It’s almost a year now since I first met the lovely ladies that make up the New Romantics Press – Adrienne Vaughan, Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford – and they’ve become some of my favourite party companions. I’m really delighted that Lizzie and Adrienne have agreed to join me here on Being Anne this week, on successive days, to talk about their lives and their writing.
We looked for a perfect theme, and it was really obvious from the start. Many of you will now that I’m a Welsh girl living in Yorkshire – so what better subject than Celtic Roots?
Here’s Lizzie to start us off…
Readers, I have discovered, are drawn to the mystical, dreamy highlands of Scotland as the backdrop to contemporary romance. As a writer, born and bred in Scotland, I heartily agree with that sentiment. Tall, Dark and Kilted, features a sexy laird Ruairi (Roo-ary) Urquhart who has to fight to safeguard his land and inheritance. In Scotch on the Rocks, kilt-wearing American, Brodie arrives on Eilean na Sgairbh on the back of a storm wind and turns my heroine’s life upside down.
Both novels have gone down a storm in countries where there are ex-pat Scots – USA, Australia, New Zealand or Canada; it appears that second and third generation Scots are eager to learn about the old traditions and their former homeland. And if they learn through my novels, then so much the better. My novels are meticulously researched and, as a Scotswoman, I write with complete authenticity about the land and its people.
Romance readers simply love a novel which features a man in a kilt. The element of ‘costume’ (i.e. the kilt), especially in a contemporary setting, removes the hero and the reader from the everyday and transports them into the realm of fantasy and romance. And, in the case of a kilted hero, there is also the tease of whether he’s followed tradition and gone ‘commando’, or not!
The kilted hero in my novels is, generally, aristocratic – a laird, at the very least. And, while he does not have to work to earn his daily crust, he carries the weight of his inheritance and the welfare of his tenants and family on his shoulders. He often has emotional scars which only the heroine can heal. All of my novels have a happy ending and readers can close the book with a satisfied sigh knowing that all the obstacles which have prevented the hero and hero from leading a happy life, have resolved.
My interest in kilted heroes began as a child growing up in Scotland, reared (courtesy of Saturday morning cinema) on the exploits of highlanders in such movies as Rob Roy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Ghost Goes West and, sob, Grey Friar’s Bobby. After the movie (or fil-um, as we pronounced it) we’d re-enact Rob Roy’s leap and subsequent escape through the waterfall, or the scene from Kidnapped, where Davie Balfour is almost murdered by his evil uncle. Our dogs were dragooned into being “Bobby”, loyally guarding his master’s grave in Grey Friar’s kirk, Edinburgh. And I longed to be Flora Macdonald, helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape over the sea to Skye and away from the Redcoats.
Tales of brave Covenanters and Jacobites stayed with me as I grew older and read Scottish-themed novels . . . The Jacobite Trilogy by D.K. Broster (falling in love with Ewen Cameron), The Lymond Chronicles (who could resist Francis Crawford?). More recently, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon featuring uber-hero Jamie Fraser has fired my imagination, For me, he is the ultimate kilted hero and has it in spades – looks, sense of honour, loyalty, is sex-on-legs and can speak Gaelic. I’ll even admit to subscribing to Amazon Prime so I could watch the TV Series.
A hero wearing a suit, carrying duct tape, rope and plastic ties just doesn’t cut it for me – sorry, E.L.James. Give me an exiled, romantic Jacobite every time.
I have travelled extensively throughout Scotland researching my novels and have blogged about it. Details of all my books are on my Amazon page. In 2015 I was also privileged to have a personal tour of Castle Stalker near Fort William and this inspired me to write novel number four – hopefully due for publication in April 2017.
Thank you Lizzie! For more of her writing also try Boot Camp Bride – not Scotland this time, but romance and intrigue on the Norfolk marshes. You’ll find a tapas of novel openings to pique your taste buds (from all four members of New Romantic Press) in Take a chance on us, and more from Lizzie (and Adrienne) in Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology. Tomorrow, I’ll be delighted to welcome Adrienne Vaughan…
New Romantics Press links