A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle is the new novel from Kiltie Jackson and was released by WickedKilt Publishing in September 2017.
I am pleased to welcome her to Novel Kicks today to chat about her writing routine, her favourite word and what Christmas song is essential.
Hi Kiltie, it’s lovely to have you in the blog today. Can you tell me about your debut novel, A Rock n’ Roll Lovestyle and what inspired it.
Thank you so much for having me here today. My novel is focused on the issues of trust, friendship and how difficult it can be to live a life in the public eye. I was inspired on this topic through a life-long love of music coupled with the knowledge of how society puts superstars and celebrities on pedestals only to derive great enjoyment from watching them fall off. I am aware this has been the case for many decades but, in the 21st century, it seems to have escalated to ridiculous levels and I’m not convinced that it is good for society as a whole.
What’s your normal writing day like? Do you have rituals when writing?
I still have a 40hr a week day job so my writing days are not as tightly structured as I would like them to be. I currently do ‘writing stuff’ – that can be anything from writing my next novel to working on my blog or doing guest posts for fellow bloggers – on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, nearly all day Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Sometimes, if my husband is working overtime, or away on a trip, I have a treat of writing all day Sunday. The only hard-set ritual is that I will only drink my coffee from a little mug I bought in Salzburg. At the time of purchase it was full of mulled wine. As much as I would like that to still be the case, I suspect my writing may not fully benefit from it.
Are you much of a planner?
I believe I am what is referred to as ‘a basher and fixer’ when it comes to writing. I have a pretty good idea in my head of how my storyline will unfold. I will know exactly how it starts, what is in the middle and how it will end. I then ‘bash’ away at the keyboard putting in the filling between these three points. Once I finish the first draft, I go back to ‘fix’ which entails editing, re-arranging, reading, re-arranging again and polishing up before sending off to my editor for him to sort out my appalling grammar and spelling.
In the rest of my day-to-day life, however, I am a total planner and everything is usually very organised.
In your opinion, what is the best way to approach the editing process? Do you have any tips?
My preferred way of working, once the first draft is done, is to go back to the start and begin reading through my manuscript. I will ‘fix’ approximately five to ten chapters at a time and then print them off as a hard copy which I read through again as I find it a good way to pick up errors that can be missed on the screen and will often re-arrange, insert or take out text. I put these corrections in place on my MS and then forward that segment to my editor while I move onto the next part. I never edit while putting down my draft because I spend a lot of time inserting new text and moving things around as I have new ideas while still writing which could change earlier parts of the story.
What’s your favourite word?
Oh gosh! That’s a toughie! I like both ‘Gobbledygook’ and ‘Codswallop’. Those are my ‘before the watershed’ words. My other favourites may not be considered appropriate to put here. I also adore the name of the Eastern European state Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzegovina… It’s a wonderful word which really gives the mouth a good work out.
Where would you like to spend your ideal Christmas if you could choose anywhere?
At the risk of being really obvious, it would be Salzburg, or Austria. If I’m not allowed those, then Switzerland or Germany would be second choices. It would HAVE to be somewhere with snow. I’m rather partial to snow.
Your book is based around Christmas and music is a big theme in your novel. What Christmas songs are essential for you at Christmas?
This is my easy question. Without even having to think about it, I can tell you that the main one is Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody. As soon as I hear that song, I am ready for Christmas. It is wonderful and still sounds so great even after all these years. I also adore the Dean Martin cd ‘A Winter Romance’ where he sings many of the older Christmas numbers such as Let It Snow and Winter Wonderland. It’s the perfect accompaniment when wrapping presents while sipping a glass of wine.
Which fictional character is your favourite and why?
There are many but I think I would have to plump for Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I think she was, and still is, a brilliant example for young girls. She didn’t hesitate to speak her mind, she stood up for what she believed in regardless of what the outcome might be, she was always very positive and rarely let anything get her down. She had an indomitable spirit and was a great, early, pioneer for letting girls understand they could achieve whatever they set their minds and hearts on.
What elements do you feel make a good novel? Do plot or character come first?
It has to be both. A great plot doesn’t work if you can’t feel anything for the main character. A great character with a poor plot leaves this reader feeling unsatisfied. Regardless of whether you love or loathe a character, the very essence of feeling something for them adds to the excitement of wanting them to win or lose within the plot of the book.
What advice do you have for someone who is trying to write a book or thinking of writing one but doesn’t know where to begin?
I think the very best bit of advice I have seen is ‘Just do it’! If you have an idea in your head, pick up a pen, or open up a blank page on your PC and simply write it down. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar at that point. Just get it written down. As soon as you do that, you are on your way to being a writer. As your idea flows from your head to your finger, other thoughts will come into your head – write them down too. Don’t worry about beginnings, middles or endings, just get these ideas written down. After that, you can look at what you have in front of you. See if you can link the ideas together to create a story. See if you can build a story from one idea. Sometimes, once you have written everything down, you need to step away for a few days and let your mind mull over what you have come up with and let it be creative in its own time.
There are no rules to being a writer, although some people will try to tell you that there are. We all work and create in our own way. If you try to shoe-horn yourself into working in a set pattern because you’ve read that it how it should be done, you risk interfering with your creativity. Find your own path, the one which works best for you and in your life, and follow it.
The other small bit of advice is this – It is hard work! It is disciplined. If you are determined to write that book, be prepared to give up a considerable amount of time because it won’t write itself. Be prepared for the days when it all feels like crap because they will come and you will wonder why you bother. Don’t be under any illusion that it is easy because it is not. But when you finally have a finished product in your hand, and people tell you that they have enjoyed reading your creation, it really does make it all worthwhile.
(Kiltie is holding a give-away to win a £40/$40 Amazon voucher. Click on the link for information on how to enter. A Rafflecopter giveaway)
My verdict on A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle:
So who exactly is Sukie McClaren?
A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?
She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip a few weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock-star doesn’t even get a look in.
Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares.
He can’t wait for it to be over.
When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again.
Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete’s demise.
Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?
A Christmas tale full of love, laughter, friendship and revenge.
Sukie is a great character and I loved her. She’s the kind of feisty I wish I was. She’s proof that you can be a nice person and can speak your mind at the same time.
When she meets rock star Pete, she doesn’t pull punches and the two of them quickly become friends. She is adamant that she doesn’t want to get involved with the celebrity lifestyle and it was interesting for me to see these two characters interact and develop. They are both very different people but they have a lot to show one another. They are both very relatable characters.
The same can also be said for the plot. Kiltie has taken quite a unbelievable situation and made it very real. The plot was very easy to get invested in and I found very quickly that I liked these characters.
The scenery in this novel is so well described and sounds absolutely beautiful. It made me wish I could walk into this book.
This book had romance but it also had a little bit of a dark streak to it, especially around one particular character. This added the mystery that I love in a novel. It’s an angle I have not seen in many novels and I really liked how the plot developed.
I really couldn’t stop reading this novel and found I was reading it well into the night. It’s perfect for the cold evenings especially as we head toward Christmas. It’s very festive, romantic and page turning.
This was a great debut novel. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next.
More about Kiltie Jackson
Kiltie grew up in Scotland, Glasgow to be precise. A very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life. When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.
She currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one husband. The cats kindly allow her and her husband to share their house on the condition they keeps paying the mortgage!
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!
She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym!
Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.
Kiltie first began writing ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ over ten years ago. The project was shelved on Chapter Seventeen as she felt the story wasn’t flowing as she would like it to.
In her own words “The images in my head would not come out of my fingers!” Fast forward to November 2016 when, having finished reading Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow, she read more about the author and was inspired with how Christie herself came to be a best-selling author.
In that thunderbolt moment, Kiltie knew – with a deep certainty- that she needed to reacquaint herself with ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ and begin writing again. She did this in January 2017 and found the words flowed faster than she could type them. Finally, the time was right for her to write her novel.
Her determination to finish what she had started all those years ago was absolute and the first draft was completed on Sunday 16th April 2017.
Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. She has begun typing up her second book, ‘Of All the Unlikely Places’, and book three (not yet titled) has been worked out and is waiting in the wings for its turn in the spotlight.
She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming.
She now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”
A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle is available to purchase now. Click here to view on Amazon UK.