I am so, so pleased to be introducing Kierney Scott onto The Hot Pink Typewriter today to celebrate the launch of her debut novel, Twice in a Lifetime. I met the lovely Kierney through social media and have watched her journey towards obtaining publication these past few months, so I know this is a special day for her. Welcome, Kierney!
Q) Tell us something about yourself.
A) I was raised in California but I have spent my entire adult life in Scotland. Basically I am Scottish but with a dodgy American accent. As my twitter profile says-I am a mum, spinner, cupcake lover and romance writer. That pretty much sums me up. I also spend far too much time at Starbucks, odd since I don’t drink coffee.
Q) Twice in a Lifetime will be your first published novel. Can you give us a summary of the story?
A) A second chance at redemption... A lifetime ago, Sarah and Liam were childhood sweethearts in a dingy Edinburgh block, dreaming of making it in the big wide world. But reality called. Sarah stayed to make a difference in her community, while Liam forged a career in international finance and never looked back. Ten years on, a friend in crisis brings Sarah and Liam together in Dubai. There’s no trace of the boy she once loved – the man Liam has become is hard, mercenary, infuriating… and arousing. In an opulent desert city far away from everything she knows, can Sarah take the heat?
Q) Why did you choose Carina to publish your story?
A) I knew I wanted to write for Mills & Boon. I submitted the first three chapters to them last year and an editor phoned and offered me a spot at Carina. Needless to say, I was over the moon.
Q) What inspired the premise for Twice in a Lifetime?
A) I was sitting in my conservatory holding by daughter as she slept and the basic idea came to me. It came out of the blue; I wasn’t actively trying to plot a contemporary romance. For years I thought I wanted to write historical romance. Lucky for me, the same editor saw one of my ill fated attempts and phoned me to say “You are not a historical author. Try contemporary.” That was the best writing advice I have been given. Contemporary romance is so much fun to write because I am better suited to it.
Q) You have two settings for your story – Scotland (Edinburgh) and Dubai. Why those two settings?
A) I wanted Scottish characters but I did not want the Scottish weather. The weather here is…not great.
Q) You clearly have a passion for Scotland. Why?
A) Scotland is the most amazing place. The people are incredibly witty and compassionate but also cutting and brutally honest. And we have castles and men in kilts! In short, it is a brilliant place to live and raise a family. Luckily we have shocking weather and that keeps most people out because the place would be overrun if they knew how great it is.
Q) Sarah and Liam are reunited after 10 years apart. Have you always wanted to write a reunion story? And why was that premise so relevant to this story?
A) I never considered writing a reunion story until Twice in a Lifetime. The time span was important because it allowed sufficient time for the characters to grow and change. I needed to give Liam enough time to properly succeed. Liam and Sarah are from one of the most deprived areas in the country. When I tell people from Edinburgh that the book is about a rich man from Niddrie they all reply with something along the line of, “Aye that would be fiction then.” He needed at least a decade to escape the shadow of his inauspicious start.
Q) Sarah, your heroine, is an extremely strong character who clearly knows her own mind. Why were you drawn to writing this type of heroine?
A) I am drawn to strong women in general. I love heroines that are assertive yet still kind and compassionate.
Q)) Liam has undergone quite the transformation since Sarah last saw him. Can you give us a little more insight into his character and why that transformation is significant?
A) Liam met Sarah at the age of six when a social worker dropped him off at a council scheme in Niddrie to live with his grandmother. His start in life was not great and his goal in life from a young age is to get as far away from Scotland and the stigma of his upbringing as he can. All of his early choices are about getting away.
Q) Why have them reunite under tragic, as opposed to positive, circumstances?
A) The way they parted ten years ago meant it would take a major event to bring them back together. Liam had not been back to Scotland since he left. I also needed to bring Sam into the story because he plays a big part. It just made sense to have Sam get arrested in Dubai. There is no other way Sarah would have gone to Liam. She was willing to swallow her pride and bruised ego to help her best friend.
Q) How easy was it to show development in their characters ten years since they last saw each other?
A) It was easy because Liam was almost unrecognisable when we meet him again in Dubai. Everything about him had changed, right down to his accent. The challenge was letting glimpses of his younger self shine through.
Q) Why are Sarah and Liam perfect for each other?
A) Because they really know each other. Liam very much hides who he really is, but Sarah knows and accepts him. They push each other to be their best.
Q) Why do you write romance as opposed to any other genre, Kierney?
A) I love romance! I love the guarantee of a happy ending. There is enough sadness and uncertainty in the world. I love knowing that no matter what happens to a character in a book, in the end they will have someone who loves and accepts them. I also love having the opportunity to entertain people. I like to think about mums sneaking a chapter while on the school run. I want to write books that people want to read.
Q) You signed a two-book deal with Carina. What’s coming next?
A) I just finished my second book and I have started my third. This time around I am telling Sam’s story. When we meet Sam in Twice in a Lifetime he is a heroin addict. He has just been arrested for smuggling drugs. He is a total mess. I have my work cut out for me if I want to turn him into a hero but I think it is worth it because I love his character.
Q) Have you got any advice for writers out there who are seeking publication?
A) When you write for publication you have to straddle the line between confidence and humility. You need to be honest about all your short comings and commit to taking criticism and becoming better. You also need to tell yourself you can do it. Tell yourself that anything you lack in talent you will make up for in hard work. My other advice would be to write the book. Stop thinking about it and do it. Like my mum always says, “Make a plan, then work the plan.”
Thank you so much for joining us today, Kierney. I wish you loads of great things for your writing career.
If you’ve been tempted by Twice in a Lifetime, you can follow the buy link here.
And you can follow Kierney via Twitter @Kierney_S or visit her blog kierneyscott.com