About the book, Snowdown at the Old Schoolhouse
- Publisher: Leannan Press (November 12, 2023)
- Language: English
- Paperback: 371 pages
- Series: Glenbriar
- Scroll down for Q & A
They didn’t forecast this!
When charismatic and handsome weather presenter Marcus Bowman walks back into Willow Roxburgh’s life three weeks before Christmas, her quiet job as an admin worker at the Old Schoolhouse residential care centre in Glenbriar is shattered. He’s not only the man she used to crush on, he’s also the one who thwarted her TV forecasting dreams.
But she’s no longer the anonymous studio assistant; she’s secretly Scotland’s new favourite weather forecaster, Rocky Rainman.
With the Schoolhouse facing closure, Marcus is on an assignment to drum up festive support. However, he’s discovered the internet sensation Rocky Rainman lives somewhere nearby and is determined to expose him after Rocky’s recent damaging comments on social media. Seeing Willow, the girl he used to obsess over, shakes his priorities.
When a blizzard hits, Willow and Marcus are snowed in, and she discovers her perception of him wasn’t as accurate as her forecasts. Marcus isn’t convinced it’ll be a white Christmas, but he’s determined to win Willow’s heart. Can their new love weather storm if he discovers her secret? Because how can there be a future for Marcus Bowman and Rocky Rainman?
Buy, read, and discuss this book:
About the author, Margaret Amatt
Margaret is a Scottish author and chocolate lover who has been writing stories for over twenty years (possibly more if you count her primary school efforts). Her early works will never see the light of day and are locked in dusty vaults on some old floppy disks. But after all those years of practise, Margaret released her first novel A Winter Haven in 2021. This is the first of a ten-book series set on the gorgeous Scottish Isle of Mull. Margaret has also written six books in The Glenbriar Series with more planned for 2024. The stories are unashamedly romantic but with lots of drama and an eclectic mix of characters. Each book can be read as a standalone but followers of the series will enjoy catching up with the characters.
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Eight Questions with Margaret Amatt
Snowdown at the Old Schoolhouse is the sixth book in your Glenbriar series. I know it can be read as a stand-alone novel, but what key information would enhance the story for readers who haven’t read the preceding books in this series?
There are some recurring characters throughout the series. In this one, we meet Cha from “Two’s Company at the Forest Light Show” again and we are also properly introduced to Hayley the Glenbriar hairdresser. Hayley and her family will feature a lot more in future books. We also catch up with Malcolm and Brenda, who are some not-so-friendly locals and are up to more troublemaking in this story! Other than that, there’s no need to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this one. It’s just a case of feeling more familiar with the setting if you’ve read the previous ones.
The Old Schoolhouse in the title is a residential care facility. What inspired you to choose that as a setting?
I have a relative who works in a place like this. I was interested in some of the stories he told me about it and moreover the struggle to keep it going with all the budget cuts. The romantic in me wished I could come up with a happy ending for the place. I can’t do that in real life, but in a book, there are ways!
Rivalry-turns-romance is an interesting theme for a novel. What made you decide to give Willow and Marcus that history?
I think there’s an interesting dynamic in a relationship when the couple are rivals. In this case, Marcus doesn’t know who he’s up against, so it makes it even more intriguing as the story unravels.
For many readers, Glenbriar is as much a character as location. What do you love about small towns? What annoys you?
I love the familiarity of it and how I can drop in places and side characters, then revisit them fully in future books. It adds a sense of community and belonging. Both the Old Schoolhouse and Marcus Bowman have been ‘name dropped’ in previous books. One sharp-eyed reader messaged me and asked if Marcus was getting his own book! I honestly don’t know how she guessed that as it was literally a tiny scene where he’s on TV forecasting, but I think that’s part of the feel of the books. Even the most minor side characters feel important in the town.
The downside is that certain storylines just don’t work in small places and there’s also the danger of it becoming too claustrophobic and everyone knowing everyone’s business which doesn’t leave as much room for mystery.
The Glenbriar series involves intertwining characters. What’s your method for maintaining continuity? Have there been side characters who demanded their own stories?
Oh definitely! Like I said above, side characters often demand their own stories. The second book in the series ‘Just Friends at Thistle Lodge’ featured a side character from my other series, but her story didn’t fit into that series, so I saved it for Glenbriar!
I don’t usually have continuity issues as the stories are always standalones. Sometimes I have cross over events or books that start before the previous ones, then springboard into the present. I keep a timeline on a spreadsheet so I remember who did what when, but I try to make the books as individual as possible so there’s never any need to read previous ones unless readers want to (which of course I hope they do!).
Where do you write? Do you prefer the comfort of home or do you like to work in cafés? Do you need silence, or do you have music playing as you work?
I love working at home and I really need silence when I’m doing a first draft. This means I can only really do it when my son is at school and I’m not doing my day job. It definitely makes me focus and keep those writing hours sacred.
All writers started as readers. What books or authors are your greatest influences? What are you reading right now?
I enjoy a wide variety of books but in my genre, I think the biggest influencers were Pernille Hughes and Trisha Ashley. Currently I’m reading ‘Witch You Weren’t Here’ by Emma Jackson.
What’s next for you? Another Glenbriar novel, or an addition to another series, or something completely different?
I have at least three more novels planned for Glenbriar. These three are about the McBride family, a brother, sister and a cousin all with their own stories. As always, they will be interconnected but standalones.
I also have another project on the go but am not giving away the details just yet!