Celia graciously came up with the questions for her interview. So buried trying to get these books read & reviewed in time.  Seriously need to learn to say no.  Never had any trouble with my boys or in sooo many other situations but when it comes to books…*sigh*  Ceci is generously offering a digital copy of THE HIGHLAND SOLUTION to one (1) lucky commenter.  What is it about Highlander’s that cranks your clock?  Do tell…:) Giveaway ends @12am est 9-15-13.  Good Luck!

Y’all please welcome Ceci, formerly of New Jersey and recently moved to Florida….

Please tell us about your newest release.

My current release, Highland Solution, is set in the 14th century Highlands. It tells the story of Katherine Ruthven, a Lowland heiress who is essentially forced into an arranged marriage with Niall MacIan, a Highland laird who desperately needs her dowry. She has learned the surest way to open herself to hurt is to love and yet she chooses to love anyway. Still, loving Niall MacIan is no small challenge

  1. Who will love Highland Solution?

Well obviously, lovers of Highland or Medieval romance have the best shot. However, I know several people who like romance but have never read historical romance. They read it and loved it. The heroine, Katherine, wields wisdom, grace and humor as effectively as a Highland warrior wields a claymore. I think any readers who appreciate a heroine with that kind of subtle strength will love her. Not to mention the fact that Niall is everything I think a medieval alpha male should be.

  1. Did you have input into the cover art? If so did it turn out as you had hoped?

It’s a nice cover isn’t it? I had very little to do with it. When asked, I told the publisher I didn’t really care for covers featuring half-dressed people but having no experience I would leave it up to them. That is one of the best decisions I have ever made because the cover is not at all what I imagined and it turned out better than I had hoped. 

  1. Do you have other works in process?

I have several new books started. The one nearest completion is Highland Courage and you will meet the hero in Highland Solution. Obviously it is a Highland romance however the heroine Mairead MacKenzie is on a journey to overcome a trauma in her past. I think love can be transformative and she experiences that while finding her own power and courage.

The next most developed plot centers around a young woman who without concern for herself saves a wee lad who has fallen through the ice. She soon learns that not only is he a member of the clan with whom her clan has a long standing feud; he is the laird’s grandson.

  1. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment, personally or professionally?

I am extremely proud of my children. They are excellent scholars pursing admirable careers. However, perhaps more importantly, they are kind, compassionate, generous, loving, loyal and industrious. They are responsible for their own success. Still, I’d like to think I created a home where the qualities I admire in them were nurtured. 

  1. Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

Someone once told me that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I love writing fiction. In five years I would like to be successful enough as an author to focus my full attention on it, perhaps entrusting my other business to someone else.

  1. If you had to describe the saddest thing that has ever happened to you, what would it be?

This isn’t exactly a sad thing that happened to me, it is something I saw that has stuck with me forever. I worked as an oncology nurse at the NIH for a number of years. One night, I had a patient who slipped into a coma hours before she passed away. I noticed a book lying open face down on her bedside table, the way someone does to mark their spot in a book they plan to pick up again soon. I realized sadly that she would never finish that book. It was a particularly poignant symbol of a life that ended too soon. 

  1. If you could eat one food in any quantity for the rest of your life without suffering ill effects what would it be?

Cake. I love cake. My favorite is chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I fight an ongoing battle with my weight and cake is my biggest downfall. 

  1. Okay, so if you had to eat one meal morning, noon and night for the rest of your life without worrying about nutrition or gaining weight what would you pick?

Grilled steak and shrimp, loaded baked potato, asparagus with hollandaise, an “onion ring stack salad” (from Mastoris in Bordentown NJ) and a chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting (from Mastoris’ too). While we are at it, let’s add a cup of Mastoris’ split pea soup and some of their amazing cheese bread. 

  1. If you won 50 million in the lottery what is the first thing you would do?

Go to the bank. 

Maybe that wasn’t what you were looking for. I believe in giving back so the first thing I would do is donate to a charity that feeds the hungry. Heifer International is one of my favorites. Next, I would set up a scholarship at Salisbury University, to be awarded to a student who wishes to study nursing and another one at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) to be awarded to a student in any discipline who exemplifies the character traits I value. I attended both of these universities and graduated from Salisbury’s excellent nursing program. The only stipulation would be that I be allowed to select the first recipients of both awards and have some input in determining the selection requirements going forward. Finally I would support Good Counsel Homes, an organization that provides a home and resources to help homeless, pregnant women.

  1. If you were given $10,000 to spend only on yourself, in a single store, what store would you spend it in?

Hands down, Costco. With jewelry, electronics, spa and restaurant gift certificates, appliances, food, clothes, travel, even home remodeling services, they have anything I could want.

?????????????????Laird Niall MacIan needs Lady Katherine Ruthven’s dowry to relieve his clan’s crushing debt but he has no intention of giving her his heart in the bargain.

Niall MacIan, a Highland laird, desperately needs funds to save his impoverished clan. Lady Katherine Ruthven, a lowland heiress, is rumored to be “unmarriageable” and her uncle hopes to be granted her title and lands when the king sends her to a convent. King David II anxious to strengthen his alliances sees a solution that will give Ruthven the title he wants, and MacIan the money he needs. Laird MacIan will receive Lady Katherine’s hand along with her substantial dowry and her uncle will receive her lands and title.

Lady Katherine must forfeit everything in exchange for a husband who does not want to be married and believes all women to be self-centered and deceitful. Can the lovely and gentle Katherine mend his heart and build a life with him or will he allow the treachery of others to destroy them?

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Ceci’s sixth grade class predicted that she would be an author. “But I want to be a nurse!” she said, in her typically bossy style. As it turns out, she became both. She started her career as an oncology nurse at a leading research hospital, and eventually became a successful medical writer. In 1991 she married a young Irish carpenter who she met at a friend’s wedding. They raised their family in central New Jersey and now with their youngest off to college, Ceci is breaking away from “primary efficacy endpoints” and writing a few “happily ever after’s.”