Last year I read the debut novel A Rock’n’Roll Lovestyle which was on my top reads of 2017. As Valentine’s day approaches and love is in the air, I am pleased to meet the author Kiltie Jackson.
Rock’n’Roll Lovestyle Blurb
A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle is a 21st-century love story.
The leading lady is independent, feisty and takes no nonsense from anyone. These traits, however, do not stop her from being a kind, caring and funny person.
The leading man is trying to deal with living a life in the public spotlight and
highlights how society today puts celebrities upon pedestals
where we then try our damnedest to knock them off.
Readers of Jill Mansell, Karen Swan and Tilly Bagshawe would most likely
find ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ to be to their liking.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
I first began writing A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle over ten years ago. I got to the end
of chapter seventeen and decided that it wasn’t coming out of my fingers as I
was seeing it in my head. When I read it back, it felt stilted and forced. So it was
shelved until January 2017 when I blew the cobwebs off and tried again. This makes
it very difficult for me to remember how it was conceived. It may have been a
dream – I have a few future book plots which have been born this way – it may
have been a song or a book or a celebrity story that just so happened to be on the
news at the time. Possibly, it was a combination of all these things.
Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your
I grew up surrounded by music. My mum loves her music and always had the radio
or the record player on as I was growing up. This led to me gravitating towards
musical people in my teenage years. I then moved to London and discovered the glam-rock scene. It was a musical arena where every second person was a wannabe rock star. I had friends who were established musicians or actors and friends who were desperate to be discovered. I gained extensive insight into the world of showbiz through these associations. I’ve also spent a large part of my working life in offices so writing that part of the story was quite easy. I think I can honestly say, however, that I have never been in the presence of a gun-toting Italian. Although, I have known many Italians so maybe they just carried smaller, less noticeable, models.
What traits do you share with your main character(s)?
We’re all Aston Villa fans. Sukie and I also share a definite love of Salzburg, Austria and
The Sound of Music. We dislike being in the limelight and having our photograph taken.
Pete and I agree that the promotion aspect of writing is difficult. He would be happy to do the song-writing for others to perform, I would be happy do the writing and let someone else do the donkey work of promoting it. I also adore cats – I have five, two of which are black rescue babies although they are not called Tony or Adam.
Why did you set so much of your book in Salzburg?
I chose Salzburg as the primary setting because I love this city and I can’t recall
ever reading a book which is set there. I have visited this stunning location several
times and I believe this knowledge helped me to describe it with both love and realism.
I once read that when an author chooses their location for a book, they need to
ensure it is a place they can live with, in their head, for at least six months.
Salzburg was in mine for ten years and I was still very sad to say goodbye to it
when A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle was completed.
What made you decide to self-publish?
The decision to self-publish was not taken lightly. My priority was always to
get the story written but the thought was stuck in the back of my mind on what
to do next. When I read Christie Barlow’s story of how she realised her ambition
to become an author, and that she had self-published her first novel, it gave me
hope that there was an alternative to relying on another person making a decision
on my life. I could control the path my future would take. In our lives, other
people make the big decisions on our behalf – do we meet their requirements
to be given a driving license, a job, or a mortgage? Sometimes the ‘yes’ or ‘no’
answer can depend on the mood that ‘other person’ is in that day.
So I decided that the only person involved in this choice would be me!
Also, I’m not getting any younger; I don’t have the time to wait for the right person to
be in the right mood to finally decide they like what I write. When one considers how
many rejections J K Rowling had before she got her publishing deal,
one can’t help but wonder how many people are kicking themselves over the
opportunity they missed because the wrong person read her manuscript.
Living in the age of digital technology, authors now have more options and
choice in how their careers unfurl.
Did you do all the self-publishing yourself?
Yes, I did. In the early days, I looked at the options for self-publishing and saw there
were companies who, for a fee, were prepared to hold your hand every step of the
way. I, however, wasn’t happy about paying for a service I could, to some large
extent, do myself. So I read a lot of stuff on the internet and I learnt how to set up a
website (quite an achievement for someone not at all tech-savvy), I studied what
common mistakes novice writers can make and how to transpose my work into other
digital-friendly formats. I also read other self-published books and realised that a
professional editor is a must-have! The work of a professional graphic designer is
also worth the money if you want a book cover that will compete with the others on
the shelf beside it. John Hudspith was my editor and Henry Hyde was my cover
designer – they both gave this novice writer a lot of help and support and showed
incredible patience when I asked some very silly questions.
I also joined several book groups on Facebook and found two whose members were
particularly supportive and helpful – The NotRights Book Group and
The Fiction Café Book &Writers Group. These groups have many excellent members
who were very generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise of the writing world.
It was through one of these groups that I was most fortunate to meet Pam Howes – an
extremely kind, full-time, best-selling author who gave me so much support,
encouragement and guidance. Pam started her career on the self-publishing path
and has never looked back.
Do you have another project in the works?
Yes, I do. I have already started book number two.
The main characters are Danny Delaney, a thirty-nine-year old Marketing Supervisor who works in London and the leading lady is Elsa Clairmont, who had a
supporting role in ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’. In ‘Places’ she gets to tell her own story.
Without giving too much of the plot away, I can say that both Danny and Elsa die,
in unrelated incidents, within the first four chapters!
What is your favourite book?
I have a quite a few favourites books but the two which are stand out are ‘The Wolf and the Dove’ by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and ‘The Marigold Chain’ by Stella Riley. Both of these books are historical romances – the former being set in 1066 and the second in 1665-66. I read both of these when I was very young (Wolf and Dove when I was 12!) and both stories have always stayed in my heart. I really couldn’t say why although I think the fact that the heroines of both are feisty young women who know their own minds and fight against the male dominance of their societies may have something to do with it. I’ve always been quite independent, a bit rebellious, and I probably identified with their battles to some degree.
Who is your favourite author?
I read several different genres and have a favourite for each one. If I was stuck in a dungeon, however, and could only have the works of one, then it would be Susanna Gregory. She writes historical thrillers which are excellent but quite detailed. I know that I skip some of the detail when reading because I’m anxious to find out what happens next so I would relish the opportunity to re-read her books more slowly and take them in more fully.
Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?
I think it has to be. There are books which I’ve read where I feel I could never produce anything so good and others where I have felt I could do better. I like books with a bit of depth and a few layers to them and so I find myself writing in a similar manner. Books which focus predominately on one or two characters bore me unless they have been exceptionally well written and the subject matter is sensitive or intense.
Where is your favourite place to read or write?
My favourite reading place is anywhere! If I can read a book, then it’s my favourite location at that time. Since I began writing, reading time has been seriously curtailed so any opportunity to do so is grabbed with both hands and I don’t care where it is.
My favourite place to write is my study at home. For a long time this room was a bit of a tip and Mr Mogs had his television & Xbox set up in it. When it became clear that sitting at the dining room table was causing me back pain, the study was gutted, tidied up and turned into my little haven of peace. Mr Mogs is now barred!
When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?
I have always written on some level since I was a child. In my twenties I went through a phase of writing poetry and song lyrics. The decision to write ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ was made in November 2016. Or, if I am being precise, the decision to finish it was made in November 2016, as I had started writing it eleven years prior to that but hadn’t thought of doing anything with it.
Being self-published, I didn’t have the highs and lows that come with submitting to traditional publishing houses and dealing with the lows of rejection or the highs of acceptance. As I was writing my debut novel, I really dithered over which route I was going to take with it. When I discussed it with my mum, she was very keen for me to self-publish. I suspect that this may be so she could actually see my work in print. I’m not a young author and my mum doesn’t have good health so the two combined meant that there could have been a chance of her not being around to see me published if I had gone the traditional route.
What made you choose the genre you write in?
I think the genres kind of choose the author. The stories come into our heads and we just have to write them down. Despite the myriad genres that I read, I’m really a romantic at heart so I suppose it was natural that I would veer in that direction. I don’t like the idea, however, that authors should be pigeon-holed as we grow by trying different writing styles and alternative genres. I have stories waiting to be written that fall outside of the standard romance genre and I am looking forward the challenges they will bring me.
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!”
Thank you, Kiltie Jackson for visiting the blog!