Darroc MacConacher spends sleepless nights dreaming of a raven-haired beauty who makes him ache with desire. Then his dream comes true: the lady with her lush curves and fair skin appears shipwrecked on his shores. Darroc is immediately drawn to her strength and beauty, and from the moment she lays eyes on this powerful, broad-shouldered warrior, Lady Arabella MacKenzie knows she’ll never want another man.
But theirs is a forbidden love. The MacKenzies drove the MacConachers from their lands and destroyed their honor. Now, Darroc can use this sapphire-eyed seductress to shatter his foes. Yet how can he deny the passion that burns between him and Arabella, and ruin the one woman who touches his very soul?
About the Author:
Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a dedicated medievalist of Scottish descent who spent fifteen years living abroad, and still makes annual research trips to Great Britain. She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and her own clan, the MacFie Society of North America. Under the pseudonym Allie Mackay, she has also written contemporary Scottish-set paranormals for Signet. Sue-Ellen Welfonder is married and lives with her husband, Manfred,
and their Jack Russell Terrier, Em, in Florida.
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Every writer has a different career path. We all came to writing from our own unique backgrounds and our individual journeys after the first sale are equally varied. But there are a few things we definitely do share.
I think of these as the unavoidables.
And, no, I am not going to blog about the ever-present worries of numbers, making or not making lists, life intruding on deadlines, and what-not. Nor do I mean the highlights like getting a phenomenal cover, hearing from readers who love your work, or seeing an editor’s enthusiasm.
I mean the questions people ask published authors.
They are many, rarely varied, and – it seems – inevitable. As soon as people hear that you’ve sold a book, the questions come. A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) is my tenth Scottish medieval romance and in the years since the release of my first book, Devil In A Kilt, I’m sure I’ve heard them all. I’m also sure my colleagues’ list of frequently asked questions would mirror my own.
I’m not going to delve into the questions because there are some really great blogs floating around on this topic. It’s enough to say that some of these questions can be really awkward. Such as ‘how much money do you make?’ or ‘when are you going to be on Oprah?’
What I want to do is turn the tables and ask readers a question.
And don’t worry – I never ask people things I wouldn’t be comfortable answering myself. I’m not interested in your bank statements or if you think you have star appeal.
But I am addressing a specific group of readers: those who enjoy Scottish-set romances.
I want to know why you love them.
I’m curious because every once in a while, someone will as
k me why I write Scottish books. It always boggles my mind that someone could ask this. After all, what isn’t to love about Scotland? And where can you find a more perfect backdrop for romance?
All the right ingredients are there. Take a sweeping landscape magnificent enough to move grown men to tears and then toss in thousands of years of history, both tragic and triumphant, smooth in a generous helping of legend and lore, and then add a dash of mist and a swirl of earthy-sweet peat smoke, a castle or two, and a good, rousing skirl of the pipes, a flash of tartan, and you’ll have a heady blend guaranteed to stir the heart of the most jaded romantic.
And those are just a few of Scotland’s glories.
Here’s a peek at one of my favorite castle ruins. This is Ardvreck in Scotland’s far north. Ardvreck has a colorful and tragic history, as do so many Scottish castles. I took this photo from the road and it shows the kind of landscape that swells Scotophile hearts.
Below is the view from inside Ardvreck. If you look at the photo above, you can see the arched openings I scrambled through to explore the inner rooms of the ruin. They were full of rubble, cramped, dark, and musty-smelling. And, to me, it was a little piece of heaven.
Tangible history all around me and – be still my heart – such a wild, empty landscape stretching in every direction. If I had a magic wand, I’d transport anyone who asks me ‘why I write Scottish books’ to Ardvreck and let them stand there for a while, all alone inside that atmosphere-laden ruin with nothing but the wind and the chill of the stones to keep them company. And, oh yeah, maybe a few ghosts!
Perhaps then, they’d understand.
There is so much in Scotland that enchants.
But if I listed everything wonderful about Scotland, this blog would be way too long and I’d be in danger of missing my next deadline.
If I started detailing why I’m so passionate about medieval Scotland, I’d really be in trouble. I could fill pages about the great days of the clans and the larger-than-life men and women who defined valor and bravery and who loved the land so fiercely that to this day, their descendants feel an irresistible pull to return.
Ancient Gaeldom was a time when heroism, clan pride, and loyalty meant everything. Blood feuds were real and swords clashed often. Men died for honor and they did so gladly. Yet for all the ferocity, the sweet songs of a bard were as prized as a warrior’s fighting skills. And everywhere, Highland hospitality was a sacred, unbreakable code. This is the world you’ll enter in the pages of A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) whenDarroc MacConacher and Arabella MacKenzie are swept into a tempestuous passion as irresistible as it is forbidden. Their clans are bitter foes and acknowledging their love could shatter everything they hold dear.
Iloved working with Arabella and Darroc as I wrote A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009). The book’s deadline let me live alongside them in the distant time that so fascinates me. And – if you haven’t yet guessed – what I also really enjoy about writing Scottish books is getting to return in my mind to the special places in Scotland that I love so much.
As a born Scotophile, that’s always a wonderful perk for me. For example, in A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) I used my own ancestral isle, Colonsay in the Hebrides, as my inspiration for Darroc’s remote Hebridean home, MacConacher’s Isle. But as I shared above, it isn’t just the beauty of the land that makes Scotland such a great setting for a romance novel.
The fascination also lies in the history, the people, the traditions and lore, and the culture. And, of course, there’s the mythic aspect. Highland magic can’t ever be left out of the mix because Celtic legend and beliefs were very real and a large part of daily life.
To me, that’s a lot to love.
It’s certainly ample reason to set my books in Scotland. Of course, I also do that because Scotland really is my greatest passion. And like the old adage that a writer should write what they know, I believe it is more important to write what you love.
That’s what I’m doing, too. With all due respect to other romantic subgenres, you’ll never see me writing anything else because my heart wouldn’t be in it and that would show. The words would be just ink on the page, totally flat.
It’s Scotland or nothing for me.
And that’s how I answer people who corner me at dinner parties and ask, “Why do you set your books in Scotland?”
So what about you?
If you love reading Scottish books, please tell me why. Are you of Scottish descent like me, loving Scotland since birth? Or is it simply the beauty of the land? Are you a history buff, keen on Scotland’s past? Or is it Celtic legend and lore? Could it be the kilties? I haven’t yet mentioned one of Scotland’s greatest treasures: the super-sexy, buttery-rich burr. I can’t imagine a woman alive who wouldn’t melt on hearing a Scottish accent.
Or – and I’m making it easy on you – is it all of the above?
I’m looking forward to your answers!
Anyone still needing a reason to love Scotland will find plenty at my website: www.welfonder.com And if you’d like to visit Scotland but can’t make the trip just now, A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) will take you there.
Thank you so much, Sue-Ellen!
Thanks to Anna and those wonderful people at Hachette
I can giveaway 5 copies of
A Highlander’s Temptation
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A HIGHLANDERS TEMPTATION Blog Tour / Sue-Ellen Welfonder Guest Post and Giveaway