Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I was tagged by the lovely Mae Clair to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, so here I go!

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea of the book come from?

A STONE’S THROW is the second book in the series I am currently working on, Love Where You Roam. In the first book, Watershed, we meet Lizzy (Elisabet) Jensen, an Aussie Jillaroo and a secondary character in the story. That is the link between the series. The heroine in the following book shows up as a secondary character in the previous book. So Aussie Lizzy is backpacking in Scotland, working at the Queen’s Hotel. Each book in the series is based on a place where I lived myself, so the setting came first. Then, I pull from my own experiences abroad, add in character traits that would make a good plot, put the heroine and hero in situations that make them grow and change, quite often humorous because of the differences in culture and language, and ultimately how love between the two is the

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary Romance, definitely. Lighthearted, fun, easy read that focuses on a characterization plot with a bit of drama thrown in.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in movie renditions?

Ooooh, I always love this question. What author doesn’t dream of their book being transcribed to the big screen? I definitely know I’d like Gerard Butler as the hero, Hamish. As for Lizzy? That’s a hard one. I’d love to use a fresh new Aussie actress. I’d want to take the actors from their original heritage, not forced accents on American actors. Although I have seen this work, it just doesn’t play right with me for my books because there are too many little idiosyncrasies of each culture that I would hate to be missed. That is part of the beauty of the stories.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Can I use my series tagline instead? Falling in love across oceans of difference.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will submit to the editor and publisher I am currently with for Watershed and hope they want it. If not, I’ll try other Romance ePublishers, and self-publish if I have to. You can’t stop a series at Book 1!

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?

Errr, it’s still in first draft. I’m about half-way through, or just over. There are 13 chapters, approximately 55K- 60K words, so a bit longer than Watershed, which is only 45K words. I started A STONE’S THROW after I moved to Michigan from Australia, about June if I remember correctly. I hope to have it done in another three months. It will then take me another couple of months to edit and polish for Draft 2, then out to my SME’s (my Scottish mates for little Scottish tidbits and dialogue check, especially) for their feedback, and hopefully finish by a Draft 3. Working and with two young sons, this is about as fast as I go with my manuscripts. I keep playing the Powerball, though, you can’t win it unless you’re in it!

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

That’s a hard one, hmmmm…there are definitely romance books out there set in Scotland, or about the heroine moving and basing herself there, but my stories are more about the differences in the hero and heroine, not only by culture but by personality and temperament, and how they find each other, common ground, and then ultimately how each other’s differences provide the catalyst in which they change as an individual.

I believe the book will appeal to a large audience as it is contemporary romance, but mostly to those who like to live vicariously through the heroine as she sets off for adventure in foreign lands. There was always a hope in writing the stories that it may inspire some to “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

And where is more romantic than Scotland? With their men in kilts, sexy as hell accents, aged Scotch, vast and beautiful landscapes, haggis (yes, it is good!), munros, and hairy coos (they can be romantic, too).

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

A STONE’S THROW is set in Bridge of Allan, Scotland, where I lived for two years while I studied for my MPHIL in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling and worked my way through at the Queen’s Hotel and Pub. I absolutely loved it there! I still think fondly of my time spent in one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. There were four of us, two Scottish, one American (me) and one Kiwi who worked and lived together above the pub. The other three are represented in the story, slight changes but they are there. How could I not when my partners in crime were such a big part of my inspiration? We worked for a wonderful man and visionary who redesigned the hotel while we lived there. Architect and businessman, the hero Hamish is molded after him. In fact, many of the characters in the book, even cameo appearances, are based on the mates that I met there. Such interesting Scots!

What else about your book may pique readers’ interest?

In each book of the series, I bring in a bit of local mysticism. Not too much that it would change the story to a paranormal read, just enough to give the reader a taste of the spirituality, legends and myths that help to form a culture. In Watershed, there is some Aboriginal magic that comes into play.

In A STONE’S THROW, The Green Lady, protector of the Queen’s Hotel, is the spiritual guide for Hamish and Lizzy. Little does either know, but their family paths crossed years earlier while Lizzy’s mum still lived in Scotland (before she emigrated to Australia) and the Green Lady saved her from the Allan Water River.
Layers! The story has many many layers! 🙂

So, that’s it! A glimpse into my next manuscript, A STONE’S THROW, part of the great Love Where You Roam series. A big thanks again to Mae for kindly leading me into the blogging world. I think I may enjoy this!

Since I don’t have five bloggers to tag, if you’re reading this post and would like to participate, consider yourself tagged. All you have to do is post and answer the questions on your blog and tag others if you can!

Happy reading and writing xo

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