Thursday, 31 March 2011

Anita Burgh: Bagpipes and Bullshot. Janice Horton

My blog has been seriously neglected of late and I apologise but life has a habit of interfering with the best laid plans. However, my friend, Janice Horton has jogged me into writing of my interview with her.

Janice lives in Scotland and writes humorous contemporary women's novels which are inspired by the beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When she’s not writing novels she writes lifestyle articles and has had work published in national magazines and regional newspapers. She’s also been involved in BBC Scotland's ‘Write Here Write Now’ project.

Have you always wanted to write?

Janice: I’ve had romantic notions about being a writer since I was a little girl. Enid Blyton was a favourite inspiration in the early days. I had a garden shed with ‘SS’ on the door in which I sat writing my own ‘Secret Seven’ books starring me, of course, and my brothers and friends. A few years later, I was still sitting in the shed, only writing pony stories inspired by Ruby Ferguson’s ‘Jill Books’.

Anita: Blyton was an extraordinary woman and despite the PC brigade still so popular. She must have inspired many.

How long have you been writing?

Janice: I began to write seriously ten years ago, and by that I mean with the intention of being published.

You are published in fiction and non fiction. Which do you prefer?

Janice: I really enjoy writing lifestyle articles for national magazines and regional newspapers but I absolutely love to write fiction. My first novel, When We First Love, was published in 2004 by a small publisher, which unfortunately went out of business just as I’d completed my second book, ‘Beneath Apricot Skies’ which I self-published. My latest venture is to indie e-book publish on Amazon Kindle with my novel ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’. I’m excited to explore this intriguing new publishing media.

Anita: I think everyone in the publishing business are fascinated by the e-publishing phenomena, I certainly am. Do let us all know how it goes.

You work, you write, you blog, you have a family, you have animals, I am exhausted listing them all. How and when and where do you find and make time to write?

Janice: I don’t write every day, although I’d love to. A typical morning for me is sorting out admin and doing accounts. I run a small graphic design company that I set up years ago. After lunch, except on a Thursday, I work in the village as a legal secretary. So after seeing to the family, walking the dogs, and attending to the hens, it just leaves a few stolen hours in the evenings and one afternoon to write – unless, for the sake of my sanity, I take Time Out. This means taking a couple of days when I sit with my laptop at the kitchen table in front of the Aga, or on the sofa next to the fire and make it quite clear to everyone, dogs and hens included, that I’m U-N-A-V-A-I-L-A-B-L-E. I will not cook. I will not answer the phone and I will write all day without any interruptions. I stay up late. In fact, I might not go to bed at all, but if I do, it will be for a couple of hours of my own choosing. Sometimes, as a writer, extreme measures are required or we might never write all the stories trying to burst out of our heads or record the cacophony of voices resonating in our ears.

Anita: You are so right. There has to be an element of ruthlessness when writing, I’m sure. However, I do believe this is a problem mainly for women writers. We lack that essential ingredient for having the time – a wife!

Tell us why you have chosen to e-publish.

Janice: For two reasons: the first was that having been previously published both traditionally and independently, I couldn’t resist the challenge of having a go at e-publishing with Bagpipes & Bullshot, especially on Kindle because distribution and marketing on Amazon are so well established. The second reason was that I unexpectedly fell in love with the Kindle my husband bought me last Christmas and wanted to have my own books on it!

Anita: It certainly seems to be the way forward. We are writing in interesting times.

Who has influenced you the most?

Janice: I don’t know if I’m influenced by anyone actually, because I’m pretty independently minded. I can be inspired and I can take advice, in fact I actively seek it, but I don’t think that’s the same as being influenced. I tend to adopt ideas only if they meld with my own mindset or help me to achieve a predetermined goal. I admire others and have great respect for people who can do things better than I - but I’d rather innovate than imitate.

Anita: I’m surprised by your answer. Most authors I know have someone. For me it is Dickens, I read him and I loved him and I wanted to try and create worlds and people like his, even if they are pale shadows compared to his genius.

What advice would you give someone just setting out?

Janice: I would say write from the heart and listen to your Inner Voice.

Anita: Oh yes, that voice the only one you can really rely on.

Can you tell us about your novel in one sentence?

Janice: Bagpipes & Bullshot is a contemporary romance novel which twists an everyday love story with a whole cast of village eccentrics into an entertaining play on rural life.

What are you planning in the way of promotion for Bagpipes & Bullshot?

Janice: Well, it’s very difficult to get a new e-book noticed by potential readers unless it features on one or more of Amazon’s Top 100 charts, but because of the way Amazon calculates its sales, just a few sales on one particular day can make all the difference in pushing it through the charts. I’ll be blogging and tweeting all day on Friday 1st April my publication day.

For direction to all of the other places I’ll be appearing on my Blog Tour throughout the day please visit I’ll also be running a prize draw on my blog (Friday 1st April only) to win Kindle Beach Protectors (an essential and stylish accessory for every Kindle but alternatively you could always use it to protect your camera or phone!) All you have to do to be in with a chance to win one is go to my blog and leave a comment or ReTweet one of my tweets using the hashtag: #bagpipes.

Anita: Thank you, Janice. Let’s hope you have a resounding success, you should, you’ve worked so hard at the promotional side.

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