Thanks so much Amanda for taking the time to answers these questions and for being with us today as we celebrate your debut novel.
Terra ~ You have quite a few misunderstandings between Padyn and Aila in this book. Do you think that the majority of newlyweds also suffer from misunderstandings that can sometimes get in the way of the truth?
Amanda ~ Thanks for inviting me to chat with you! The alternate title to the book was, “The Importance of Communication in a Marriage to Avoid Gross Misunderstandings and all Manner of Ill Effects” but we decided on The Highlander’s Sword instead. [grins] I do believe in the importance of communication in a marriage. Unfortunately, Padyn and Aila enter into the marriage both woefully ill-equipped for creating a relationship and inclined to distrust each other. The process of communicating and trusting is part of their journey throughout the book.
Terra ~ Your hero Padyn is strong, stubborn and a very compassionate man so why pair him up with a heroine who is destined for the Nunnery and a marriage to the Church?
Amanda ~ Some of my greatest blessings have come when my expected life path took a sudden and unexpected turn. For Aila, part of her growth through the book is to look beyond what she has been told she wants her whole life to find who she really is, and what would make her truly happy in her life.
Terra ~ Of all your characters in the book who would you consider to be your favorite and why?
Amanda ~ I do love all my character children and I learn a lot from them as they face their challenges. The one character who was the most fun to write was Chaumont, a smart-mouthed French knight who helped to keep my hero from taking himself too seriously.
Terra ~ With this being your debut book, how nervous are you about finally seeing your work in print at any given bookstore you might enter?
Amanda ~ Very! On one hand it’s wonderful to see my book in print, but much like giving birth to a child, it soon takes on a life of its own.
Terra ~ Aila’s mother seems the shrew of Scotland with her vile temper. What scenario would you say caused her to turn this way from a husband she must have at one time dearly loved?
Amanda ~ Ah, the dangers of pride. Aila’s mother was quite the beauty in her youth, and well she knows that it was her physical appearance that caused Laird Graham to marry her. When her appearance begins to be marred by arthritis that twists her hands into knobby claws, she retreats into her tower and sinks into bitterness, rather than face what she is sure to be the rejection of her husband.
Terra ~ What was your inspiration behind The Highlander’s Sword and did you have to do a lot of research to get your background historically correct? Have you visited Scotland and received some of your inspiration from being physically present in a place of such history and beauty?
Amanda ~ I have always loved history and have visited England, though never made it up to Scotland. I would so much love to visit someday! Until then I enjoy doing the research on medieval Scotland. The internet is now such an incredible resource, but I also seek out actual paper books (remember those antiquated things?). I particularly enjoy getting a feel for the medieval period by reading some of the writings of the times.
Terra ~ What’s next? Do you have a possible sequel in store for The Highlander’s Sword or are you working on a different subject and what are your long term plans at this point of the game?
Amanda ~ I am working on another Scottish medieval set about eight years later. Some of the same characters will be there along with some new ones, including an impetuous English countess! I hope to be able to continue writing historical novels. For the moment I’m happy hanging out in medieval Scotland, though someday I might like to take a trip to Regency England.
Terra ~ I know with Sourcebooks that the publisher has the say about the cover art. Is this how you envisioned the cover of the book or did you have some other hopes or ideas about how it should look. Personally, I think the cover is beyond Yummy!
Amanda ~ I confess… I was nervous about the cover. What would I do if I hated it? When I got the cover art from my publisher I chickened out and had my husband look at it first! When I finally got up the courage to look I was honestly quite relieved and very happy. I think it sets just the right tone for the book. I shouldn’t have worried though, I think Sourcebooks does a great job with their covers!
Terra ~ You’re at a book signing and you are asked to persuade the group waiting in line that this is a must read book, how would you answer the question and make the crowd absolutely want this book with a passion?
Amanda ~ If you are looking for a Scottish medieval romance that is fast-paced, has lots of action, with a little mystery and a bit of humor, try THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD. Of course, being inherently shy I’m not sure I would actually have to courage to say that in front a group of people. This is why I’m a writer, my friends!
Terra ~ Can you give us a wee look at Amanda Forester the person and compare her to Amanda Forester the author? What are your differences between the two persona’s?
Amanda ~ Amanda Forester the person is much like a Hobbit, I always do what is expected and I never have any adventures (though I don’t have hairy feet – thank goodness!). Amanda Forester the author is willing to take risks, share stories, and go on the incredible journey of getting a book published!
THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD BY AMANDA FORESTER—IN STORES MARCH 2010
A quiet, flame-haired beauty with secrets of her own...
Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent, until her brother's death leaves her an heiress. Soon she is caught between hastily arranged marriage with a Highland warrior, the Abbot's insistence that she take her vows, the Scottish Laird who kidnaps her, and the traitor from within who betrays them all.
She's nothing he expected and everything he really needs...
Padyn MacLaren, a battled-hardened knight, returns home to the Highlands after years of fighting the English in France. MacLaren bears the physical scars of battle, but it is the deeper wounds of betrayal that have rocked his faith. Arriving with only a band of war-weary knights, MacLaren finds his land pillaged and his clan scattered. Determined to restore his clan, he sees Aila's fortune as the answer to his problems...but maybe it's the woman herself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was way more fun. She lives in the Pacific Northwest outside Tacoma, Washington with her husband, two energetic children, and one lazy dog. You can visit her at www.amandaforester.com.
Contest Time: Sourcebooks is graciously sponsoring a giveaway of 2 copies of The Highlander's Sword. 2 winners, US and Canada only! Winner's will be chosen at the end of the week.