In 2014 we bought a vintage caravan off EBay and went on a tour of Scotland to research my third novel - SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS. In particular I wanted to visit Holy Loch where the USS Proteus had been anchored, servicing nuclear subs in the early sixties. Vital details in my novel, and I wanted to get it right.
The 350 mile drive to Scotland is a long one, especially if you’re towing a caravan. We finally reached the shores of Loch Lomond later that same day and set up camp. The setting was idyllic and my heart swelled because my feet were on Scottish soil, my own country. One I had left when I was eleven years old but which forever remains in my heart.
In fact, our trip was so inspiring that I got ideas for my next Scottish-themed novel – HEART OF THE HIGHLANDS, while exploring Castle Stalker, Appin and surrounding area. We returned this spring and had a two hour guided tour of the castle by the owner. As you can imagine, it provided perfect inspiration for the castle I feature in #4. Making the most of the weather we travelled as far north as Oban and Fort William and then headed back down to the west coast. We couldn’t believe our luck when we rolled up the blinds each morning to find it was still glorious weather. A bit of a contrast to our second trip in June when we were almost washed away in the Kyle of Lochalsh. But that’s Scotland – you go for the romance and the scenery, not the weather,
Next stop was Gourock and the ferry over to Dunoon. Or, DOON THE WATER, as they say in Scotland. We drove along the coast of Holy Loch and visited Hunter’s Quay where some of the most voluble anti-nuclear protests took place in 1961, the setting for the scene where the heroine’s aunt is hosed off the deck of the Proteus, setting a chain of events in motion which will impact on all their lives fifty years later.
It was there, on the side of Holy Loch that I found my perfect writers’ retreat. In an ideal world, I’d buy the house and spend most of my summers there – just as well we have our caravan as back up. (much cheaper and more practical!)
During this research trip, I spent the days exploring the beautiful countryside and the afternoons writing, tweeting and blogging. Luckily, I have a very supportive and understanding husband and he doesn’t mind if I set the agenda for our trips away. He’s quite happy to immerse himself in a gory crime novel or surf EBAY. Travelling with us was our Hahn’s Macaw, Jasper; he appeared to enjoy every minute of his road trip. It's simpler to take him along with us as trying to organise a parrot sitter is a nightmare. There is a naughty parrot called PERSHING featured in SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS. He's based on Jasper our Macaw, although infinitely worse behaved! In my novel. He (the fictional parrot) flew into the heroine’s aunt’s tent when she was protesting at Greenham Common in the 80’s.
Recently, I have really got into the OUTLANDER series based on the Diane Gabaldon and I was able to visit two of the sites where they filmed the series; Falkland and Culross, Fife. Check out my Pinterest board if you want to learn more about my OUTLANDER obsession. I have other boards which you may find of interest, including one for Scotch on the Rocks. Warning, both boards contain MEN IN KILTS. Just saying . . .
I hope you enjoy my photographs and visit Scotland one day. Failing that, read Tall, Dark and Kilted and Scotch on the Rocks – both written with love.
SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS
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 Munroe. 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 instead.
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 by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is she 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 . . .
BOOT CAMP BRIDE- by Lizzie Lamb
Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes
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.
Some reviews for Boot Camp Bride
- Loved it
- Another sparkling read, full of passion and laughter, but with a sinister undertone that keeps you turning the pages.
- A definitely great read, as was Lizzie's Debut book, Tall Dark & Kilted... roll on book 3!
- That good I read it twice!
- The dialogue between the two main characters, rookie journalist Charlee Montague, and world-weary photographer, Rafael Ffinch is brilliant and full of repartee.
TALL DARK AND KILTED – by Lizzie Lamb
A contemporary romance set in the highlands of Scotland
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?
Some reviews for Tall, Dark and Kilted
- this story is full of romantic Scottish themes; Kilts, bagpipes, scenery, Gaelic whisperings, Clan Urquhart tartans and Strathspey reels. Definitely an enjoyable read.
- I really couldn't put it down. Makes me want to buy my hubby a kilt.
- No complications just a relaxing story that drags you in to the end. Quite sad to finish it
- You won't be disappointed ladies and men, you could learn a thing or two.
- I truly enjoyed this book. I stumbled across it on Twitter. I was looking for a light read. However, I had trouble putting this one down.
Boot Camp Bride - Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes - November 2013
Tall, Dark and Kilted - Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen - 2012
Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology
Amazon page: http://tinyurl.com/mpcv6bn
Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/
twitter: @lizzie_lamb twitter: @newromantics4
June 20’s G:
Hocus Pocus 14: myBook.to/HP14