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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Great Expectations

Lizzie Lamb

When I was writing Tall, Dark and Kilted I wanted to make brooding hero Ruairi Urquhart, revise his opinion of heroine Fliss Bagshawe. I hit upon having Fliss deliver a baby during a storm which had prevented the local doctor from getting through. However, never having given birth, I wondered where I could gain the necessary expertise to write a convincing scene? Cue fellow New Romantic 4 and mother of five, June Kearns.

Me: June, do you think one needs to have a baby in order to write convincingly about giving birth?
June: I’d say, yes. But, seeing as your deadline is approaching and gestation takes nine months, you’re cutting it a bit fine . . .
Me (muttering) At least she didn’t mention my age.
June: Added to which, neither biology nor anno domini are on your side. So you’re going to have to rely in t’internet, or consult an experienced mother. (coughs to draw attention back to herself)
Me: Like you.
June: Ex -actly. Fire away.
Me: Does it hurt?
June: On a scale of one to five?
Me: Yes.
June: Imagine trying to push a turkey through your nostril, double the pain and you get the idea.  
Me: (paling) What equipment should my heroine gather together - towels, hot water?
June (briskly) : Rubber sheet, blanket, disposable gloves, scissors (sterilised in a saucepan of water) string - ditto - hand washing equipment, disposable gloves, apron, electric kettles for boiling more water, cotton wool, sanitary towels, black bin liners, a pillow covered with an old towel. Oh, and - a bottle of whisky and several glasses. 
Me: (incredulously) Is it safe to give the mother whisky so soon after giving birth?
June: The whisky’s for your heroine. She’s going to need it, take it from me, there’s the afterbirth to deal with and . . . Hey, where are you going. I haven’t finished giving you all the gory details. 
Me: To think about a new plot line! Maybe a missing dog will work . . .

In the end, the scene was written using my imagination and information I culled from the internet. I really loved writing that scene because it shows my hero’s caring side and my heroine’s steadfastness.  

But the story doesn’t end there.

I received a lovely email from a retired midwife who’d read Tall Dark and Kilted and wanted to know where I’d undertaken my midwifery training. Apparently, she was impressed that my heroine knew not to cut the umbilical cord until it had stopped pulsing (roughly about 10 mins after birth) Sadly, I had to dissolution her but we have since become Facebook friends. 


Tall, Dark and Kilted

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?

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is shamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days.

Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Head teacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts - and published it.

Lizzie loves the quick fire interchange between the hero and heroine - like in old black and white Hollywood movies - and hope this comes over in her writing. For her second novel: Boot Camp Bride (due out this autumn) she’s had enormous fun researching VW camper vans, the Norfolk Marshes and the world of journalism. Not to mention falling in love with delicious hero - Rafael Ffinch.


  1. Thank you very much for featuring me on your blog, Louise. Great blog by the way! I hope some readers will pop by today and check us out and leave a comment.

  2. Great post! Love the exchanges with June. I've read Tall Dark and Kilted and this particular scene stood out to me for exactly the reasons listed by Lizzie above. It was so realistic and really united hero and heroine in said delicate task ahead of them. It's a fab read, with a great cast of characters. I'm so looking forward to reading Boot Camp Bride :) x

  3. Great blog and a great post! I just loved Tall, Dark and Kilted. I don't remember our chat about childbirth very clearly. P'raps large glasses of wine were involved.

  4. Great blog and a great post! I just loved Tall, Dark and Kilted. I don't remember our chat about childbirth very clearly. P'raps large glasses of wine were involved.

  5. Thank you ladies, and thanks to Lizzie for writing the post. Child labour talk and large glasses of wine go hand in hand, don't they? ;)

  6. I enjoy researching for my stories, but there are definitely some things it's better to look up than to try personally.

  7. I absolutely loved this scene in your book Lizzie, riveting and brilliantly written. The wise-cracking quick-fire dialogue in your writing always makes me laugh out loud, so I am really looking forward to Boot Camp Bride and what goes on in that Camper Van!!!

  8. Thanks to everyone who commented on my post and to Louise for allowing me to guest on her blog.