05-15-2012 10:34 AM
05-15-2012 10:43 AM
Hi Hannah! Welcome to Romantic Reads!
I’ve long been an admirer of your books and would like to commend you on your choice of family surname. Murrays are excellent, always.
Before talking about Highland Avenger specifically, can you tell us a little bit about the Murrays, their lives, loves, and feuds? The Murray clan started with three bothers, next were three cousins, the daughters of the brothers, and has since expanded into grandchildren and inlaws. They have intermarried with many another clan including the Camerons, the Armstrongs, and the notorious MacFingals. Many of them have a touch of some psychic gift as well, most especially healing. They are a closely tied family, easily accepting the newer additions intoi the fold as each new Murray finds his or her soul mate. They work hard, fight hard, and love hard.
What do readers who are new to your series have to know to enjoy Highland Avenger? For anyone who is new to the Murray clan, they really don't need to know everyone else's story. The only real connection in the series is the one of family. Sometimes ones from other stories make a walk-on appearance but even then you don't have to know their story to read Highland Avenger.
So, now, in your words, give us a little taste of the Highland Avenger story. In Highland Avenger, the story of Sir Brian MacFingal and Arianna Murray Lucette is one of danger and healing. Arianna married an abusive man and by the time he dies, leaving her a widow with two small stepsons, she has been left with no confidence in herself. Nevertheless, she finds the strength to try and save the boys when she realizes their lives are in danger. Sir Brian MacFingal readily steps into the role of her protector as they flee her enemies, but finds that the woman he desires will need some very gentle wooing.
Arianna is such a good character. Her choice about her stepsons is so admirable, and loving, and moral. Her fierce protection of them made me instantly like and root for her. What are your thoughts on Arianna? Arianna is a woman who has been abused, not physically, but emotionally. She has had her confidence about her own self-worth constantly whittled away by her husband's neverending belittling as well as the utter disdain of her husband's family. I wanted to show a how a woman can be abused verbally as well as physically, can be damaged by words, by rejection and belittlement, yet overcome that. Arianna even reveals that she still has inner strengths by the way she fights for her stepsons.
Sir Brian MacFingal is just what you want in a Scottish hero: valiant, rascally, virile. I liked him because he was trying to evolve beyond his father’s treatment of woman and yet wasn’t in any way a broody sort of guy. Did you have an inspiration for Brian while writing him? Sir Brian is a man who wishes to make his fortune, to become more than just another one of far too many sons his eccentric and too randy father produced. He wants to have something to call his own. I think everyone has that desire. I wanted a hero who had nothing but was doing his best to get the things he valued, and not riches, but relatively simple things like a home of his own and a family of his own. He, too, has a few bruises on his confidence something I believe even the strongest of men can suffer from.
This isn’t a question but I loved Adelar and Michal. Is there anything you want to share with readers about their birth and parents? Adelar and Michel are the sons of Arianna's late husband. They, too were rejected by the man's family as everyone thought they were his children by a long time lover, not true heirs. In many ways, they were yet another slap at Arianna for they were proof that her husband did not truly care for her, never honored the vows they had made, yet she took them into her heart. Even when she discovers the truth about their heritage after her husband and his lover are killed, she holds fast to them and protects them. From the start she is the family their true parents never made for them, handing them over to Arianna's care as soon as possible and going their own way until their deaths.
A hallmark of any Scottish historical is the feud. Why do you think the Scots were so prone to these, and what can you say about the DeVeaux, the baddest bunch of Frenchman I’ve read in a long time? The Scots do have a long, bloody history of feuds and no one has completely explained that to my satisfaction but I might simply have not hit the right history book yet. They were a very proud people so insults were not easily forgiven. The land was harsh and life was hard. It was never a particularly rich country either, so even more possibilities for argument. In truth, though, if you look hard at many of the old countries, you will find that there were feuds amongst many of the families in them. The Scots were just more warrior-like in the settling of them but every country had them.
What’s next for the Murrays and for you, Hannah? As for what is next with the Murrays, I have a few ideas that are twisting around in my head but right now I am working on the next Wherlocke tale. It is called If He's Tempted and will be the story of Olympia Wherlocke and Brant Mallam. They have a lot of hoops to jump through, too. Olympia has reason to not trust men and Brant is carrying around a lot of guilt concerning something in his past. That should be out next Spring. Once I finish that story I will let the seeds of the idea I have for the next Murray tale take full root in my mind. A few characters from the Murray tales are beginning to whisper to me, demanding their own story, but they will have to wait.
05-15-2012 10:44 AM