As promised, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Samantha James. She was kind enough to let me bug her with questions about her writing and her new book, Bride of a Wicked Scotsman, and then I even roped her into blogging on Thursday as well. That’s what kind of friend she is! So without further ado, here is Samantha James:
EB: What do you think the lure of the plaid is? How come Scotsmen make such great heroes?
SJ: The accent. Hands down, it’s the accent. When I think of Scotsmen, several things pop into my mind – well, actually it’s several men. One is Mel Gibson in the role of William Wallace in the movie Braveheart. Another is Sean Connery in . . . well, anything. Still another is Adrian Paul in the TV series Highlander. The commonality? Three men who are extremely easy on the eye and with that very sexy Scottish accent. What woman wouldn’t mind being swept off her feet by the likes of Mel Gibson, Sean Connery and Adrian Paul?
Many a reader lost her heart to Scotsman Alec Kincaid in Julie Garwood’s The Bride (including me!) Jamie Fraser in Outlander pulled us in even more. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that Braveheart actually did go a long way in casting Scotsmen as beloved romance heroes. Mel Gibson’s portrayal of William Wallace brought to life the strength, the intensity, the passion and the fire of the Scottish warrior (remember this is just my humble opinion!).
The Scottish have been fighting to survive for centuries, warring between the clans – fighting the English – being beaten, but never into the ground. In every Scottish hero lurks the soul of a warrior, and it’s that innate fierceness that’s so compelling and irresistible. That, IMHO, is the lure of the plaid.
And – oh, yeah — let’s not forget the accent.
EB: See me trying to determine which picture to download, Mel, Adrian or Sean. Oh, the terrible dilemmas I go through for all of you. Okay, back to Samantha. Can you please tell us a little bit about Bride of a Wicked Scotsman. What drew you to write this story?
SJ: Well, Bride of a Wicked Scotsman is the last book in the McBride family trilogy. Alec has been calmly sitting on the sidelines for two books, doing all those duke-ish things a duke must do. I saved his story for last, because I needed just the right feisty heroine to set him back on his heels. She didn’t make her presence known to me until my husband and I made a visit to Ireland. I was standing at the top of a cliff, on the ruins of Dunluce Castle, looking a hundred feet down where the castle’s kitchen, had tumbled into the sea during a raging storm. Yes, it really happened. In fact, it’s mentioned in Chapter 1 of the book. Okay, I’m prattling. Back to the book.
There’s an ancient curse. A deathbed promise. Skeletons rattling in the closet. Alec finds himself tricked into marriage with Irishwoman Lady Maura O’Donnell. Alec knows she’s after something, he just doesn’t know what. You’ll see Irish pitted against Scots (read: Maura vs. Alec, or perhaps it’s Alec vs. Maura). I had loads of fun writing Bride of a Wicked Scotsman.
EB: Speaking of reading Bride of A Wicked Scotsman, I just want all of you to know that while it doesn’t come out until February 24th, you can read a great excerpt on Samantha’s site. Now don’t go racing off and read it just yet, because I still have more questions for Samantha and you don’t want to miss the contest. So back to Samantha. What has always intrigued me about your books is the many time periods you write in. Do you have a favorite?
SJ: Oooh, Elizabeth, I should have known you’d ask me that question! It’s a tough one because I can’t choose! I love medievals. I’m the first to admit I love massive stone castles and mist curling around the towers. I love being able to drop a character into the events of the period – so much turmoil – and it makes for immediate conflict. But I love the Regency era just as much. But I also love being able to see my heroine dressed up in a glittering ball gown on the arm of a dashing Regency buck. But it isn’t so much the time period that I choose, but rather the characters that often dictate the time period. Here’s an example: In His Wicked Ways, I knew what how I wanted the book to start. I knew what I wanted for the very first line. Be not afraid. In my mind, the era could only be medieval. It simply wouldn’t wash in any other time period, since the hero kidnaps the heroine from a convent. His Wicked Ways is just happens to be about warring clans, and course, the requisite Scottish hero. I built the story and characters around that line. Sometimes the muse works in mysterious ways.
EB: Anyone else notice how she neatly avoided answering that one? I don’t blame her. I have a soft spot for medievals as well. Since I know you are research geek like myself, anything you discovered researching Bride of a Wicked Scotsman you’d like to share?
SJ: Well, I found out I knew precious little about the Spanish Armada. I thought all of their ships were in the English Channel. I had no idea the Spanish Armada sailed anywhere near Ireland. After a number of skirmishes with the English fleet, the Armada started to flee, sailing around Scotland and Ireland. One of the ships, the galleon Girona, sank near Dunluce Castle in a horrid storm; another part of my plot that was spawned there. The ship was filled with treasure, gold and silver. What’s the first thing you think of when it comes to treasure? Pirates. And that’s when the idea of pirates and curses lurking in Alec’s past came about . . . at least what I think of. And I knew then that one of Alec’s ancestors was a pirate — more the way my muse works!
EB: Thanks Samantha for dropping by!
And now onto the contest. All you need to do is post a comment on this blog and you are entered. Want a second entry? Send a friend over to comment. A third chance? Use the social links on the comments page and link this blog to your Facebook, MySpace, or wherever you hang out. Then you’ll be entered three times. A fourth entry? Post again on Thursday. Send a friend. Use the social links to increase your odds. In all, you can earn six entries into the contest.
And the winner? You’ll get an autographed advance reader’s copy of Bride of a Wicked Scotsman and movie tickets to Regal Cinemas.
Don’t you love it when I invite friends to visit? So comment away, ask Samantha questions, tell us what you think of the excerpt . . .