Mary Jo Interviews Susan: The Scottish Bride

Today, Mary Jo interviews Susan about her newest release! Scroll down for the conversation and leave a comment to enter the giveaway!

MJP: Susan King has just released a brand-new Scottish romance! Susan, please tell us about The Scottish Bride,first in your Highland Secrets Trilogy.

SK: Thank you, Mary Jo! The Scottish Bride was released just yesterday, so we’re celebrating a book birthday this week. It’s a totally NEW novel, which is always exciting to announce. Set in medieval Scotland, it’s Book One in my new “Highland Secrets” series published by Dragonblade. Earlier this year, Dragonblade reissued three of my backlist medievals which relate to the new books–the backlists are updated with new titles and beautiful covers – The Hawk Laird, The Falcon Laird, and The Swan Laird are all available now as the Celtic Hearts series and have been doing really well on Amazon lists. It’s so wonderful for authors to know that readers appreciate the books we write.

Here’s a little about the book:

In Robert Bruce’s Scotland, a knight and a lady guard secrets while discovering unexpected romance . . .  

When Lady Tamsin Keith climbs out a castle tower to escape a threatening betrothal, she quite literally falls into the arms of a mysterious Scottish knight. Sir William Seton has been sent by King Edward to demand a secret book of prophecies in the lady’s possession, but instead of taking the bothersome book as ordered, he discovers that Lady Tamsin, a gifted seer, needs his help—and is the most stubborn woman he has ever met.

Yet even as Liam begins to thrill her lonely heart and offer the support she craves, Tamsin is reluctant to trust Edward’s Scottish knight–-until hidden secrets are revealed, and both must face a powerful foe who would tear down what they cherish most . . .

The Forest Bride, Book Two of the Highland Secrets trilogy, the story of Tamsin’s sister Lady Margaret Keith and Duncan Campbell, a Scottish judge, is now in production (yay!). Book Three, The Guardian’s Bride, the story of their sister Lady Rowena Keith and Aedan MacDuff, a Highland laird, is in the messy-but-promising writing stage. All three covers for this trilogy are just gorgeous. 

MJPSusan, you have ninja-level research capabilities!  You do careful research into historical events and also research interesting details that help bring the characters and plot to life, such as falconry, archery, and so on. The Scottish Bride centers on a heroine, a granddaughter of Thomas the Rhymer, who is writing a manuscript about his prophecies, and a hero who is a knight and a harper as well. How did your research inspire these and other aspects of the story?

SK: I love the research part of historical fiction–years of graduate work in medieval art history and medieval studies gave me some mad skills that I’m grateful to put to good use in my novels. The Scottish Bride sets up some continuing threads in the trilogy, which led me to research the history and legends surrounding Thomas the Rhymer. In the stories, True Thomas is the Keith sisters’ great-grandfather and leaves them a legacy that must be protected. The research touched on actual history and faery legends. True Thomas lived in the late 13th century and died in 1298, a few years before these stories take place. As a harper and a soothsayer, he was a contemporary of Robert Bruce and King Edward; renowned for his prophecies, he claimed that his gift of truth-telling was bestowed on him by the Queen of Faery, who took him into her realm for seven years. I loved weaving together legend, history, and fiction in The Scottish Bride and the whole series.

Wikipedia: attribution by Bobbobb – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

I also returned to research that I had integrated in some of my previous books, especially medieval manuscripts and Celtic harp. Tamsin, the heroine of Scottish Bride, has the Rhymer’s written prophecies and is copying them on parchment to create a book that King Edward is desperate to own. I studied and handled medieval manuscripts as part of my work in art history, so it’s great to have a chance to use some of that. 

The book’s hero, Sir William Seton, is ordered by the king to find the lady and take the book. Now and then Liam disguises himself as an itinerant harper, and plays and sings–not very well, in his opinion. I took lessons in Celtic harp (I have one at home) while writing previous books —The Falcon Laird and Queen Hereafter also feature harpists– so it was fun to bring that research into this story too. 

MJP: What a gorgeous cover! Did you have some input in the design?

SK: I was thrilled with the stunning cover by Dar Albert for Dragonblade! I had some input in suggesting elements that would reflect the story, and the artist made some requested tweaks to the cover draft. She captured the heroine perfectly, and gave the design a fresh Scottish feel with thistles and the ghosted Celtic wheel. The heroine holds her handwritten manuscript, which is key to the plot, and her wonderful furry friend is one of the wolfhounds raised by the hero. 

The cover of The Forest Bride, Book 2 in the Highland Secrets trilogy (now in production to be available for preorder soon), has similar elements with the heroine front and center and the motifs of thistles and the Celtic wheel, and another variation appears in the cover of Book 3, The Guardian’s Bride, which I’m currently writing.

MJP: Do you have a brief excerpt to share with us?

SK: I do, thank you for asking! You can read an excerpt from The Scottish Bride here. It’s posted on my – ahem! – newly redesigned website, just launched this week. Check it out and be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

MJP: What’s next for you? Are you currently writing the next books in the Highland Secrets series?  Do you have any other projects that you’re working on?

SK:  I’m currently working on The Guardian’s Bride, and then I’ll jump into writing a novella for a Halloween romance anthology, Wraiths of Midnight, from Dragonblade next October. After that, I’m planning a new book that will be a bit of a surprise – more on that later! And I’d love to write a story for the brother of the sisters in Highland Secrets, who has his own legacy from Thomas the Rhymer, and his own secrets.

I would love to give an e-copy of The Scottish Bride to a reader who leaves a comment here on the blog. I’ll also throw in a copy of The Hawk Laird, the first of the previous series that prefaces the books of Highland Secrets. Do you read medieval romance, Scottish romance, or Scottish medievals? 

4 thoughts on “Mary Jo Interviews Susan: The Scottish Bride”

  1. Susan, it’s wonderful to see all your hard work coming to fruition! I love the way you weave history and legend and medieval skills into such rich stories. Now we can wait for the next two books in the trilogy!

  2. Enjoying the new book. Lots of interesting things are in it. Love the history. But I don’t need a copy of anything as I have ALL of them already.

  3. Hi Susan, I like the amazing detail you bring forth in the medieval time period. Your depth takes me right into the mindset of the characters in the magical atmosphere.

    I’ve read other novels from that time, such as Jude Deveraux, “A Knight in Shining Armor.” That time slip/reincarnation story was a fun romp.

  4. This sounds amazing! To answer the question I enjoy reading medieval romance, Scottish romance, or Scottish medievals – as long as they are full of historical details with great characters! Your books Susan, bring me right into the time period (although maybe I’m grateful I can’t smell it 🙂 and I enjoy being woven right into the story!
    Best of luck in finishing up the series!


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