I don’t know about you, but as soon as the clocks go back in the UK I start to feel slightly depressed. I hate the winter and much prefer the summer. With that in mind I’m delighted to welcome Robertson Tait to stay in with me to tell me about one of his books as I think it could be just the pick-me-up we all need!
Staying in with Robertson Tait
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Robertson. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you, Linda, and I appreciate the opportunity to ‘Stay In’ with you and discuss my books.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought along Kyle Harrison Movie Star – the first in my series Kyle In Hollywood which I suppose one could call a romantic comedy in the Richard Curtis vein of Notting Hill and Four Weddings. In fact I think one reviewer actually called my book a mix of Bridget Jones and Notting Hill, but then he rethought that and decided it was just ‘Kyle’.
(Whatever the comparison, Robertson, I like the sound of the Kyle series!)
The reason I’ve chosen it is I think right now we’re all suffering through some fairly stressful times, politically, and some darker than that globally, so my series may, for those who would find it so, be a bit of an escape from those concerns.
(I couldn’t agree more!)
I am a great fan of Wodehouse, and probably my favourite playwright would be Oscar Wilde. I think the movie version of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest‘ with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett is just terrific.
Now, I’m not equating myself with either of these illustrious iconic authors, but I do try for some humour, and I hope my stories might give a smile, and these days those seem harder to come by.
(I certainly think I’ll have to give Kyle a go as I’m all for a bit of humour and smiling!)
What can we expect from an evening in with Kyle Harrison Movie Star?
Well, Kyle is a young Scot sitting brooding about life at an outdoor cafe in Rome, Italy, when a Hollywood director notices him and thinks he’s found his next star. From that point on, we follow Kyle as he finds his feet and learns to hold his own against the soulless Hollywood machinery. Through his unexpected ascendancy and his innate good nature, Kyle tries to help all around him, although he’s no saint. But, if you have a moment, let me offer a passage here that might better give a flavour of Kyle’s world. Ronnie Bruce, the director, has charged his assistant Loretta with getting Kyle a tux for a premiere, and she has gone over to her sister Sally’s formal rental store. Sally thinks little of her sister’s position with the director’s production company, and Kyle notices the disdain in her manner towards Loretta:
Excerpt from the “Measuring Up” chapter
(Kyle Harrison Movie Star)
“So a tux, and we’ll need the shirt to go with it. You know the stuff, Sally, the full première bit.”
“Yes, yes, I get you,” Sally was thinking out loud, “I’d say a slim forty should do the trick. Let me see.” She walked just behind a decorative ornamental screen and pressed a button to rotate her hanging wardrobe. The device whirred smoothly, and she located the unit she was searching for.
She unhooked the ensemble and held it out towards Kyle with a triumphant assuredness.
“Don’t think so.” Kyle had sensed the subtle tension in the air between the sisters, and he was turning terse.
Sally shot Loretta an enquiring look as she asked, “What do you mean by don’t think so?”
“Not my size.” Kyle was slouching into a large, plush velvet Louis XIV chair, looking about him with barely concealed boredom.
“Yes, it is.” Sally was holding her business guard up to stop her annoyance showing as she expanded, “I’ve been measuring clients for over twenty years. If I say you’re a slim forty … you’re a slim forty!” Her eyes were charged with indignation, and she knew it might show, but she was trying very hard to temper her anger with professional poise.
“You’re sure?” Kyle caught her eye with his determined gaze. Sally could feel the challenge.
“Yes, I’m sure.” Her mind was set, and she was starting to feel offended.
Loretta felt the chill of daggers in the proceedings and tried to mediate. “Why don’t you give it a try, Kyle? Easiest way to find out is to try it on.” She was thinking maybe this had not been the best idea, to come to her sister’s place. They always had this underlying rivalry, and Sally was always just that bit superior and supercilious.
“Okay … up to you, but I’m not a forty, slim or otherwise.” Kyle took the hanger and headed for the changing room while he heard Sally squeezing out her frustration with a suppressed murmur, “Yes, you are,” as she looked down at her counter and needlessly shuffled some papers.
In the changing room Kyle squeezed into the shirt and suit and found it quite amusing to see himself in the mirror for the first time in a black-tie get-up. It wasn’t bad, and he turned around, immodestly appreciating that, if he didn’t know who he was, he could pass for a movie star on the red carpet.
It was a fun thought, but the jacket was not fun and, if he needed to move, he could tell something would have to give, and he knew that realistically what was going to give was the stitching.
He stepped back into the main display area to meet the critical assessment of Loretta and Sally.
“So what do you think, Kyle? Does it fit?” Loretta knew Ronnie didn’t want any mistakes.
“Not really.” Kyle turned to show the area of his discontent. “It’s too tight on the chest and across the back and the sleeves, too. I’m squeezed in like a sausage.”
Sally was not going to back down. She’d made her claim, and she was damned if she’d concede.
“You’re just not used to formal wear. I think it’s fine and, just like I said, a perfect forty … here, try the tie.” She proffered the black silk bow tie towards him and, as he extended an arm to reach for it, they all heard the softly destructive sound of the seam splitting up the back of the jacket. It was a painfully submissive sound that Sally felt was punishing her into accepting that Kyle was, after all, NOT a size forty.
“Okay, what is your damn size then?” Regrettably, Sally’s annoyance had robbed her voice of its usual polished professionalism. “What is your chest measurement … just give it to me in inches, okay?”
“I’m a forty-three-inch chest.” Kyle was employing his most soothing calm and cool voice which he knew, in the circumstances, was all the more annoying.
Loretta and Kyle eventually departed with a ‘made-up’ suit set: the trousers from a forty long and the jacket from a slim-fitting forty-four. As they opened the glass door to step back out onto the pavement, Loretta could hear Sally inside muttering to herself a begrudging reasoning of her miscalculation, “Deceptive … very deceptive.”
(I loved that! Made me want to find out more!)
Sorry if that was a bit too long.
(Not at all – it gave us a real flavour of your writing.)
The story is episodic in nature, so it’s hard to isolate a representative passage that’s not too long. Throughout the books, Kyle has many adventures with a large cast of supporting characters, but perhaps one of the strongest of those is Randy Riley, an aging veteran of cowboy/western movies whom Kyle befriends and, in so doing, he changes Randy’s direction away from the rabble-rousing heavy drinker whose career is almost over into a reborn star with a whole new lease on life and career.
(It really does sound a lot of fun.)
What else have you brought along and why?
Ah yes, speaking of Randy, the other thing I’ve brought along is a song Randy composes for a movie he’s in with Kyle. He writes the song at a low point in his life as his contract is coming to an end and he’s being let go. However, that is before the Kyle effect kicks in and his career reblooms big-time. You can listen to it here.
(What a smashing song. I love the way Randy sings about doing his best but not always succeeding!)
And I suppose as my only real comment on my writing process, I’m going to have to confess that I don’t set up, or map out, or story-board anything. I just watch the movie in my head and write down the lines as I hear them. Quite often my characters surprise me!
(Ha! Many authors tell me their characters don’t always do what is expected Robertson!)
Thanks so much for staying in with me. I’ve really enjoyed our evening.
Kyle Harrison Movie Star
Dry humour and a good dose of romance. He’s tall, he’s handsome and he doesn’t fit any mould. Kyle Harrison is a young Scottish actor blundering his way to the top of the Hollywood tree. Discovered on the Via Veneto in Rome, Kyle takes Hollywood by storm with his irreverent charisma. With his trademark slouch and deadly mixture of boyish charm and athletic good looks, Kyle is beguiling to the ladies but frequently misunderstood.
Kyle’s photo is all over the tabloids, the day after he lands in Hollywood. He’s a movie star who hasn’t done a single screen test yet. A top director is sure he’s discovered his next action hero, but Kyle is clueless about the business, although he certainly looks the part.
Can he handle instant fame and stand up to Hollywood’s ruthless star-making machinery?
Kyle Harrison Movie Star is available for purchase here.
About Robertson Tait
Born in the Scottish Highlands, Robertson Tait writes romantic comedy and optimistic contemporary stories featuring imperfect but sensitive heroes and gorgeous, confident heroines, lovingly described locations, and some dry Scottish humour.
The Kyle in Hollywood series draws upon his experiences as a British Actors’ Equity member, his extensive travels, and twenty years of competitive horse riding.
Also a singer songwriter, Robertson lives in the country with his wife and two demanding cats.
To find out more, visit Robertson’s website where you can subscribe to his newsletter and find information on new releases and free content, short stories and some of his own songs that are often worked into the narrative.