Thanks for having me here, Leah, I can’t believe how time has flown ~ the official Carina Press launch month has come and, well, I won’t say gone because those launch titles are still buzzing up the book-e-sphere, so maybe I could say come and stayed and extended into the second month.
Betrayed is my debut book and I’m so excited I’m hopping on clouds right now. Harlequin is one of my favourite publishers, so for me it’s a special treat to have my first release come out with their digital love child, Carina Press.
Betrayed is a medieval Scottish romance set in the period just after the first King James I was released from English captivity. I particularly love plotting stories in this period, because all those wayward Scottish lairds had been without a king for many years and acquired a habit of doing exactly as they pleased without fear of consequence – as long as they had their men at their backs.
Two Feuding Families
Amber Jardin has no taste for the bitter feud started before her father’s banishment. But now that he’s passed, she’s had to return to Scotland and his barbaric people. After her bloodthirsty uncle kidnaps one of the family’s rivals, Amber is in turn captured by Krayne Johnstone, the enemy laird. Despite their enmity, their attraction is immediate—and unfortunate, as Amber has sworn to escape.
One Lusty Temptation
Krayne is amazed at the wildcat’s repeated attempts to flee. He should steel himself against her beguiling ways—yet with time, he is driven more witless with lust. When the ransom exchange fails and Krayne is left with Amber, he finds he cannot tolerate the thought of her with another man—and she cannot tolerate the thought of returning to her uncle’s home.
Will passion and love win out over mistrust and betrayal in time to prevent an all-out war?
Leah asked me some fabulous questions, so I guess it’s time to stop babbling and start paying attention 🙂
What’s the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve done for the sake of research?
Not unusual, but certainly interesting: exploring medieval castles. I’ve dragged my family from one end of Scotland and Ireland to the other. I find those castles more delightful than the English ones, maybe because they are often mere peel tower shells and I can sit in the middle of the grassy ruin and let my imagination run wild. We also went to a medieval banquet hosted in one of those peel towers in Ireland, and it was almost like the real thing, served on platters and battered pewter mugs with minstrels plucking out their tunes in one corner.
With your latest release, did you have any specific inspiration? Did you do anything to help keep you in their world – music or a movie or something?
Betrayed first came to me as the title i.e. Betrayed. I’d been reading a lot of historical romance set in medieval Scotland and fancied writing one, so I knew where and when Betrayed would be set. And that was all. From there on I had to trust in my imagination to build characters who would truly betray each other, not just pay a small tribute to the story name, but making sure they held the reader’s sympathy at the same time. What fun!
You know how stories come to some people in dreams? Well, no, unfortunately that’s never happened with me. But this is a ritual I go through with all books while I’m writing: when I get into bed at night, I close my eyes and place myself in the last scene I’ve been working on and sort of daydream about where it goes from there… a little like play acting the scene in my head. I usually pretend I’m the heroine, and I take it from there. Most times, the next block of the scene plays out for me before I fall asleep. This is a great way to get started writing the next day.
If your latest release were made into a movie, who would you cast as the hero and heroine?
Ooh, I’d have to choose Gerard Butler for my Scottish laird and I think Kate Winslet would do my English lady proud.
What is something unusual that you do or have done that people normally don’t know or would be surprised to know about you?
This would have to be the dream-play-acting I do in bed each night. I’ve never told anyone about this, not even my husband. I mean, I’m a Pisces, so dreaming is expected of me, but this might be a bit too much for him to handle.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do just to kick back and relax?
I read as much as I can. I read even when I should be writing. At this rate, I’m never going to build up my own backlist!
I also love to play the piano, especially when I’m wired up: this relaxes me and takes me right out of the world around me. Unfortunately, I don’t play all that well, so I’m sure it has the opposite effect on those poor souls that live with me 🙂
Which would you rather meet – an alien or a ghost?
An alien. Preferably one that didn’t look like a cockroach and having multi-lingual antennae would be also be a bonus. I’m one of those people who just can’t believe we’re all alone in this universe. Somewhere out there…
(Leah here — hey, I’m with you, after all I’ve seen a UFO…)
And now, a little more about Betrayed…
Krayne Johnstone became laird of Wamphray at the age of 12. He’s a man shaped by the harsh land. His heart is for pumping blood to his sword arm and nothing else. Before he could even start to fall in love with Amber, I had to teach the poor man what love is. But he is honourable and noble, and he has excellent reasons for distrusting scheming women.
Amber Jardin has led a pampered life in England and is totally unprepared for the barbaric realities of Scotland. But she’s not one to simper and bemoan her fate. She’s determined to shape her future and use whatever means on hand to do it. In this case, it’s her body. Amber is not perfect, far from it, but then I’ve never liked my heroines flawless. I don’t necessarily approve of everything she does, but I admire her courage and determination.
Here’s a small snippet that, I think, defines the characters of the hero and heroine, and how they interact with each other in this story. These two have such different views on life (and a woman’s place) and they were never going to have an easy ride…
Her gaze slid down the length of this mighty warrior, missing no detail along the way, and she had to take a step back for fear of punching that expression from his face. “You will stand there, all muscle and brawn, and attack my only means of defence?”
Krayne growled at the argument, refusing to admit she made a valid point. “God himself surely had a reason for blessing man with strength and ours is not ta question.”
Her hands settled on the flare of her hips as a spark lit her eyes. “And God surely had a reason for giving women pretty curves and the intellect to use them.”
Well, it’s been fun, but I guess it’s time to hand back Leah’s blog. Thanks for having me here.