I have been anticipating this book for a couple of months…I know that isn’t long, considering how much time most of us wait for
DG and GRRM some authors to give us the next installment in our beloved series’.
The Trouble with Scotland is the latest in Patience Griffin’s Kilts and Quilts series. If you haven’t read any of this series, then you are missing out. It is a quick read, but it isn’t cheesy romance – it is really quite good, with a lot of hot Scots and steamy love scenes…and some quilting thrown in to tie it all together. Yes, I know – you don’t expect to hear about hot men and quilts, but in this series it is SO GOOD.
Here’s a quick rundown of the backstory: The Kilts and Quilts series is set in fictional Gandiegow, Scotland – a quaint fishing town on the sea. The town is full of colorful characters, and the most colorful is Deydie, who is an elderly spitfire who is in charge of the quilting center in town. She manages to manipulate the townspeople (and visitors) into doing exactly what she wants most of the time, while bringing everyone together for a common purpose. Every book features a new protagonist, with a little bit of Deydie and some other staple characters thrown in.
In this 5th installment of the series, we meet Sadie Middleton and her brother, Oliver; they have just lost their grandmother, Gigi, who was more like their mom. Sadie and Gigi were avid quilters, and they entered a quilt block into a contest to win a trip to a quilting retreat at Gandiegow. Oliver packs Sadie up and forces her to go on the trip, even though she doesn’t want to go. Sadie is sick with stage 4 chronic kidney disease, and she is just not in the mood to be surrounded by people that make her think of quilting with her grandmother, so she immediately escapes. She starts exploring the town, and wanders into the pub. While there, she rescues handsome fisherman Ross Armstrong from a matchmaking uncle. Ross does her a favor in return and takes her out of Gandiegow for some peace and quiet. There are a few twists and turns, with the townspeople trying to keep them apart and Sadie and Ross not admitting that they want to be more than friends. It all comes out perfectly in the end with a sweet and lovely finish. There are some steamy scenes in there, too – who knew quilts could be so sexy?!
I wouldn’t mind having Ross Armstrong as my latest book boyfriend, y’all. When I think of him, I see Billy Bones and his rolled up shirtsleeves on his sexy arms. Move over JAMMF, Finnikin, Mr. Darcy, Four, Roarke…never mind, I have a lot of book boyfriends, so Ross gets added to the long list, along with his brothers. You can’t have too many – you need one of every flavor. Right?
Like the rest of the books in the series, The Trouble with Scotland does not disappoint. It has a really good story line that is tied together throughout with nice details that make you wish you were in Gandiegow at Quilting Central listening to the latest gossip and making pretty quilts. Fun fact…I don’t quilt – or sew – and I STILL WANT to go to the fictional Quilting Central and make one anyway. #TotallyNormal
Besides the actual stories, which are all unique with clever and fresh plots, one of the best parts of the series is that you can pick up any of the books in it and start reading. Yes, they are all tied together, but you don’t have to read them in any particular order to get the sense of the ongoing story line.
I was able to have a nice phone interview with Patience, and she graciously answered my questions. Fun fact – she has a degree in engineering, and listening to audiobooks for her long commute each day is what got her into writing.
DS: Who is your greatest influence in writing? Do you have an author that you particularly admire?
PG: Ok, growing up I wasn’t a romance reader. I was always about trying to read stuff that was “good” for me, and I didn’t realize that Jane Austen was considered the “Mother of Romance.” But I loved Jane Austen, I just loved her, and you know I started with Sense and Sensibility and every one I would read I would love more than the previous one. As far as contemporaries go, I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips.” (She also mentioned Katie MacAlister and Janet Chapman…both of whom are now added to my TBR list!)
DS: Do you have any strange writing habits?
PG: Well, I for years I have written in a recliner. I heard Sherrilyn Kenyon say how by writing in a recliner it helps with carpal tunnel. I have really had no trouble ever by sitting in a recliner with a laptop. And the problem is – my cat, who I have become allergic to, she likes to come sit with me in my chair, and she has taken over my recliner. And now I can’t sit in my recliner without sneezing and my eyes watering! So my new thing, and this is kind of embarrassing, I have set up a card table, and I have my dining room and living room together, and when you walk in my front door I have a card table sitting right there. I think its kind of weird, but it makes me happy to be in this room – there’s a lot of light…when I get #6 done, I’ll take it down, and then probably put it back up two seconds later. But right now its kind of like a superstition, you know? Everything is working right now in this chair just like this.
DS: What are your future projects?
PG: Well you know, I feel a little up in the air about it, and I’m not sure. I had planned to, I don’t know if you’ve read The Laird and I, and that is the bridge – It’s a bridge between Gandiegow and going to Whussendale. I’ve talked to my editor about what I want to do, and it will still be the Kilts and Quilts series, you know, but I am not contracted yet for those novels. But I hear from people all the time that “You cannot leave Gandiegow EVER.” So I need to find out if I can write both at the same time, because I still have plenty of stories for Gandiegow, and I have new books lined out for Whussendale also. You know, I just have to see how it goes. … I love The Laird and I, it was really fun to write, and I’ve become really attached to that other community, too. SO that is the plan
DS: What was your favorite part of The Trouble with Scotland to write?
PG: That part where Ross teaches Sadie to sway her hips when she walks – I really had a lot of fun with that scene. I also thought it was my best 1st kiss scene ever! (Side note – I AGREE! So does her critique group – y’all need to go read this. It’s a fantastic first kiss scene!)
DS: If you could date one of your characters, who would it be?
PG: Well my husband is in the next room! (laughing) That one is really tough, because for me its almost like every time, it’s whoever I am writing.
DS: Which of your characters do you relate to the most?
PG: It seems like its different people along the way…its funny because, even Deydie, I can really relate to because I can say things through Deydie that I wouldn’t normally say to people. Old people say whatever they want! (shout out to everyone’s favorite old person!)
DS: Do you have anything specific you’d like to say to your fans?
PG: I LOVE my readers. Sometimes I am asked about reviews and stuff like that, and to be honest, people who don’t like my books, I am ok with that, because they aren’t my people. If “my people” got upset because I did something, that would be totally different. It’s an ‘I am not in their wheelhouse sort of thing,’ and I think that is totally ok, because there are some things that I don’t like either. When I pick something up, I want to be entertained, and have romance and a happy ending. When my daughter was younger, she read Jennifer Crusie before I did, she was in her teens, and she told me “Mom – these books are so good. You need to read this!” and I got onto her and said “Sweetie,you shouldn’t read that. that’s candy and you need to read stuff that is good for you!” And its funny, because when I really started reading romance seriously, because I was listening on a commute three and a half hours a day and I was gravitating to love stories and things that made me feel good, and my daughter, she turned the tables on me, and said “Mom, that’s candy. You shouldn’t be reading that. You shouldn’t be writing it.” And I told her “I’ve matured and now I like romance.” I’ve matured into romance!
DS: I think that is so true though – a lot of people think romance is really good, if they would just read it. They just have to put aside the prejudice that some people have against romance. They think “Oh its just fluffy.”
PG: Exactly – you know, like the old bodice ripper stereotype. Several years ago when I started writing – it took me 10 years to get an agent. I was basically writing full time for ten years – anyway, my cousin was a big women’s fiction reader, and so was I. I really read a lot of women’s fiction, and I sent her Susan Elizabeth Phillips – I sent her Ain’t She Sweet, and she read it and wrote back and said “What makes this a romance? Why isn’t this a coming of age story?” and I said that’s it EXACTLY, its not necessarily a romance, its all these other things. It is a lot of overcoming prejudice and also at the same time, I don’t have to worry about that, because I have my readers who love Gandiegow, and that’s what makes me happy. So its really nice, I get nice notes all the time, and they keep me going because I am sitting here at my card table in the middle of the room!
DS: I think it is good – the awareness you are bringing to Chronic Kidney Disease too.
PG: I am in awe of what I didn’t know. I mean, I’m still just kind of blown away by it all.. You know, I hope they can do something about this, I hope people can go and get tested. March is National Kidney month – they are doing a lot, of free testing around the country. I have had a lot of people tell me “ I have this too.” I am going to continue to try to get to people. I met a donor and recipient, and its been 12 years since they had it, and they are doing great. There is life after a kidney transplant, and being young like that I can’t fathom it.
You can read The Trouble with Scotland by Patience Griffin on April 5th!
More fun stuff: Rejoice, quilting mavens and sewing-challenged friends alike – you can enter to win a beautiful quilt in honor of the release of the new book at the Patience Griffin website! And if you are interested in going to Scotland and touring with Patience, she has a quilting tour each year (you don’t have to be a quilter to go).