Today I am so pleased to welcome Anna Martin to Joyfully Jay. Anna has come to talk to us about her latest release, Whiskey Kisses. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a book to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
When I’m looking for something to write there’s one place I know I can go for inspiration—my notes spreadsheet. Now, I don’t claim to be the most organized writer in the world. (I’m probably one of the least organized!) But I do have a spreadsheet of ideas and prompts, which at some point over the past seven years has turned into something of a bucket list of stories I want to tell.
‘Rural Irish Romance’ was the prompt that eventually gave life to Whiskey Kisses.
When I started writing this book I definitely had a better idea for the sort of feel I wanted to achieve than the actual plot of the story, which isn’t so unusual for me! It was always supposed to be a little glimpse into Jim’s life, exploring his family and the dynamics of that small town in rural Ireland. I’m so fortunate to have friends who live in Dublin, and when I visited them a few years ago we spent an afternoon walking from pub to pub in the countryside just outside the city. That afternoon gave me all the inspiration I needed to create Kilglass, the town with a whiskey distillery that Jim calls home.
The other interesting thing—to me, at least—is the time period the story is set in. The events definitely don’t happen in 2017 though I’m not sure I could put an exact date on it; probably somewhere between 2002 and 2012. I’m sure we could debate “what constitutes a historical?” for days, and I’m definitely not claiming this story is one! But for me, it was definitely an experience writing a book that’s set about ten years ago.
I’ll leave you with a little excerpt from the novella; here Jim runs into Aiden for the second time and attempts to flirt. I hope you enjoy it!
I wondered if I was handsome enough for Mr Aiden Rooney to look at me twice. I worried that I hadn’t dressed particularly nice that morning, hadn’t combed my hair, then felt stupid for worrying. No one was looking at me in Kilglass.
The rain had eased off again as I jogged over the road and took up the same spot at the bar that I’d been at yesterday, when Mr Rooney was nothing more than the man my sister had a crush on.
Oh, bloody, bollocking hell. Brid fancied him. For all I knew she might have more luck with him than I did, but there was something about the way he looked at me, looked back over his shoulder when he walked out of the bakery, that had convinced me he was cruising me.
Just as I was about to leave, go back down the road and get a sandwich from somewhere, Brid popped up from behind the bar and grinned.
“I’m not paying for your lunch again, you tart,” she said.
“I don’t want you to pay for my lunch,” I muttered, shifting awkwardly to pull my wallet out of my pocket. “Same as yesterday, please. And get one for yourself.”
She nodded and took my money, not giving me any change from the ten euro, which made me pout at her. I didn’t dare say anything.
It was busier today for some unknown reason, and I leaned on the bar and played on my phone while Brid got my lunch and served the others. I’d always loved this pub, with its low, old beams and the booths tucked into the windows. The bar was three-quarters of a circle, meaning there was plenty of space on either side to sit and nurse a pint. Except on my lunch break, of course.
There was live music in here most weekends; they set aside space and built a little platform for the band or singer, and there was always themed evenings through the week, too. Bingo on Tuesdays. Curry night on Wednesdays. Pub Quiz night on Sundays, when you could get a roast dinner too, and eat that with your team while you played.
I would have got a job working in the pub when I was old enough if it wasn’t for my arm – I spent enough time in there anyway, it would have been nice to get paid for it. Still, things turned out all right in the end.
I was startled out of my game when someone sat down next to me and leaned on the bar.
“Imagine running into you again so soon.”
“Mr Rooney,” I said, remembering my manners. He gave me a funny look, then smiled.
“Can I join you?”
The question was redundant. He’d already sat down. I nodded anyway, and shuffled over to give him some more room.
“So, I’ve just arrived, as you might have heard. What’s there to do in this lovely little town?”
Try as I might, I couldn’t stop myself from staring. Blue eyes. Dark hair that fell in waves across his brow. He was undoubtedly ridiculously handsome. Brid clearly had good taste in men.
“Welcome to Kilglass, Mr Rooney,” I said, turning on the charm and hoping he’d see it for what it was. Flirting back. “This fair town is known for two things: horses and whiskey.”
“I’m in luck. I’m fond of both.”
“Well, the O’Shaughnessys—and you’re talking to one of them—are well known around these parts for their proficiency with both.”
He laughed, a bright, clear sound that made my dick twitch again.
“Is that so.”
“’Tis indeed. Why don’t you tell me a bit more about why we’ve found ourselves playing host to your good self, then I’ll be able to recommend more that might be to your tastes.”
Aiden looked at me in a way that told me exactly what his tastes were.
In a small town about an hours’ drive outside Dublin, there’s a whiskey distillery.
Jim has worked in the distillery as its business manager since he returned to his home town after getting his degree. Whiskey is a slow business and rural life is quiet, but Jim takes it in his stride. That is, until the handsome and mysterious Mr Aiden Rooney moves into a room above the local pub and sets off a flurry of gossip.
Aiden’s an artist, and his devil-may-care attitude is a revelation to Jim. But he still lives in a small town in rural Ireland, and he’s not even sure if he wants to be out and proud. The choices they make could change everything, if only Jim dares to follow his heart.<
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England and now lives in Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before turning her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), visiting friends who live in other countries, Marvel Comics, learning new things, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Although her most recent work is in the LGBT Adult Fiction genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen/ Young Adult genre, Romance, and Fantasy novels.
Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; “My favourite books,” she says, “are The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.” She also several well-read copies of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading and creative ass-kicking provided by her closest friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept any responsibility for anything Anna has written.
Anna has brought a choice of backlist book to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, November 17th at 11:59 pm ET.
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