I was recently contacted by a college student in Spain writing a paper she called Scotland and Nowadays, A Romantic Novel Assignment. She asked several probing questions that were focused on one central premise, why write Scottish Historical Romance novels.
Here is a sampling of the questions I believe give insight into what I was thinking… behind the book.
I have always enjoyed reading Scottish Historicals, so it was a natural fit for me. When you enjoy something, it becomes easier to delve into the history and want to learn more.
When I lived in London, I had the opportunity to visit Edinburgh for a weekend and I can still vividly remember so much about that trip. We toured Edinburgh castle, looked at the shops on the way up the hill and toured Holyrood castle at the bottom. We also went on the tour of the remaining underground city and learned about the plague and the ghost stories surrounding the passages, but I think my favorite part was the wandering around the ruins of Holyrood Abbey. There is something haunting about seeing the remains of such a beautiful structure, it was like I was transported into a movie and I just wanted to make sure I soaked it all in so I would never forget.
I’ve read great books set in Scotland, one of my favorite authors is Paula Quinn, but there are so many. They brought this magical place to life for me and remind me of what I felt that weekend.
This summer, I was able to return, but this time go to the Highlands. The views were more awe inspiring than I could have imagined and I was able to get real maps and research materials. I feel like a geek for saying it, but there is no way to explain how thrilled I was at the find, and I already want to go back.
How do I picture Lachlan and Maggie? How do I visualize a Scottish Hero?
I’ve never really thought about how I picture each character on their own, other than their physical characteristics, which aren’t crucial to the story. It’s more about their interaction on the page with each other that speaks to me, although I may be in the minority on that point. If the chemistry and conflict aren’t there, they’re just average people and what makes them extraordinary is how they face the challenges they come up against.
For me, the hero and heroine both must exhibit, Integrity, honesty and loyalty. There has to be a very good reason for one of my characters to act in a different way. The second book in the Highland Pride series is called Highland Redemption, and the hero in that book has a trait that is less than desirable, but you do eventually learn why he has behaved the way he did and he learns and grows as the story goes along.
How did I turn what was in my mind into a novel?
Highland Deception started with one scene that popped into my head, then the story grew around it. I have found lately that this process changes with each book I write. Sometimes I start out with a trope and build the story around it, sometimes a scene and sometimes it grows from the characters I’ve written into previous books. A trope is a tried and true story line that readers look for, but twisted into something new, examples include – Cinderella story, friends/enemies to lovers, reformed rake and many more. Once I have a starting point, I try to find that dark moment -what could possibly be the worst thing that happens to these characters to force them to become what they should be- and work back from there.
Did Outlander influence my decision to write Scottish Historicals?
No. I read Outlander about ten years ago, long before I started writing and while Diana Gabaldon is a phenomenal writer, the book was too dark for me personally. She did such a great job pulling me into the characters that I was constantly dreading the next bad thing about to happen to them. While my writing does have conflict in the story, it is a much lighter read.
Thank you for taking to the time to learn a little bit more about what went on… behind the book.
About the book:
Scotland, August 1642
Maggie and Lachlan must fight their growing attraction, battling suspicion and intrigue as religious and political turmoil threaten to tear their clans apart.
He has sworn he will never marry.
Lachlan Cameron is honor bound to see a wounded lass to safety, although he has well learned women are deceivers, and this lovely maid harbors a wealth of secrets. But Maggie’s free spirit and charms enthrall him while he works to discover if she is innocent…or a spy scheming with his enemies to destroy his clan.
She has sworn she will never fall in love.
Maggie Murray fled her home to avoid a political marriage to an abusive man. Salvation comes when the Cameron laird, unaware of her identity, protects her as she escapes. His kindness slowly warms her, and she’s tempted to confess her real name. But his strong sense of honor would force him to return her to her father…and torment at the hands of her scorned betrothed.
Find it online:
About the author:
Lori Ann Bailey has a romantic soul and believes the best in everyone. Sappy commercials and proud mommy moments make her cry. She sobs uncontrollably and feels emotionally drained when reading sad books, so she started reading romance for the Happily Ever Afters. She was hooked. Then, the characters and scenes that ran around in her head as she attempted to sleep at night begged to be let out. Looking back now, her favorite class in high school was the one where a professor pulled a desk to the center of the room and told her to write two paragraphs about it and the college English class taught by a red-headed Birkenstock wearing girl, not much older than she, who introduced her to Jack Kerouac. After working in business and years as a stay-at-home mom she has found something in addition to her family to be passionate about, her books. She lives in Northern Virginia with her real life hero, four kids that keep her on her toes, two dogs determined to destroy her house and two cats secretly plotting the demise of those dogs. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads