Gladness is... when New York Times & USA Today's bestselling author Karen Hawkins stops by to chat about her latest and final installment in her The Hurst Amulet series. I have been a devoted fan since I first read TO SCOTLAND, WITH LOVE and fell for those Scottish McCleans, who with their heart of gold and with a temper as fierce as any Scottish storm exploded into my heart. Ms. Hawkins hooked me line and sinker. From the moment I first picked up one of her delightful books I have been captivated by her delicious writing and charasmatic characters. After diving into her magnetic world of mystery, with love stories that keep you up until the break of dawn I knew I would no be come a life long fan. Please give a warm welcome to one of today's brightest and shining stars in romance world, Ms. Karen Hawkins.
THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS
NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY'S BESTSELLING
Love is timeless. It’s mentioned in the oldest of books, and is found in references of nearly every culture that left a written record. Do I worry that romance is going out of style? Not on your life.
But that’s not to say that the market doesn’t change. From the day I first put pen to paper, I was told that the romance market was undergoing ‘monumental change.’ Today, I think the same thing. But isn’t that the nature of all markets, to change to fit the wants and likes of the audience?
I’d worry if the book market DIDN’T change. Then we’d be in real trouble.
THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS is the final book in my Hurst Amulet Series. The series revolves around a family amulet that has been missing for centuries. As each member of the family does their part to find the amulet, they also find the loves of their lives. I think adventures can do that for people, even today.
If you want to meet Mr. Right, get out there and be Miss Right Now. It works every time.
THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS is your latest in The Hurst Amulet series. Once again you deliver a powerful emotional love story with two of engaging protagonist that tear at the heart of readers making them root for their beloved characters happily ever after. Can you tell us more about it?
Thank you so much! I truly love these characters. Michael is one of my favorite types of heroes in real life – the sexy nerd hero a la Indiana Jones and Henry Higgins. He’s an expert in his field, has a brilliant mind, but possesses a less-than-brilliant understanding of his own feelings.
His assistant, Miss Jane Smythe-Haughton, is his equal. She’s brilliant at her job – managing his life – and less-than-brilliant at understanding why she enjoys her job so much.
The two of them are perfect foils for one another and, as they’ve worked closely for years, they’re not afraid to tell each other what they think. They’re only afraid to face what they’re feeling.
How difficult was it to research for THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS? Plus, did you learn something in this research that you didn’t know before?
Research is my favorite part of writing. I learned a lot about the Hebrides Islands of Scotland since THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS is set on the Isle of Barra, which is one of the southernmost isles. I learned about the Viking invasion and how it impacted the current Scottish culture. I learned about fascinating Kisimul Castle, which was built in the middle of Castle Bay in the 12th century and is surrounded by sea water, but yet has a deep fresh-water well inside the walls which made it almost impregnable. I also learned about feisty clan MacNeil and their domination of the seas.
Sadly, I can only put a portion of my research in my books. It would slow the story too much, but I think just knowing the actual history of the place gives the story a more authentic aura.
Why write historical romance?
Because historical romance has it all – glorious settings, glamorous clothes and jewels, fascinating cultural dictates, and dashes of true-life adventure.
I love the Regency era. This book occurs in 1822, which was an exciting time for many reasons. It was a time of great artistic endeavor as well as a time of burgeoning scientific exploration. People were just beginning to gain a fascination for ancient Egyptian civilizations, which is why Michael Hurst, as an Egyptologist, was so much in demand socially in this story, much to his chagrin.
Okay, I want to give a warm welcome to, Miss Jane Smythe-Haughton and Michael (Waving frantically, trying to get the besotted couple’s attention). I know you two have gone through a lot to get to your happily ever after so I will try to be brief. (Blushes scarlet as she catches the intimate glance between the newlyweds, clears her throat).
Jane: Hardly. Hurst scarcely saw me as a female. I was his assistant, you know, and arranged for his expeditions and catalogued his finds. Honestly, he paid far more attention to the quality of my handwriting than to me.
Michael: You didn’t give me a chance, ordering me about here and there as if you were a general.
Jane: You needed someone to order you around. You’re horrible at planning things.
Michael: I can plan things. When I want, of course.
Jane cocks a disbelieving brow his way: "And when do you ‘want’ to plan things?"
Michael: Not often, I’ll grant you. (He lifts her hand and kisses her wrist.) I planned an excellent honeymoon, though.
Jane: (flushes) Oh yes. You did do well with that.
Jane: I thought he was overbearing, demanding, selfish, brooding—
Michael: And she was bossy, stubborn, pricklish, and--
Jane: That’s quite enough. (with twinkle in her eye) You’re a rude, addelpated fool.
Michael: (lips quivering as he suppresses a smile) Demanding, infuriating harpy.
Jane: High-tempered jackanapes.
Michael: Snappish, rude wench.
Jane: Hot-handed volatile pr— (She remember she has an audience and grimaces.) I apologize. Sometimes we forget others are present.
Michael: This weather is cursedly cold. I miss the heat of Egypt and wish to return soon.
Jane: We have two more expeditions planned for the coming season, so we can’t stay long.
Michael, how did you take to the Scottish Isle when you first arrived? Was the exploration for the Hurst Amulet in Scotland very different from what you did abroad?
Michael: We knew we were close to the Hurst Amulet when we arrived on Barra, so things moved very quickly once we arrived. It’s doing all of the research that’s so cursed slow, but that had been done. I’d say this quest is very similar to what I do abroad, only it’s in a much wetter and colder place.
Jane: Never. I love explorations, too, and I’ve not only assisted Mr. Hurst on his expeditions, but I’ve read every book and paper that’s been published on the subject of Egypt. Added to that, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and discuss various topics with the time’s most brilliant Egyptologists, so I’m quite enamored of this profession, as well.
Jane when was the moment you knew that Michael was for you?
Jane: The first time I saw him. He was just magnificent. (She smiles at Michael, who reaches for her hand.)
Michael, when was your light-bulb moment that Jane was more than what she seemed. Was that the moment you believe changed your outlook on love?
Michael: That’s difficult to say because realizing that I was in love with Jane was more of a process than a single moment. Being far less astute than my assistant, I didn’t recognize her value until it seemed that I might lose her. Yes, that’s foolish of me, but that’s what happened.
Jane and Michael together: No! (They chuckle.)
Jane did you have any apprehension about getting involved with Michael?
Jane: Many. In the four years I was Michael’s assistant, he’d never shown the least interest in anything beyond his discoveries. So when he expressed interest in me personally, I thought that perhaps he saw me the same way he saw them. He’s totally focused on them, but once their mysteries have been revealed, he’s off to the next one. That worried me a good deal.
Michael, what about you? Did you have a sliver of doubt about becoming involved with Jane?
Jane: Come. There must have been a few.
Michael: I perhaps worried that you would reject me and I’d have to find a way to work with you after that, but I quickly realized that you had no intentions of rejecting me. Actually, I realized that I wouldn’t allow you to do so.
Jane: (smiles softly) It already has.
One more thing before I let you go. Do you believe that everything you two went through to find one another, fall in love and find your happily ever after was worth the price you had to pay?
Michael: I’d do it a hundred times over if I had to.
Jane: (leans against him.) So would I.
Now back to Karen.
As soon as I began investigating the Isle of Barra, the scene for the climb down the cliff wall to the cave came to me clear as day. Btw, there aren’t any caves on Barra, at least none that I could find a reference to, but the pictures of the rocky coastline and the idea of being on an island of what seemed like the edge of the world just called for a cliff face and a cave.
Out of the many books you have written was there one book that was more emotional to write? Or did they stand alone, emotional wiping you out as they all did for me? =)
J For me, writing is a difficult process. I love doing it and hate doing it at one and the same time. The picture I have in my mind is never clearer than the second I start to transcribe it in a believable way. That’s when the wheels fall off the cart because no matter what I write or how many times I edit it, it’s never as CLEAR as my mind’s view, so it can become this exhausting try-and-fail process.
Emotional scenes are more difficult because they take a really delicate hand so that they’re not too emotional and thus corny, but are still emotional enough to convey the feelings of the characters in a realistic manner. I probably edit those scenes ten times before I send them in.
When you were writing the THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS series did you have music playing in the background? If yes, what type? Does music play an intricate part in your writing?
I sometimes play HGTV in the background when I write. The HGTV hosts are making a house or a room or a backyard beautiful while I’m dreaming up characters who could one day walk through that house. It’s as if we’re all creating things together.
I went fishing in my kayak with my husband, aka Hot Cop, and then to my favorite restaurant for dinner. It was magical!
What do you hope readers walk away with after reading THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS?
The idea that true love can be closer than anyone thinks, which is a magical thing.
You’re clearly very busy. What do you do in your limited spare time? Are you reading anything right now? Any reading recommendations while we wait until your next release?
I love to do home improvement projects, even small ones. And I love to fish, but I don’t get to go very often. I also want to learn to quilt, but I haven’t found the time to do it yet.
and on twitter: TheKarenHawkins
I also blog with some amazing authors on http://www.thegoddessblogs.com
Karen, you rocked RCJR eZine blog and its readers. Thank you so much for stopping by to dish about Jane and Michael from your new Pocket Book historical romance release THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS.
Thank you for having me! And please, if anyone has any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. J