Veronica Wolff ~ Master of the Highlands
I was a burnt-out and unfulfilled dot-com drone when I began Master of the Highlands. I’m a history buff who has always fantasized about what it would be to travel back in time, experience that world around me, meet those people. Writing time-travel fiction based on real historical figures and events was the closest I could come to escaping my world and being back there myself.
I knew I wanted to write a story set in the Scottish Highlands. I’m a big fan of Scottish history, where such high stakes bred so many stories of great courage and sacrifice. (Okay, and those kilts aren’t so bad either.)
I’d targeted roughly the seventeenth-century as my preferred era. Any later and the Jacobite rebellion would be unavoidable, and Diana Gabaldon has already delved into that so thoroughly and successfully. Much earlier than the 1600s, and I’d predate the technological and cultural developments that most interested me.
I began to research, devouring anything and everything I could find online, and I kept running across Ewen’s name. He never bowed to Cromwell’s redcoat forces. He was a swordsman without equal, who never sustained a wound in his ninety years of life. He’s credited with killing the last wolf in Scotland. Gracious, loyal, wise, tall, noble, imposing, and fearsome are among the many grand words that have been used to describe him. He’s referred to as “Ulysses of the Highlands.” Sir Walter Scott immortalized him in “The Lady of the Lake,” basing a critical fight scene on one of Ewen’s most famous, most brutal battles (which I also recreate!)
Ewen Cameron’s reputation in the history of the Highlands is nothing short of mythic, and yet, I wondered, where were all the movies about him? All the books? And so, as a hero for my first book, Ewen was a no-brainer.Narrowing the timeframe down wasn’t too difficult. The story behind his Battle of Achdalieu held great appeal. Ewen was so young then, leading his men to fight, facing down Cromwell’s forces, defending Cameron lands. The stories of his feats in battle were so outrageously heroic—and his own personal tragedy so shattering—that this 1654 battle quickly became my focal point.
Lily, my heroine, came readily from there, though you’ll forgive this first-time author some overlap (yes, the heroine also happens to be, you guessed it, a disenchanted dot-commer…) Now if only I could figure out how to get my own self back there for real!
Please visit my web site where you can read more about the real history behind Ewen’s story, see photos of Cameron country, and enter a contest to win a gorgeous 10 X 15 photograph from artist Rebecca Cusworth. http://veronicawolff.com/