Buried Under Romance is pleased to welcome author Sue-Ellen Welfonder for an interview, who recently released To Love a Highlander. :) There's also a teaser excerpt from her upcoming book, To Desire a Highlander!
- 2 print copies of To Love a Highlander (US Only) to two lucky commenters. Make sure to leave your email address!
TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER (book I in the Scandalous Scots series)
As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It's a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can't resist taking her up on her offer . . .
AN UNQUENCHABLE DESIRE
Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call "Hawk?" As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.
Amazon – http://amzn.to/1lDWrr2
Q: Sorley is such an interesting hero: he is a rake of the first order, yet refuses to ruin Mirabelle. With what ideas and tropes would you say he is associated?
SEW: Perhaps the old adage about ‘honor amongst thieves?’ Of course, Sorley is anything but a thief. But he does differ from all my heroes before him in that he isn’t a laird or chieftain. He’s baseborn and has rough years behind him. But those early hardships made him the man he is now. He’s strong, proud, and bold, and very much a rogue. Even so, he has his own brand of honor, just as he makes his own rules in life.
He’s also an underdog, at least he was early in life. So he’s the medieval equivalent of a self-made man. Who doesn’t love seeing someone rise above the trials and tribulations life can throw at us? The hurdles that can seem insurmountable. A hero born with the world at his feet is not nearly so interesting. Not to me, anyway. Triumph hard-won always tastes sweeter.
Q: There is a unique character in this book - a ghost; how did you think of incorporating her as a major secondary character?
SEW: I don’t think I have ever written a book without a ghost. Including them is second nature to me because I have always loved ghosts and the paranormal. Before deadlines, I used to go ghost-hunting annually in the UK with two like-minded friends. We explored every imaginable haunted place, from centuries-old inns and pubs, to ghost-riddled castles, country manor homes, abbey ruins, and battlefields. If there was even a shred of a reason to suspect ghostly activity, we were there. And we had amazing experiences, including ghostly pictures and incredible EVP (well before Ghosthunters and similar TV shows). I’ve even lived in two haunted houses. So writing ghosts is just something I do.
The ghost in TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER actually exists. Stirling Castle really does have a pink lady ghost. Sightings of her are well documented and she is believed to be the wife of a Scottish knight who was killed when England’s Edward I captured the castle in June 1304.
Q: Sorley and Mirabelle first met at a ball when they were young. Why did they not meet again (i.e. Mirabelle to visit Court again) for so many years?
SEW: They certainly could have, but it wouldn’t have suited the plot as well if they had. It’s been a while since I wrote the book, but I believe, at one point, Sorley thinks about or mentions having glimpsed her now and then. Otherwise, given their history, he would’ve avoided any contact with her. And Mirabelle deeply loves her Highland home and aches for her hills when away. She wouldn’t have wished to accompany her father to court all that often.
Q: What do you want readers to get out of your books?
SEW: Three things. A huge goal when I write is transport readers into the story world. Anyone who enjoys my books is going to be someone who, like me, really, really loves Scotland and the medieval period. So I want readers to ‘feel as if they are there.’ I want them to slip into pages and, for the hours they read, feel as if they are in the place and time period they love.
Another thing is that I always write strong heroines. I love strong women in real life, too. Too many women suffer lack of self-esteem or simply feel they don’t have options in life. If reading my strong heroines influences them in some small way to stand taller, I’d be ever so pleased. I think all romance empowers women and it’s one of the things I really love about our great genre.
Lastly, I just hope the books take them away from their day-to-day cares, giving them the respite we all need. Real life can be so fraught and hectic. Losing oneself in a good book is the best-ever medicine for frazzled nerves. So I hope my readers enjoy the escape and finish the books with a happy sigh.
Q: What's coming next for you? (Share a teaser? ;-))
SEW: I have lots of very exciting things on the horizon. My next ‘traditional’ release is TO DESIRE A HIGHLANDER, Scandalous Scots #2, out later this year. This is Roag’s story and he’s made a wonderful hero. Readers can expect to see his friends from TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER, and to meet some new ones.
I’m also very upbeat about indie publishing and its many opportunities. I am presently revamping and re-releasing my Allie Mackay out of print titles, and also writing new series under that name. I’ve banded together with six other Scottish authors and we’re working on some really amazing joint projects. These authors range from newish, rising stars in the Scottish romance indie scene to a long-time NYT-bestselling trad author like myself. (caveat, I’ve only made USA Today, not NYTs, but we’re both very long-time ‘trad authors’ excited about stretching our wings) We’ll be sharing news with our readers soon. I can say we’re discussing an annual reader get-together. Small and intimate, these gatherings will take place in a different city every year so all of our readers have a chance to come and party with us.
So I’m busy and smiling towards the future.
Thank you so much, Mary, for inviting me here today. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you and your friends.
Teaser from TO DESIRE A HIGHLANDER