Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Welcome, Scottish Seduction Blog Tour

What's better than having one historical romance author come to one's cyber home to chat? Having two. I'm delighted to welcome Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Margaret Mallory. I first discovered Sue-Ellen's books through her wonderful blog, Tartan Ink. Anyone who knows me can tell there's no way I could resist a series titled Return of the Highlanders, which has firmly made me a reader of Margaret's books as well. Both have brand new releases in ongoing series: Sue-Ellen's Seduction of a Highland Warrior brings readers back to the Glen of Many Legends, while readers of Margaret's series finally get Connor's story in The Cheiftain. Both books combine history, romance, family ties, and a touch of magic. Give the same ingredients to two talented chefs, and you'll get two different and delicious dishes. It's the same with writers. How does that play out here? Read on.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder

SEW: It’s a pleasure to be here to celebrate Seduction of a Highland Warrior’s recent release. Must say, I adore the title of this blog. It’s clever, smile-inducing, and original.

TWWN: Thanks, Sue-Ellen. We're happy to have you here. What draws you to Scottish historical romance?

SEW: On a personal level, I have a Hebridean/Highland family background and so was raised to appreciate that heritage. I’ve also been traveling to Scotland all my life, so loving Scotland and its past is very much a part of my world and always has been. I’m also keenly interested in medieval history and archaeology. These were my interests before I ever considered writing and will remain so when I no longer write.

In more general terms, I appreciate the possibilities offered by medieval Scotland as a setting and time period for romance. There’s the magnificent landscape, a proud and fearless people, a colorful and turbulent past, many layers of fascinating history and an irresistible blend of cultures (Pictish, Celtic, Pagan, Viking, etc). The clan feuds offer a wealth of plot possibilities. I also love Highland magic, the legend and lore, myth and superstition that abounded in medieval Scotland. And that, to a degree, remains. My grandmother had the sight, for example. My first book, Devil In A Kilt, featured a heroine gifted with the sight and so have some of my other titles. I enjoy writing characters with such extraordinary talents or weaving in other magical threads. As such beliefs were an integral part of Highland Scotland in these centuries, using such elements is natural and fitting. And a pleasure for me as I find every aspect of ‘Highland magic’ fascinating. I also collect medieval weaponry and love studying medieval warfare. I really enjoy writing medieval battle scenes. So my genre reflects by personal background and interests.

TWWN: What are the best and most challenging aspects of writing connected books?

SEW: I love writing connected books. Because I enjoy writing series/connected stories so much, I don’t see any part of the process as challenging. One thing I do watch is to end a series before beloved main characters grow old. It’s fun to write stories for the children of the original hero and heroine. But I do not want to write the first protagonists as grandparents. That’s why I ended my popular MacKenzie series when I did. Devil In A Kilt’s hero, Duncan, is still well-loved by my readers. I don’t want him hobbling about as a bent old man. Not going to happen.

What I love most about connected books is revisiting beloved characters and settings. In the writing of a book, the story comes to life and the characters soon feel like living, breathing people. It’s always a pleasure to work with them again. To see what they’re up to after an earlier book has ended. I know from my readers that most of them also enjoy seeing the characters again. As noted above, you just have to know when to move on. But even then, I like adding ‘magical touch-points’ to new series. Such as Devorgilla, the well-meaning yet meddlesome cailleach in my MacKenzie series. She makes cameo appearances in other series and whenever she does, I always hear from readers who tell me they loved seeing her on the page. Frankly, she is so real, I worry she’d hex me if I didn’t let her dip a toe in the ink now and again.

TWWN: Surprise! You have time traveled to the past -the day before you wrote the first page of your first novel. You may speak only one sentence to your past self. What is it?

SEW: Beware, here be (deadline) dragons.

Thank you so much for inviting me here today. It’s been fun. And I do adore the name of this blog.

Highland Blessings!
Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Thanks much, Sue-Ellen, and for what it's worth, Duncan would be an awesome senior gent.

Margaret Mallory

TWWN: What draws you to Scottish historical romance?

MM: I love history, and I have a serious weakness for stories involving castles and heroes who swing swords. I suspect I’m drawn to the British Isles, in particular, because of my Scottish-Irish-English heritage.

TWWN: What are the best and most challenging aspects of writing connected books?

MM: The most challenging aspect of writing this particular series was having four heroes who were the same age and who were all in each other’s books. Each needed to be heroic, yet distinct. I had to work to make each hero stand out as an individual, particularly when all four were in a scene, without slowing the pace with extra description. And, being heroes in their prime, naturally these guys wanted to take over each other’s books!

I’ve had tremendous positive feedback from readers about the “bro-mance” among my four Highland warriors.
So, despite the challenge, I am really glad I stuck with my original vision of these four heroes who’ve been close friends since they could walk.

TWWN: Surprise! You have time traveled to the past -the day before you wrote the first page of your first novel. You may speak only one sentence to your past self. What is it?

MM: I know you got a lot of satisfaction from working for good causes—improving care for the elderly and services for abused and neglected kids—but I wish you’d quit a couple of years sooner to write romance novels.

Thanks, Margaret. I'm glad you stuck with the original vision, too.

Readers, what's your favorite aspect of a good Scottish romance? Where should a new reader start with either of these writers? Drop a comment and make some noise.


AutumnFire said...

It's great to see you here, Sue-Ellen! Congratulations on your new book!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Morning, Anna!

Thank you so much for hosting us on our blog tour. You really have a beautiful blog and did such a lovely presentation for us. Thank you!

And I really appreciate your good words about Tartan Ink. :)

Duncan - Ha Ha, he is not getting any older than he was in his daughter, Gelis's Seducing a Scottish Bride or his other girl, Arabella's A Highlander's Temptation. I think he cut a dashing figure in both those books. He won't age a day over them. But! He will return. He'll be all over the pages when I do a series for dear Sir M's children one of these days.

Thanks again for having us here today! You asked some great questions. Not being very fond of the business side of writing (let's say I do miss the airlines very much!!), I had to think hard about Question 3. Yikes.

Good luck in the drawing, everyone!

I'll look in later today, might be tonight. Busy day here...

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Carol L. said...

I enjoy these Authors both and have read all their books. I love when they are a series because I seeing old friends again and catching up with them as I read the new. Kind of like meeting up with family. :)
I'm beyond excited to read both books. Nothing compares to a kilted Highlander with all his loyalty and fierceness in protecting his loved ones.Thanks for the interviews ladies. :)
Carol L
Lucky450 (at) aol (dot) com

Carol L. said...

I think I made a mistake when I put in my email address.It's actually
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com.Sorry.

Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Margaret Mallory said...

Thanks so much for having us here today.


Glittergirl said...

I have several things that draw me to Scottish romance: Strong alpha males in kilts with toe curling burrs and the strong women who become their mates. They are loyal and fierce and adore their country.

Where to start with the authors...With Sue-Ellen I just sort of jumped in with the beginning of the trilogy that she was currently releasing. As I had time I went back and picked up her Allie Mackay titles and adored them. I always start at the beginning of a series and read them consecutively as I enjoy the details and connections that flow from one book to the next. I haven't started Margaret's yet although I have them. I'd love to have someone tell me where to jump in :-)

Leah Weller (leahluvsmedieval) said...

As for Sue-Ellen's start point, I have to say Devil In A Kilt. Duncan was her first and mine as well reading her and in my mind, it has to start with him. Linnet is pretty awesome herself! :D

I started with The Chieftain with Margaret's book. I have the Warrior here and wanted so badly to pick it up as soon as I finished The Chieftain but I want to read the entire series back to back so am waiting to get the other two in the series before I start. Today's my birthday so guess what two books will be gotten with bday monies? HUGE smile on my face here!

Both these authors are amazing with their words!

Connie Peters said...

Thank you for asking such great questions to your featured writers. Both of these amazing women are on my MUST READ list. I've read all of their books, including Sue-Ellen's new release and I've pre-ordered Margaret's new release.
If I were introducing a new reader to these authors, I would have them begin with the first book of the series with the new releases. Then they could go back and catch up with older books. I would suggest they take a long weekend or call in sick, because they are not going to want to put the books down. I personally limit the number of pages I can read per day of these authors because I never want the stories to end. You will fall in love with the heroes and you will cheer the strong women on while they go after their man. I too have ancestors from Scotland and I'm planning a trip in the next few years. I gift to myself, to be shared with my sister, for surviving lung cancer. Each page I turn from these authors take me on a mini vacation to the Highlands until I can get there myself. Just hope I'm lucky enough to find a kilt wearing, gorgeous, hunk that kisses really well while I'm there. LOL
Thanks for interviewing my favorite authors.
Connie Peters

Marilyn said...

I love the wonderful highland heroes and their equally strong women.

catslady said...

I think a new reader could start anywhere and would find a very enjoyable story. I've always enjoyed Highlander stories - maybe I was Scottish in another lifetime lol. What is not to love - the wildness, the kilts, the swords, the loyalty and braveness and the brogue to name a few.

Margaret Mallory said...

It's wonderful to read all these comments! Happy birthday to Leah--& thanks for giving your self my books as a present!!

I write my books so that each can be read independently, but I do think readers enjoy them a bit more if they read them in order. The heroes are all in each others' books. :)

THE GUARDIAN is the first book in this series, THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, and KNIGHT OF DESIRE is the 1st one in my earlier, medieval trilogy, ALL THE KING'S MEN.


Anna Bowling said...

Sue-Ellen, thank you for your lovely words about this blog. Very good to hear Duncan will still be around. Very much looking forward to Sir M's children having their own books, as well. The legend continues!

Margaret, It's my pleasure to have you and Sue-Ellen visit. Come back anytime!

Carol L, Highlanders do have that fierce loyalty, without a doubt.

Glittergirl, I'd start Margaret's Return of the Highlanders with The Gaurdian. The opening will pull you right in, and Sileas is a wonderful heroine. For her All The King's Men series, start with Knight of Desire.

Leah, Happy Birthday, and you're right - Duncan is the man, and Linnet is a wonderful match for him.

Connie, I can't think of a better gift for a true survivor to receive. I hope you do find your Highlander.

Marilyn, I agree - a great heroine is every bit her hero's equal.

Catslady, I remember reading a study that said a male voice with a Scottish accent is the most reassuring-sounding voice to native English speakers. I think you're onto something with that brogue.

Kai said...

I would say the new readers should start with the first book of the series (this rule really doesn't apply to me since I'm always starting in the middle of the series). It doesn't matter which author as long as the readers enjoy reading the book.

Lexi H said...

Margaret, there is something touching about a group of guys that remain friends over the years, glad to hear you kept your bro-mance!!

Sue-Ellen you have figured out how to write a connected series rather well. You get us enamored with your characters so we cheer when they return with their very own story!!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Hi Anna - Please accept my apologies for my comments repeated appearance. I am very untechy and pc was acting up this morning, so I kept trying to post it. Again and again. Yikes.

Thank you again for such a beautiful feature today!


Anna Bowling said...

Kai, I think you've hit on the most important thing - as long as the reader is having a good time, they're in the right place.

Lexi, both Margaret and Sue-Ellen take us into the worlds of their characters, so it's easy to feel part of the family.

Sue-Ellen, no worries. A friend of mine has kidded me about needing a tech manual to operate a butter churn, so I understand about being untechy. Duplicate comments are easy to dispatch. Again, my pleasure to have you both. Come back anytime! Hugs right back!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

AutumnFire - Thanks so much for looking in here. Didn't Anna do a beautiful feature today?

Carol L - Thanks so much for your good words. I so agree about Highlanders. :)

GlitterGirl - Thank you, too, for such kind words. I am so happy that you also enjoy my Allie Mackay titles. I love them very much.

Leah - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Old dev says your present is a super-early read of you-know-who's ipcoming story. He he he. I'll keep you posted via email. Hope you enjoyed your birthday!! Love you and ((((HUGS)))

Thanks for mentioning Devil In A Kilt. I love Linnet, too.

Connie - You and your sister will have the most wonderful trip to Scotland. Every moment will be even better than all your dreams.
Thank you so much for your good words about the books. :)

Catslady - Well said on the appeal of Highlanders. I'm with you on the past life thing. Oh, yeah...

Kai - Excellent advice for readers. I enjoy reading a series straight through as well.

Lexi - You always make me smile. :) I am so glad you enjoy the books so much. The characters feel real to me, like old friends, so I love revisiting them.

Anna, thank you again for having us here today. The feature is lovely!

Good luck in the drawings, Everyone!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

You're very kind, Anna! We can be non-techy pals then. ;) LOVE the buttern churn idea.

Anna Bowling said...

Absolutely, Sue-Ellen. We non-techy types have to stick together.

Z said...

Please don't enter me in any contest for these books as I already own and cherish them!
I love the landscape descriptions and I can hear that buttery soft voice and it melts me.
I just thinking as I saw the title of your blog how cute the name was and then it popped up and Sue-Ellen thought the same thing. I am just starting to read Margaret's work but I am enjoying her books as well. Hello Sue_Ellen and Margaret.

Margaret Mallory said...

I had some trouble posting, too, but I'm back. I hope. ;)

For you Scotland-lovers, I wanted to mention that I have book photo albums on the video page of my website, www.MargaretMallory.com & also photos on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/margaretmallory.author.

I appreciate all the comments, & thanks again for having us, Anna. This was a great feature. :)


Bullrem said...

I loved reading more about Sue-Ellen. Thank you so much for having Her on this blog tour.

GREAT questions.
Insightful answers.

Helen in Ark (non-techy, too)

Anna Bowling said...

Z, great minds think alike. I'm glad you and Sue-Ellen like the blog title. Glad also that you're discovering Margaret's books as well as Sue-Ellen's. There's some wonderful reading ahead.

Margaret, I'm sorry you had trouble posting. All seems to be well now. Thanks for mentioning the photo albums; they're gorgeous, and readers will want to be sure to see them all.

Bullrem, having these two talented authors was my pleasure. Glad you enjoyed. We non-techys do need to stick together.

Margaret Mallory said...

Glad you liked my book photo albums!

Thanks again for the wonderful feature.

Lexi H said...

I love when the authors take the time to reply to everyone! Thanks to the featured authors!!