I have a time travelling heroine and a highland warrior here at Coffee Time Romance today i’d like to say hello to their author Nicole North. Hi Nicole and thank you for joining me today. It has been a long time since I read a time travel story, I didn’t realise how much I missed them.
Thanks for allowing me to be here! I'm hoping time-travels are coming back into fashion. They can be so entertaining and fun.
Would you like to introduce us to your hero?
I'd love to. Gavin MacTavish from Devil in a Kilt (in Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures) is a 17th-century Highland Chief who happens to be cursed by a dark witch. Gavin has pale blue eyes, long black hair and a slash scar down one side of his face from forehead to jaw. He's a hot, sensual man during the night time but at dawn he instantly shape-shifts into a large black hawk. More than anything, he loves his clan and wants to protect them and lead them. But they fear him so much, most of them have fled. They believe he's possessed by the devil. Of course, he isn't possessed, merely cursed. He's misunderstood and lonely. He'll do almost anything to break the curse and bring his people home. But marrying the beautiful woman who appears in his bedchamber in the middle of the night is no hardship. Still, they have many obstacles to overcome before the curse can be broken.
It always amazes me that so many authors write about the British Isles I live on so I have to ask why Scotland?
I'm in love with Scotland! I visited once for a couple of weeks and found Scotland to be even better than I'd imagined. The landscapes are incredibly beautiful--the Western Highlands, Glencoe, Sango Bay, Kyle of Tongue, Isle of Skye, Orkney. There is no place on earth more beautiful. Besides that, Scotland has a mystical, almost magical feel. The history of the place is also quite extensive and rich. A lot of us American women find the idea of a wild yet honourable Highland warrior in a kilt to be sexy and appealing. Yes, I know we have romanticized him, but he is one of our favourite fantasies. :)
Shauna handles being moved through time reasonably well. I’m not sure how I would cope then to be put in a dungeon for the day. Where did she get her strength?
Shauna is a tough, sassy, resourceful woman. She's a psychology professor who doesn't really fit the mould. I often tell people my story is Sex and the City meets Brave heart because Shauna is somewhat irreverent and funny in her view of the world. When treated unfairly, like when she's locked up in the dungeon, she has a tendency to get angry instead of frightened. Or she'll problem-solve and improvise instead of letting the situation overwhelm her.
The curse placed on Gavin and his family and land was unusual where did you get the idea for a daily change?
The idea sort of sprang from my subconscious. After I completed the story, I remembered the movie from the 80s called Lady hawk. I think that movie must have influenced me, though I wasn't even aware of it at the time. Shape-shifters have been popular in romance novels for a few years now. I wanted to write a shape-shifting hero, but something unusual. I wanted this shifting to be beyond his control, something that was forced on him that he hated. I like to sometimes write heroes who are a bit edgy and dark with some emotional baggage. A curse gives a perfect opportunity for that. And of course we want to see him overcome the curse and find happiness. In addition, some of my ancestors were Scots-Irish and a few of those witch/ shape-shifting stories have been passed down in my family. For instance, the story about the witch turning a man into a horse is one of them. I have no idea how old the story is.
I love the happy ending and you left the story open for a sequel. Are you planning any more stories.
Thanks! Yes, actually I've sold the second story in this series, Beast in a Kilt, featuring Gavin's cursed friend, Torr. He's a kelpie (a horse/ water demon shape-shifter.) This novella will be in Red Sage Secrets Volume 29. I don't have a release date yet. And I've just completed the third story in the series, tentatively entitled Scoundrel in a Kilt, featuring Brodie who is a selkie (a seal shape-shifter.) I love using Scottish myths and legends in my stories. They're so creative, colorful and dramatic.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I started out as a fly by the seat of the pants kind of writer but quickly discovered this got me into trouble and I had to rewrite. So now I do a combination of half plotting and half flying. :) I like to have a road map (roughly a three-act play structure for the bones of the story) so I know where I'm going. But nothing confining. I still like to discover the details of the story as I go along.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Never give up. If you want it, go for it. Believe strongly in yourself and your stories. Keep improving your craft. Find your voice, develop and polish it. Your voice is your most valuable asset and what sets you apart from other storytellers.
If you were an ice-cream flavour what one would you be and why?
Blueberry cheesecake because this is my favourite flavour at the moment. Yummm! It even has bits of crust in it.
Who are some of your favourite authors? How much influence do they have over what you write?
My all time favourite author is Laura Kinsale. She writes fantastic historical romances. Her writing is beautiful and lyrical. I'm not sure she's had any influence over my writing except that her imagery is amazing and I'm a visual person. So I do try to create nice imagery in my writing. I also love Karen Marie Moning's work because of her humorous, light voice and Scottish time travels. I also love reading Rachel Gibson's books, which are humorous and hot contemporaries. I've always been a fan of Red Sage Secrets anthologies since they first came out. They have the perfect level of heat and sensuality for me. I also love reading lots of different authors who write Scottish historical romance.
Do you have any pet peeves in writing both your own and others?
Point of view. I can't read a book that uses head-hopping, more than one point of view at the same time. I'm so distracted about whose head I'm in I can't focus on the story. So I avoid those types of books.
Do you have anything else planned for the rest of the year?
I have an upcoming release from Red Sage called Kilted Lover. This is a contemporary erotic romance novella which will be in eBook form. It's a fun, hot story that I thoroughly enjoyed writing. It's for those who fantasize about muscular, kilt-wearing caber tossers at Highland Games. What if one of those guys tossed you over his shoulder? ;)
Thank you for joining me today is there anything you would like to add?
I'd just like to mention that there are three other sizzling hot novellas in this anthology (Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures) along with my story. They are The Bet by Leigh Court, Heart Storm by Liane Gentry Skye and The Boy Next Door by Hannah Murray. I've read them and I have to say they're wonderful! Thank you so much for having me here! I've enjoyed it!