The “Next Big Thing” Blog Hop is Here!

Welcome to this blog hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore.

Through the hop you have the chance to find many new authors. Here you’ll find information about me, what I’m working on now, HIGHLANDER BETRAYED, the first book in my new (as yet to be named) medieval romance trilogy, and some of the inspirations behind this book. HIGHLANDER BETRAYED will release August 6th, 2013. Also see the links below the Q&A to other authors you might like to check out.

I’d like to thank fellow author and friend J.T. Geissinger for tagging me to participate. Click the link below to find out about J.T.’s latest book, EDGE OF OBLIVION, the second book in her paranormal romance series, which released October 2nd.  Literal Addiction calls EDGE OF OBLIVIONa dark, dangerous, sexy, action-packed thrill ride and I wanted more the minute the last page was flipped. Find out more about J.T. at her website: http://www.jtgeissinger.com

In this particular hop, each of us, on our own blogs, answer 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

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So let’s get to the Q&A! Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments!

Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

My current work in progress is Highlander Betrayed. It’s book one in my new, yet to be named, romance series set in medieval Scottland.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The culture of the Scottish Highlands includes a lot of beliefs, tales, and superstitions that would be categorized as paranormal these days. I loved the tale of the Fairy Flag (something I first learned about years ago when I was researching the MacLeod clan for my book Charming the Shrew), and how it is supposed to protect Clan from harm. Since I base my books (so far) in the time of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and King Edward I, I played with the idea of Edward seeking a way into Scotland via the Highlands and how the Highlanders might keep him out with something like the Fairy Flag. After a lot of years of letting the idea ferment, I dreamed up a small clan with an ancient relic – a shield – that would protect the Highlands from invasion and from there, a whole new series, starting with Highlander Betrayed, was born.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Historical romance, specifically medieval Scottish Highlands romance — with paranormal elements.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, that’s an easy one since I’ve used their pictures to inspire me as I wrote the book. Rowan MacGregor would be played by Rachelle Lefevre who I first saw on the short lived (but very good) TV show, Off the Map. Nicholas fitz Hugh, aka Nicholas of Achnamara, my half-English, half-Scottish, spy would be played by the gorgeous Henry Cavill. I of course would get to meet both of them on set.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A half-English, half-Scottish spy for King Edward of England is sent to find and steal an ancient relic believed by the Scots to protect the Highlands from invasion, but the spy doesn’t count on falling in love with the chief’s niece, forcing him to choose between the King’s will and his own.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

This book will be published by Montlake Romance, part of Amazon’s publishing arm. They have published two of my previous books as well and have been a dream to work with.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

That’s a trickier question than you might think. I wrote three chapters of it years ago but it didn’t sell so I never finished it. It noodled around in my head for years until I began writing this version of Highlander Betrayed in May of 2011. I had a very rough first draft by the end of August. I just finished the final draft on Dec. 15th, 2012. In between there were many partial drafts since I tend to revise from the beginning until I get stuck. Then I go back and revise again, getting further before I get stuck. I go back to the beginning, etc, etc, etc. So, start to finish, it took me either 7 years (conception to finished manuscript) or 19 months (first full draft to complete manuscript). The truth is, though, that I wrote most of it between September and December, 2012. Deadlines have a way of focusing me on the work.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can’t say I read much in my genre these days so I really have no idea who else is writing similar kinds of stories. I find it hard to read Scottish historicals while I’m writing one because the other author’s voice and story ideas invade my brain. What I read mostly are paranormal romances, about as opposite from a Scottish historical as I can get and still be reading romance, but they have definitely influenced this book because there is a strong paranormal aspect to the entire series, though the paranormal idea emanates from the culture of the time and place.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When I first dreamed up this book/series I really wanted to write a Robin Hood story with a female Robin, set in medieval Scotland. I haven’t stuck strictly to the Robin Hood tale, but I have drawn from it. Rowan MacGregor is a Robin character and her cousins Jeanette and Scotia are loosely modeled after Little John and Will Scarlet. Nicholas fitz Hugh is modeled after the Nazir character (an assassin who becomes one of the merry men) in the BBC Robin of Sherwood series from the 80s (my very favorite TV show of all time…though Downton Abbey and Pride & Prejudice are almost as dear to me). This series also took the traditional Robin Hood story and imbued it with a mystical element in keeping with the beliefs and culture of the time, as I have done with Highlander Betrayed.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’ve returned to Argyll for this book, the area my first book, The Devil of Kilmartin (which also had a paranormal element to it), was set in. I love the standing stones and stone circles found in this part of the Highlands and I’ve found a way to connect this story to the ancient culture of the area — but I’m not going to give that away!

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Below you will find authors who will be answering these same questions about their “next big thing” on their blogs, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases. Happy Writing and Reading!

1.     Danelle Harmon I just met Danelle this past year and have the great good fortune of belonging to the Jewels of Historical Romance group with her so I’ve gotten to know her pretty well very quickly (if you love historical romances stay tuned to both our blogs for more info on the Jewels soon!). Even better, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to discover a new-to-me author whose books I adore. Please stop by her blog next Wednesday to see what her “next big thing” is. I can’t wait to see myself!

2.     Melynda Andrews A self-avowed Jill-of-all-trades, Melynda writes wonderful Regency romances while also juggling sculpting, painting, a family, and too many projects for any of us who know her to keep up with. I first met her years ago when we both finaled in the Golden Heart contest. We’ve been friends ever since. Please stop by her blog next Wednesday to see what her “next big thing” is. I can guarantee it’ll be interesting!

Thanks for blog hopping by!

Laurin

Blogging Live!

I’m doing a live blog tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 28th, from 10 am – 11 am EDT at http://suzantisdale.wordpress.com/saturday-mornings-with-laurin-wittig/

Suzan Tisdale will be interviewing me and anyone who wants to come ask a question or leave a comment should join us! Scroll down to the comments section to follow/join the conversation.

Hope to see you there!