Wendy Holden talks about her new novel, A View To A Kilt, and its Scottish setting.
In A View To A Kilt I return to my favourite subject: the crazy world of glossy magazines. I worked in them for many years and my heroine, Laura Lake, edits one, a posh glossy called Society. In A View To A Kilt she is once again battling for her job as the evil new company CEO threatens to make Society online-only unless Laura can get the advertising up. Someone suggests a Scottish special edition, and so Laura goes north of the border, to a country she knows nothing about. She thinks it’s all midges and mist-sodden rocks and is about to get a big surprise..
A View To A Kilt is also my tribute to Scotland, a land I have always loved. It’s beautiful, romantic and dramatic; the perfect setting for a romantic comic drama! I go there every year; I even married a Scotsman, which is probably taking things to extremes. But even Scotland has its funny side and in A View To A Kilt I explore the castle culture; those remote fortresses in far-flung locations with relics such as Bonnie Prince Charlie’s waistcoat and Mary Queen of Scots’ shoe on display in dusty glass cases. MSQ and BPS clearly scattered their clothes freely all over the Highlands; they are of wildly-varying sizes, too!
Apart from Laura, my funny, resourceful magazine-editor heroine, my favourite character in A View To A Kilt is called Sandy McRavish. She is lady laird of a Scottish estate but due to her remote situation and the machinations of greedy relatives, she has been kept in a 1980s time warp. She wears white heart-attack lipstick, thinks Princess Di is still alive, has no idea that Duran Duran have split up and has never heard of Meghan Markle.
I wrote her as an unlikely comic character but now I am wondering if she is actually me. I too look back at the 1980s as a wonderful time. But the Nineties were even better; that was when my writing career was launched. I was deputy editor of the Sunday Times Style section and among my tasks was ghost-writing a column for posh party-girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. The column became hugely famous and my first novel, Simply Divine, was about a downtrodden hack who ghosts a column for a glamorous socialite. What a coincidence!! It was an instant hit and quite autobiographical, although it took me a bizarrely long time to realise that I could write a novel about my job. Sometimes the least obvious thing is what is right in front of you!
I haven’t made that mistake again and now always weave what I love and what makes me laugh into my novels. View To A Kilt is the latest example of this, and I really hope you enjoy it!
Forget about Cool Britannia and Gallic Chic. Scotland is having a fashion moment…
London’s most glamorous glossy magazine is in trouble. Advertising revenues are non existent, and if editor Laura Lake can’t pick them up, she’s out of a job.
According to those in the know, Scotland is having a fashion moment. Haggis tempura is on Michelin-starred menus, smart spas are offering porridge facials, and a chain of eco-hotels is offering celebrity bagpipe lessons. So Laura’s off to a baronial estate in the Scottish Highlands to get a slice of this ultra-high-end market.
It’s supposed to be gorgeous, glitzy and glamorous. But intrigue follows Laura like night follows day. And at Glenravish Castle – a shooting lodge fit for a billionaire – Laura finds herself hunting for a scoop that won’t just save her job, it could save her life…
Number-one bestselling author Wendy Holden was a journalist on Tatler, The Sunday Times, and the Mail on Sunday before becoming an author. She has since written ten consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. She lives in Derbyshire.