Welcome – Gwen Kirkwood – author

Gwen and I both write Scottish-themed novels and I thought my readers/followers would like to know more about Gwen and her novels.And, how could I write a blog post in January without mentioning Robert Burns

Lizzie, thank you for inviting me to write a blog telling you why I set most of my books in Scotland.  Robert Burns’ birthday is on 25th January and this year it happens to be my granddaughter’s twenty first birthday. My grandfather was a great Burn’s fan. When he was in his nineties, even though he had lived most of his life in Yorkshire by then, his two favourite books were still Burns poetry and the bible. I do enjoy traditional poetry myself. When I first began writing fiction I included a poem at the beginning of each book. My first sagas were the four Fairlyden books and they all have a poem by Robert Burns in the front. 

Although I was born and went to school in Yorkshire, I had three Scottish grandparents and a yen to come to Scotland. When I finished college I came to Dumfriesshire to work, visiting the dairy farms. I loved the countryside from the beginning, and also the buildings of local red sandstone. Later I met and married my husband, a Scottish dairy farmer and breeder of Clydesdale horses. Consequently I have lived most of my adult life in Scotland and have no regrets. We have lush green fields, hills and glens, woods and rivers, and a few lochs too, although the south west of Scotland is often overlooked in favour of the Highlands.

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Authors are often advised to write about what they know but I’m still amazed when I hear of people wanting to read my books about everyday life with families and animals, the ordeals and triumphs, usually related to farm or country life.

I like modern history and often set my books around 1900 and move forward, although Dreams of Home began with a young soldier returning from the Second World War and desperate to farm. This is the only series in which I wrote five books and continue to present day with Darkest before the Dawn, and the introduction of milk robots.  I like to include the changes and developments in farming and wish I had listened more to the stories my grandparents could have told me.

Some of the letters I have received have been from readers reminiscing and sharing memories, or tales, of times past. Also one reader had been an evacuee to this area and lived in a rambling, bitterly cold, manse. It is now a hotel. I do mention some local towns by name but the villages and farms are all fictional, as are my characters.

Gwen, it has been fascinating learning more about your books and the background to your writing. What a fabulous collection of books for readers to get their teeth into. I’m going to start with Return to Bonnybrae, it wounds right up my street.  Here’s the blurb –

“It is the start of 1919 and Miss Rina Capel, granddaughter of the Laird of Stavondale has one ambition – to set aside her life of privilege and become a nurse. But when she is summoned back to the Bonnybrae to see her dying grandfather just before her eighteenth birthday, he reveals to her family secrets which turn her world upside down. In love with a man she can’t have, and facing marriage to a man she has never met, Rina must draw on all her reserves of strength and female guile to escape a fate to which her dissolute parents would condemn her. And what dark secret is it that her father harbours, and which threatens the estate itself? Set in the wilds of a Scotland looking to recover from the most terrible war in human history, this is a gripping tale of one woman’s attempt to give her life meaning, and to be a force for good against terrible odds. Can Rina chart a course in a world torn asunder, and can she protect the Estate from the awful consequences of her parents’ actions? And can she find love, and find a way for happiness to return to Bonnybrae?”

If you’d like to know more about Gwen and her books, follow these links

http://www.amazon.com/GwenKirkwood/e/B0034O410Y

http://www.gwenkirkwood.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/GwenKnovels

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/790765.Gwen_Kirkwood

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(c) oscarmcwhite – 123rf.com/photo_9723089.html

If you write Scottish-themed romances would like to appear on my blog, get in touch via email – but, in the meantime … keep writing!

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About Lizzie Lamb

I write contemporary women's fiction mostly based in Scotland with hot heroes, feisty heroines and always a happy ending. Along with three other authors - Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Margaret Cullingford - I formed the New Romantics Press under which all our books are published.

Posted on January 21, 2017, in Lizzie's Scribbles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Thank you for inviting me to your blog Lizzie. I feel honoured because you have made a much better job of blogging than I can do. I see you are beginning reading with Return to Bonnybrae. It is the third in my present series, following Moorland Mist and Moorend Farm so I shall be interested to hear whether you can pick up the characters without a family tree. When writing a series it is always difficult to know how much back story to include for those who have not read the earlier books in the series. I appreciate your time and trouble and will do my best to answer any queries and to share the blog on Facebook and Twitter.

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    • Gwen, deep respect to you for the numbers of books you have written. I am so glad that you like what I have done with it. I had great fun writing it and discovering about you, your family and your path to publication. Trust me to download #3 in your series. I will amend that ASAP and buy #1, too. I will let you know how I get on and leave a review although ATM I am reading nothing other than newspapers as I am editing my fourth book and I find, if I’m not careful, I start to pick up other writers’ voice and tone. Thank you for taking the time to respond to comments, not all blog guests do.

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  2. Here’s to your continuing success in writing such entertaining and involving novels,Gwen!

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  3. You are so right, Lizzie. Gwen’s books sound wonderful, what a feast to discover. The mystical gaelic charm of the landscape, and the love you both share for your homeland shines through, just lovely!

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  4. What a wonderful collection, Gwen. Great you’re able to share your knowledge of the changes in farming life and the impact on families, through story-telling. We have a haggis at the ready for Burn’s night. (Lovely that your grand-daughter will be celebrating too, Gwen.) Hope you both raise a wee dram on the 25th!

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    • I hope you enjoy your haggis too Rae. Birthday celebrations will wait until next weekend as my granddaughter is in her fourth year at uni and has three exams – one on her birthday – but that’s life, it intervenes with pleasure sometimes – at least it does in my books when there’s a problem to be overcome..

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    • Hi Rae, thanks for dropping by. I’ll share something strange with you, my family never ate haggis until we came to live in England when I was eleven. Obviously the whole Burns Night vibe passed us by in Motherwell. However, I’ll raise a glass to Rabbie on the day – and I do mention him and Tam O’Shanter in my current work in progress.

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  5. Lovely to meet you here, Gwen – and to be introduced to your books. What a fascinating range and selection. (I have family in Dumfriesshire -Lockerbie – love that area!)

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    • I love D’shire too. Last year when we were camping in Edinburgh a fellow caravan er suggested that we camp at Port Logan next time we are in Scotland. She said it was beautiful, and midge free. We have stayed in Port William and visited a huge Dairy/Creamery near Castle Douglas – the ice cream was out of this world.

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  6. Pleased to meet you June. It is a small world really. I know a lot of readers get my books from the mobile library in this area and all our libraries are very good at getting requests. Maybe your relatives also known my daughter’s ice cream – though I shouldn’t be talking about that here.

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  7. Feel free to give us our daughter’s details, Gwen. I would love to visit one day.

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  8. Gwen is a wonderful storyteller and lovely person – great to read your post on Lizzie’s blog!

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    • Many thanks Rosemary, you’ve written some wonderful novels with a Scottish theme, too.

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    • Thank you for taking time to look in Rosemary. I know how busy you are just now – well writers are always busy, then life intervenes as well. As Lizzie says you have some lovely Scottish stories and especially the historical one re Burns – Highland Mary? I read it and enjoyed it but I may have got the title a bit wrong.

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  9. Rosemary has some fabulous book videos on YouTube too. (that’s on my to-do list)

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  10. Gwen you are an inspiration to us all, and a lovely person too as Rosemary rightly says.

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