Good morning everyone and happy hump day! Today I'd like to welcome historical romance author, Amanda Forester, over. Amanda is celebrating the release of her second Scottish Romance, The Highlander's Heart, and joining us for an interview and giveaway. Enjoy!
Hi, Amanda, and welcome to Reading Between the Wines. I am so excited that you could join us today!
Let’s start off with you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you today! I am so excited to be sharing my latest release, The Highlander's Heart. This journey started many years ago when my husband was deployed to Iraq. Those were the longest 14 months of my life. Reading historical romance novels helped get me through some tough times. Fortunately, my husband came home, and I got inspired to start writing stories that had always been swirling around in my brain. It is great to share one with you!
I am such a Highlander hussy and am thrilled to find another author who writes about these sexy kilted heroes! What inspired you to write in this sub-genre of romance?
Sexy kilted heroes! What more is there to say? The Highlander is to me the quintessential alpha male. He is fiercely independent yet loyal to his clan. He is rough around the edges, but is willing to risk his life to save the woman he loves. In medieval Scotland there were no external forces keeping law and order, but rather clans required strong leaders who could protect and serve their people. Put all these qualities in a hunky man wearing a kilt and you have my ideal hero!
For readers unfamiliar with your works, please tell us about your Highlander series.
The Highlander series tells stories of Highland lairds and lasses, and an occasional English countess or French knight who fall in love with them. My series is set in 14th century Scotland at the beginning of what will later be known as the Hundred Year's War. King David of Scotland has been held in English captivity for the past ten years and tensions are high between the clans to determine who will gain power in the king's absence. It's a great background for clan rivalries, political intrigue, and of course a little romance!
Yes, I need to do a lot of research, often before I can start writing anything. Reading the history, some of which sounds too fantastic to be real, inspires my writing. When I learned about the history of King David being held for ransom by England and the conflict within the clans to win power, I knew it was a great tumultuous setting for a story. When I found that French troops actually traveled to Scotland in 1355 to join forces to battle England, I knew I found the perfect setting for my story. Clan conflict, French troops, what could be better setting for a romance?
Have you ever visited Scotland yourself?
I have only traveled as far as England, but I would LOVE to visit Scotland someday. To see the castles, visit the monuments, breathe the air, and
drool over talk to a real Highlander... I might never return!
The second novel in this series, The Highlander’s Heart, was recently released (Woohoo, congrats!) What can we expect from Isabelle and David’s story?
Lady Isabelle escapes her murderous English husband only to be abducted by a Highland warrior and held for ransom. Her determination to break free from captivity is exceeded only by the passion growing between her and the Highland Laird. David Campbell plans to hold Isabelle for ransom as an easy way to line his pockets and return her back where she belongs, but he is unprepared for a feisty English lass with a penchant for finding trouble. Caught between rival clans bent on claiming the throne of Scotland, Campbell must choose a side, and a bride. Standing on the brink of war, Isabelle may be his only hope to save his clan, and his heart.
Is there a scene from the novel that really captured your heart while writing?
My editor asked for some revisions on my first draft. At first I was resistant, but as I went back over the story I found there were scenes I needed to tell. One of my favorite scenes happens after Campbell first meets Isabelle and saves her from a wild boar. I love first kisses! Now naturally Isabelle doesn't go around kissing men she just meets, but if you had just been saved from attackers and rescued from a wild boar by a hunky Highlander... well wouldn't you? Read an excerpt here.
I celebrated my release at the Emerald City Writer's Conference. This had special meaning for me because it was at the same conference several years ago that I met my editor and agent, which led to my first sale. It was great fun to sell my first copies of The Highlander's Heart at the ECWC book fair, where I could share them with all my friends and family.
Can we look forward to anymore Highlander novels from you? If so, can you share about what’s to come?
The third book in the Highlander series, True Highland Spirit, is scheduled to be released in March, 2012. This next book tells the story of Morrigan McNab (who you'll meet in Highlander's Heart). She is a feisty heroine, better at swordplay than making sweet talk with some man, but she'll soon find a few kisses can be preferable to a fight!
What are five must-read authors for you?
I do enjoy the classics such as Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. For classic Scottish medieval the historicals of Julie Garwood are always a good choice, and I always enjoy the adventure and humor of Lynn Kurland. The one book I do try to read every evening is Psalms, it is a great way to end the day and it reminds me that I have a purpose and that I am loved.
Thanks so much for stopping by Amanda and I look forward to reading more of your works in the future!
Thanks so much for inviting me! I love to hear from folks so here's where you can find me lurking the web: website, facebook, or twitter.
Thanks to the wonderful people at SourceBooks I have one copy of The Highlander's Heart to give away to one US or Canadian reader. To enter, just leave a comment on this interview and then fill out the rafflecopter below with your name and email address. Extra entries are available as well but not required. Good luck!