>I first met Monica online in 2005 when we were both finalists in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest for unpublished writers. Since then she’s had fabulous success with her writing. A New York Times bestselling author, Monica’s sexy highlanders are a hit with romance readers. Please help me pipe in Monica and her wonderful Scottish heroes for today’s Pleasure Me With Romance guest post.
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Dream DestinationsOne of the questions I’m most asked by people who don’t read romance is why Scotland. You mean aside from the rich history, the strong, resilient men (gotta love those sexy, strapping lads in plaid!), the beautiful countryside, and the dramatic seascapes?
LOL . . . kind of.
In Scottish romance, the setting can take on such a big role that it almost becomes another character. It’s the romance of the land itself—those rocky, windswept cliffs, the heathery moors, and the magnificent castles—that draws many readers. It’s also one of the things that draws me as a writer. Every day when I sit down at my desk to write, I get to be swept away—in my imagination at least—to a dream destination.
I’d already become interested in the history of Scotland when I had an opportunity to visit on my first trip to Europe in the early 90s. I fell in love. But it wasn’t until after I finished my first book (HIGHLANDER UNTAMED), and my parents took me on a trip to the Isle of Skye, that the Scottish travel bug bit.
One of the best perks about being a writer is now I have an excuse to visit the places that I write about. You can learn a lot from books, and the internet is an amazing tool for “seeing” places and terrain, but there’s just something about actually being there, seeing it for myself, and absorbing the place that really makes everything come alive.
I’ve tried to bring this experience to readers as well by having “picture book” versions of some of the places in my novels available in the “special features” section of my website [link: www.monicamccarty.com]. I haven’t been able to visit everywhere, but I’ve come pretty close. One of the biggest gaps in my book itineraries is the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland (featured in THE HAWK), but it’s definitely on my “to do” list.
Chosen to help Robert the Bruce in his quest to free Scotland from English rule and claim his crown, the legendary team of warriors known as the Highland Guard battles on.
Embedded deep behind enemy lines, Arthur “Ranger” Campbell is prized for his razor sharp senses and ability to blend into the shadows. But when Arthur infiltrates the clan of the chieftain who murdered his father, his heart is locked on revenge. Inside he faces unexpected resistance from the sweetest of obstacles—a honey-haired siren who is his enemy’s daughter.
Intrigued by this ruggedly handsome newcomer to her father’s forces, the vivacious, enchanting Anna MacDougall is a woman whose skill at uncovering deception rivals Arthur’s own. Though yearning for a quiet life with a good man to love, Anna is drawn to this mysterious knight whose eyes devour her but whose words push her away. But as danger, treachery, and the threat of looming war draw them closer into each other’s arms, a warrior made of steel must make a choice from the heart: love or revenge.
I’ve been to Scotland quite a few times now, and I never seem to get tired of it. For a small country (roughly the size of South Carolina), there’s an endless amount of things to do and see. My favorite places so far? I loved the Trossachs and Argyll, but the Western Isles are hard to beat. I’ve probably visited about fifteen of them, with St. Kilda, Iona, Skye, Islay and Arran being my favorites. Since there are over one hundred and sixty Scottish isles, I have quite a ways to go before I visit them all.
What I’ve fallen in love with the most are the dramatic seascapes: waves crashing against towering cliffs and castles poised on what seems to be the edge of the world. For pure drama of scenery, I’ve heard that Iceland, Norway and Sweden are magnificent, putting them high on my list of “places I’d like to see before I die.” But when I read about the Faroe Islands [link: http://www.getalookatthis.com/2008/02/10/the-amazing-faroe-islands/], I knew I’d found my next dream destination.
Wish I could find an excuse to go. Vikings anyone?
How about you . . . what is your dream destination? If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? (It doesn’t have to be international. I’ve been fortunate to see quite a bit of the U.S., and there are some gorgeous places right in our own backyard!).
One copy (1) THE CHIEF (1st book in Highland Guard series)
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Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of the MacLeod trilogy (Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained), the Campbell trilogy (Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, Highland Scoundrel), and the new Highland Guard series (The Chief, The Hawk, The Ranger). Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. After a short, but enjoyable, stint practicing law, she realized that mixing a legal career with her husband’s transitory career as a professional baseball player was not exactly a match made in heaven. So she “traded” in her legal briefs for Scottish Historical Romances with sexy alpha heroes. When not trekking across the moors and rocky seascapes of Scotland, Monica can be found in Northern California with her husband and two children.