On the Edge
by Claire Gillies
GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Romance,
Catherine MacGregor spends life daydreaming her way out of the perils of a dead-end job and dwindling love life. Rather than face imminent redundancy, Cat finds herself giving up her life in the city, and moving to a remote Scottish island for a fresh start.
Unlocking her passion for art, things have never looked better, until the handsome but elusive musician Patrick Flannagan takes to the stage, complicating her best-laid plans.
Cat’s past could be catching up with her at last. Can she unlock her own secrets, and learn to love again, in time to save her brave new beginnings?
Before Cat could grasp her drink, she was approached by a younger man who looked a little nervous.
“Would you like to dance?” With his open, earnest baby-face, Cat put him at about eighteen and was flattered.
“Yes, why not!” She fanned her face, trying to recover from the previous dance, ready to launch into another. This one was different, still with a deal of twirling, but with variations involving kicks and a burst of graceful hopping. Cat laughed as she missed a few steps, trying to keep up both with the music and her partner. She loved the movement and the strength of the steps; they made her feel so alive, like her stint swimming in the sea earlier that month. Her partner spun her around one last time, and the music stopped suddenly, and everyone clapped again. The fiddler started playing on his own, a much slower waltz to which Cat was about to start gliding with her partner until a cough came from behind them.
“May I interrupt?” Patrick smiled and looked down at them both.
“We’re just about to dance!” the boy said “Go find your own partner Paddy!”
“Come on now, Archie!” laughed Patrick, “you know I’m only good at the slow dances and there’s lots of girls lined up by the wall over there just waiting for you to ask them!”
The boy looked at Cat, then at Patrick, considering his prospects for a few moments. “OK then,” he finished reluctantly, handing his partner over without any more complaint, heading quickly in the direction of the waiting girls.
Welcome, Claire Gillies! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I’m from the Scottish Highlands, but currently living in Melbourne Australia with my little baby boy and a lovely husband. I love everything I shouldn’t – cake, wine, coffee, and working through every costume tv drama that has ever been made!
Is On the Edge a single title, or part of a series? It’s a single title. I wanted to tell Cat’s story at the time when her life completely transformed. I feel satisfied I have delivered her story. However, I would be open to writing more…we shall see…
Please share your setting for On the Edge. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most? The story follows Cat who resides in Glasgow and is deeply unhappy, until one day she comes across a magazine article about the Orkney Isles, and impulsively leaves her city life. I lived in Glasgow and also Orkney, though my journey began in Melbourne Australia before moving to the Orkneys. I am from the highlands, but I had never been so far north before (or lived on an island!). What I loved about Orkney is it’s such a wonderful spot to be creative. Artists live there for many reasons but a big factor is the constant changing light – it illuminates the whole island bringing out new colours at every turn. Another thing I loved, was there was a hub of people, there was always something going on and people coming and going. I remember thinking that there was a buzz in the air, it was a lively place to be!
When did the writing bug first bite? I worked an office job and found myself despairing at the lack of creativity in my life at that point. I developed a friendship with another girl in my department and somehow, we began exchanging emails, which then turned into writing a children’s book together. It opened my eyes up to writing, and not long after I started On the Edge.
Who are your favorite authors, book/series? My two favourite authors are Philipa Gregory and Neil Gaimon – both completely different to my genre! I love the historical side to Philipa’s work, I feel reading one of her books gives me an insight into that particular person from history. With Neil’s work I just adore his imagery – I want to bathe and immerse myself in his words! On the other hand, I also read Jenny Colgan and Katie Fforde – they never disappoint and are always perfect to curl up with and escape to a happy place!
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time? I love live music and go as often as I can (which after having a baby, has been little of late!). So, in the meantime, I’m still seeking out new bands. Also, I love getting outside and having a good walk in nature. Hiking is something that’s appealed to me more and more the older I get – I climbed Thorung La pass in Nepal which is 17769 feet high. I’m so chuffed I made it to the top, the air was thin making it hard to breathe and it was unbearably cold – I remember thinking my hands were going to freeze off (that was even as I wore gloves!) It was such a grueling hike, but one I’ll always remember!
Also, to relax, I love costume dramas, if I get time to myself, I am in my happy place if I have a glass of wine and get to snuggle down into a world where Mr. Darcy lives!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen? I saw the Loch Ness monster…the strange thing was, she was in Loch Shiel!
What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do? I wouldn’t say I should be handing out advice to writers, I’m still at the early stages of my writing career. However, just the act of writing makes you better, even if you don’t know what to write – just write anything! You can’t polish and improve your words if there is nothing down to start with. Write what makes you happy too. Oh, and read a lot.
Peeps, this book. It’s a charmer for sure. I was engrossed from beginning to end with this one. Normally, it takes me a couple of days to read a women’s fiction book but with this one…one day. Ms. Gillies writes from the heart and she speaks from what she knows. I will admit that I have never watched an episode of Outlander and I have Scottish blood. In fact, my paternal side (my grandfather) came to the US via Scotland. McCortney is my maiden name. And yes, they dropped the U to make it easier for them in the new country. And yes, my brother has seen the records from Ellis Island. How cool is that? Back to my point…I LOVE the show Men in Kilts. Devoured it. Loved seeing Scotland in a different light. While I was reading this gem, I remembered when they went to the small islands that surround the mainland. That is what I pictured in this book.
The setting is breathtaking. Scotland has always been on the bucket list but now I really, really need to go to one of the islands. The pubs, the shops but especially the people. From the old librarian, Billy the old boat captain, Jess the artist and BFF to Cat, Mon, Johnny, Angie, and then we have Patrick. He is a dream but he has his own secrets and growing up to do in the book. This book has a slow-burn romance to it but don’t go into it thinking that it’s the main purpose of the book. It’s not and I liked that about it. Claire has some serious soul searching to do and I loved her journey. Life is sometimes messy but sometimes you have to endure the mess before you can clean it up.
Ms. Gillies has written one of my all-time favorites in women’s fiction. It has depth, characters that you will love and care for, and a location that can’t be beaten. I was taken back at times but Ms. Gillies knew how to pick me back up. Just like Claire. You don’t want to miss this one for sure. An easy beach read but also one that can be read with a good cup of tea and sweet cakes. And yes, I’m hungry for fish and cups with a pink. I wish I could pick between whiskey and bourbon. Okay, I’ll have a shot of both. For Billy.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Claire’s homeland continues to be a stream of inspiration for her. A clothing designer too, Claire (Lorna) creates one-off bespoke garments using Scottish tweeds and tartans.
Claire currently splits her time between Scotland and Australia with her lovely Irish husband. She is a cat lover (without the cat) and can be found either drinking coffee, researching the best cake haunts, or watching yet another costume drama!
Tweets by ClaireGillies13
The book is on sale for only $0.99.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Claire Gillies will be awarding a signed copy of the book. (International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.