The Pros and Cons of Writing HIGHLAND BEAST with Heather McCollum

HIGHLAND BEAST is the fourth book in my epic SONS OF SINCLAIR Historical Romance series (each book can be read as a stand-alone) about four brothers who were raised by a father gone mad. Thinking it the “end of days” when his wife dies birthing his fourth son, the warlord father declares his sons to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Even though they are not, the boys are raised as Conquest, War, Justice, and Death.

Bàs, the word for “death” in Gaelic, began his training to be an executioner at the young age of five after his father tells him that his mother was his first execution when she died birthing him. Introspective and tender-hearted, Bàs Sinclair lives with his animals apart from his clan and humanity, coming out for battles and when called upon to be the brutal executioner for the clan. He wishes he was a beast instead of a man until he meets a courageous woman. When he’s ordered to execute her, his world turns on end. Refusal means war between the clans, but following through means the death of his own soul.

Sigh… My heart squeezes for Bàs, and writing his story was both thrilling and, at times, painful. There were up days and down days, and today I’ll share with you my list of Pros and Cons for writing his amazing story. 


Pros Cons
I got to spend my days living in 16th century Scotland while still enjoying central heat, indoor plumbing, chai tea lattes, and comfy pants. I sat. For hours a day. Typing, researching, editing, thumping my head on the proverbial desk in an effort to give readers adventure and heart-clenching love in the perfect story. So I have to walk, workout, and wear carpal tunnel wrist braces to keep me healthy (which is very important since I’m an ovarian cancer survivor). 
My trip to Scotland was tax deductible, and I was able to research the rich history and hike through the raw beauty of that amazing country. I literally rolled down a fragrant, dewy moor (well, after I fell trying to chase after a badger with my camera). It’s not easy getting over to Scotland for research. I’m a phobic flyer, but I did have nice little pills from my doc and a heroic husband to make sure I got on and off the plane when I should.
Writing the love scenes was all sorts of steamy deliciousness. Hubby agrees ; ) Writing the love scenes when the kids were home was next to impossible and writing the scenes out in public meant I spent time making sure no one was reading over my shoulder.
Bàs Sinclair is my most golden hearted, tortured hero, and I loved letting my creative muse prod, lure, and shove him toward his HEA. My heart hurt so much for the self-inflicted torture that I discovered within Bàs.
I reconnected with a friend from high school who is now a midwife, like the heroine of this book.  Bàs is an executioner and Shana is a midwife. They are at opposite ends of the life spectrum. Getting them together was not easy.


Despite the cons, I am still ridiculously grateful that I have this amazing life of writing stories for readers like you. Not only do I get the voices out of my head (until the next story starts there), but I learn so much about human motivations, history, relationships, animals, poisons, how to help a horse with a difficult birth, birthing human babies, ancient books of wisdom, geography, how to curse in Gaelic, and so very much more. Aye! The pros outweigh the cons every time! Thank you for loving love stories and for reading about my brawny, golden hearted Highlanders and feisty, clever heroines.


Bàs Sinclair is the cold and brutal hand—and sword—of justice across the Highlands. He has one destiny: to bring fear into the hearts of guilty men. But when he is called to execute a midwife for her crimes, he cannot raise his weapon. For Bàs already knows this lovely, part-wild creature. After all, she gave him his first and only kiss…

Shana Drummond will do anything to protect her beloved sister. Now her cruel, merciless brother-in-law has called upon Bàs to have Shana killed for crimes she didn’t commit. She can’t reconcile the cold, lethal warrior before her with the gentle one she met—nay, kissed—only days before.

But mercy from Bàs can only lead to one thing: war among the clans. A war that will test allegiances, tear families apart, and challenge everything Bàs knows about himself and his heart. Because once this Highlander knows love, nothing will stop him from keeping Shana safe…even if it means destroying his own destiny.





Heather McCollum is a USA Today Bestselling author of over twenty 16th century Scottish romances full of adventure and intrigue, sprinkled with humor, history, and spice. When she’s not researching Britain’s rich history or writing adventures, she spends her time educating women on the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. She’s a survivor and resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

You can follow Heather on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out her website to stay up to date on the latest news!

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