Hi, Margaret! I am so psyched that you have dropped by RCJR eZine Blog today to share more about your latest Return of the Highlanders series THE WARRIOR. For people not familiar with you would you mind sharing a bit about yourself?
I live in the
Pacific Northwest, but I grew up in small towns in the Midwest, except for two years in Africa. Before
becoming an author, I spent a number of years as a lawyer and manager working
to improve services for abused and neglected children. My husband and I have
two kids, who are now off having their own adventures.
I love that as a novelist I can always give deserving people happy endings. And yes, I also enjoy punishing the villains. ;)
This is the third book in my RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS series, which takes place in the wake of the Scots’ disastrous defeat to Henry VIII’s forces at the
of Battle Flodden.
After five years fighting in
, my four heroes return home to find their king and chieftain dead,
their clan in grave danger, a rebellion brewing, and factions fighting for
control of the Crown. Over the course of the four books, each hero will play
his part to save their clan—and finds love in the process. France
Duncan MacDonald, hero of THE WARRIOR, has never escaped the memory of the true love he left behind. Deemed unworthy of a chieftain's daughter,
was sent away to fight while Moira was wed
to a chieftain’s son. Through hard work and natural talent, Duncan has earned a place of respect as the most
fearsome warrior of his clan. Now, when
called upon to rescue Moira from a rival clan, one thing is certain: her pull
on his heart is stronger than ever. Duncan
Bartered away in marriage to a violent man, Moira will do anything to ensure she and her son survive. When a rugged warrior arrives to save her, the desperate beauty thinks her prayers have been answered—until she realizes it's
. The man who once broke her heart is now
her only hope. Moira vows never again to give herself—or reveal her secrets—to
the fierce warrior, but as they race across the sea, danger and desire draw
them ever closer. Duncan
I know that you put your own blood, sweat and tears into ever page. So, I’m curious to know if your characters have any of your own traits. Is there one character you think is more like you than any other?
Sileas, the red-haired heroine of THE GUARDIAN (book 1), is probably the character most like me in this series. I definitely drew on my personal experience in portraying Sìleas as a funny-looking, late-blooming, thirteen-year-old at the beginning of the book.
Moira, the heroine of THE WARRIOR, exudes an overt sexuality that did not come from me—LOL—but I did draw on my own sense of motherhood in giving her the drive to protect her child at any cost.
Did you have all of
and Moira’s arc figured out when you began their book? Did you know even before you placed pen to
paper how the Duncan and Moira’s story would turn out in the end? Duncan
I had an outline of who my four heroes and heroines were and what their basic relationship conflicts would be before I started the first book in the series. Though I didn’t have it all worked out by a long shot, I always knew Duncan and Moira’s story was about a second chance at love. Duncan was in the first two books in the series, so I understood him quite well by the time I started THE WARRIOR.
You write engraining heart-wrenching historical---Thank you, Margaret!! Is there a genre you would like to try your hand at some day? Why?
I’d like to try contemporary romance just because I’ve had a couple of contemporary stories rolling around in my head for a long time.
I would like to take a moment and thank Duncan and Moira for dropping by with Margaret. Hi Guys, (waving above the crowd) I am so excited that you both were able to drop by today. I hope you do not mind, but I would love to ask you some need to know questions that readers are desperate to know.
Moira, I will start with you. What was the very first thing you thought when you saw
after all these
Here’s her reaction from the book:
“And what of me?”
With a false smile pasted on her face, Moira took her time shifting her gaze to
. She steeled herself to show no reaction,
and yet she faltered for an instant. This close, Duncan was everything she remembered, magnified.
He was bigger, taller, more handsome. His powerful presence radiated through
the room, drawing every eye. Duncan
“Tell me ye remember who I am,”
said when she failed to answer. Duncan
She remembered everything. Every touch, every look, every conversation, every pleasure he gave her. But her clearest memory of all was standing on the wall at Dunscaith on her wedding day with her insides cut and bleeding as if she had swallowed shards of glass.
“I fear I have no recollection of ye at all,” she said.
“I’m a close friend of your brother,”
said as the tension snapped between them. “Surely ye remember something of me.” Duncan
She heard the challenge in his voice and shrugged, as if he were beneath her notice. But when the light from the candles glinted in his auburn hair, she felt a sharp pang as she recalled how it felt between her fingers.
An icy rain started up, causing the campfire to hiss and smoke. As
’s temper cooled with the temperature, he
thought back on that first moment when Moira entered the hall and saw him. In
that brief instant, everything that had once been between them flashed in her
It was gone almost before he saw it, and then Moira was as cold as this winter rain running down the back of his neck. Niall was right; Moira had changed. Though her eyes were the same astonishing shade of violet, they carried no laughter in them. The cautious woman he had met in the hall who measured her words was a far cry from the carefree lass who ran headlong through the dark, believing nothing and no one could stop her.
…He had been so angry and absorbed in his own pain that he had failed to examine Moira’s demeanor with his usual cool perception. Going over their brief encounter in his mind now, he recalled the tension in Moira’s neck and how she repeatedly smoothed the skirt of her gown with her hands.
Her aloof and dismissive manner had fooled him. Though she had covered it well, Moira was frightened. Who or what could make her fearful? And why in the hell did her husband not make her feel safe?
Only one answer came to him.
“Ready for what?” Niall asked, sitting up straight.
“A quick departure.”
I know your love story started off on shaky ground when you first met. (Pulling the besotted couple into a secluded corner) What do you believe is the glue to a sound and loving relationship?
Trust in each other and yourselves and faith in love.
Moira, when was the moment you knew without a doubt that
was the love of your heart? Duncan
I knew it when I was seventeen. Later, I quit believing it. I can’t tell you when I learned to trust in
and his love again, because that would spoil the story. ;) Duncan
Same question for you, Duncan. When did you know you couldn’t live any longer without Moira?
I’m not a man whose feeling come and go. Only one woman ever had my heart. I fell in love with my chieftain’s black-haired, blue-eyed daughter seven years ago, and I knew then I would love her to my grave. I carried on and served my clan, but the bright spark of my life was gone until I found Moira again.
What is one thing you, Duncan and Moira, would like readers to walk away with after reading your love story?
That love requires trust and faith and is worth fighting for.
Now back to Margaret
Where can we connect with you on the great wide web?
Readers can find me on
For information about my books (including excerpts, blurbs, reviews, book group questions), photos from my trip to
, and more, please visit my website: Scotland
One more thing before I let you skedaddle. The holiday season is upon us and I would love for you to share one of your favorite recipes. This could be one you only make once a year when the holidays come around. Or share with readers a recipe that your friends and family rave about.
I always make Russian Tea Cakes at Christmas. I love them, and they are a great cookie to make with little helpers. It’s a simple recipe older kids can follow. The younger ones can help roll the dough into balls and also roll the baked cookies in powdered sugar—just make sure the cookies aren’t too hot for little fingers!
RUSSIAN TEA CAKES – 4 dozen
1 c butter, softened
½ c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ c white flour
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
A pinch of salt
More powdered sugar (start with about ½ cup)
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
Cream butter, 1/2 c powdered sugar & vanilla. Stir in flour, nuts & salt.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls & place them an inch or so apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes. While the cookies are in the oven, pour powdered sugar into a shallow bowl.
Remove the cookies from the oven & cool slightly.
Roll the warm cookies in the powdered sugar & cool them on a wire rack or wax paper. Roll the cookies in powdered sugar again. See how much you can get to stick!
I would like to thank you one more time, Margaret for bringing readers into the fascinating world of the of Duncan and Moira from THE WARRIOR about two strong-willed people learning to trust and find love in the most unlikely of places..
Thanks so much for having me! I’d love to respond to questions or comments. I’m giving away a copy of THE WARRIOR to one of the commenters.
a Rafflecopter giveaway