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12 April 2011

Kate Hamilton talks about her Gothic Comedy Romance - Blood Line

I'm delighted to welcome fellow Brit, Kate Hamilton, to my Blog today.
Kate lives in beautiful Scotland and is a talented painter as well as writer. More about that a little later though. First, let's hear about 'BLOODLINE':

 Kate Hamilton designed the cover for her ebook BLOOD LINE, a Gothic comedy romance which is available on Amazon.

Heroine Lauren MacBreach should have listened to the wise advice of her angel, Cidriel and come away with him thus avoiding a fate worse than death. But she turns him down and is catapulted into a hilarious adventure in the Scottish Highlands.

Is she to be a bride or a blood sacrifice - or both?
Only her angel can save her. She is his first case.
But does he, and if so how?

If you like a lighthearted, funny romance with a very clever, subtle ending read BLOOD LINE.

The characters are one of the strongest points of the book. Hamilton has an incredible sense of character voice and behavior that allows Lauren and Cid to jump off the page. I adored Cidriel and often found myself eagerly awaiting his next appearance. In addition, the book is rich with Scottish culture and custom, bringing the setting to life. As Lauren explores the castle of Tomindoul and the surrounding villages and islands, the reader feels as though they are following every winding staircase and corridor along with her." J.Rainey. Amazon review.

 Excerpt from 'BLOODLINE'

I was heading for the door when it opened and a tall, slim, elegant woman, immaculately dressed in tweeds, pushed her way into my room. 

   ‘Dahling. We meet at last.’ Clasping my hands she held me at arms length and looked me up and down. ‘Lovely. Quite lovely. Your photographs certainly don’t do you justice.’

   ‘My photo - ?’

   ‘Excellent. Excellent. You had a good journey, I presume?’ She didn’t wait for an answer, but swept on. ‘Now it will take a little time to adjust. But you are so young and the young adjust quickly do they not?’

   Perhaps. But somehow I didn’t think age came into it.

    ‘That rather depends if I want to.’ I replied, feeling my temper rise. ‘Oddly enough I thought that there was still such a thing as free will in the western world.’

   She swept the comment away with her hand and launched herself down on the sofa. ‘Come and sit by me, my pet. I can see you are somewhat disorientated. ‘

   I did as I was told. The alternative was to be downright rude and as far as I could see it might be wiser to go along with her for the moment. I might learn all I needed to know from her.

   She took my hands in hers. ‘Now, first of all you need to know a few things, I expect.’

   I nodded.

   ‘Well, dahling, it may surprise you to know that we are related. Yes, really. Isn’t that something special. I am your cousin. I was baptised Euphemia. Frightful, isn’t it. But everyone calls me Mia. And that’s what I want you to call me. Now before anything else I must tell you I have your morning all organized ahead for you. No, I won’t hear of it. A little newcomer left all on her own would never do.’

   ‘But - I -.’

   ‘No buts, only goats butt. Lauren, I believe we are going to be the very best of friends. First we shall go on the Grand Tour. Would you like that. Of course you would.’

   I don’t believe in just meekly following along. After all I had a right to explanations. It looked like I had no choice and I would at least learn the layout of the place.

   Or that’s what I thought. I had not bargained to be taken at a trot through so many rooms, up staircases, down long corridors til I was completely disorientated. I have a feeling she did it on purpose. All the time she talked and I was breathless trying to keep up. She must have been extremely fit. Her dark hair, which was tightly bound in a knot and her waxen oval face showed no signs of the hasty runaround she was treating me to. She veritably sprinted up those spiral staircases. I came puffing and panting in the rear.

   Finally she came to a small door which opened up onto the battlements. We must have been hundreds of feet up from the sea which boiled over the rocks a giddying distance below.

   ‘Sheer drop, don’t you know.’

   ‘Yes. I gathered that.’

   ‘Best view in the country up here. We command all you can see.’


    ‘The family. The McBreach’s. This is Tomindoul.’

   I gaped over the wild hills that came down right to the seashore. The woods surrounding the castle gave way to barren hillsides. There was a clear view across the sea to a number of islands in the misty distance. Seabirds wheeled, crying to one another. The wind was wild. If I was in the mood for a guided tour I could have quite enjoyed the view.

   Mia was waxing eloquent behind me. The drop was dizzying. Generally I’m not too bad with heights but this was a stunning drop. I wasn’t paying attention I suppose. Ancient history doesn’t naturally appeal. So it was with quite a shock when I heard her voice up close. I was grasping the rail. Not that it was particularly secure. Her hands were on the rail beside mine. I suddenly felt her warm breath. Smelt her perfume.

   ‘And this will be the fate of the next Bride of Tomindoul.’ Her voice hissed in my ear as my heart lurched into my mouth and she pulled my hand from the rail and shoved me over.

   I screamed so hard my throat almost burst. I blinked down through eyes that were squeezed shut and felt the ground coming up toward me. Everything swung into slow motion. I was aware of the sickening wrench on my armpit as my hand took the strain of the weight of my body. My feet scrambled to find a hold on the side of the tower. I must have breathed a prayer.

   I knew my fingers were rapidly going numb. I only had so much time then they were going to freeze completely and lose their grip. I would be hurled to the rocks below. Dashed on the hard surface and washed out to sea. I kicked as hard as I dared with my legs willing myself to gain a foot hold. Then I knew I was slipping. My fingers were letting go. I was holding on by a thread I dared not scream again.

  Then my fingers finally lost their grip and I felt two motions at once. The upward rush of the air as I plunged, and strong arms catching my feet, my body, my head as I was propelled back up onto the doorway and left standing with complete astonishment. Reeling with shock.

   ‘I thought I heard someone screaming. It wasn’t you by any chance was it?’

   I whirled round to find a thickset man in an army uniform. His steel grey eyes looked concerned. He didn’t wait for a reply. ‘I’d come down if I were you. That railing needs mending. Not too safe.”

   I glanced back at the railing. There was a feather balanced on it. A feather pure and white. Like one I had seen before. I slipped it in my pocket and followed the army guy at a safe distance.

That's what ther call a 'cliffhanger'! Great excerpt, Kate.

Kate Hamilton had her stories read out in school and tried her first play when she was eight.

She decided to become a writer as a definite act rather than falling into it, or 'doing it all her life.'

She had the luxury of time and opportunity, devouring 'How To' books on the craft of writing. She discovered the best way was to read other authors and her studio became awash with books as she read everything from Dickens to Norah Roberts, Wodehouse to Tolstoy.

She studied American, Scottish and English Literature as part of her 
M A at Aberdeen University.

Kate lives in an art studio very near the heart of the beautiful city of Edinburgh. A few minutes walk in various directions will take her to the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the pub which Robert Loius Stevenson frequented as a student, the homes of Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin and the very famous coffee shop where a certain book was written. 

When she is not writing she is playing classical piano, painting in oils, or visiting the grand houses and castles in the Scottish countryside in her sports car.

She paints on location and also loves painting flowers in her studio.           

This is a recent painting.
 Kate loves to laugh, believing that laughter is the best medicine and that looking on the bright side (even in situations that can appear pretty dismal) is one of the keys to a successful life.

She loves and very much admires the writing of P G Wodehouse. Her favourite humourous novel is 'Cold Comfort Farm.'

Try as she might to write a 'dark' novel, her talent as a comic writer keeps bubbling up to the surface.

"The characters simply emerge from the aether and writing becomes a dictation as they speak. The fact that they can be uproariously funny is their responsibility."

Kate thoroughly enjoys researching a novel. This can take her to one of the many libraries in the city, or on location to a house or a castle.
Her novel 'BLOOD LINE' includes such a location. The Island of Shee - the Fairy Island - is an actual island in Scotland with a ruined monastery, although it goes by another name.

Kate has used Abbotsford in two novels she has written. Abbotsford is the beautiful stately home of Sir Walter Scott.

Kate likes to combine her artistic skills in designing her own book covers. 'Although I am a proponent of paper books and love to browse in the many second hand book shops here in Edinburgh, and have a lovely library, I have appreciated publishing 'BLOOD LINE' as an ebook in that it has given me a greater say in the final product.'

Her current writing is a comedy romance with a Regency setting called "CONCILIATION." She plans to use one of her paintings to depict the heroine, Lady Cecily, on the book cover.

A comedy Romance by Kate Hamilton.

 When Captain Reginald Randall returns from the Battle of the Nile he is unprepared for the news his mother gives him . . .

   . . .  "    His lips were white. ‘Yes Mother. I understand.’

   ‘And there is another matter. A further matter.’

   His breathing came slowly. He had not stirred. Nor made any movement. A butterfly flew down from the wisteria and for a moment alighted on his wrist, it’s wings opening and closing.

   ‘Go on.’

    ‘There is a condition. You may remember it when your father was very ill. James’ marriage.’

   ‘No. I was at sea.’

   ‘So you were. Well, if you recall Clarissa and James were married as he inherited the title, as it is a condition of the inheritance that the Baronet have a wife.’

   ‘And if not?’

   ‘This title cannot be bestowed on another.’

   ‘In that case you mean it is unconditional.’

   ‘For you as rightful heir it is your obligation to be married.’

   Reginald sat like a stone. Without movement. He was extremely pale. His lips still white.

   Lady Randall shifted in her seat, determined to face him squarely. An inexplicable calm came upon her as she drew from a hidden, inner strength.

‘The title requires that the heir succeeds as a married man.’

Reginald held up his hand. As he did so the butterfly lifted its wings and took flight over the restless waters of the fountain pool.
Visit Kate Hamilton's blog at http://www.kate-hamilton.co.uk
All content is copyright (c) kate hamilton 2011

I wish also to thank Lyn so very much for inviting me today.

And thanks so much for being my guest, Kate, it's been a real pleasure hearing all about you and your work..