Welcome to Under the Covers! We are very excited about the release of WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT and can’t wait for everyone to read it.
Thanks so much for having me here!
The premise of this story is so unique! How did you come up with the idea for the letters and Captain Logan MacKenzie’s sudden appearance?
Well, this book is a play on the “Canadian boyfriend” (or girlfriend) trope. For anyone not from the USA, for awkward teenagers here who don’t have a boy/girlfriend but want to pretend they do, the cliched lie is to say you do have a boy/girlfriend…but they live in Canada. This explains why no one at your school has ever met them. So the heroine of this book, Maddie, is an awkward teen about to be pressed into London society–and instead of a Canadian boyfriend, she invents the Regency England equivalent: a Scottish sweetheart. By telling her family that she’s already engaged to a Highland officer gone off to war, she is able to avoid the Season. And to keep up the pretense, she invents a name and rank for her fictional Scottish sweetheart and sends him letters for years. What she doesn’t realize is that the name and rank she randomly pulled from the air actually belong to a real-life man–and every one of her letters is finding its way to him. When he comes home from war, Maddie gets the shock of her life!
Every one of your characters are so endearing but Madeline seems more so. What character trait(s) do you think is essential in every heroine?
If I’m going to write a heroine, I have to be able to relate to her. So I end up giving my heroines a lot of my own most awkward traits and humiliating experiences. In Maddie’s case, one of the traits we share is shyness. I’m not quite so reclusive as Maddie is–but at times, I can be close. A loud, crowded party full of strangers is my idea of misery–and I’ve had to flee more than one such scene in my life. Another trait that I suspect Maddie and I share with lots of women is an irrepressible romantic imagination. Despite her social inhibitions, Maddie imagines for herself a brave, handsome, devoted Highland officer. And she gets him!
You’ve written about Dukes and Marquess before but not a Scot quite like Logan. How was your experience in writing his character? Did you learn something new about a Highlanders way?
I’ve always wanted to write a Highland hero. From Julie Garwood’s lairds to Jamie Fraser, I’ve fallen for many a kilted warrior. I think we associate Highlander heroes with a fierce sense of loyalty and pride, and I definitely wanted to give Logan those traits. During the Regency, however, the Highlands were not a very happy place. Much of the farmland was being cleared by (often English) landlords to make way for sheep pasture, and the native Scots were forced to relocate–to the seaside, or even to America, Canada, Australia. Many of the Scottish soldiers who’d fought bravely in the Napoleonic wars came home to nothing. This is the situation several of Logan’s men have found themselves in, and Logan is determined to secure a home for his brothers in arms.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. (Do you like to share your first drafts? How many drafts will you typically go through before sending to editor, etc)
That’s a dangerous question! It’s a bit like asking to see how sausage is made. 🙂 My process is horrifically messy and lots of bits get written and cut, and the less said about it the better. I will say, however, that I absolutely rely on my editor through the whole process. She is a brilliant sounding board, and she usually sees multiple versions of every book!
What’s next for Tessa Dare?
I am excited to say that I’m returning to Spindle Cove for a while! I’ll have a Christmas novella out on December 8th that stars a new couple, but features many Spindle Cove favorites in supporting roles. And then my next full length book (releasing mid-2016) will be Charlotte Highwood’s story (Minerva and Diana’s younger sister). Readers have been asking for Charlotte’s story. I needed to wait a few years for her to grow up, but now I think we’re both ready. 😉
Released: August 25th 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Published by Avon
On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.
“Dinna worry. You’ll have a chance to make a good impression on Beltane.”
“The first of May. It’s a traditional Highland celebration, reaching back to the pagan times.”
“I’ve heard of it,” she said. “But I’m not sure why I’d be making an impression on that day.”
“I’ve invited them to the castle and asked the lasses to spread the word. We’ll extend the invitation to anyone living in the area.”
“You’re having a party, then?”
“It would be more accurate to say that you are having a party. The lady of the castle is the hostess, is she not?”
Maddie’s steps grew agitated, and she nearly stumbled over a rock. “The first of May is barely a fortnight from now. That isn’t enough time to prepare the castle. Or, for that matter, to prepare myself. I’ve never hosted anything.”
“These people need a connection to the traditional ways,” he said. “A celebration to look forward to. And they need to know that the land is in good hands. It’s important that they see us working together.”
“I just wish you’d asked me first.”
“I might have asked. But I was decided on inviting them no matter your answer.”
“Well. How very commanding of you.”
“I’m not accustomed to making decisions by committee, mo chridhe. For mild-mannered discussion, you should have posted your letters to some cleric from Hertfordshire. If you didna want a Highland officer, you shouldna have wished for one.”
Shouldna, couldna, wouldna.
“Silly me. I dreamed big.”
He gave her a sly grin. “And you got it.”