What inspired you to write your novel, Bagpipes and Bullshot?
I was actually 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 life in Scotland. No less beautiful but so very different. I knew at that moment I wanted to start a book with two people meeting on that beach, before moving the story back to Scotland, where I could explore those differences. The prologue of Bagpipes & Bullshot is set in a fictional Gulf Coast town where, on that beach at sunset, Innes and Orley meet for the first time.
How did you come up with the idea to meld the Texas plains with the Scottish Highlands?
I needed characters from both sides of the Atlantic for the book to work and a real reason for the American character to want and need to be in Scotland. Once I started asking who and why, Orley came to life, and I wanted to tell her story. The character of Innes, a young Scot who had just inherited the responsibilities of Laird of his Estate, then needed a reason to go to America and meet Orley. So cattle farming became the obvious connection. As I live on a Scottish Estate myself, I knew a local farmer who had just returned from the US, where he had been studying a composite cattle breeding programme. I interviewed him to double-check my idea for this part of the plot and was very excited when I discovered it was viable.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most and why?
I can relate to my whole cast of characters as they battle with the awful things I give them to deal with in the book - but mostly I relate to Orley. You see, I came to Scotland from England, and remember being entirely surprised by the cultural differences between the rural Scottish lifestyle and the urban English life I’d been living. Orley is similarly surprised when she gets to Scotland except that because her culture shock is even more acute, she struggles terribly, which I feel is a nice balance to the growing relationship between her and Innes and which consequentially leads to lots of humour. I’m told by readers there are many laugh out loud moments in the book.
Do you have a day job, and if so where do you find the time to write?
Hah! If only I had one day job – I do in fact have three. I divide my time working as an administrator and book keeper for my husband’s business. I own a graphic design business which I set up when our boys were little. I also work four afternoons a week as a legal secretary for a local firm of lawyers. I steal time to write and I’ve stopped giving myself deadlines. As an indie author I have the luxury of not having to fit in with anyone else’s schedule - but in an ideal world - I’d love to write full time.
What do you think of the ebook revolution? How has your experience been so far?
I think it’s a good thing – but I don’t think it will replace the printed book trade as the doom mongers are predicting. I rather think e-books will fit nicely alongside it. If I want a book ‘now’ I can download it instantly. If I want to travel, I can take as many books as I like on my e-reader and not have excess baggage. As an avid reader, thanks to the availability of e-books, I’m trying new authors and new genres. It’s fantastic. But, if you come into my study, you will see bookshelves filled with my favourite 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 – I certainly wouldn’t want those on an e-reader, would I? 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!
How do you plan to get your e-book Bagpipes & Bullshot noticed against all the thousands of others on Amazon Kindle?
Okay, this is the plan. I want you to ask your wonderful blog readers to support me by either buying the book on Friday 1st April 2011 (it is $2.24 or £1.38) 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. 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! 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 www.janicehortonwriter.blogspot.com 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 App for PC, Mac, IPhone or IPad and then buy the book Bagpipes & Bullshot. I’ll be forever grateful.
Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes entertaining and humorous contemporary women's fiction novels which are, for the most part, inspired by the romantic beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When she’s not writing novels she writes lifestyle articles and has had work published in national magazines and regional newspapers. She’s also been involved in BBC Scotland's ‘Write Here Write Now’ project. Her next novel Reaching For The Stars will be available soon on Kindle. Her blog is: www.janicehortonwriter.blogspot.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @JaniceHorton. Her website is at: www.janicehorton.co.uk