Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Lana Pattinson!

Today we’re excited to welcome 2018 Golden Heart finalist Lana Pattinson to the blog. One of the 2018 Persisters, Lana’s manuscript ENGINEERING KIT SINCLAIR, is nominated in the Young Adult category.


She’s a whisky heiress. He’s a distillery engineer. Problem is, they’re the same person, and now she’s been caught.

Unsatisfied with the prospect of marriage and death by embroidery, Kitty Kerr defies society’s expectations by posing as Mr. Kit Sinclair, Distillery Engineer. But Father threatens to merge the company–and her–with their arch enemy. Kitty must protect her secret identity and evade marriage, or risk losing her chance at independence.

Author Bio:

An MBA and marketing professional by trade, I specialized in Scotch Whisky and Wine. I also teach Pinterest for Authors and Branding for Authors for Margie Lawson’s Writing Academy, Savvy Authors and various RWA chapters. I’m a PRO member of RWA, and also a member of the YA RWA and local NY chapters.


Addison Fox:  Welcome, Lana! We’re thrilled to have you with us today. Tell us a bit about your Golden Heart book, ENGINEERING KIT SINCLAIR. Where did the idea come from and what did you enjoy about writing it?

Lana Pattinson:  In my past life, I worked in marketing for several Scotch Whisky brands (in Scotland and in the US). The industry, particularly the production side, has been traditionally dominated by males. As part of the job, sometimes I would help lead colleagues through tasting sessions. I had a client once ask me “Do you think men will take you seriously, you know, a woman talking about whisky?”

After I bit my tongue (hard), I replied, “When you know more than they do about the product, people tend to believe you.”

Another time, I found out that the job benefits I was offered did not match other colleagues. I was told, “Your husband has a good job, you don’t need to worry about it.” After I picked my mouth off the floor I grumbled, “Yeah, but I’m the one with an MBA.”

Fast forward a few years. After my child was born I left the corporate world and eventually decided to write. I had the idea – what would life have been like for a woman working in the Scotch whisky industry during the Victorian era? Especially during a time when women were still discouraged from attending University or working. We think it’s hard for women now…I think we’ve come a long way in terms of addressing sexism and societal expectations of roles…and we have much farther to go.

With Kitty’s love of working in distilleries plus societal pressure to marry, it’s not hard to see why she chooses to dress like a man, to engineer her own career the only way she can.

AF: Gasp. As someone who still has a day job, I’ve heard a few doozies, but those are pretty shocking. That said…some of our strangest conversations make the best story fodder, which you’ve obviously made good use of!

Switching gears, while everything about finaling in the Golden Heart is exciting, we love a good call story around here. Tell us all about your morning when you got “the call” from the RWA board?

LP:  For some reason, there was no school that day. So I was at a brunch-playdate at a friend’s house, when I got a call from a random number. I’d briefly remembered it was “the call” day that morning, but I honestly didn’t expect to final. But when an unknown number called…I decided to answer it. You never know.

I think I was speechless for a while, because USA Today bestselling author Avery Flynn eventually said, “Are you okay?” I told her I was fine, just bawling and trying to signal to my friend that it was a good cry, not a bad one.

Luckily, her fridge is always fully stocked, so we popped open a bottle of Prosecco.

On top of that, several of my critique partners / fellow Pitch Wars peeps are 2018 Golden Heart finalists as well, so I didn’t get much done that day.

Funnily enough, I happened to be at the same friend’s house the first time I found out that I’d finaled for the YA RWA’s Rosemary award. I guess she’s used to me bursting into tears by now. At any rate, she’s my good luck charm so I think I’ll be keeping her around (thanks Krista!)

AF: You’re nominated in the Young Adult category of the Golden Heart. What draws you to YA fiction and what have you most enjoyed about writing protagonists this age?

LP:  I love reading and writing Young Adult. It’s generally faster-paced and lower word count than Adult. There’s something so great about being a young adult. You’ve experienced some of life, but there’s still a lot more to learn. It seems like the world offers nothing but possibilities.

But with that limited experience often comes a “a know-it-all” attitude that only matures over time. Just like when I started writing, you don’t know what you don’t know.

There’s an inherent angst, a longing for something else. Most people don’t have their life plans made yet; and if they do, they’ll likely be derailed at some point. So it’s a time when you’re coming into your own, taking how your parents and your friends and your environment has shaped you, and using it as a launchpad to discover your true self.  

And romance as a young adult can be so raw and beautiful and angst-filled, especially when it’s someone’s first time really falling in love.

I write Young Adult across genres—from Historical to my Contemporary WIP to my only-just-outlined SciFi. But they all have a touch of romance.

AF:  What’s your writing life been like since the call? What are you working on now?

LP:  Before the call, I’d just putting aside my WIP to work on an R&R for a different manuscript. I’m almost done now, so I’ll relax for a bit and enjoy the RWA conference in Denver! Then off to Scotland for two weeks this summer to visit family and friends.

And I’ll swing back to my WIP later this year, which is a YA Contemporary.

And keep querying – and write the next book.

If you want to chat about books, booze or Scotland (coincidentally the name of my blog), come find me at RWA or thru social media 🙂

AF: Lana, you certainly stay busy AND you’ve got a fun summer coming up, between Denver and Scotland. We’re so glad you could join us today and are super excited to cheer you on in Denver next month!

For all those visiting today, come in in, grab a chair (or a fresh glass of cyber-whisky) and let’s get chatting!


Connect with Lana on social media:






37 responses to “Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Lana Pattinson!”

  1. I love your blurb, Lana. And I LOVE that you got to use your whiskey knowledge!! I can’t wait to see you in Denver!

  2. Hi, Lana! I look forward to meeting you this summer. Your book sounds fantastic! I’m headed to Scotland after nationals, too, so I’ll have to pick your brain while we’re in Denver!

    • ooh, we can definitely have to have a planning session. 🙂

    • Addison Fox says:

      Alicia – thanks for joining us today! And how exciting that you’re headed to Scotland, too. Anyone I’ve ever met who has been there has raved about what an amazing place it is.

  3. suzanne says:


    I think your book is going to be a huge hit! So excited!! You’ve had a fascinating career and some pretty awful experiences. I love how you’ve channeled them into writing brilliant books. We were in Scotland during Christmas — cold and beautiful, just how I like my landscapes.We hadn’t been to Scotland since 16 years before when my husband failed to propose to me in Edinburgh (who goes to Scotland and doesn’t propose?). Now with kids and in-laws in tow, not only did we enjoy the holidays in Scotland, we fell in love with Glasgow.

    See you in Denver.

    • Hey Suzanne – glad that you liked Scotland anyway and happy you got your proposal! (Eventually!)

      See you at RWA. Cheers, Lana

    • Addison Fox says:

      Suzanne – I’m having serious travel envy by all the lucky folks who’ve gone to Scotland!!!

      Thanks for joining us today 🙂


  4. Elise Hayes says:

    What a fabulous blurb!! I LOVE the twist of “Problem is, they’re the same person.” That knocked my socks off. I literally stopped reading, started again from the beginning, cracked up, and thought, ‘I have to read this book.'” Yay you!!

    Best of luck in Denver!!

    • Haha thanks Elise. I cracked up when writing too. 🙂

      Cheers, Lana

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yes, that’s a fantastic bit of the blurb, and I love the whole premise!!!

      I love that you can use contemporary experiences with sexist morons to fuel a historical story!!

      Looking forward to this book!

    • Addison Fox says:

      Elise – I did the SAME thing when Lana first sent me her details for our catch up. I re-read that part and was like…I AM SO IN!!!


  5. Congrats on your final, Lara! Your book sounds fabulous – and reading about the crap you heard in your previous job that inspired it – ugh! At least good art can come out of such obnoxiousness.

    Good luck in Denver and have fun in Scotland! 🙂

  6. I love everything about ENGINEERING KIT SINCLAIR. Scotland! Whiskey! Secret identities! Please sign me up for a tasting! 😊

    I’m so looking forward to seeing you again in Denver.

    All the best,


  7. Tamara Hogan says:

    Congratulations on your Golden Heart final, Lana! That’s a KILLER blurb. 🙂

    –> I think we’ve come a long way in terms of addressing sexism and societal expectations of roles…and we have much farther to go.

    I recently tapped out of a 30-year STEM career to write, edit, and teach – and OMG, the stories I could tell. I was fortunate to end my career working with an amazing manager and a fabulous team, but…yeah.

    Enjoy the conference, and what sounds like an amazing vacation! I bet you’ll come back to your WIP refreshed and refuelled.

  8. Barbra Campbell says:

    Everything about your manuscript sounds exciting! Best wishes on getting it published.
    I definitely can’t wait to meet you and chat about Scotland!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! Well, with a name like Campbell, I reckon you know a thing or two about Scotland 🙂

      See you at RWA!
      Cheers, Lana

      • Barbra Campbell says:

        LOL! My husband has a kilt and is learning the chanter so he can work his way up to bagpipes. Maybe a little love for Scotland there! Did I mention my daughter’s beautiful red hair? She grumbles about it, but we love it! 😄

  9. Hi Lana! I’m in the same boat as everyone else here–love the blurb and the entire idea of dual identities! Such fun! Looking forward to meeting you in Denver and hope you have a great time in Scotland 🙂

  10. Liz Talley says:

    OMG, I LOVE this concept. Of course, my husband is a whiskey nerd, specifically bourbon, so I have a deep abiding appreciation for the mystery and mastery of whiskey making. So, yeah, I love the concept 🙂

    Congrats 🙂

    • Liz Talley says:

      Oh, and I should say, he likes scotch as well. We’re planning a trip to Scotland in 2020, with trips to distilleries. I, of course, am planning a little Outlander fan tripping but I’m fine with tasting my way through the distilleries. What’s your favorite Scotch (you know I had to ask :))

  11. Elisa Beatty says:

    Apropos of the scotch theme, I was just reading a warning in the RWA magazine about how the high elevation in Denver makes alcohol hit harder.

    The one and only time I’ve ever been actually drunk in my life (with the accompanying hangover the next morning) was after a wedding in Albuquerque. I’d been hot-tubbing and hiking and dancing like a fool, and got dehydrated (easier than normal to do at high elevations), and then enjoyed some fabulous tequila cocktails.

    And, ooooooooh, did I regret it.

    So…for those of us who normally enjoy cocktails with friends at Nationals, this is a reminder to HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE and go easy on the scotch and other drinks. Especially if you normally live at sea level, like me.

    Sorry to digress, but I thought the more people who hear this, the less unnecessary suffering there’ll be.

    *public service announcement over*

  12. Janet Raye Stevens says:

    Hi Lana! Great interview–and loooove your story idea, it sounds like so much fun. Shocked (not) to hear about the pinhead sexism you had to face on the job. I was in radio journalism for many years and if I had a buck for every time I heard “keep the broad out of broadcasting” I’d be a rich, rich woman.

    Looking forward to meeting you in Denver!

  13. Tracy Brody says:

    Congrats on your GH final, Lana. So happy you’re a finalist having read a different story previously and loving your voice. Not surprised you’re a finalist and look forward to meeting you in Denver.

    With mention of Scotland, I have to ask, do you have a Scottish accent?

  14. Jeanne says:

    This sounds amazing! I just visited Scotland for the first time, and the Tallisker distillery.

    Looking forward to meeting you in Denver.


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