Kindle Author Interview: Janice Horton

Janice Horton, author of Bagpipes & Bullshot, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Bagpipes & Bullshot?

JANICE HORTON: Bagpipes & Bullshot is a humorous contemporary novel which twists an everyday love story with a whole cast of village eccentrics into an entertaining play on Scottish rural life. The story begins with boy meets girl in Texas but soon unfolds into a tale of love and conflict set in Scotland. I’ll leave it for the reader to tell me if it’s a love story with elements of humour or a humorous novel with elements of love story!

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

JANICE HORTON: I had my main two protagonists very clear in my mind before I started writing this story. Innes, who has just inherited his family’s Scottish estate and its bank balance, which after death duty tax is crumbling faster than the walls of their ancient castle, and Orley, a Texan cowgirl, who he meets in a chance encounter. I particularly enjoyed playing the characters off against each other using their transatlantic cultural differences as conflicts. Other characters came to life for me very quickly as I wrote them in. Fergus, Innes’s brother, is my favourite ‘nice’ character and I was rooting for him all the way through to the end of the book. The ‘naughty’ person in the story (and the one I had the most fun writing) is Innes’s ex-fiancĂ© Davina, who provides lots of emotional and external conflict for my two main characters.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

JANICE HORTON: I think it’s someone just like me, who reads to be entertained and transported into another world for a while.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

JANICE HORTON: Not typical, except I didn’t know it at the time. I sent three chapters and synopsis of my just completed first novel to a publisher chosen from the ‘Writer’s Handbook’. I deliberately chose a small publisher as I thought, without an Agent, I might stand more chance. They asked for the full manuscript and that was it: the book was published a year later in paperback. It was during this time I was introduced to the wonderful Romantic Novelist’s Association and met other writers and discovered how hard it is to get published! For me, though, it was staying published that was a problem. My small publisher went out of business just as I’d finished my next novel, and while I was waiting to get the Rights back to the first, I decided to self-publish my second book in paperback. It is this book which I have re-written, re-edited, re-formatted, and re-titled Bagpipes & Bullshot, as an ebook for the Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

JANICE HORTON: As I am a working wife to a self-employed husband and a mother to three boys, there are many demands on my time. However, while I’m busy with other things, I’m always thinking about the writing, the emerging plot (as I don’t plot in advance) and character development, so that I can go straight back to the Work In Progress. I ‘steal’ spare time and hardly ever watch TV—although I do occasionally watch DVD movies. I find it very frustrating that it takes me far longer than I’d like to finish a novel, but I’ve stopped giving myself deadlines. As an indie author, I have the luxury of not having to fit in with anyone else’s schedule other than my own, but like most writers I’d love to write full-time.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

JANICE HORTON: Many authors inspire me these days; I find my reading list has expanded since I acquired my wonderful Kindle. But if I have to pick one author; it would be the fabulous Anita Burgh.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

JANICE HORTON: That’s easy; Riders by Jilly Cooper. I tried to write ‘Jillys’ myself but of course I couldn’t!

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

JANICE HORTON: Well, my friends would laugh and say ‘shamelessly’ but I see it as an excuse to party and talk about the book that I just spent years writing!

My career background is in sales and promotion and so, once a book is finished, I think of myself as a brand and my book as a product. In the past, I have hosted book signings and launch parties where I’ve invited friends, family, neighbours, library people, book clubs, writer’s groups, arts councils, and of course, the Press. I’ve run competitions, and I’ve talked about the book on local radio and regional TV. However, I’ve had to completely re-think my strategy for promoting my Kindle ebook. I still very much liked the idea of celebrating on a specific date though, and so I chose Friday 1st April to be Bagpipes & Bullshot Kindle Launch Day, and to do an on line Blog Tour.

I’ll be blogging and tweeting all day on Friday 1st April. For direction to all the places I’ll be appearing throughout the whole day please visit I’ll also be running a prize draw on my blog (Friday 1st April only) to win copies of the ebook and also Kindle beach protectors (an essential and stylish accessory for every Kindler). All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is go to my blog and leave a comment.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

JANICE HORTON: For two reasons: the first was that having been previously published both traditionally and by self publishing methods, I couldn’t resist the challenge of having a go at e-publishing, especially on Kindle, because distribution and marketing on Amazon are well established. The second reason was that I unexpectedly fell in love with the Kindle my husband bought me last Christmas and wanted to have my books available for it!

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

JANICE HORTON: Firstly and most importantly, make sure the book is ready to publish. Secondly, be sure you don’t want to take the traditional route with this book. Finally, think of yourself as a brand and your book as a saleable product.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes entertaining and humorous contemporary women's fiction novels which are, for the most part, inspired by the romantic beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When she’s not writing novels she writes lifestyle articles and has had work published in national magazines and regional newspapers. She has also been involved in BBC Scotland's ‘Write Here Write Now’ project. Her next novel, Reaching For The Stars, will be available soon on Kindle.

Visit her website and read her blog.

Bagpipes & Bullshot is available now at: Amazon US and Amazon UK.

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