|Do you recognize this shop? A clue: Claire in ep. 1 of Outlander|
Readers, I have discovered, are drawn to the mystical, dreamy highlands of Scotland as the backdrop for contemporary romance. As a writer, I heartily agree with that sentiment. Tall, Dark and Kilted features a sexy laird Ruairi (Roo-ary) Urquhart who has to fight to safeguard his land and inheritance. In Scotch on the Rocks, kilt-wearing American, Brodie arrives on Eilean na Sgairbh on the back of a storm wind and turns my heroine's life upside down. Both novels have gone down a storm in countries where there are ex-pat Scots – USA, Australia, New Zealand or Canada; it appears that second and third generation Scots are eager to learn about the old traditions and their former homeland. And if they learn through my novels, then so much the better. My novels are meticulously researched and, as a true born Scotswoman, I write with complete authenticity about the land and its people.
|Falkland, in the Kingdom of Fife where the first scenes in Outlander were shot|
Romance readers simply love a novel which features a man in a kilt. The element of ‘costume’ (ie the kilt), especially in a contemporary setting, removes the hero and the reader from the here and now and transports them into the realm of fantasy. And, in the case of a kilted hero, there is also the tease of whether he’s followed tradition and gone ‘commando’.
The kilted hero in my novels is, generally, aristocratic – a laird, at the very least. And, while he does not have to work to earn his daily crust, he carries the weight of his inheritance and the welfare of his tenants and family on his shoulders. He often has emotional scars which only the heroine can heal. All of my novels have a happy ending and readers can close the book with a satisfied sigh knowing that all the obstacles which have prevented the hero and hero from leading a happy life, have resolved.
|The Covenanter's Arms doubled as the B&B where Frank and Claire stayed|
My interest in kilted heroes began as a child growing up in Scotland, reared (courtesy of Saturday morning cinema) on the exploits of highlanders in such movies as Rob Roy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Ghost Goes West and, sob, Grey Friar’s Bobby. After the movie (or fil-um, as we pronounced it) we’d re-enact Rob Roy’s leap and subsequent escape through the waterfall, and the scene from Kidnapped, where Davie Balfour is almost murdered by his evil uncle. Our dogs were dragooned into being "Bobby", loyally guarding his master's grave in Grey Friar's kirk, Edinburgh. And I longed to be Flora Macdonald, helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape over the sea to Skye.
|Castle Stalker, location in Monty Python and the Holy Grail|
Tales of brave Covenanters and Jacobites outwitting the redcoats stayed with me as I grew older and read Scottish-themed novels . . . The Jacobite Trilogy by D.K. Broster (falling in love with Ewen Cameron), The Lymond Chronicles (who could resist Francis Crawford?) and, more recently, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon featuring uber-hero Jamie Fraser. For me, he is the ultimate kilted hero and has it in spades – looks, sense of honour, loyalty, is sex-on-legs and can speak Gaelic. I’ll even admit to subscribing to Amazon Prime so I could watch the TV Series: OUTLANDER. For me, a hero wearing a suit, carrying duct tape, rope and plastic ties just doesn’t cut it. Give me an exiled, romantic Jacobite laird every time.
During autumn 2014 and spring 2015 I travelled to Scotland to research Scotch on the Rocks. While I was there, I checked out some of the locations where OUTLANDER had been filmed. I was also privileged to have a personal tour of Castle Stalker near Fort William and this has inspired me to write novel number four– This Highland Magic. Does it feature a braw, kilted hero – you bet it does.
If you like reading about Highlanders, check out the blurbs for my three books and download the first three chapters. Details of all my books are on my amazon page.
Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there's a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate - starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family. Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?
Take an up-for-anything rookie reporter. Add a world-weary photo-journalist. Put them together . . . light the blue touch paper and stand well back! Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in Norfolk to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova looking less than perfect. At Charlee’s side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Colombia. He’s in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership - and fake engagement - will be terminated, too. Soon Charlee has more questions than answers. What's the real reason behind Ffinch's interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Colombia? In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger ... As the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she’ll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.
Where the men are men and the women are glad of it!
ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.
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 . . .
An anthology of short stories and novellas with a mystical twist, spooky rather than gory. From haunted house to fallen angel, devious spirit to soul stealers there are thirteen (of course!) spine-tinglers to delight the reader. Among the collection you will find award winning authors of bestselling novels, but there are some new voices, too. My story Jumping the Queue is about . . . well, I’ll leave you to read it and find out. I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending now, would I?
Hocus Pocus '14 - a collection of spooky short stories
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.
MORE ABOUT LIZZIE
With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it's hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days. Check out her reviews, they speak for themselves.