Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: On the Edge by Claire Gillies 💕 Fun Facts, Book Tour & Signed Book Giveaway 💕 (Women's Fiction/Contemporary Romance)

Monday, June 28, 2021

On the Edge by Claire Gillies 💕 Fun Facts, Book Tour & Signed Book Giveaway 💕 (Women's Fiction/Contemporary Romance)

Catherine MacGregor spends life daydreaming her way out of the perils of a dead-end job, and a 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?

My protagonist Cat is struggling with her mundane life and impulsively leaves the city for the Orkney isles. Cat is not based on me, but we do have a few similarities and some of my experiences inspired the novel.

In previous blog posts I have talked of my journey from a dull office job in busy Melbourne, to the wilds of the Orkneys, but I did not delve too much into what happened when I got to Orkney...

Cat becomes a bar maid in the local pub, making money on the side while she pursues her art, (something I also did) - and on one of her nights working alone, she bears witness to a bar brawl. I went through this experience too and on reflection found the whole thing rather funny! Fishermen, divers, farmers, (you name it!) suddenly started fighting. It was quite a spectacle, and I was caught off guard when the atmosphere turned from joviality to an angry mob all attacking one another! I shut off all the lights and the music, which made them eventually disperse, bleary eyed and fed up with the prospect of no further alcohol! With it being a rural pub and everyone already knowing one another, disagreements soon got smoothed over with a handshake. In the book, Cat realises the perks of living on an island, for the next day after the fight, she was in fact the source of gossip...with one version of her headbutting a bystander! As ridiculous a story, this actually happened to me too! Rumours very easily float around the village before you get your hands on that first cup of coffee!

Near the end of the novel a blizzard sweeps the island, forcing Cat to stay indoors. I don't want to give anything away but this was inspired by a very cold spell at Christmas. No ferries or planes were departing; myself and my husband were snowed in, trapped! As awful as it sounds, it actually was such a beautiful memory I carry to this day - it was quiet, everyone keeping to their homes, while the local cafe was still open, offering up mulled wine. The little fishing village was covered in thick snow, it was magical - like a scene from a festive Christmas card. There was something comforting about surrendering to the weather, and making the most of the quiet.

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.

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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!


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