Give us a little bit about your background and when you first started publishing.
I was born and raised in New Hampshire but moved to Virginia a few years ago. Holy culture shock, but I can safely say I’ve enjoyed living in both the North and South (bit of a Civil War buff, and Revolutionary War, but I digress).
I’ve always loved writing but wasn’t inspired—brave enough?—to finally pen my first novel until I went to New Hampshire’s Highland Games and fell in love with all things Scotland. Add to that, I discovered my clan was intermarried with my husband’s clan for 300 years during the medieval period. Suffice it to say, I liked the premise of ‘love’ reconnecting over seven hundred years later, so lo and behold, the idea of love across time was born.
That said, I published my first time ravel romance in 2007, which went on to become a 26-book series (not including the 16 Viking time travels that interconnect with it). Every Scottish series covers the next generation, so on and so forth, as well as its allied clans (which leads us to my Highlander’s Pact series with Dragonblade). The MacLauchlin Clan has gone through a lot of hardship over the centuries, so I was determined to finally give them their own ‘Happily Ever After,” which, though it was tough getting there, finally happened.
Historical Setting Related:
Have you visited the places you’ve written about or just read about them?
Yes, I finally visited Scotland last October, and it was everything I knew it would be. Stunning country. Wonderful people. Absolutely loved it. I’ve also visited other places I’ve written about, including Italy, England, and Ireland (though far too briefly). Gorgeous countries, all. Norway (the setting for my Viking series) remains on my to-do list.
What interesting settings have you used (homes, battlefields, events in history, etc.)?
I’ve always been particularly interested in Scottish battles (circa 13th and 14th centuries). Most specifically, ones led by King Robert the Bruce. I’ve used both William Wallace and Robert as characters in my books (sometimes when they were wee bairns, other times when adults). Where, of course, I love Wallace, battle strategy wasn’t his strong point. He was the guy who rallied his countrymen to rise up. Robert, however, was an excellent strategist.
Long story short (because I can rattle on something fierce about this :-)) my characters take part in several battles throughout various books not just alongside the Bruce and Wallace, but even battles that took place during Robert’s son, King David II’s reign.
So there’s always plenty of adventure in my romances as well as loads of history. I don’t shy away from what times were really like either. As I often tell my husband, though I’d love to travel back in time and visit, I’m truly glad I was born in the twenty-first century. Big fan of creature comforts and, quite frankly, modern-day inventions we tend to take for granted.
Why did you choose the particular period you write in? What is it about that era that speaks to you?
I didn’t choose it, but it chose me. My starting point was 1199 for my time travel Highlander books because that was when my husband’s clan appointed their first chieftain (or so the records say). Altogether, following the first couples down to their great (times 4) grandchildren, I cover the years 1199-1347.
My Highlander’s Pact series (strictly historical romance) takes place between the end of 1346 and spring of 1347 after King David II fights at Neville’s Cross. On a fun side note: the MacLauchlins from my Pirates of Britannia stories descend from the couples that come together in my Highlander’s Pact books.
What inspires you to create a certain character (give example)? Have you ever changed the character arc because it didn’t work with the storyline?
Honestly—and this might sound crazy to some—my characters themselves inspire me. I’ll be close to finishing one story, when the next couple starts badgering me, telling me precisely who they are, their quirks, history, how it shaped them, what they want from their future, etc., then we’re off and running. I’ve even had to ‘tell’ them to wait their turn on occasion. Their story will be told. 😉
I’ve never had to change a character arc, but, interestingly, for the first time ever, I just met a character, Greer from my upcoming Dragonblade book Scoundrel’s Redemption (Highlander’s Pact, Book 3), who completely caught me off guard. I won’t say much and give her away, but she definitely tugged on my heartstrings. And I had no idea until I got inside her head, so to speak. I’ve definitely never written a character quite like her. If anything, the storyline morphed to suit her rather than the other way around.
Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process? Do the stars have to be aligned or do you have to have your favorite tea? Where do you do your best writing?
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I’ve had so many deadlines the past few years, I haven’t had the privilege of choosing my timing except to go, go, go! On an up note, however, I’m very goal-oriented and best under pressure so *knocks on wood* things have been moving right along. Thankfully, no writer’s block thus far, and my characters keep coming. Moreover, their stories are unique, which is something I promised my readers over a decade ago. Every story will be different. No two alike if I can help it. What fun is there in that?
As to where I do my best writing? Pretty much anywhere people aren’t talking. I can write to Celtic/ambience (AKA Adrian von Ziegler or Skyrim) types of background music, but conversations tend to “over talk” my characters and make it hard to concentrate.
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
Oh, that’s a tough question! As a rule, I’ve always enjoyed writing my troubled brooding heroes above all, but if I have to pick just one, it would have to be upbeat, optimistic Adlin MacLomain.
Mind you, 80% of my work so far is time travel fantasy romance, so Adlin, chieftain arch-wizard immortal that he was, has made appearances in at least 25-35 books. Sometimes he’s a young man with more pep than most, other times old and wise with his gnarly cane and cryptic ways. He’s reborn now (yes, his immortality came to an end) and at last with his one true love, but he’s been the glue that held everything together. Why? Because essentially, one way or another, he embodies a little bit of every hero I’ve ever written.
Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre?
Hmm, I really enjoy paranormal romance, but I write that genre too, so that’s a no-go. I’d say, though it’s been eons since I’ve had time to read, it would be Regency romance. Once upon a time, I used to devour them. Huge fan of Lisa Kleypas. Interesting tidbit– I’m actually writing my first Regency for Dragonblade soon. Very nervous but at the same time, excited. Love a challenge and tackling new things.
We hope you enjoyed reading more about Sky! Be sure to check out her newest release, Scoundrel’s Redemption.