In this month’s Newsletter, scroll down to find:
- Contest of Queens Bookbub feature
- Interview with Roma Cordon, author of Bewitching a Highlander
- My Thoughts
- I was interviewed by Roma Cordon
- I was interviewed by Madison Lawson
- Contest of Queens Review Spotlight
Contest of Queens BOOKBUB FEATURE
This is so exciting! Until the end of June, Bookbub is featuring the Contest of Queens ebook for $0.99! Even if you’ve been curious about my novel, now would be the time to get a copy of your own 🙂
Romance in a Dangerous Time: an interview with Roma Cordon
This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Roma Cordon, author of Bewitching a Highlander. Read on for more insider info on characters, chemistry, writing a romance to bewitch your audience, and a sneak peek at the rest of the series (still to come!).
- Tell me a little about yourself.
I was introduced to romance novels in my teenage years and instantly became a voracious reader. In the 1990s, I came to New York where I earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees. After taking a writing course with Anne Rice, in the early 2000s, I dived into the world of writing. Bewitching A Highlander will be my debut novel. I also write for the blog on romacordon.com.
- What is “Bewitching a Highlander” about?
Bewitching A Highlander is a Historical / Fantasy romance, set in Scotland in 1747. It’s the story of Breena and Egan. Breena is a 24-year-old healer, hiding her neuroses and witchcraft, she sets out to rescue her father from an enemy clan, the Campbells.
While among the enemy, she learns about her family’s dark witchery past, and catches the eye of a debonair future Clan chief, named Egan Dunbar when he saves her from being manhandled by a bad-tempered Campbell guard.
Egan Dunbar is itching for revenge against the Campbell clan. He disobeys his father to help Breena, because he must settle an old debt, also, he is not only enchanted by her, but he cannot seem to keep his eyes or lips off her.
And to save Brenna from the Campbells, even though he knows she is full of secrets, Egan will risk everything, including disobeying his father for the first time in his life and inciting a clan war.
But the question is, can Breena trust Egan with the secrets of her family’s dark past, thereby putting her life and her family’s lives at risk.
- What was your inspiration for this novel?
This story was inspired by a couple of trips to the Highlands of Scotland with my husband. I fell in love with the culture, the food and the country’s history.
There’s also something unexplainable, intangible, and inspiring in the air in Scotland, especially on the Isle of Skye that makes one think of fairies, witches, and forest nymphs. The witches part got me into reading up on the actual history of the witchcraft laws in Scotland. In Scotland in 1563 a Witchcraft Act was passed, making witchcraft a capital offense. Before this law was repealed in 1736, 4,000 to 6,000 people were tried for witchcraft and more than 1,500 were executed by strangulation or burning in Scotland. In Europe at large, where similar laws existed, approximately 50,000 people were executed for witchcraft. It was out of statistics such as these, that Breena’s paranoia, in Bewitching A Highlander, was born.
- What kind of research was involved to make readers feel immersed in the Highlands?
Research is a fun part of the process of writing. For this book I travelled to Scotland and visited places like the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, the Isle of Harris/Lewis, etc. I spoke to tour guides and shop owners. I consulted with spell craft reference writings by Scott Cunningham, Ann-Marie Gallagher, Marion Weinstein, etc. For period costumes I found Milla Davenport’s The Book of Costumes helpful and for architecture Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill’s Classic Georgian Style’s book was a wonderful source of information. Plus, it goes without saying, where would we writers be without Wikipedia, Google, and Pinterest.
- Which character do you relate to most? Why?
Breena, the main character, is terrified of being burnt alive at the stake for her witchcraft. Because in her world, this happens to witches. She is also terrified the Campbells will find out what she is up to, searching for and freeing her imprisoned father. She is pretending to be someone she is not. If the Campbells find out what she is up to, they will kill or imprison her.
But even though she is terrified, she still searches for her father, and she still practices witchcraft.
I would never do it. I would never be as bold as my characters. If there was a chance my actions could lead me to being burnt alive at the stake, the answer seems clear to me, I wouldn’t do it!
But, on the other hand, the daily paranoia that Breena feels is something I can relate to. Daily things make me paranoid, like paper cuts and dust bunnies. Terrible things!
- Which character or scene was the most fun to write?
The scenes between Egan and Breena were fun to write because it adds tension to the story. Breena and Egan are both strong characters who lead eventful, exciting, and dangerous lives. Their coming together was romantic and even explosive at times. Their character arcs were also gratifying to put down on paper since it added depth to the story.
- What advice would you give aspiring romance authors who hope to capture a hot and steamy relationship between their own characters?
Don’t do it. Keep your day job. But if you must, only your love of the craft and your passion for writing will get you through it. It’s not for the faint of heart. And if you have what it takes, you will work your tail off, you will get through it and you will excel. And it will be worth it.
- When writing steamer scenes, what helps engage a reader’s attention? What do you try to avoid?
The steamy scenes have to, in a way, be guided by the characters themselves. Their personalities and instincts come through in these scenes. These are vulnerable moments, and they strip the characters bare, metaphorically speaking. In my opinion, to engage readers, you have to cover the main five senses in these scenes. And I try to avoid insensitive lines or words, that may turn off readers.
- What’s next on the horizon for you?
As Book I in the Scottish Highlander Warriors series is now completed, I am focused on the other two. Book II’s manuscript is with the Beta Readers, and after another edit by me it goes to a line/copy Editor. I am in the plotting stages for Book III at the moment.
Book II: What happens when an unstoppable British army captain, Slade MacLean, who is out for revenge and retribution encounters an immovable lass named Phoebe Dunbar (The sister of Egan Dunbar from Book I)? Raging and tumultuous fireworks. These two will have to survive each other first if they want to bring down common enemies.
Book III: When Conner Drummond was last in the Highlands, he fought the Redcoats at the Battle of Culloden. Now that he’s back, he’s in for a different kind of battle. One that involves a Hellfire witch by the name of Rowan MacNeil.
- Where can your readers find you?
My website: https://romacordon.com/books
I was interviewed this month as well!
Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.
“This tale is a thought-provoking fantasy novel, a story you can fall into and not come for air for hours. I read it in two days. It was that good. Contest of Queens is one of those gems that needs to be found by more people. Strong world-building, good history, and robust feminist approach to societal economics. I am on the edge of my seat for the next installment in this story.”—YA Books Central