I love Brenda’s answer for “Where did the inspiration for this book come from?”
Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Brenda!
Thank you for hosting me on your blog.
What 5 things should readers know about you?
Five things readers should know about me are: (1) I am a retired teacher and school administrator; (2) Writing historical fiction was a long-time ambition; (3) I did not begin writing until after retirement; (4) My husband and I have traveled in our RV over most of the US and Canada; (5) I love traveling to Scotland.
I would love to travel to Scotland myself!
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉
The hero of A Highland Pearl is Andrew Dubh Munro, chief of the Highland Clan Munro. He is called the Black Falcon of Fàrdach Castle because of his dark hair. One characteristic, not in keeping with his dark hair coloring draws Maidie, the heroine to the chief. Andrew’s heart was wounded by a lady in his past. He is reluctant to give his heart to another, but he cannot deny an attraction to the healer, Maidie. A love triangle forms when the chief’s brother and second in command falls for Maidie. Conflict over Maidie’s attention arises between the brothers.
If stranded on a desert isle, the hero and heroine would need only each other to be content.
Yay! Perfect answer 🙂
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Through genealogical research, I discovered ancestral roots in Clan Munro of the Scottish Highlands. My husband and I made a trip to Scotland, toured the Munro clan lands and castle. The clan society of old Scotland picked my interest and a storyline developed.
I love it! Inspired by family history AND a fabulous vacation…
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I have been interested in writing fiction since childhood and wrote my first story about a horse similar to Black Beauty in the third grade. Only after retirement did I begin to study the craft of writing historical fiction and plying the art to stories.
Black Beauty—very inspirational, especially to young girls!
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
I enjoy writing because stories and characters run around in my head, and I feel compelled to put them on paper. The most challenging part is disciplining myself to sit down and write.
Definitely—butt in chair, fingers on keys (and stay off the Internet—my downfall)
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I am working on the second book in the Highland Treasures series. Readers can expect publication of the Scottish historical romance novel entitled A Highland Ruby, next year.
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
I especially enjoy the action in the Louis L’Amour historical novels. As a young girl, I read Zane Grey and Nancy Drew. From Grey, I learned the importance of historical research and weaving a story around historical facts. The Nancy Drew series taught me the art of lacing mystery into a story. I also enjoy Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oake for inspiration.
I devoured Nancy Drew books! I think need to read more Janette Oake, definitely…
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
I am currently reading Lasso My Heart, by Linda Ford. Lasso My Heart is a sweet historical romance set in the American west. The story is an enjoyable read for those who like sweet romance.
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
http://www.historicalheartbeats.com/highland-treasures-series/ Mystery, intrigue, #romance in Scottish Historical Romance, A Highland Pearl by Brenda B. Taylor #Amazonebook #IARTG
Keep reading to find out more about Brenda and A HIGHLAND PEARL.
The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.
Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.
Her latest book is the historical romance, A Highland Pearl.
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About the Book:
A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.
Maidie is summoned to Fàrdach Castle of Easter Ross-shire to assist in caring for the wounded of Clan Munro after a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron. She dreads the task since her husband, Kenneth Munro, was killed in an earlier battle. Maidie is a healer, taught by her mother, with the skills and knowledge needed to tend the wounds of Chief Andrew Dubh Munro who is seriously wounded.
People in the castle and those in the village of Drumainn turn against Maidie. Angus, the castle physician, resents her for taking his job in caring for the chief. She is hated by some, because she is a member of the enemy Clan Cameron and came to live in Ferindonald, the Munro lands, with her husband.
Maidie considers returning to the land of her birth in Clan Cameron with her young son, Sven, but falls in love with Andrew while caring for his wounds. Although her neighbors now call her a witch, she wishes to stay in Drumainn because of her love for the chief.
Against an effort to guard his hardened heart from another hurtful encounter with a woman, Andrew falls in love with the tender, caring healer, Maidie. He wants her to stay in Drumainn, but his enemies, the Camerons and MacKenzies, have other plans.
Maidie rode behind the young warrior on a horse galloping toward the castle. She removed one hand from around his trim waist to pull her wrap closer against the biting wind then secured the kertch trying to fly from her head. The old Cameron scarf was the only one she could find before rushing out of the cottage when Tavish pounded on her door. She replaced her hand, trying not to mind his grimy clothes and gamey smell, and held her bag of precious herbs with the other. Tavish guided the horse between several tenant crofters coming and going from the castle.
The wind whistled through large birch and oak trees lining the road. Leaves of gold, red, yellow, and brown rustled in the wind then floated to the ground. Maidie enjoyed the walk to the castle this time of year, when a lass needed a midwife, but today she could not think about the beauty. She looked back at Sven, who rode behind Maighstir Tam, and held to a small leather bag filled with various implements she used in her work. A chill ran through her, not only from the wind, but also from the dread of seeing the terrible wounds of the injured.
They pulled to one side of a wide wooden bridge leading to the outer bailey of Fàrdach Castle to let a wagon pass. Tavish waved to the guard in the barbican as their party entered through the large, steel-studded oak gates, under the portcullis, and into the outer bailey. The bailey teemed with the life of humans and animals. Their various buildings, dwellings, and shelters lined the curtain wall.
Tavish steered his horse dodging roughly dressed people, went through a second gate in the curtain wall, then across a bridged moat to the quieter inner yard. He waved to a guard on the rampart, and guided his horse to the door of the castle’s keep. Stable boys rushed to take the reins of both horses. Tavish quickly dismounted, then helped Maidie to the ground. She held her bag with a firm grip. He then assisted Sven and Tam from their horse. Large green eyes in the ashen face of her wee son searched hers. She patted his small hand and rubbed his mass of red hair. He tried to smile, giving her a small gift of comfort.
“All will be well, Sven,” she said to reassure him. Not since watching his father die from wounds he received in a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron had she seen such fear in her son’s eyes.
“I dinna wish to go inside, Mam.” The boy drew back from her touch.
“You may stay out here then. Just dinna leave the bailey.” Maidie took Sven’s bag then handed both to Tavish. She cupped the small boy’s chin in her fingers and kissed the lined forehead. “Stay close. Mayhap there are other children close by.”
“Yes, Mam. I will.” His half-smile gave her a sense of relief.
“Just stay close.” Maidie turned and walked toward Tavish who held the heavy wooden door open. Tam followed as they entered the great hall of the keep.
Tavish closed the door with a thud. Maidie stood for a moment so her eyes could adjust to the dimness. Light rays from the small upper windows glinted off the weapons, armor, and heraldry displayed on the stone walls. Lifeless eyes in the heads of boar with long tusks and red stags with huge racks of antlers stared at her from above the weapons.
Although a large fireplace with a glowing fire stood on each of the four walls, the air felt cold and damp. The smell of dirt, blood, human waste, and unwashed bodies blended together into a noxious odor causing a revolt in her stomach. She swallowed a rush of nausea with a gulp. Wounded warriors lying atop rush pallets lined the floor. A servant rushed to the maighstir, pulling him toward a blood-soaked pallet where an unconscious man lay.
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