Kira’s latest release is SEDUCED BY DESTINY and Amanda’s latest release is HIGHLAND MASTER. Thanks to these lovely authors, Anna and the great folks at Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies of each book to giveaway - please see the end of the post.
Here’s a brief synopsis of Kira’s 352-page SEDUCED BY DESTINY (ISBN:9780446548175): “All her life, Josselin Ancrum has been trained for combat, hoping to exact vengeance for her heroic mother, who was killed fighting the English. When asked to spy for the Scottish Queen, Jossy joyfully accepts. But when a handsome stranger rescues her from sudden danger, his charm distracts her from her mission.
On the surface, Drew MacAdam may appear to be nothing more than a carefree champion, but his heart harbors a dark secret: This Highland hero is actually a skilled English soldier with a hatred for war and for the Scottish. Yet from the moment he meets the feisty Jossy, he's captured by her fiercely loyal heart. He's determined the honey-haired lass will be his ultimate prize - until the tragedy of their entwined legacies is revealed. Are these star-crossed lovers to be divided by their pasts? Or will they be...seduced by destiny?”
Here’s a brief synopsis of Amanda’s 400-page HIGHLAND MASTER (ISBN:9780446574310): “When eighteen-year-old Lady Catriona Mackintosh discovers a wounded man in the forest near her Highland home, little does she know that he has sworn a sacred oath to kill her father and other members of the powerful Highland confederation known as Clan Chattan. Nor does she realize that she has met her soul mate. Independent, competent, intelligent, fiercely proud of her heritage, determined always to live near her own family, and known to her family as the "wee wildcat" because of her quick temper, Catriona is the daughter of a Highland chieftain and granddaughter of the even more powerful Chief (or Captain) of Clan Chattan. But her life changes forever when she persuades Sir Finlagh Cameron to return with her to her home to recover from his wounds.
Sir Finlagh "Fin" Cameron is on a mission for the heir to Scotland's throne, who has sent him to the Highlands to persuade the Chief of Clan Chattan to arrange a secret meeting for him with two other great lords (the Lord of the Isles and the Lord of the North). Until Fin meets Catriona, however, he has no idea that her father was the Clan Chattan war leader who led them in the battle that wiped out many of Clan Cameron's best warriors, including Fin's own father. The sole survivor of that battle, Fin accepted a bequest of vengeance from his dying father, providing him with a dilemma to face as he begins to fall in love with Catriona. He is not the only one enticed by her charms, either. There are two other contenders, one of whom is his own master, the heir to Scotland's throne. With royal mischief afoot, if Catriona and Fin are ever to find happiness, they must first avoid disaster that could change Scotland's history, and find ways to be open and honest with each other.”
Kira stopped by answer this question for me: “If you could change places with one of your characters for a day or a week, which would it be and why?”
Thank you for having me here today. When you spend so much time with fictional characters, it’s wonderful to be able to interact with real-life readers!
As an author, I get to change places with my characters all the time—see the world through their eyes, speak with their voices, feel what they feel. But I’ve never actually thought about spending a whole day or a week as one of them. It’s a fascinating idea.
If I could be a character from SEDUCED BY DESTINY, I’d have to say it would be interesting to slip into 19-year-old Queen Mary’s shoes for a few days. Considering she was ultimately beheaded, maybe I’d turn her ship around before it ever reached Scotland! Then again, I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to change the course of history.
I might try out Kate Campbell, the tavern owner who took the heroine under her wing when Jossy outgrew her three male guardians. Kate is wise and self-sufficient, and she puts up with no nonsense.
Or I might be one of the hero’s English uncles, who trained Drew to be a master swordsman. I wouldn’t want to go into battle as one of them, but it would be fun to see Drew as a little boy. Likewise, it would be entertaining to be one of Jossy’s adoptive fathers, giving her fighting lessons behind Kate Campbell’s back.
Queen Mary’s fictional secretary Philippe has an intriguing position, but I think serving as master of spies would be danger-filled and nerve-racking.
If I were a golfer, I’d probably enjoy taking the place of one of the champions who play against Drew, just for a taste of the bracing Scottish breeze and to amble over the soft knolls of Musselburgh or St. Andrews.
I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t want to walk in the boots of my hero, Drew MacAdam. He’s an Englishman posing as a Highlander, hiding among his enemy. He isn’t overly fond of Scots, though he doesn’t mind draining their purses. But until he meets Jossy, he’s a complete loner, and once he meets Jossy, he’s in constant mortal danger. He takes it in stride, but I’m not sure I’m made of such strong stuff.
That leaves Josselin Ancrum. I’m guessing most romance authors do a lot of vicarious living through their heroines, and I’m no exception. Jossy does things I’d like to do. She says things I’d like to say. She’s cocky and passionate, outspoken and capable, a bit of a tomboy, but every inch a lady. That makes her the most fun character to inhabit.
Of course, it’s tempting to take my few days of being my heroine when she’s at the happily-ever-after honeymoon ending part of the story. But I love witty verbal sparring, so I’d become Jossy when she’s serving up beer and spying on Drew at the golf links, strategically flirting with him to uncover his secrets while guarding her heart against his temptations. Besides, since I mentally cast my books with actors, I wouldn’t mind spending a few days looking like spunky Reese Witherspoon and lusting after sexy James McAvoy!
If you enjoy my, er, Jossy’s adventures in SEDUCED BY DESTINY, be sure to let me know! Friend me at www.facebook.com/kiramorganauthor. Follow me at www.twitter.com/kira_morgan. And go to www.glynnis.net/kiramorgan to enter my sweepstakes to win the thimble that Drew gives to Jossy.
How about you? What book or movie characters would you like to inhabit for a week?
Kira, I love your take on changing places with your characters. I think being Reese Witherspoon for a week would be interesting.
Now Amanda is here to answer some questions as well.
Mason - Coming from a family of lawyers and entertainers, who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Amanda - I was the oldest of four kids and second oldest of a host of grandchildren (the oldest of those being male), which made me everyone’s babysitter of choice. I made up hundreds of stories in those days to entertain the younger children. We spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ ranch in northern California and at their cabin in the High Sierras, too. Neither place had TV, so we spent most of our time outside, playing games, and I made up many of them on the fly, although the others always added their ideas and fought to play their favorite roles. The lawyers in my family are all courtroom lawyers. If you stop and think about that, you’ll realize that they are all creative types, too, creating images and likely scenarios for juries. However, I never expected to become A WRITER. So the real answer to your question as to what inspired me to become a published writer was that I was flinging books across the room because authors hadn’t done basic research, saying that I could do better. My husband bought me a desk and a typewriter (computer came later), and challenged me to do it. So I did, and to my astonishment, Signet bought the book!
Mason - What draws you to write about this particular era and location in history rather than modern day?
Amanda - Scotland has fascinated me for as long as I’ve known it existed. My ancestors on both sides came from Scotland, the first ones in the mid-to late 18th century. They settled in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, then Arkansas, the Northwest Territory, and Missouri, and later moved on west to California. One great-great-great grandfather, Judge Andrew Scott, was the first “Supreme” Court justice in Arkansas. His brother was the first senator from Missouri and named the state of Arkansas…oh, and in a fit of nepotism, appointed his younger brother the first judge for the “Post of Arkansas,” which is pretty much all there was then. Judge Andrew served a number of terms, fought and won at least two duels (one of them against another judge over a card game), and lived a wonderfully colorful life. I have a copy of a letter that he wrote to his wife to open in the event of his death in that one). My mother was a Douglas, my father a Scott, and we also have Logans, Jamisons, Fergusons, and a host of others in the various lines. My paternal grandfather loved family history and told me stories culled from ours from the time I was small, so writing about Scotland came naturally to me. I began with the 16th century but moved back to the medieval period and am now moving forward again.
Mason - What was the most difficult part of doing research for your book?
Amanda - Researching for HIGHLAND MASTER meant mostly that I had to brush up on my knowledge of the Highlands, because I’d been writing for some time about the Scottish Borders. The actual research was not difficult. It’s what I do. The biggest challenge of that nature for me, in years, was for my previous trilogy—TAMED BY A LAIRD, SEDUCED BY A ROGUE, and TEMPTED BY A WARRIOR. The stories in those books are based on an unpublished Scottish manuscript, written in the 16th century about events in the 14th century. I had only one side of the story in the manuscript, and it involved a near clan war, so tracking down the other side was a necessity. I did manage to discover the key to the whole puzzle, which was a huge thing for me. HIGHLAND MASTER, on the other hand, begins with the Great Clan Battle of Perth, and the fun part was discovering that controversy still exists over which clans participated in that battle. The battle itself was more in the nature of a trial by combat, but when I learned that one side had only one survivor and that the warrior survived only because he jumped into the river Tay and swam away, I decided that I’d found my hero. The only trick there was finding a reason other than cowardice for him to jump in the river. Since everyone involved in that battle was a heroic champion (chosen because of his knightly prowess), I was sure that even the guy who really did it must have had a reason other than fear for himself.
Mason - How did you come to create Boreas and why is he one of your favorite characters in the book?
Amanda - I love Scottish deerhounds. I put one in a long-ago book called Highland Spirits, because I’d seen the Westminster Dog Show when one of the commentators mentioned that at one time in Scotland, only earls and men of higher rank could own deerhounds. That law nearly resulted in the extinction of the breed. I’d also seen a very funny video on Funniest Pet Videos, where a deerhound (most of which are about six feet tall if they stand on their hind legs) would creep into bed every night with its owners by pulling out the covers at the foot of the bed and slithering up between them. I used that situation in Highland Spirits. I often see deerhounds at Scottish games I attend to sign books. They are sweet, wonderful dogs, very intelligent and very loyal. So, when I opened Highland Master with the heroine, Lady Catriona Mackintosh, walking through the woods, it seemed only natural to give her a companion. Since the book is set in 1401, Boreas is a wolf dog, rather than a deerhound. Authorities believe that wealthy or powerful Scotsmen imported Irish “wolf dogs” into Scotland to help reduce a Scottish wolf problem in the medieval period. Theory is that that ancestor evolved into both the Irish wolfhound and the Scottish deerhound. I was delighted to see that a female deerhound won Best in Show at the Westminster this year!
Mason - HIGHLAND MASTER is the first book in your new Scottish Knights trilogy, what can readers expect next from you?
Amanda - Book Two will be HIGHLAND HERO with Lady Catriona’s brother, Sir Ivor Mackintosh, as the hero. The hero of HIGHLAND MASTER, Fin Cameron (Sir Finlagh Cameron), Sir Ivor, and Jake Maxwell, the hero of the Book Three, HIGHLAND LOVER, are all knights who studied together at St. Andrews under Bishop Walter Traill. Traill also taught James Stewart (later James I of Scotland) shortly before the school evolved into St. Andrews University. In HIGHLAND HERO, Sir Ivor Mackintosh must transport the young Jamie Stewart to St. Andrews in secret (which is how James did get there, albeit not with my fictional Sir Ivor). Sir Ivor’s heroine is the niece of Queen Annabella Drummond, Lady Marsaili Drummond-Cargill. Marsi is determined not to marry the man who has been selected for her, so she opts instead to pose as a nursery maid and go with Jamie to St. Andrews. Sir Ivor, being a gent who dislikes deception in any form…well, you get the drift.
Amanda, sounds like these three knights are intriguing and a bit adventurous. For more on Amanda, check out her website at http://www.amandascottauthor.com/
Now the giveaway guidelines. To enter these giveaways, send me separate e-mails (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your subject line should read, “Win Seduced By Destiny” or “Win Highland Master.” You can enter both giveaways. Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, Hachette is advising winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along from Hachette). And, just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter these giveaways for a chance at one of the 3 copies of SEDUCED BY DESTINY or one of the 3 copies of HIGHLAND MASTER will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, March 11.
If this has you in the mood to learn more about Scotland, check out this - WE LOVE SCOTLAND BONUS CONTENT.