Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thou Shalt Not Kilt - Book One

Book Spotlight

1)     What is the title of your book?
Ø  What is the story about?
·     Thou Shalt Not Kilt is a modern take on classic age murder mysteries. It is set in modern-day North Carolina among the families who immigrated from Scotland centuries ago and settled along the Cape Fear River.
Ø  Who is the main character?
·     Elle Cunningham Mackay is the protagonist. She is a recently single, recently unemployed and recently homeless author who lands a freelance research gig at an old gothic estate on a tiny island just down river from Wilmington, NC. Her host, a former flame, has invited her to research the Scottish clans who are starting to disappear after centuries of settling the region.
2)     What inspired this tale?
Ø  How did the story come to you?
·     When not writing, I am a specialist in Victorian-era Scottish silver jewelry. Most weekends, I attend Highland games and Scottish festivals around the U.S., researching, buying and selling antique kilt pins, agate jewelry, memorial jewelry and sterling accessories. The families and characters portrayed in the book are very much my family, my friends, my customers and my colleagues.
·     My grandmother, now a 103-year-old Cunningham matriarch, first got me interested in reading mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and others.
·     This book was a chance to combine two things I love.
Ø  Did you have to research for this novel, and if so, what and why?
·     Most of my research focused on the geography of the area — for example, where to situate the fictional town of St. Andrews — and anything I could find on extinct clans, Scottish family names that have died off due to too few heirs.
Ø  If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn, and why?
·     In Scottish tradition, each family or clan has a number of distinct, identifiable marks that are often unique to that clan. For example, clans typically have a specific Tartan pattern on file with the Scottish Register of Tartans, a crest, a motto, a clan seat, a clan badge and so on.
·     I was curious what happened when a family name disappeared — if there were no sons across too many generations or the clan changed its name or the family folded into a larger clan. What happens to these registered tartans for clans that no longer exist? Is there any record of these extinct clans? After a great deal of research, I could only come up with a single mention of this idea in one book. Nothing else. It’s something I plan to return to in the future as an actual research project.
3)     Do you feel your character is relatable for readers of all ages?
There is nothing too shocking, outside of the murder(s), so it should be appropriate for ages teen and up.
Ø  Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
ü     If yes, then how?
o  Elle and I are very different people. She tends to jump first then worry about where to land later. I, on the other hand, am a planner who can get too involved in the process making the decision to actually ever make the decision. Writing from Elle’s perspective is very liberating as it gives me the chance to throw caution out the window. And I never have to deal with the consequences.
Ø  What made you write this character; were they based on a real person or something that inspired you?
·     Elle is based on many of the people in my life. I surround myself with people who are a bit more direct than I am (I’m a good yin to their yang), so there is a little of each of them in Elle.
ü     What should readers know about your protagonist?
o  She knows she has screwed up. Whenever she was sure she’d finally hit bottom, she’d find another hole and jump in. That hasn’t gotten her very far in life, and she is finally learning to face her issues, lean on the people who care about her and climb up.
ü     Why are they important to you?
o  We all make mistakes. Mistakes are one of the best things about being human because each time we screw up, we have the chance to learn something about ourselves and make a change for the better. Right now, Elle is all about making that change.
Ø  Do you consider the main character to be good or bad, and why?
·     She’s good person at heart. Closing in on 40, she’s finally growing up and making her own path to a better future.
Ø  What’s the objective of your character?
·     She is working hard to learn from her past mistakes. It’s not going to be an easy trip and she has a long way to go, but it’s a start.
4)     Is there anything specific you’d like readers to know about this piece of work?
If you love the old murder mysteries of Agatha Christie or more modern works by P. D. James, I hope you find something to like here.
Ø  Is there a moral or idea you’re trying to convey – if yes, what and why?
·     It’s never too late to make a change for the better. And murderers always get caught in the end.
5)     Is this novel a standalone?
No, I have three or four more mysteries planned for Elle over the next two years.
Ø  If it is included in a series or collection, what is the name and which installment is it?
Ø  If it is the first installment of a series or collection, when can we expect to see the next book published?
·     The second title, Off Scot Free, will be available later this summer.
Ø  If it is a part of a book series or collection, can it be enjoyed as a standalone novel or must it be read sequentially to experience the full realm of the tale?
·     Each of these mysteries can be enjoyed alone. There are threads that connect the books, but you won’t have to have read one to enjoy another.
1)    Where can readers connect with you and purchase your book? 
      You can find the book on Amazon


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