Welcome, Willa, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, Sarah. Thanks for having me here today! I’m a best-selling and award-winning author of Scottish historical and contemporary paranormal romance. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? I’m also a recent transplant from the mid-Atlantic to Texas, where I live most of the year in shorts and sandals. I don’t miss the snow at all!
Tell us about HIGHLAND HEALER and where we can find it.
Highland Healer, my best-selling debut book, takes place in the highlands of Scotland in 1516, three years after King James IV perished along with most of his nobles and clan chiefs, fighting the English just over the border at Flodden Fields.
In the aftermath, James V was a toddler, the Queen Mother was Henry VIII’s sister, and the Regent preferred to spend time in France rather than govern Scotland. Most clans were led by younger siblings who never expected to become laird. And many clans near the border were so decimated that they broke up.
In Highland Healer, when a lowlander army determined to take over the highlands attacks the clan he's negotiating with, Toran Lathan is wounded and taken prisoner, mistaken for the laird of the clan he’s visiting. He escapes and takes the lowlanders' captive Healer, Aileana Shaw, with him.
Highland Healer is available from in print and ebook formats from Amazon: http://ning.it/PbhhUB, at www.thewildrosepress.com and other retailers. Check with your favorite bookseller.
Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
Aileana has special abilities that she uses to survive once she’s ripped away from her home and family. She has the strength to find her way in a hostile world, make a place for herself and keep herself safe. All of us do that to a greater or lesser extent at some point in our lives. When she meets Toran Lathan, she allows herself to trust him and eventually falls in love. She’s very brave, though she doesn’t know it.
Describe your writing in three words.
Action-packed. Atmospheric. Spicy.
When I decided to tackle a historical romance, the fact that I enjoyed the stories set in Scotland that I read over the years, and that I’m part Scottish, made writing a Scottish historical darn near inevitable. All the scifi/fantasy I read while growing up added the paranormal element.
Where do you get your ideas?
Mostly from flashes of a scene - usually not much more than a picture of a setting, or a really short clip that conveys a place and a mood. I go from there.
How do you do your research?
I read - a lot, and in a lot of genres. I also have reference books on castles and Scottish history, along with that entire library of science fiction and fantasy that I’ve collected since childhood. And thank goodness for the internet. I can spend hours following one link after another, sometimes going down rabbit-holes, but often finding those interesting bits of trivia that add depth and texture to a story, or help to drive the plot.
What advice would you give to the new/unpublished author?
Finish the damn book. Like many authors, I spent years polishing the first few chapters of several works-in-progress. It wasn’t until I buckled down and finished the entire first draft of one of them that I had the epiphany. I could do this. I could write books. I had the talent, the ability, and the discipline to finish a major project.
Until you get to “The End”, you may be spending a lot of time writing and editing, but you’re not any closer to realizing your dreams. And once you do finish it, that first draft you are (rightfully) so proud of will need editing and revision, maybe minor, maybe major, but you will have accomplished what ninety percent of writers never do. If you’re looking for inspiration, you can’t get much better than that.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been swamped with promotion since my publisher early-released Highland Healer into the Amazon Kindle KDP Select program in October. But I was thrilled that my debut book quickly showed up - and stayed - on the Kindle bestseller lists. Now that the excitement of Highland Healer’s official release day on 4 January has passed, I can better balance book promotion with actual book writing. The second book, which I’m calling Highland Seer, is with my editor and I’m hoping for a late 2013 release date for it. In the meantime, I’m writing the third book, which I’m calling Highland Troth. Then I plan to get going on a romantic suspense novel that I began during a retreat my publisher held back in October.
Where can we find you on the web?
Is there anything you would like to ask our readers?
I’d love to know what makes a book memorable to your readers. What elements of a romance really draw them in and stick with them?