"Another captivating story for The MacGregors: Highland Heirs! Fans of Scottish adventures are in for a real treat!"
—Books & Benches
It brings me great pleasure to welcome Paula Quinn, the NYT bestselling author of numerous Highlander and historical romance novels. I first discovered Paula's books when I one of the Books & Benches reviewers recommended A Highlander's Christmas Kiss. I was so delighted with how much I enjoyed the story, that I plan to soak up her other books.
“Poignant, sensual, adventurous, and with a keen attention to rich detail and compelling characters, Paula Quinn appears to have mastered the art of Highland romance. ”
—MK McClintock, award-winning author of Alaina Claiborne
Q&A WITH PAULA QUINN
On her love of Clan MacGregor and Writing
"Scottish romance at its very best! Deliciously romantic and sensual, Paula Quinn captures the heart of the Highlands in a tender, passionate romance that you won't be able to put down." —Monica McCarty, New York Times bestselling author on Seduced by a Highlander
Without further ado . . .
MK: Your first book, Lord of Desire, was published in 2005. A couple of years later, you introduced Highlanders into your writing with Laird of the Mist, with many more to follow. What sparked your interest in Highland romance? What do you enjoy most about the genre?
PAULA: I love anything historical and romantic…and knights. Oh, I love stories about knights. It was no shocker that my first books would be about them. But Scotland has always pulled at my heartstrings. You know those old songs about “going home to the Highlands”? I cry every time I hear them. But my passion for Scotland is almost too strong and though I had wanted to write about it, it was too overwhelming. How do you capture the hearts of people whose swords are stained by honor’s blood? How would I ever write about the mist-covered mountains and wind-swept heather moors? And who would be my hero?
The whole MacGregor storyline began with a series of events. It’s still a little surreal when I think of it. I had just turned in my manuscript for Lord of Seduction when my computer became possessed. Every time I searched for something…anything, this pop -up would appear that said “Come home to Skye.” I’d click it off and promise myself someday. I don’t usually read the news but one morning I sat down and opened the paper. There was a full spread on Camasunary in Skye. The picture was of the most incredible place I’d ever seen. That picture is now framed on my wall near my desk.
I figured I’d do a little research on clans and maybe…maybe try my hand at writing a Scottish romance. After a week or so, I still hadn’t decided which clan I wanted to write about. They all have such compelling histories.
I remember the day when I knew it would be the MacGregors. I was sick and had taken a nap, only to be awakened by a hauntingly beautiful voice. The movie Moulin Rouge was on the TV and Ewen McGregor was singing Come What May. I tell you, I bolted up and said MacGregor! MacGregor? At the time, there wasn’t too much about them on the internet. Made some soup. Went back to bed. A few hours later, I was awakened again by a man’s deep, melodic voice saying, “I’m Rob Roy MacGregor!” Liam Neeson. Need I say more?
More research. Deep research. We’re talking about months, even a year of learning about this amazing outlawed clan. (The research took so long because every thing I found left me crying over my keyboard.) Their story was the one I’d heard whenever I listened to bagpipes, soul-stirring, sorrow-filled, and needing to be told.
Laird of the Mist is their story, told by clan chief Callum MacGregor, my ultimate hero.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
MK: In your latest book, Temperance and Cailean in A Highlander’s Christmas Kiss are delightful, and I enjoyed their story immensely. How did their story come about? What inspires your characters?
PAULA: All the characters in every book after Laird were being “born” as I wrote the previous series. So, Rob, Tristan, Mairi, and Colin MacGregor from the Children of the Mist series came to life for me while writing Laird of the Mist and A Highlander Never Surrenders. Likewise, those character’s children came to me for my Highland Heirs series. These people exist in my head. I see their lives, their children, what kinds of parents they are, etc. It’s a family. A big one.
And they love dogs.
Cailean showed me who he was in The Taming of Malcolm Grant. (His brother’s story.) Losing his beloved dog, Sage was the catalyst for him changing into someone he’d never wanted to become. He’s a warrior, but a sensitive one. He writes, paints, cooks—but everything kind of just shut down for him after the woman he was falling in love with (in Malcolm Grant) died in his arms. It was just too much and he had to harden his heart in order to survive.
I knew Cailean needed to be saved. And he needed a compassion, strong heroine to bring him back into the light. Even if she had to drag him.
Honor inspires my characters. They always strive to be the best they can be. I’d kill them off if they didn’t. :)
MK: As we can see from the family tree on your website, the MacGregor and Grant clans are interwoven over the course of several books. Was the intentional from the beginning, or did it just happen? What books can readers find members from both families?
PAULA: Yes, once I wrote Laird of the Mist, and met Graham Grant, dearest friend to Callum MacGregor, I knew I would combine their families. Historically, the Grants were one of the few clans that stood by the MacGregors during the proscription, even at the risk of death.
Both clans appear in the entire series. Some books, like Ravished By A Highlander, The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell, The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd, and A Highlander’s Christmas Kiss, feature members of both clans more than the others. Tamed By A Highlander actually features a Grant hero and a MacGregor heroine.
MK: From seeing the first book in print to the glowing reviews we all hope for, but worry we won’t get, authors experience a multitude of highs and lows throughout their careers. Up to this point, what has been one of your greatest joys or experiences as a writer?
PAULA: Definitely the love shared by my readers. There’s nothing better. Another high happened with the current clan chief of the MacGregor’s wife wrote to me to tell me how much she loved Ravished by Highlander. She thanked me for getting the clan’s proscription out there. That was big for me because not many people know what the MacGregors endured and I wanted the world to know.
MK: You also write paranormal romance as Generva Thorne. Can you tell us how that alter-ego came about? What interested you in the paranormal genre?
PAULA: Oh, paranormal/fantasy has always been my first love. I grew up on Marion Zimmer Bradley, Raymond Feist, and my all time favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay. (Seriously, read him. You won’t be sorry)
My Faerie Tale series began after reading a poem about a man who had been enchanted by a faerie and could no longer see the beauty around him. It made me wonder what that would be like, to live in a drab, colorless world because of magic, and how could the spell be broken. I wrote The Enchanted and put love to the test. It’s really one of my favorite stories. Then again, The Beloved, book two in the series…well, I don’t want to gush, but I LOVED writing about a man fashioned of magic and timeless, irresistible beauty falling in love with a scarred woman. Ash and Eden have so much to overcome. I hope that readers come away with a sense of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
MK: What can readers expect from you next?
PAULA: I’m currently working on book 6 in the Highland Heirs series. We don’t have a title just yet, but it features Patrick MacGregor, Cailean’s cousin. Patrick is a rogue who would rather wipe the dust of his kin’s ideals from his boots, until, of course, he meets Charlotte (Charlie) Cunningham, a woman who brings those ideals to life and sets his world spinning and him on his hot, Highlander arse.
MK: I'm looking forward to reading that one, Paula! Thank you so much for joining us at Books & Benches.
A HIGHLANDER'S CHRISTMAS KISS
"Paula Quinn's special and unique style of writing paired with her perceptivity is a potent combination that demonstrates why she is an author whose books take residence on favorite's bookshelves everywhere."
—Jenerated Book Reviews
A STRANGER'S SMILE Christmas may be coming to Linavar, but Temperance Menzie is far from joyful. Grief-stricken over the death of her father at the hands of the Black Riders, she almost didn't see the wounded stranger in the woods. And now she's determined to give this braw, brooding Highlander the help she couldn't give her father. But there's a secret lurking in the depths of his blue-gray eyes. And Temperance won't rest until she uncovers it . . . A LOVER'S KISS A killer for hire. It's the last thing Cailean Grant ever thought he'd become, but being part of the Black Riders was his only way to survive. Now, his guilt grows day by day, along with his desire for the beautiful, brave lass nursing him back to health. As Christmas, the season of miracles, draws near and the truth of his identity threatens to come out, Cailean must risk the only thing he has left to lose-his heart.
Series: Highland Heirs
Publish Date: September 27, 2016
Paula Quinn is a New York Times bestselling author and a sappy romantic moved by music, beautiful words, and the sight of a really nice pen. She lives in New York with her three beautiful children, six over-protective chihuahuas, and three adorable parrots. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She's a faithful believer in God and thanks Him daily for all the blessings in her life. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings. To date, four of her books have garnered Starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. She has been nominated as Historical Storyteller of the Year by RT Book Reviews, and all the books in her MacGregor and Children of the Mist series have received Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. Her work has also been honored as Amazons Best of the Year in Romance, and in 2008 she won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for Historical Romance. Visit her website and on Facebook.