TITLE – Highlander Redeemed SERIES – Guardians of the Targe AUTHOR – Laurin Wittig GENRE – Historical Romance (medieval) PUBLICATION DATE – May 12, 2015 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 272/86,500 PUBLISHER – Montlake Romance COVER ARTIST – Regina Wamba
Scotia MacAlpin may be only eighteen years old, but she’s no stranger to trouble. Her latest incident—which resulted in a death and forced her clan into battle—has made her an outcast among her exiled people. Scotia is tired of being ignored and trapped in the shadow of her sister, a gifted Guardian of the Targe; and she’s become hell-bent on destroying the army out to capture the ancient Highland relic for their English king.
Duncan of Dunlairig has looked out for Scotia since she started to walk. She was as restless and reckless then as she is now—only the stakes have become higher and more perilous. While the rest of Clan MacAlpin ostracizes her, he secretly helps Scotia become the warrior she yearns to be. But the real test of her skills may come when Duncan needs her help—and her long-forgotten heart—in this thrilling and romantic Guardians of the Targe tale.
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Duncan braced himself for the verbal battle to come, but before he could make himself known, Scotia began to move, hesitantly and without her usual grace, but so focused on her task he could almost taste her determination. She watched her feet, letting her weapons go slack in her hands. Even so, he quickly recognized the exercise Malcolm had been teaching the lads a few days ago. She shook her head, then started the series of moves again, talking to herself just under her breath. She repeated the process over and over until, all of a sudden, she flew through the short exercise as if it were a dance she had known her entire life, thrusting, parrying, spinning, attacking the dirt clad roots of a toppled tree. The sharp sound of wood on wood reverberated through the forest like a woodpecker hammering on a hollow log.
His breath caught in his chest. She was magnificent. Beautiful. Strong.
She fought as if demons threatened her life.
And Duncan could not take his eyes off her. She was everything he would expect her to be if he did not know her so well.
Laurin Wittig was indoctrinated into her Scottish heritage at birth when her parents chose her oddly spelled name from a plethora of Scottish family names. At ten, Laurin attended her first MacGregor clan gathering with her grandparents, and her first ceilidh (kay-lee), a Scottish party, where she danced to the bagpipes with the hereditary chieftain of the clan. At eleven, she visited Scotland for the first time and it has inhabited her imagination ever since. She writes bestselling and award-winning Scottish medieval romances and lives in southeastern Virginia. For more information about all of Laurin’s books, visit LaurinWittig.com
Tell us about your newest release.
Highlander Redeemed is the third and final book in my Guardians
of the Targe series. I had so much fun writing Scotia and Duncan’s story.
There’s nothing quite like watching a difficult, self-absorbed girl turn into a
strong, loving, warrior woman. Duncan, bless his heart, was the only one who
had the patience and strength of will to help her make that transformation. On
top of their story, the couples and many of the other characters from the
previous books in the series, Highlander Betrayed and Highlander Avenged, are
integral to bringing a conclusion to the series so readers get to spend time
with Rowan and Nicholas, and Jeanette and Malcolm, too.
Here’s the backcover blurb for Highlander Redeemed:
Scotia MacAlpin may be only eighteen years old, but she’s no
stranger to trouble. Her latest incident—which resulted in a death and forced
her clan into battle—has made her an outcast among her exiled people. Scotia is
tired of being ignored and trapped in the shadow of her sister, a gifted
Guardian of the Targe; and she’s become hell-bent on destroying the army out to
capture the ancient Highland relic for their English king.
Duncan of Dunlairig has looked out for Scotia since she
started to walk. She was as restless and reckless then as she is now—only the
stakes have become higher and more perilous. While the rest of Clan MacAlpin
ostracizes her, he secretly helps Scotia become the warrior she yearns to be.
But the real test of her skills may come when Duncan needs her help—and her
long-forgotten heart—in this thrilling and romantic Guardians of the Targe
What genre do you enjoy writing the most? Why?
I love writing romances set in medieval Scotland. The people
were strong. The culture was much more equal for women than most of Europe.
There was lots of political upheaval to provide great conflict for stories, and
the land is as much a character as the people are. I write romances set there
because I love to explore the inner lives of my characters, especially when
their ordinary lives clash with extraordinary circumstances. The place, time period, and culture of the
Highlanders provide plenty of extraordinary circumstances, from war to magic.
And then there are men in kilts…
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in
creating your story?
I think it was that I really love writing brats and finding
a way to help them grown into strong, loving women. My two favorite stories (of
my own) Charming the Shrew, and Highlander Redeemed, both feature strong,
difficult women who turn into really incredible people cabable of loving others
and of being lovable.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Mr. Darcy, especially the way he was played by Colin Firth.
Strong, stoic, heroic without any bragadocio. And sexy. Ahhh.
What is your most treasured possession?
Hmm, my first response is my laptop, but really it’s a set
of family portraits that hang in my living room. I look at them everyday and
everyday I smile.
If you could only tell us one thing about yourself, what
would you want us to know most?
I love to laugh. I laugh often and loudly. My favorite
people are those that laugh with me. I fell in love with my husband in large
part because he got my sense of humor, and his makes me laugh all the time,
even after over 30 years together.
Which living person do you most dislike?
You know, I really don’t keep people I dislike in my life
so, other than a few political people, and I’m not going there, I can’t think
of any living person I dislike.
Which living person do you most admire?
There are two: my children. My daughter, who was always my
homebody, moved literally across the country and started her adult life in a
place she adores. She has built a wonderful community of friends, works hard at
her job, and is at the same time pursuing her writing passion. It took great
courage to pick up and move away from everything she knew and it’s paid off.
My son lives with severe food allergies with grace and a
killer sense of humor. He’s never let his allergies stop him from doing
something he wants to do – including traveling to Spain to walk the Camino
pilgrim trail. He’s pursuing his intellectual passions, becoming a fabulous
cook, has a great community of friends, and is looking for his next step out of
college and into his adult life with great expectations. I couldn’t be more
proud of either of them.
With whom, living or dead and why, would you like to sit and
chat with for an afternoon?
My grandmother. She died 15 years ago when I was still
consumed with raising children. I’d love to talk to her about her life, the
choices she made, the challenges she faced, her dreams, and to once more be
able to absorb her wisdom. I didn’t appreciate that wisdom nearly enough when
she was alive.
What is your greatest fear?
That my son, who has severe food allergies, will die from
them. He manages them very well, though, so I don’t dwell on this.
Who or what has been the greatest love of your life?
My husband. We’ve been married for 30 wonderful years and
built a life together that I love.
What is your greatest regret?
I know this sounds trite, but I don’t really have regrets. I
used to wish my childhood could have been different, but with maturity I know
that everything in my life, every experience, every person, every challenge,
and every success, has brought me to the person I am now, and the life I have
now, which I love, so how could I regret any of that?
Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
I often see a character type in a movie or TV show that I
want to explore. Scotia MacAlpin, in Highlander Redeemed, was inspired by Will
Scarlet in the Robin Hood story (specifically the Robin of Sherwood BBC version
from the 80s). Will was a great fighter, but his anger over the loss of his
wife at English hands, often drove him to be argumentative and impulsive. I
flipped this archetype around and created Scotia, who wants to become a warrior
to avenge her mother’s death, but her anger and her impulsiveness gets in her
way a lot.
What is your ‘Writing Routine’, if any?
I meet a couple of friends at a local coffee shop five
mornings a week to write together for about three hours. Getting out of the
house and having a standing appointment to meet them keeps me focused and
ontrack. I’m very distractable at home! I take a lunch hour to relax, then
spend another several hours in my lovely home office managing email, social
media, marketing, bookkeeping, and all the other little time consuming tasks of
running a business. I try not to work evenings or weekends, though when
deadlines approach I can’t always do that.
Do you have any interesting quirks or rituals?
I have to have earbuds in when I write, even if I forget to
turn on music or my thunderstorm soundtrack. I usually turn something on, but
sometimes I get so engrossed in my writing that I don’t notice that I’ve either
forgotten to turn it on, or that whatever was playing has stopped. If I don’t
put the earbuds in I get distracted by conversations and other noises around
me. Here’s the weird part, though, if I have the earbuds in but no music on I
can hear all those same conversations and noises but they don’t distract me.
Tell us a saucy/intimate/personal story about yourself.
Silence/Music/TV for background?
Music – no vocals – or environmental sounds. I love to write
to the sound of a thunderstorm.
What are your Top (10?) Writing Tips? Writing Advice?
The most important tip is to just sit down and write. It
doesn’t even matter if what you write is any good—that’s what revision is for!
A good critique group can help you with that stage, but only if you have
something for them to critique. I would also suggest you gather other writers
around you, but be choosy. This is a hard business to be in with lots of
rejection (even indie authors get rejected via bad reviews or low sales!) so
you want positive writers around you, people who are driven by the same dream
you have, and who work to attain it. And lastly, if your dream includes
publishing your work, educate yourself in the business of writing. The business
side is changing rapidly and constantly these days so you need to keep up to
date. Joining Romance Writers of America is a great place to start your
education, especially if there is a local chapter near you.
Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
I’m currently working on the first draft of a very different
kind of novel, more of a mainstream fiction story based very loosly on my
childhood, but as soon as that draft is done I’ll start work on a third novel
in my Legacy of MacLeod series. I have three MacLeod brothers who were sent off
to serve in the king’s army at the end of Charming the Shrew and it’s time they
got their own stories. I also have a couple of novellas I want to write, one in
my Legacy of MacLeod series and one in my Guardians of the Targe series, but
I’m not sure when I’ll work those into my writing schedule. I also have my first
French translation coming out in the early fall, for my award-winning debut
novel, The Devil of Kilmartin. And expect Highlander Avenged, the second
Guardians of the Targe book, to come out in German some time this year as well.
AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS
2 Copies of Highlander Betrayed
3 Guardians of the Targe tote bags
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