Happy Friday everyone! Casey here. I’d like to introduce everyone to my fellow Pink Petal Books author Krystal Brookes. She’s been kind enough to answer our interview questions. Stay tuned to the end for an excerpt of her latest novella, Highland Haven.
Tell us about your latest novel –Highland Haven?
Highland Haven is the story of Erin Murray, a young teacher who has taken a job on a remote island in Scotland. She’s on the run from something and the island of Kilrigh seems like a safe haven. The first person she meets is the gorgeous, younger son of the laird. Finlay is kind, helpful and sexy, but Erin is not in a place to be able to trust again.
Do you have to read book 1, Highland Fling first? Can you tell us a bit about that book?
No both stories, while set on the same island can stand alone. The Hero of Highland Fling is Finlay’s older brother Brodie. When an old childhood friend comes back to Kilrigh, he falls for her and has to convince her that it’s worth coming back to Kilrigh permanently to be with him.
Is the Island of Kilrigh a real place? And if not, is it based on an actual location in Scotland?
No it’s completely made up. I did travel around some of the islands when I was younger and it is a mix of Skye (which is a lot larger than Kilrigh), Cumbrae and Mull. It also has a lot in common with the fictional island of Rhanna from the Christine Marion Fraser novels.
What made you decide to go with a smaller press? And how has your experience been so far?
I did Nanowrimo and I finished it but knew it needed a load of work (it’s still not finished). I had looked around for publishers and I liked Pink Petal because their submissions page made it sound like they really look after their authors. Many submission pages make it sound like they are doing you a huge favour and they are being inconvenienced by your submission. I didn’t get that sense from Pink Petal. They help to bring on new authors. Also they had out a submission call for Dangerous Men Dangerous places and I had an idea for a story, so I wrote it and took a chance. I really didn’t expect to get published first time.
You have a fantastic cover. How much input did you have into it? And who is that handsome man on the cover?
I get some input and get to say what kind of thing I like. Obviously there are some things that can’t be put on. I would have loved a game of shinty on the bottom but unfortunately, I doubt there are many royalty free photos of that. Obviously, the guy is meant to be Finlay. I have no idea who the model is. I love that it looks really tender.
Why a Scottish Contemporary? What drew you to that subject?
I come from Scotland, I live in Scotland and people always say you should write what you know. While not living on an island, I do live in the countryside. But I wasn’t keen to write historicals. I wanted to write about modern Scottish men with their iPhones in their sporrans, flashing their bare butts in Facebook photos.
Can you tell us a bit about the Dangerous Men series? And what’s it like writing short stories vs. longer novels?
Dangerous Men, Dangerous Places was an anthology. It is still available as such. It’s pretty much just that: stories about dangerous men in dangerous places. My story is called Bounty and is about a female Bounty hunter who has to crash land on a prison planet full of criminals whom she caught. Rob takes her in and protects her but she’s not sure how he’ll react when he finds out that she was the bounty hunter who caught him. It’s available in its own right as a short novella or as part of the anthology in ebook or print format.
I hear you got your start writing Star Trek fan fiction. What made you decided to write Scottish contemporary and science fiction? Was the transition hard?
Yeah, I first tried writing in 2011 when I wrote some fan fiction for my buddies. My profile (Libby Kim) still gets a lot of hits each day over in fanfiction.net. Most of my stories are about Janeway and Chakotay. My only real problem with changing was to stop seeing all my heroines with bobbed red hair like Captain Janeway. I can’t get away from the tall dark handsome hero though.
What advice do you have for newbie writers?
Don’t compare yourself to others. Work hard at the marketing. Take every opportunity to do blog tours and interviews etc. And remember that very few writers will get a lucky break on a scale like EL James did.
Do you have any other novels coming out soon? And can you give us a hint about them?
The third novella in the Kilrigh Heat series is due out on 20th December. Keep an eye on Pink Petal’s website and my website. I have a lot of nearly finished irons in the fire.
Now, it’s tradition to ask all our guests about The Doubt Monster. Does he or she plague you? And if so, how do you deal with him or her?
I live with the doubt monster constantly. I used to seek reassurance and still do to an extent. I guess I just try to ignore him.
Favorite food? doughnuts
Favorite place to visit? the beach in the summer
Favorite pastime when not writing? visiting my nieces
Guilty pleasure? Sitting in Starbucks writing (I know, it’s so cliched.)
Sexiest man on earth? Colin Firth or Karl Urban
Kirk or Picard? Neither. Janeway. She is by far the best captain-if a little pre-menstrual at times. But having met both Shatner and Stewart, Stewart is the one with charisma in bucket loads. So I have to go for Picard.
Favorite Star Trek series? Favorite episode? Star Trek Voyager. Favourite episode is Scientific Method. She has ha huge dose of PMT in that one (and an alien device giving her headaches.)
Who would you cast to be in a movie version of Highland Haven? Daniel Radcliffe could play Finlay (if he can do a Scottish Accent – I’m sure Robbie Coltrane could teach him) and Evanna Lynch could play Erin (though the same again with the Scottish accent).
A couple of hours later, Erin and Finlay walked into the convenience store for a look around. They’d had lunch in the village pub, and he’d introduced her to the pub landlord, the barmaid, and all the customers who had come in for a lunchtime drink. The doctor and the dentist had both told her to pop in any time to register.
Erin’s eye caught a small stand of postcards showing beautiful views of Kilrigh. She stopped to leaf through them, picking a few that she would send to family and friends if she ever felt safe enough to let them know her address. Someone walked down the aisle, causing her to step closer to the shelf behind.
As she moved forward, her elbow caught a glass jar of jam, sending it smashing into pieces on the hard tile floor. Biting her lip, Erin immediately bent down to pick it up. Suddenly, she was hauled by the upper arms back to her feet by Finlay. Instinctively, she moved to shield her face, and she cowered, trying to pull her arm out of his grasp.
“Watch, you’ll cut yourself,” Finlay barked, moving her out of the way. His grip loosened, and he pushed her gently away as if she’d stung him. His dark brows knit together in a frown. He stared at her for a moment then looked away.
“Ailsa, do you have a brush and pan?” he called over the shelf to the woman behind the counter. The woman said yes and hurried away. Erin could not take her eyes off Finlay. She’d known in her head that not all men hit women, but somehow that knowledge disappeared from her heart. She had probably offended him by the way she reacted. He turned to her, his frown deepening.
“Sorry,” she whispered.
“No, no Erin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just didn’t want you to cut yourself. I didn’t mean to be so rough. You looked as if you thought I was going to…” His voice trailed off as the short, white-haired woman came up behind him and nudged him out of the way, so she could clean up the mess.
She wanted to get out the shop as quickly as possible. Such a nice day had been spoiled by her clumsiness. He’d never want to remain friends with someone as messed up as she was. She grabbed a packet of cold meat, not really caring what it was, a couple of tomatoes, and a loaf of bread. When she got to the cereals, she automatically reached for the bran flakes—then stopped. She didn’t even like bran flakes. But Pete had insisted on her eating the healthy cereal in case she got fat. She looked at the small selection and chose some nutty clusters with chocolate chips. She knew it was a mental middle-finger salute to the man who had terrorised her for years and it was childish in some ways, but she got great satisfaction for something as small as choosing her own breakfast cereal. She looked at Finlay, expecting a raised eyebrow over her unhealthy choice but he didn’t seem to notice. He seemed to be in a world of his own.
It took Ailsa only a minute or so to ring up her purchases on the till.
“That’s six pounds twenty-four, please.”
“What about the jam?”
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” She looked around at Finlay, who was studying the display of car magazines.
“Please let me pay for it. I feel terrible.” Pete’s lazy drawl was in her head. She was stupid and clumsy. He was only with her because he felt sorry for her. She was ugly, fat, ignorant. She shuddered as she tried to push the memories away.
“Oh lass, don’t be silly. We have breakages all the time. I wouldn’t dream of taking the money for it. Besides, any friend of Finlay’s is a friend of mine.” Erin nodded and smiled. She already liked the white-haired, plump older woman. “He’s single, you know,” she whispered conspiratorially.
Heat flooded into Erin’s cheeks and she looked again to see if Finlay had heard. He seemed too engrossed in an article in one of the periodicals he had picked up.
“I do now, I guess.” She giggled and felt the tension ease a bit. Finlay turned and motioned her to go first out of the shop. They both thanked Ailsa, who winked at them and turned to continue cleaning the counter.
When they reached the jeep, Finlay opened the door for her to climb in, then moved around to the driver’s side and settled himself on the driver’s seat. He stared at the steering wheel, biting his lip as if working something out. He inhaled deeply before he addressed her.
“Erin, did you think I was going to hit you when you broke the jam?”
She turned her head from him, staring out the passenger side window—tears burning behind her eyes.
“Has someone hit you before?”
Blinking back the tears, she turned to face him. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she said gruffly.
“Fine.” He nodded, lifting a hand to cup her cheek. “Most men don’t hit women. I don’t hit women,” he emphasized before leaning forward and kissing her lightly first on one eye, then on the other. She kept her eyes closed—willing the tears away. Without another word, he turned on the engine, and the car moved off.
They drove in silence back to her cottage. As he stopped the vehicle, he produced a business card from his jeans pocket and handed it to her.
“It has my mobile, business, and home numbers. Call me if you need anything, are unsure of anything, or just want a chat.”
She nodded and gave him an uncertain smile. As she undid her seatbelt and opened the door, he laid his hand gently on her arm. “Erin, don’t judge us all by the actions of one weak-minded bully.”
This time she didn’t look at him. She simply got out of the jeep, shut the door, and headed for the cottage. At the front step, she looked back to see him run a hand dejectedly through his hair before putting the vehicle into gear and driving off.
She shut the door and leaned her back against it, allowing her legs to bend. As her butt hit the floor, she raised her knees, hugged them, and allowed the tears to flow. Was Pete’s behaviour going to cause this reaction in her for the rest of her life? Today, Finlay had shown a care and tenderness that Pete never had and she’d felt safe. But could she truly learn to trust him after all that had happened? She wasn’t sure.
When Erin Murray decides to escape her past in Glasgow, she picks the small island of Kilrigh as her haven. Arriving at her new home, she’s alone and scared, but is welcomed by the overly cheerful laird’s son. The tall, dark and sexy Finlay must earn her trust–something she’s not willing to give easily.
Erin begins to let the walls of her heart come down, only for her past to darken Kilrigh. Can Finlay keep her world from falling apart and can their budding relationship survive this threat?
Available from http://pinkpetalbooks.com
When Krystal Brookes isn’t enjoying staring at the beautiful scenery of her Scottish home, she’s writing about what’s under hunky Highlanders’ kilts, feeding her nieces too many sweets then taking them home, and drinking way too much coffee.
She started out writing Star Trek fan fiction but has recently progressed to original stories for publication. She writes contemporary Scottish romance and science fiction romance. When the wet dreary weather in Scotland gets too much, she dreams of taking off in a space ship to find warmer climes. Who wants to go to a sunny country when you can head for a sunny planet?
Krystal, thanks so much for being our guest today! Scribes readers, if you have a questions or Krystal, please ask! Am I the only one curious about the Scottish men Facebook butt flashing?