Welcome everyone to the first day of The Scottish Seduction Blog Tour.
Today we have two wonderful authors visiting. Our dear friend Sue-Ellen Welfonder and a new to me author Margaret Mallory. I have collected a few of Margaret’s books but haven’t had the chance to read them yet, but I just received a copy today of The Chieftain and you can read my review by Thurs. So yesterday I posted a review of Seduction of A Highland Warrior by Sue-Ellen Welfonder, today we’re going to meet the ladies behind these loverly Scottish tales. If you missed my review you can go here, http://wp.me/p1HH6W-12M .
THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS: BOOK 4
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can’t prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.
A WARRIOR’S HEART
Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa’s bloodline is far too humble.
With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar. Yet when Connor finally stokes the embers of desire that have so long burned within her, Ilysa feels bliss unlike any she’s ever known. Now as he is forced to place duty before happiness, Ilysa senses Connor is in grave peril. Can she find a way to prove she is the woman he needs by his side?
Did you know?
* In Scotland, Dunscaith Castle – which now lies in ruins – is the inspiration for THE CHIEFTAIN’s dwelling
* For inspiration while writing THE SINNER (book 2 in the series), Country music’s Tim McGraw captured the qualities of the hero, Alex MacDonald , in his song about a bad boy who is “a real good man.”
About the Author
Margaret Mallory abandoned a career as a lawyer to become a romance novelist. Why this surprised everyone, she doesn’t know. Who wouldn’t rather have thrilling adventures with handsome Highlanders than write briefs and memos? Margaret lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, a goofy dog, and a crabby cat. With her children off to college, she spends most of her time working on her next book in The Return of the Highlanders series. Margaret loves to hear from readers.
My office-mates Beckham and Lucy are excited about my new book….
SW: Hello Margaret, welcome to the SeawitchReviews, we are so happy to have you here with us today. I have a few questions for you.
SW: I was reading your Bio and I was wondering what took you to Africa?
MM: For most of my growing up, my dad was a county extension agent, and we lived in small towns in northern Michigan. But for two years, he took a job with USAID, our foreign aid program. That’s how I came to spend 7th and 8th grade in Nigeria in West Africa.
Living overseas was a great opportunity and adventure, and I am grateful for the experience. My sister and I had to go to boarding school, however, which was a 10-12 hour drive away from where my parents and younger brother lived. I know upper class English kids do it all the time, but that was young to be away from home, particularly in a foreign country.
SW: Do you ever regret leaving your job as a lawyer to pursue writing?
MM: No, though I do miss having health insurance and regular paychecks. J I worked for more than twenty years mostly in jobs devoted to improving services for abused children and care for the elderly, and that was enough. While I’m very glad I did it, the last several years that I spent as a manager in the state agency responsible for child protective services (CPS) and foster care were wearing. I heard way too many sad stories.
SW: If you could travel anywhere in history and meet anyone you wish, where would you go and who would you meet?
MM: What a hard question! I’ll say Henry V, who is the KING in my ALL THE KING’S MEN series. I spent a lot of time researching him and his colorful relatives, several of whom ended up as secondary characters in the books. He was an amazingly skilled ruler and military leader who was beloved by the common people and who also managed to unite the fractious nobles. I’d love to talk to him about his times and ask him how history and the map of Europe might be different if had not died at only age 35.
SW: Wow, I am going to have to go and read more of your books after your answer of Henry V, it has certainly peaked my interest. CPS is a hard job and the abroad travel sounds like fun, even if the travel was long.
PRAISE FOR THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS
“Readers will appreciate the well-developed romance, historic detail, and red-hot passion as they root for two strong protagonists who bravely face danger at every turn.”
— Publishers Weekly
“TOP PICK! 4 1/2 stars! Mallory imbues history with a life of its own, creating a deeply moving story. Her characters are vibrantly alive and full of emotional depth, each with their own realistic flaws. Her sensuous and highly passionate tale grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.”
— RT Book Reviews on The Guardian
“Spellbinding! Few writers share Margaret Mallory’s talent for bringing history to vivid, pulsing life.”
— New York Times bestselling author Virginia Henley on Knight of Desire
The third book in the Highland Warriors trilogy… Three proud warriors locked in a struggle for victory. Three beguiling women united in their vow to restore peace.
At the King’s request, chieftain Alasdair MacDonald has sworn to preserve the peace in the Glen of Many Legends. Though he’s handsome and fearless, his warrior’s heart belongs only to his beloved land—until the fair sister of his oldest enemy shatters his defenses, branding his skin with a single touch, and sealing his fate with one stolen kiss . . .
Lady Marjory Mackintosh will do anything to unite the warring clans, even seduce Alasdair MacDonald. She has loved the rugged Highlander since she first saw him and now, as temptation leads to surrender, Marjory dares to possess him, body and soul. But a dangerous new menace enters the Glen, and he will stop at nothing to strip Alasdair of his honor—and the only woman who can claim his heart.
Did You Know?
* Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, Sue-Ellen Welfonder belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine society.
* Sue-Ellen won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best First Historical Romance of 2001 with her first book Devil In A Kilt.
About the Author
Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines. Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle. Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.
You can learn more at:
Sue-Ellen is happily married to her very handsome husband, Manfred, who she met many moons ago on a Munich layover. Her life is ruled by the most adorable Jack Russell Terrier in the world. He’s the only soul allowed to disrupt her when she’s on deadline. She wishes all dogs could be so loved and asks readers to consider rescue if they are thinking about getting a pet. We can’t change the world, but it is possible to make a world of difference to a needy animal.
Sue-Ellen also writes Scottish-set paranormals for Penguin/NAL under her pen name, Allie Mackay – www.alliemackay.com.
SW: Hello Sue-Ellen, it is good to have you back on the blog, we sure love to have you visit. So I have some questions for you as well, here we go.
SEW: I’m delighted to be at Seawitch Reviews to celebrate Seduction of a Highland Warrior and to launch the blog tour. I’ve been here before (this is one of my favorite review/reader sites) and it’s great to be back.
(Z is blushing but feeling some warm fuzzies)
SW: How much does your husband Manfred and your Dog Em figure into your stories, do you base your heroes on Manfred?
SEW: I would bet every romance author’s husband expects her to say he’s her hero inspiration. So I am going to say, sure! After all, so much of a writer flows into the story. Our life experiences, our psyche, everything is there on the page, just beneath the ink. Everything that’s ever happened to us, all that we think, feel, and are, is reflected in each word. Some authors might deny that, but if you know them and look close, you’ll see their face peering out at you everywhere. So, of course, people in our lives influence us, if only in bits and pieces. My husband is tall and handsome and also honorable and honest, known for his integrity. That surely comes through in my work. I’m sorry to say he isn’t interested in history, scoffs at anything paranormal, and rolls his eyes if I even mention Scotland. So my Highland heroes are mainly spun of fantasy. I craft them from a lifetime’s passion for Scotland (my ancestral home) and many years spent studying medieval Scottish history. My heroes are Highlanders as I believe would have lived in the time period I love so much and use as the settings for my stories.
I’ll give you a resounding yes regarding Em, my 14 year old Jack Russell terrier. All my books have dogs (and other animals.) I’m a huge animal lover. So, yes, Em figures strongly as the inspiration for many of my story dogs. He was little Bodo in my second book, Knight In My Bed, he was both Dottie and Scottie in my Allie Mackay title, Highlander In Her Bed, and more recently, he was Marjory’s adorable Hercules in my Highland Warriors trilogy. He’s been in many other titles. The larger, older dogs I love to write are also based on dogs I have known and loved. Mostly German shepherds from my childhood, a few mongrels I’ve also had and loved so very much. Some, especially the border collies in some titles, have been based on the dogs of friends in Scotland. Every animal in my work, including the magical fox, Somerled, in my MacKenzie series and the enchanted white stag, Rannoch, in Highland Warriors, has been inspired by an animal I’ve actually known and loved, or encountered. To discover how I met Somerled, click here: http://welfonder.com/inspired/somerled/
SW: I have noticed there is a definite difference in your writing between your stories written under Welfonder and Mackay, can you tell us a bit about this?
SEW: I’m surprised by this question, because I see lots of similarities in the books. Both are filled with my deep passion for Scotland, in particular medieval Scotland, the settings are equally authentic, brimming with the same Highland atmosphere that inspires me on my trips to Scotland. There are always dogs in the stories regardless of the name I write under. The Allie Mackay heroes are almost always medieval Highlanders, either appearing as a ghost hero or through the magic of time travel. Both sets of stories have lots of Highland magic. Ghosts also appear in my medievals, presenting a strong secondary thread.
SEW: I suspect you mean that the Allie Mackay titles are set in contemporary Scotland (although there are often scenes that occur in medieval Scotland, depending on the ghost/time travel plot elements). These heroines are modern day Americans. And that allows me to give the Allie Mackay titles a lot of humor. All the funny things that happen to these heroines when they visit Scotland are based on my own adventures on my trips there. Such as my love/hate relationship with left driving and Scotland’s thread-thin roads. Or eating haggis, which I happen to love. As the heroines are Americans, they can melt even more over the hero’s sexy Scottish accent. A medieval Scottish heroine has her own lovely Highland voice and so might not be as enamored of the hero’s rich burr as an American tourist. I really love my Allie Mackay titles and have so much fun writing them. I enjoy sending an American Scotophile to the Highlands and letting all her tartan dreams come true. These heroines get the Scottish happy ever after I wish we could all enjoy. Readers wishing to sample my Allie Mackay voice can find two 99 cent e-novellas on my website: http://welfonder.com/e-novellas/
SW: Perhaps I should have said that I can see more lightheartedness or humor in your Allie Mackay stories, they seem a bit more “fun and flirty”, maybe because you don’t have the same rules ( for lack of a better word) to stay with- in when writing your Scottish historicals. You have to make sure you keep us in Medieval Scotland where in your AM stories you have more leeway and more freedom to do your own world building so to speak. I agree with your above answer I was just wondering how you are able to do it. I feel different things reading both lines but yes the core love of Scotland and animals is in both.
SEW: Well said, Zina. My Allie Mackay titles are more lighthearted and humorous. They’re my ‘fun’ books. And I love, love, love being able to weave in many of the hilarious adventures I’ve enjoyed on my personal travels in Scotland. I can do that because of the modern day setting (or transporting a modern day heroine to medieval Scotland). The humor in these books is also my own. I have a very dry wit in real life and that comes through in my Allie Mackay voice.
SW: If you could travel anywhere in history and meet anyone you wish, where would you go and who would you meet?
SEW: Only one answer: medieval Scotland and Robert the Bruce. He’s been my favorite hero since childhood. He was one of the greatest champion knights of his day, a heroic warrior king such as Scotland hasn’t seen since, and an all-around larger-than-life legend. He’s also said to have been quite a ladies’ man. I’ve made pilgrimages to every imaginable site in Scotland that’s even remotely connected to him. If I could, I’d love to have witnessed his incredible victory over England at Bannockburn in June 1314.
Thank you so much for inviting me today. It’s been fun!
SW: Just thinking about going back to see The Bruce in action gives me the chills, I’d love to see William Wallace too.
PRAISE FOR THE HIGHLAND WARRIORS TRILOGY
“Few writers can bring history to life like Sue-Ellen Welfonder! For anyone who loves historical fiction, the books in the Highland Warriors trilogy are a true treasure.” – New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham
“Even better than the first! This finely crafted, highly emotional romance is populated by heroes whose lives are defined by the concept of honor and strong-willed heroines who don’t accept surrender as a possibility… An incredible read.” – RT Book Reviews on TEMPTATION OF A HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL
“Continues a long tradition of well-written, highly emotional romances. This marvelous novel is rich in love and legend, populated by characters steeped in honor, to make for a sensual and emotional read.”
– RT Book Reviews on SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL
Well everyone, I hope you have enjoyed visiting with Margaret and Sue-Ellen today and learning some interesting facts about both these ladies.
But mostly I hope you will get swept away and be seduced by the heroes and heroines in their books. I know I have and I will. The Chieftain releases Feb. 26th, 2013 and Seduction of A Highland Warrior released Jan. 29, 2013 and is available now.
Oh and two commenters from my site during the blog tour will each win a copy of both books The Chieftain and Seduction of A Highland Warrior from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.
Sorry, per the publisher, no PO Boxes please, so hopefully if you win you can provide another mailing address for UPS.