My first novel, A Man In A Kilt, came to life while I sat on a cliff overlooking my husband’s paternal ancestral home, Stalker Castle in Appin, Scotland and wondered what it might be like to inherit and then live in an island bound fortress. Would the “romance” be short-lived if I had to get into a boat every time I needed a quart of milk? No. For mullion windows and an ocean view, I’d deal with it. But what if it came with a ghost? Hmm…

A Rogue In A Kilt was a natural extension of the first book, but writing progressive, connected novels has prove more daunting than one might expect.

1.) You can pluck a compelling secondary character from one book and put him/her front and center in the next.

The Thief of Hearts, Ian MacKay, is such a secondary character. His regent’s ears and eyes about Scotland, Ian first came to life in A Rogue In A Kilt. Sensing he was trying to take over the story, I sent him off on a long errand, but knew to my bones that he’d be back in all his golden glory. Readers, apparently sensing this as well, sent letters requesting his story. Thus A THIEF IN A KILT was born.

2.) You’ve already done the research and know the period details, which keeps your muse wondering, “What if…?”

I had an impending civil war and a Scottish king growing up in the Tower of London. How did his captivity affect the politics of the time and the man he would become? What effect did his eventual release have on Scotland and on my new hero specifically? Ta da, my external plot.

1.) Meeting reader expectations. Some are already enamored with the hero.
2.) Although related to previous books, making this novel fresh and unique unto itself
3.) Hold previous reader interest while bringing new readers--who are clueless as to what went on before--up to speed.
4.) Crafting a worthy love interest

My new heroine proved the greatest challenge. What would attract my randy, highly intelligent hero determined to see his country safe and his rightful king ransomed? I already knew what he liked: good horse flesh, good wine and pretty, petite brunettes. And what he loathed: the English and women with secret agendas. Okay. I craft a pretty, petite, brunette English spy who wants to keep a very low profile around my hero and still the story just wouldn’t gel in my heart. Two pretty people get together…Big whoop-dee-doo. Who cares? Happens all the time. Augh!

Then I received a letter from a reader who told me that she lived vicariously through Romances; that she was very tall and thus rarely dated. Hmm…I could make Kate a very tall, plush, quick-witted, brunette spy. Despite her best efforts, she wouldn’t be able to avoid Ian’s notice. The average woman of the period stood less than 5 feet tall. Too, she’d be the last “type” he’d expect to find himself attracted to, yet she poses a challenge, her mind is as quick as his, and what of that first kiss? Oh! What would go through Ian’s mind the first time he didn’t have to fold nearly in half to kiss a woman? When he pulled her into his arms and all those plush, womanly curves came into perfect alignment with his 6 foot 5 inch, muscular frame? When hips pressed hips, breasts met chest? Oh, ya…Here we go...

Thank you, dear Reader!!