memory and Euan with his stunning, bitchy actress girlfriend. Will Heather find true love, or will she forever be the consolation prize?
Thank you for writing a post for my blog, Fiona. All the very best with your first novel and its successors!
Fiona’s Writing Inspiration
I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books. My dad had literally (in the original sense of the word) thousands – he even had a bookcase in our downstairs loo. Sometimes, one or other member of the family would get carried away, having plucked a book from the nearest shelf, and spend a couple of hours in there. My mum was a primary school teacher, and encouraged us to read, so I’ve loved books since childhood, and ended up studying English Literature at university. During this time, I was inspired by some writers whom I particularly enjoyed to try it for myself – I’ve always been drawn to novel writing, rather than short stories or poetry.
The inspiration for my series, The Kirklochy Chronicles, arose from a jokey conversation with a writer friend. We asked ourselves if we had it in us to write a Mills & Boon book (I suspect that the answer to this question is a resounding “no” – and that it is very much harder than it would seem). However, the idea of writing a romance must have appealed to me, as, one Saturday afternoon, I sat down at my PC and typed the first chapter of what would become The Consolation Prize. I was doing it just for enjoyment, and found myself putting in some touches of humour. To my surprised pleasure, my writer's group liked it, even the men, I think because it was light hearted and good fun. Much lighter, and it could float away on a strong breeze.
The story is about a heartbroken young woman, Heather, who runs away from London to the Highland village of Kirklochy (which, unfortunately, is fictional, but, if it existed, would be near to Ullapool). Heather had spent all her summer holidays there as a child, with her dad’s family, and sees it as a place of refuge. This was inspired by my own father, whose family was from Tarbert Loch Fyne and who loved the Highlands – so we would go there every year as children. The setting is important as Heather finds it soothing and healing and begins to enjoy a simpler lifestyle.
After I had finished the first book, a friend suggested that I write a sequel, again based in Kirklochy, and this became Do Not Disturb, which is set in a hotel, and brought in some new characters while retaining some of the original cast. My rule is that, once someone has met Mr (or Ms) Right, his or her story is told, and it is another character’s time to find love.
This second book ends with Lewis, who has been something of a bad boy, leaving the village for London in disgrace. I get my own back on him in the third book of the trilogy, A New Flame, and he goes on an emotional as well as a physical journey, where he falls deeply in love and must become the man whom his beloved wants and deserves.
Look forward to reading the next two in the series, Fiona!
The Consolation Prize is available in e-book on Amazon UK and Amazon US at an introductory price of 99p (99c) just now.
Fiona has been an avid reader since childhood and studied English Literature at the University of Glasgow. She is an active member of a local writer's group and has had work included in two anthologies. Her job, in HR in social work services, provided much inspiration: in such a large organisation there were people of all ages and walks of life, many of them strong and vibrant characters, and many powerful human-interest stories.
Her debut novel, The Consolation Prize, the first in a trilogy entitled The Kirklochy Chronicles, was published in March of this year by Clochoderick Press, which had arisen from her home town of Paisley’s bid to become City of Culture. Fiona also regularly performs her work at local spoken word events.
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