Monday, March 18, 2013

The Avon Affiar: Aloha to Jennifer McQuiston and WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND

The Avon Affair is a fourteen day Avon Books Review Event hosted by current and alumni members of Avon Addicts.   Fall in love with Avon Romance ....

The Hawaiian word of the day is 


It is island.

The State of Hawaii is composed of eight island (oldest to youngest):  Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the island of Hawaiʻi.  The "ninth" island is Las Vegas.   Hawaiians flock to it for its climate, shopping, and entertainment.   Jennifer McQuiston joins me for a cozy chat about her romance debut, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND.  Did the ninth island inspire it?  Read on ...

Glenfinnan Monument

Kim:  You hail from Atlanta! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of The Big Peach?

Jennifer:  Thanks so much for hosting me today! While I WISH my favorite sight boasted a soothing beach and beautiful sunset, as yours no doubt does, my favorite Atlanta sight is easy: I travel a lot for my day job, and I absolutely love the sight of Atlanta's familiar, jagged skyline as I drive back home from the airport. When I see those skyscrapers rising up, I know I am just a few minutes away from my family.

My favorite sound in the big ATL is probably the local country music station, 94.9 The Bull... Georgia has churned out some amazing country artists, and this station plays all my favorites (especially Kip Moore, a romance author's dream!) 

And favorite Atlanta smell? I confess I love the smell of ripe peaches, as cliche as that sounds... and Georgia peaches are my favorite variety in the world. Unfortunately, they are only in season May-July, so I am usually shoving as many in my mouth as I can during those three blissful months. 

Castle Frasier

Kim:  How did a Veterinarian and infectious disease researcher become a romance author? Did any part of your scientific training help you in writing romance?

Jennifer:  My day job as an infectious disease researcher at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is wonderful, but it can also be challenging. Reading has always been a welcome escape, but over time I found it wasn't enough. In some ways, I suspect I became a fiction writer because I needed something to stimulate the creative side of my brain that was languishing on peer-reviewed journals with names like "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene". I gravitated toward Romance because it is what I prefer to read. I think my scientific training helps me with the research that is such an important part of writing historicals. It has also helped me better manage the criticism that comes with writing for a diverse audience -- it was a bit eye-opening to realize there is every bit as much of a peer review process for fiction writers, only it usually isn't anonymous!

Edzell Castle Gardens

Kim:  Can you share a squeal moment as a two time Golden Heart (GH) finalist? 

Jennifer:  Oh, I can do better than that... I can share the Jim Beam (my favorite adult beverage) along with the squeal! During my first GH final in 2011, I showed up at the conference knowing hardly anyone, but toting a little bottle of Jim Beam around in my purse. When they announced the winners, that bottle was tipped up and then passed around the table to console the other non-winners, too. In 2012, it was almost expected I bring the bottle, only this time I had three critique partners and a whole lot of friends to share the non-winning swig with. In hindsight, it was for the best. My debut novel, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND, was written after those two GH-finaling books, and I am so glad this will be the one to introduce me to readers. I have a quirky sense of humor, and I enjoyed letting it fly with this book. In fact, sometimes I have to pinch myself that I am getting published for writing the very snarky retorts and witty dialogue that would have once landed me in trouble in high school. 

Dunnottar Castle

Kim:  Tell us about WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND - what inspired it?

Jennifer:  WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND is your typical "she woke up married" story... only based in 1842 Scotland. It is a fun romp that will (hopefully) keep readers guessing to the end, and it was an absolute blast to write. The idea came to me as I was heading to Vegas to celebrate my 40th birthday, and it occurred to me in one of those "gee whiz" moments that I had never read a historical that tried to do this. I wrote it in two months, and it just poured out of me onto the page.

The heroine, Lady Georgette Thorold, wakes up in bed next to a handsome stranger. Presented with the disturbing evidence of what she might have done, she runs for it... only to realize she must track the mystery man down and press him for an annulment. James MacKenzie isn't sure if he's married or not... all he knows is that the beautiful woman he thought he was protecting has clocked him over the head with a chamber pot and run off with his life savings. Each must piece together the clues of a night gone wrong... and pray that it doesn't get worse.

While some readers might indignantly claim, "That couldn't have happened!", I humbly present the Scottish marriage laws for debate, which in the 1840's were very different from those in England. In fact, Scotland's lax laws on irregular marriages prompted the popularity of Gretna Green as the go-to place for those seeking to elope, and resulted in the occasional abduction and forced marriage of naive young heiresses. The laws of the time enabled anyone to be married at anytime by a citizen witness... and oddly enough elevated the status of the local Scottish blacksmith to matchmaker!

Gretna Green 

Kim:  What's next for Jennifer McQuiston?

JenniferWHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND is the first in a three-book series. The next book is still untitled, but it is an unrequited love story featuring a tortured hero with an unheroic past, and a heroine determined to snag the man she has loved for years. It is based in Brighton, a seaside resort town that was popular in the Regency and Victorian eras, and it was a lot of fun to craft a historical novel that captures the essence of a passionate summer romance.

The third book in the series (which has also not yet named) features a hero who has been charged with murder, and the heroine he tricks into marriage so she can't testify against him. While darker in content, I can tell you that this current work in progress is proving almost as much fun to write as WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND.

Mahalo, Jennifer, for joining us today!  I loved WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND - I posted my five star review on Amazon (at this link) and Goodreads (at this link).  I am giving away a print copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway, 

1.  What would happen if you visited Scotland  .... 

... follow the Whisky Trail (link)
... travel the Castle Trail (link)
... shop the Royal Mile (link)
... visit the Highlands (link)

or something else?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 23, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 24.


Kim in Hawaii

To learn more about Jennifer and her books, check out her website at

The Avon Affair continues with ...

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness 


  1. I would like to travel the castle trail and see all the unique castles! I'd also like to visit the Highlands....maybe capture a photo of Nessie! :)

  2. I'd love to tramp all over the Highlands & see all the beautiful scenery.

  3. That last picture of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness is just so amazing, it doesn't even look real. I'm so used to seeing brown's, sandy colors and cactus that seeing that much green is just surreal. I think I could probably live right there for the rest of my life..sipping tea from one of the castle windows, watching for Nessie...

  4. I can see myself taking on all 4 suggestions, especially the Highlands and castles.

  5. Hi Yall from Atlanta! I have actually been to Loch Ness and prowled around that castle, Kim, so it is beautiful to see it on the blog post. Thank you for having me on today...

    And wow. I didn't realize there was a whisky trail but I am itching to check that out.

  6. I would stay in Scotland longer and take all four trails.

  7. Ok knowing my luck I would end up lost on my way to the castle trail. I would love to Scottish castle.

  8. Since I'm a walker and a history buff, I'd do the Castle trail and the Highlands tour as well. And Jennifer's book is on my to read list as it sounds like a great story.

  9. Visit the Highlands, although your stunning pics of castles make the Castle Trail tempting.

  10. Kim, those photos are amazing. I've been to Edinburgh and shopped the Royal Mile. I'd love to return to Scotland to visit the Highlands and tour more castles.

    Thanks for visiting, Jennifer. So, it's Jim Beam to console a loss? May I suggest Woodford Reserve when you win?

    1. I'll drink to that. Actually, for whatever reason, it is JB that I love. Other bourbons don't quite get me there... not that I don't allow them the opportunity to try to change my mind. I do enjoy Maker's Mark when my trusty JB is deemed "too redneck" for the bar.

  11. I'd really have to stay long enough to follow all those trails! I was in Scotland once many years ago and loved the countryside - I'm not sure if it actually was the Highlands, so I would have to put that as my first choice.

  12. I was also in Scotland for a few weeks many years ago. I loved it, the scenery was absolutely breath taking. We went to Loch Ness, and I've got some pics of me sitting by it. We also went to the Glenfiddich distillery, and had a tour of that, and a wee dram of whiskey. Love Scotland, adore the highlands and would love to go back one day.

    Jennifer, your book sounds absolutely amazing. Congratulations to you on your debut release.

  13. Thanks for the fun post and congrats to Jennifer on her release! I would love to do all of that! I would love to visit the castles and go to the Highlands and see the countryside :)

  14. What a fun post! Congratulations to Jennifer on her new release. If I went to Scotland, I would visit the Highlands and visit the castles, and shop and eat.

  15. While my hubby might want to follow a golfing trail... I'd be up for the wiskey one! Congrats to Jennifer!!

  16. I think I'd start out at the castle trail and then enjoy myself on the whiskey trail lol.

  17. I'd like to travel the Castle trail and visit the Highlands first. If I could still walk after that, I'd like to shop the Royal Mile and, of course, I would have to follow the Whiskey trail for my husband!

    Congratulations, Jennifer on the release of your debut novel - very exciting for you!

  18. If I visited Scotland I'd want to do it all, except probably the Whiskey Trial since I don't drink. The Castle trail would be a must, but the Royal Mile and the Highlands would be awesome too.

  19. I would follow the castle trail and visit the highlands. Love the sound of What Happens In Scotland.

  20. I second the GA peach votes!! The only thing that would make Atlanta better is a closer beach and less traffic.

    I know I'm biased, but, y'all this is The. Best. Book. You really need to pick it up :)

  21. I would like to go to Gretna Green. Sounds so interesting.

  22. I'd start out on the Highland trail, snag me a man in a kilt, and then head on over to the Whiskey trail. And then I'd just see what happens next...Love What Happens In Scotland!

  23. If I have to choose, it's the Highlands for me!

  24. I would absolutely love to visit the Highlands. Anyplace in Scotland is appealing to me :)

  25. What a lovely interview! I would tale the Castle Trail and include the Highlands along the way :-) The cover of this book captured my attention immediately! We now have a new Scot romance writer -- yipee! Oh I also wanted to tell you my Gramma's drink of choice was Jim Beam. She was a full blooded Dane. Good luck with your release!

  26. I would love to go to Scotland. I would for sure want to see Gretna Green. I would also love to go on The Wiskey Trail and visit the Highlands. Just about anything in Scotland. Especially some sexy men in Kilts and listening to their Scotish brogue. Sexy. I want to see what they wear under their kilt, praying for nothing. LOL.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

  27. I often dream if going to Scotland. Visiting castles, roaming the moors & meeting Scottish men wearing tartan... Tea and shortbread cookies :) lovely!

  28. As soon as I hear the word Scotland attached to a book I want it. I absolutely love reading about Scottish Romance. My # 1 pick. If I ever get to visit Scotland I would hit the Castle and Highlands tour. The above pictures are really beautiful.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  29. As you know I have lived in Scotland for a few year before moving to Canada, It will ALWAYS be my Home in my Heart & sole....
    That being said DH & I have talked about Scotland Many Many Times My dream trip back home would be to Tour ALL the Inner & Outer Hebriedia Islands..
    Jennifer Is a new to me Author I think we are going to be Best Buds Now.....
    Making may List...
    Have good one.Ann/alba

  30. Someday I will see that monument. And visit Castle Fraiser, stand there and dream of Jamie Fraiser. :) I would just have to do it all...which means I need to plan at least a month long vacation there. Sounds like a plan right?! :)

  31. I would just ask people to talk to me. That's it. What?

  32. If I ever get the chance to go back to Scotland I want to explore Winchester Cathedral once more because spending time there one time just isn't enough to enjoy all it's splendor!

    Where else can you see a 12-century King James Bible while hearing the Cathedral bells ringing. Take time to stop and look at the beautiful Tournai marble font sowing the miracles of St. Nicolas and what lover of romance wouldn't want to visit the resting place of Jane Austin where she was buried in 1847?

    My husband and I had a special treat when we visited because as we entered the organ started to play and we sat down in rapture and listened to the music that was played on that same organ to those who entered it's hollowed halls centuries before us.

  33. I would travel the Castle Trail. I have never seen a castle but love looking at the pictures.

  34. Great interview! I love the sound of this book!
    If I ever get to visit Scotland, I am totally going the Castle Trail! I have never seen one in person and would love to.
    Thank you for sharing, Kim and for the chance to read it. :)

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