A big welcome all the way from Scotland for the delightful Janice Horton! Hello, hen, how are you? Pull up a chair, biscuits, tea or coffee a plenty. I think there’s cake too, I’m sure Celia has made some.
So, Janice, whereabouts in Scotland are you based?
Hello girls! I’m from Dumfriesshire and it’s the part of Scotland that they call the Southern Highlands. I live in a wee cottage high up on the side of a hill. It’s very remote and in the wintertime we can be snowed in for ages. It’s all very conducive to writing romantic novels!
You have a very distinct Scottish feel to your blog and your books, what is it about the country that inspires you?
As a romantic novelist, it’s impossible not to feel inspired by the hills, the heather, the mists and the ancient castles around me. I drew on it all when I wrote Bagpipes & Bullshot and readers said that was one of the things they most enjoyed about my writing. It’s a very beautiful country, but the lifestyle can be very harsh here, which provides lots of material for both conflict and humour in my stories. So, I continue to give my readers the Scottish settings they enjoy. Bagpipes and Bullshot is set here in Dumfries and Galloway. Reaching for the Stars has an Edinburgh setting and How Do You Voodoo? has a scene in Glasgow’s Necropolis or ‘The City of the Dead’!
If you didn’t live in Scotland, where would you like to live?
Somewhere warm and dry. Sometimes, just sometimes, I’d like to throw on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts or wear a thin silky dress and high heels. At home in Scotland, I mostly wear layers of warm clothes and wellies, even in the summer.
Is there a particular place in the world that you would like to visit and/or include in a novel?
I’m sure there is! But actually, for me it’s the characters that come first. Although my novels are primarily set in Scotland, it entirely depends where the characters come from or where they are going that dictates any other settings. The heroine in Bagpipes & Bullshot, Orley, is from Texas USA and the novel starts there. Luckily, I have been to American many times and know the Gulf Coast area well. However, if I haven’t been to somewhere I’m going to write about, I do feel I’d have to go there for research purposes!
What about reading, not Reading in Berkshire, but reading as in books – what do you like to read and what books or authors have influenced you as a writer?
At the moment I’m reading indie novels on my Kindle – my tbr list is ridiculous but they have all been recommended as ‘must reads’ – and so I must! There are also some fabulous new small publishers springing up who are focussing on high quality fiction in eformat. In paperback, I enjoy novels with great covers and stories that feature fabulous heroes. And as to who has influenced me as a writer – it would have to be those who write gripping stories with equal measure of wit and humour – like the wonderful Jilly Cooper, for example.
Thank you! Interestingly, I had the title at the same moment I had the idea for How Do You Voodoo? The story was sparked by a real life event. I was on a flight back from the Caribbean which had originated in Port au Prince, Haiti, when two female passengers got into an argument. When one of the women went onto to be quite ill later in the flight, my imagination took over and I started scribbling down a story about a girl with a voodoo curse on her and what happened afterwards.
Story Synopsis: How Do You Voodoo?
Loveless fashion model Nola Nichols thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career.
Nola rejects all rational explanation on what might be causing her lost looks and decides she has to find a way to get uncursed. This imaginative quest takes her from the Caribbean to Glasgow’s own City of the Dead. Along the way, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?
It’s a novella as opposed to your usual full length novels, was it difficult it keep the word count down?
This is my first novella and although at 20,000 words it was much quicker to write that my full length novels, I found the writing process very similar in the respect of creating character, plot, story arc, etc. The only difference is how I tell the story. In my longer novels, I have more characters and more viewpoints and there is at least one subplot. In How Do You Voodoo? the story is told only from Nola’s viewpoint and there is no subplot, only a bit of backstory that I weave in as the story progresses, so that we understand why she behaves as she does and what she really wants in life.
What made you decide to write a novella?
I’m working on another full length novel at the moment but I’m aware that I’m not the fastest novelist in the world and so it’s unlikely to be finished, edited and formatted, until mid-2013. It occurred to me that there are certain times of the year, like Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, when it’s an ideal time to bring out a novella to keep your readers interested in your writing between full length novels or perhaps to introduce them to your writing.
Thanks for popping in Janice, it’s been great chatting to you.
Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes contemporary romance with humour. Her novels ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ are both Amazon Kindle bestsellers. Her latest title ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ is a romantic and humorous novella for Halloween and out now!
Find out more about Janice and her novels:
Link to her ebooks on Amazon.co.uk
Link to her ebooks on Amazon.com