Thank you so much Lynsay for being with us today and for taking the time out of your really busy schedule.
Terra: Our hero, Cullen Laird of Donnachaidh, is reputed to be the Devil of the Highlands. How did you give such a delicious vision of a man such a dastardly character reputation. Do you ever feel guilty for making your hero with this type of reputation or do you think it might have been a common thing during this time period for the Laird of the Clan to be so frightening?
Lynsay: No, I don’t feel at all guilty. Nicknames, I gather, were very common back then. Think of Richard the Lionheart, Black Agnes, Bloody Mary, etc. I think having a strong nickname was probably a psychological advantage when it came to battle and since war was so prevalent and such a way of life back then, any advantage was one to be used.
Terra: When I first started reading Devil of the Highlands I felt a bit like I was stepping into some fairytale. We have the wickedly evil Stepmother, miss used and abused heroine and our hero the Prince. Was it your intent to use our beloved fairytales as a basis for the story and if you could change any one thing, what would it be?
Lynsay: I actually didn’t notice the resemblance to fairy tales until you mentioned it. Fortunately, that’s only at the start and it soon leaves the fairy tale trappings behind. And I wouldn’t change a thing about Devil of the Highlands. It came to me the way it is and the way it was meant to be.
Terra: Our heroineʼs ladies maid has a personality plus. I immediately fell in love with Mildrede for her sass and spunk. (Go Mildrede!) Why did you give this particular personality trait to someone of her station when in all reality she would have been punished severely for some of the antics she pulls? Putting all this aside I really do have to say that she had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks in a torrent. LOL!
Lynsay: Do you really think she would have been punished harshly? I don’t. Mildrede has been with the family since she was a child. She grew up in the castle and tended to Evelinde for most if not all her life. Considering the personalities of both women, I think it would be impossible for an affectionate relationship not to have grown up between them. That being the case, Evelinde would have surely done everything she could to keep Mildrede safe from her step-mother and would have put up with a lot from Mildrede herself just as we do with family and friends. . . or at least as I do. I know my family and friends get away with a lot with me, lol.
Terra: Our heroine is quite the character. Sheʼs daring but a wee bit clumsy, intelligent but lacking common sense, sheʼs loyal but fool hardy, how has she not driven Cullen to be a real Devil of the Highlands with some of her escapades no matter how noble her intentions?
Lynsay: Oh, I’m sure she will drive him mad at some point, but it will take a little bit of time for his patience to slip. He is still in the “stars in his eyes, madly in love—okay, well, it’s probably closer to the truth to say “tongue hanging out and led by Little Cullen” stage.
Terra: After losing his first wife and their unborn child, his father and his uncle to what supposedly seemed to be natural causalities, why wasnʼt Cullen more suspicious that maybe things were not as they seemed? You would think that once accidents started plaguing Evelinde that Cullen would most certainly start thinking something was out of the ordinary but he didnʼt until it was pointed out to him. Is this one of those cases with people when if its right in front of their faces they canʼt see the truth for what it is?
Lynsay: Part of it may be that he is too close, but you also have to remember that these deaths and accidents took place years and years apart. The uncle died when Cullen was just a boy. His death also took place in front of everyone and did appear to have been an accident in the chaos of the moment. Then ten or twelve years passed before the father died and then it was another four years between that and his first wife’s death. It’s not like they were one right after the other.
Terra: I must say that I love your Highland series as much as your Paranormal series. Will you keep writing in both sub genresʼ, will you add another sub genreʼ at some point or will you just decide to settle down with one? Also, which would you say you like writing better, Historical Highland or Paranormalʼs?
Lynsay: I’m not sure if I’ll add more sub genres. Perhaps, if I get a good idea. But I doubt I’ll drop one or the other. I like writing more than one sub genre. And I don’t really prefer one to the other. Each has something to recommend it.
Terra: Is there the possibility that at some point in time you might integrate some werewolves or other fantasy creatures into your historicalʼs? With Devil of the Highlands I could almost feel magic here and there in certain scenes and not just because some of the people have gifts. Have you had to hold back on the magic in these books?
Lynsay: No, I don’t have to hold back on magic. I tend to prefer logic and science to magic which is why my vamps aren’t your typical mythical soulless undead. That being the case, when it comes to adding werewolves or other fantasy creatures . . . I doubt it, but I never say never.
Terra: What are the chances that we will hear more from the Donnachaidh clan in the future whether it be a storyline prior to this one or following this one?
Lynsay: You will visit them again in both of the two books that follow.
Terra: Most women who read these lovely Highland Historicals just have to have their fix on what lies under those kilts. I think you have done wonderfully with Cullenʼs family package. (Oh my, fans self) What do you think the odds were during that time period that the average Scottish man would have such a prize package to present to his bride or anyone else for that matter. Also do you think the women of that time period would have placed wagers on the size of their Lairdʼs delightful attributes? If men could place wagers on women and what they were like in bed then why couldnʼt women. I know the whole womenʼs lib thing wasnʼt around then but lets just speculate.
Lynsay: Regarding having a fine package, I think the odds were as good then as they are now. I doubt men have evolved that much physically in the time since then. As to the other question . . . well, it actually never occurred to me that men would wager about this kind of thing. The fact is though that people gossip and natter and yip about stuff. Women like to talk about men and men like to talk about horses, battles, ale, and women . . . and probably in that order. Shrug. I’m sure servants and married women would be nattering and yipping about the Laird and every other male in the castle.
Terra: If you were a lass of the Highlandʼs and your father or evil stepmother were going to marry you off to a Laird of such a dire repute, would you run or would you stay and face the music so to speak especially knowing full well that the rest of your life could and would be spent miserably?
Lynsay: That’s hard to answer. If it happened today, of course, I’d be out of there so fast all they’d see was the door closing behind me. But this was a different time and the alternative wasn’t a happy one. A woman on her own without family to support her would not have come to a happy end either. I suppose I would have married him and then prayed he fell down the stairs while in his cups if he was as cruel as everyone said.
Terra: If Cullen, the Laird of Donnachaidh, The Devil of the Highlands were to jump out of a book right before your eyes today, what would be your honest reaction? I know what mine would be and that is to get on my knees and pray to whatever God or Goddess in reverent thanks and to hope that I didnʼt need a white jacket to go with my prayers. LOL!
Lynsay: I’d tell him to get his butt back to Evelinde. He’s married and so am I. LOL.
Okay Everyone, Lynsay will be doing a giveaway of one of her books so leave a question or comment about the interview or her book and your email addy to be entered.
Northern England: 1273
That anxious cry made Evelinde pause in what she was saying to Cook and glance around. Her maid was rushing across the kitchens toward her, expression both angry and worried. It was a combination usually only engendered by Edda’s actions. Wondering what the woman had got up to now, Evelinde quickly promised Cook they would finish their discussion of menus later, and moved to meet her maid.
Mildrede caught her hands the moment they reached each other. Her mouth turned down grimly as she announced, “Your stepmother is calling for you.”
Evelinde had already suspected as much, but grimaced nonetheless. Edda only sent for her when she was in one of her foul moods and wished to cheer herself by abusing her unfortunate step-daughter. For one moment, Evelinde considered ignoring the summons and finding a task away from the keep for the rest of the day. However, that would only make the woman’s mood—and the following abuses—worse, she knew.
“I had best go see what she wants then,” Evelinde said and squeezed Mildrede’s hands reassuringly before moving past her.
“She’s smiling,” Mildrede warned, following on her heels.
Evelinde paused with her hand on the door to the great hall, trepidation running through her. A smiling Edda was not a good thing. It usually meant Evelinde was about to suffer and suffer hard. Not that the woman ever dared hit her, but there were worse things, tasks so unpleasant one would almost prefer a beating. Biting her lip with worry, she asked, “Do you know what has set her off this time?”
“Nay,” Mildrede said apologetically. “She was railing at Mac for not pampering her mare properly when a messenger arrived from the king. She read the message, smiled, and called for you.”
“Oh,” Evelinde breathed faintly, but then forced her shoulders straight, raised her head and pushed through the door. It was the only thing she could do . . . That and pray some day, she would be free of her stepmother’s control and abuses.
“Ah, Evelinde!” Edda was indeed smiling--a very wide, beaming smile that really didn’t bode well.
“I was told you wished to speak with me?” Evelinde said quietly, aware of Mildrede hovering at her back. The woman always offered her support during Edda’s little attacks. It was all she or anyone could do.
“Aye.” Edda continued to flash a wide toothy smile, although toothless would have been as good a description. The woman was missing half her teeth and those remaining were brown and crooked. Edda rarely smiled, and certainly never widely enough to show off the state of her mouth. Her doing so now made Evelinde’s anxiety increase tenfold.
“Since your father’s death, seeing to your welfare has fallen to me, and I have been most concerned about your future and well-being, my dear,” Edda began.
Evelinde managed not to sneer at the claim of concern. Her father, James d’Aumesbery, had been a good man and a faithful Baron to their king. When Henry III had requested he marry the troublesome Edda and remove her from court where she was making a nuisance of herself pestering him to see her wed, her father had bowed to the chore gracefully. Edda had not. She’d resented being tied to a man who held only a Barony and had seemed to take an instant dislike for Evelinde on reaching d’Aumesbery.
It hadn’t been so bad at first. With Evelinde’s father and her brother, Alexander, around Edda had at least behaved cordially to her. However, Alexander had ridden off to join the crusades with Prince Edward three years earlier and while the Prince had since returned and been crowned King on his father’s death, Alexander was still in Tunis. Worse yet, no sooner had he left than her father died of a chest complaint.
James d’Aumesbery hadn’t even been placed in the family crypt before Edda dropped any pretense at civility and let her true feelings show. These last three years had been a hell Evelinde feared she would never escape. Her only hope was to await her brother’s homecoming so that he might see her married and settled far away from the woman. Unfortunately, Alexander seemed in no rush to return.
“I have decided tis well past time you married,” Edda announced, “and the king agrees with me.”
“She means the king decided you should marry and she was forced to agree,” Mildrede muttered behind her, low enough Edda couldn’t hear. “You don’t think she’d willingly give up tormenting you. It’s her favorite pass-time.”
Evelinde barely heard her maid, she was too busy trying to absorb what Edda was saying. Part of her feared it was simply a cruel attempt on Edda’s part to get her hopes up and then dash them.
“And so I chose a husband for you and the king negotiated a marriage contract,” Edda announced grandly. “I have just received a message that tis all done. You will be married.”
Evelinde simply waited, knowing there was more. Edda would now either explain it was all a jest, or name some perfectly horrid, smelly old Lord that Evelinde would surely be miserable with.
“Your betrothed is on his way here from his home even as we speak. He is the laird of Donnachaidh,” she announced triumphantly, pronouncing it Don-o-kay.
Evelinde gasped. This was worse than a smelly old lord, this was—“The Devil of Donnachaidh?”
Edda’s expression was full of evil glee. “Aye, and I wish you all the unhappiness in the world.”
“Bitch,” Mildrede hissed furiously from behind her.