Skip to content Skip to footer

Author Interview with Paula Quinn

The Passionate Heart is out in a few days! Paula was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

You can get your copy of this exciting historical romance HERE!


What is the most inspiring place you’ve visited and has it shown up in one of your books?

Scotland! The crazy thing is I started writing about Scotland in 2005, basically making the country a secondary character in Laird of the Mist. I have dozens of books on Scotland in my personal library and I’d always felt a kinship and a haunting longing to write about it and its people. But I never made it to my favorite place in the world until my sister took me in 2019! Everything I wrote about, thought about, dreamed about was there, finally, before my eyes, even better. The glens were vast and green, the clouds, charcoal and ominous–just like in many scenes from my books. The castles were amazing. Touching the walls and listening for the echoes of a laird’s orders in the corridors fed my thoughts for months, but seeing the mountains up close, even walking up some of them filled me with inspiration to come home and write Heart of Ashes.

Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?

My characters almost always come first because I’m inspired by people. The hero usually comes first and then I write the heroine around him. In The Passionate Heart I met Norman Lord Brand Risande first after being inspired by a singer/songwriter I was watching perform. He was singing with such passion about a woman he loved, he shook me to my bones. His blue-green eyes reminded me of moonlight on the dappled surface of a lagoon. There, in the deepest fathoms, the light of his heart shined. He was a complex man, who, unlike his brother, Dante, didn’t let me in too soon, or too easily. Brand fought it every step of the way. Sometimes writing him was especially challenging because, due to betrayal, he’d become so guarded. But it made him so much more real to me, and he eventually became easier to write. The plot kind of took care of itself once Lady Brynna Dumont arrived on the scene. She was fiery Saxon, bold and courageous, turning heads with her beauty or the crack of her palm. Her father had lost their lands in battle to the Norman scum, but Brynna wasn’t about to go quietly. She was exactly what Brand needed. With heads clashing and hearts striped bare, Brand and Brynna’s story is one of my most passionate tales to date.

Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader? 

I used to be a full on panster, with a very vague idea of the story, but basically writing as I went along, letting the characters go where they wanted. It worked for me when I used to write with a traditional publisher because I had 9-12 to write a story. (It took longer to publish, so I had more time) Now, one book a year wouldn’t cut it in today’s fast-paced, crowded romance market. So,I’ve become a plotter, with at least an outline of the story to lead me on. It helps keep me on track and write faster because I know where each chapter should be going. I say “should be,” because my characters are still known to run off and do their own thing from time to time. When I wrote The Passionate Heart, I wrote the story as I went, so I was as surprised as at some of the scenes.

From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?

I love them all, but I do have a few favorites. Among the few, one stands out and he’s MacGregor clan chief, Callum MacGregor from Laird of the Mist. Maybe it’s because Laird took so long to write, so I was with Callum the longest. Maybe because there were times while I was writing I felt very there-right there with him, living all his pain, watching it from Kate’s eyes, from Maggie’s, and from everyone’s eyes who loved him. The MacGregor’s story of Proscription truly affected me deeply and Callum came to represent the courageous clan’s defiance to survive.

Hon. mentions:
Dante Risande – The Unchained Heart – A silver-tongued rogue who gives a slave her wings to fly.
Tristan MacGregor – Seduced by a HIghlander – Another reformed rogue with some dragons he needs to face and fight before he can win the heart of his lady.
Lachlan MacKenzie – Laird of the Black Isle – A husband and father who has lost it all must risk his heart and his life to find it again.
Cain MacPherson- Heart of Ashes – A new Scottish hero must face off with a Norman maiden who tries to kill him at every turn in order to keep him off her land.
Marcus – Scorched- A majestic dragon, the last of his kind, is transformed into a man against his will and must keep his new human heart from falling in love with one of their puny women.

What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?

When I’m not writing I love to read my first loves, fantasy and paranormal romance. I love the elements of the supernatural, or shifters, or especially fiction about King Arthur Pendragaon. They don’t always have to be romances. Some of my favorite books are by authors Guy Gavriel Kay, David Eddings, Richard Adams, and Stephen King.

Top 5 all time fave fiction books are:
5th. The Stand by Stephen King
4th. The Pawn of the Prophecy by David Eddings
3rd. The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams
2nd. The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley
1st. The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

They were all fantastic and memorable.