Today it is our great pleasure to invite you to sit down and have a visit with the great author Sue-Ellen Welfonder! Please join us as we welcome her to the blog…..
First, thank you so much to WendyK and April for inviting me to My Book Addiction and More. I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the release of Sins of a Highland Devil, (GCP ~ Jan. 2011) book one in my new Highland Warriors trilogy.
MBA: Why did you decide to use the Highlanders as your characters?
SE – Nothing inspires me more than Scotland and Highlanders. I have no interest to write any other setting or people. Being of Scottish descent and having visited Scotland all my life, I feel a real affinity to the land. I appreciate the history and culture, the strength, honor, and pride that defines Highland Scots, the magnificent sea-and-landscapes, all the myth, legends, and lore. So many things.
The saying goes, ‘write what you know,’ and I think it should be ‘write what you love.’ Just now demons, vamps, were-anything, and all other variations of urban fantasy are burning up bestseller lists. Dark and edgy rules, as does a heavy dose of strong language. Erotica is also riding high. A few years ago it was chic lit. Romantic suspense with lots of serial killers and super-cops, or Navy Seals and Special Ops have also done well in recent years. Cowboys and Millionaires are ever popular in the category market, always finding an appreciative audience.
Yet any of the above surefire bestseller-makers will only succeed if the writer is truly passionate about her subject matter. Any writer can research anything and gain enough knowledge to write a competent story. But if her heart doesn’t pound faster to write about Jane Austen and zombies, that lack of enthusiasm will show on the page. The words will be mere ink, the characters flat and uninteresting.
Only when you write something you are genuinely passionate about, will you be able to breathe life into the story.
So it’s Scotland or nothing for me.
MBA: If you could travel back in time what would you change and why?
SE – That’s easy. I’d arrange for myself to have been born on the right side of the Big Pond. More specifically, in Scotland.
MBA: How do you choose your characters names,why and what is important in choosing them?
SE – Names have to ‘feel’ right. It’s incredibly important. They must also be appropriate to era and place. So I’ll spend a quiet evening with a yellow pad and a pen and scour a stack of appropriate research books. I make a shortlist of names-of-the-times that appeal to me and choose by gut feeling. If I can’t decide, I ask my agent for her opinion, without telling her my favorite. We always seem to prefer the same name, so I then feel doubly sure.
One difficult thing about naming Scottish medieval characters is that there were so many recurring ‘same names.’ John, David, Robert, William, Alexander, etc… Or Margaret, Janet, Euphemia, for women. I choose to create purely fictional characters as main characters rather than real historical personages as heroes and heroines, so I have a bit more leeway in choosing names. But it can be a challenge.
Another consideration is that so many Celtic or Pictish names are so difficult to pronounce, so I avoid them entirely.
Sometimes a character will tell me his or her name in a dream. That’s magic and it does happen that way every now and then.
MBA: How hard is it to create a series?
SE – Not hard at all. Highland Warriors is my first trilogy to marketed as such, and I’m thrilled about that. But I’ve actually been writing ‘series’ ever since my debut title, Devil In A Kilt released over ten years ago. All my Mackenzie books are connected. I also wrote three connected MacLean books. And my Allie Mackay titles (Scottish-set contemporary paranormals) are also loosely connected through characters and settings.
I enjoy writing connected books and hear from many readers who appreciate revisiting beloved characters and locations in each subsequent book.
MBA: How do you see the future of your series?
SE – I plan to expand on Highland Warriors just as I did with my Mackenzies. Each story brings new characters and events that can lead into new books. I don’t want to give spoilers for Highland Warriors, but I already have spin-off series planned for these three clans and the Glen of Many Legends.
I will also return to Kintail and my Mackenzies one of these days, most likely with a series about Sir M’s four children who were only mentioned fleetingly in the books.
MBA: How do you know who will be the bad/villian and does your main characters start out from the beginning or later?
SE – I know this from the start. My story ideas come to me complete. It’s a mysterious and magical process and I couldn’t begin to explain how it works. It just does. When the idea appears in my imagination, it’s all there: hero and heroine, the villain, everything that happens to everyone, and even the first and last line.
It’s sort of like a roadmap. Sometimes when writing, a detour will pop up out of nowhere, or an unexpected character. That, too, is pure magic because such detours and surprise characters often prove to be exactly right for the place in the story where they suddenly appear. But the main direction and substance of the story remains the same, just as it originally came to me.
Thank you so much for inviting me today. Readers interested in learning more about my books can visit me at: http://www.welfonder.com/
*Now for the Giveaway information*
THANKS TO THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE AT HACHETTE BOOK GROUP AND ANNA WE ARE OFFERING 3 COPIES OF SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL :
Only residents of the U.S. or Canada are eligible to win
-No P.O. Boxes, please.
-Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, tyou will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.
Giveaway copies will be sent directly to winners!
YOU MUST: leave a comment on the feature and review of Sins of A Highland Devil and tell us one reason why you think you would enjoy this book! GOOD LUCK TO ALL!
This giveaway will run from today 1/13 thru 1/20.
An added note on this post ONLY. For comments on this post only! I am personally offering an e-version or print version of SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL to anyone. This means that I will be buying a copy to send to 1 (one) winner and this portion ONLY is open to EVERYONE. Meaning those in Scotland where Sue-Ellen and I love, can enter for a chance to win. All I ask is that you enjoy the book and share Sue-Ellen’s great writing with others. So those across the pond please enter, comment and in general find the pleasure that comes from meeting Sue-Ellen’s Highlanders.
Hey Wendy and Sue-Ellen.
It’s me again Margaret-LOL- no really it’s funny that I’m seeing you where I hang out. Please don’t enter me in the drawing as I already own an ARC thanks to Sue-Ellen. I just had to pop on and tell everyone her books are wonderful I have read them all and Sue-Ellen is an autobuy for me. I love the Mackenzie’s and the MacLeans and the books under Allie Mackay are devilishy fun. I’m glad to hear that you may go back to the Mackenzie’s and Sir M’s kids I love him, any chance you will visit the MacLeans??? I don’t want to give any spoilers but I really canna wait for the next two books in this series I know they are going to be wonderful.
Great interview. I have enjoyed other books by Sue-Ellen and would love to read this one.
Wilma Frana said:
I’ve always enjoyed stories about Scotland. This one sounds like it is a great book.
Alice Whyland said:
I think it’s amazing that your story ideas come to you complete. What a fascinating mind you have Sue-Ellen! Love all your books! Thank you for taking us all to Scotland with you!
I think you’re so right about an author being passionate about her work. What really makes a book special for me is the characters. You can tell when a writer puts that “extra something” into characters she knows and loves and is excited about sharing with readers. Thanks for the column.
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
Hi Zina – Thanks so much for looking here. I adore WendyK – no, I love her – and was so pleased she invited me here today. Wendy and April asked some great questions, didn’t they?
And a thousand blessings on you for all your kind words about my books. The Allie Mackay titles, too. I really appreciate your enthusiasm. Thank you so much!
Margaret, h’mmm? Now I really am smiling. It is lovely name and very Scottish.
The MacLeans? I might someday revisit them, too. Wedding For A Knight remained my personal favorite book for many years.
And I’m delighted that you’d love to see more of my Mackenzies and Sir M.
Thanks again for all your good words!
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
Everyone – I am just out the door with my little dog. He’s all wriggly and making noise for a walk…
I’ll look in again later to say hello to everyone. For now, thanks so much for dropping by here. I really appreciate it.
WendyK and April – Thank you so much for having me here today. And for the lovely review!
I have always love stories set in Scotland and one featuring clans is always great. I love romance, mystery and HEA which most Scottish stories feature. I like the brave men and women of this era where their homes and lives are put in peril daily and they fight for what they believe in and their families and clans.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter this great giveaway.
Thanks for the interview Sue Ellen and sharing with us. Hope this book will only be the beginning of a great series to come.
Laura H. said:
I LOVE historical romance and my favorite setting is the Scottish Highlands. Nothing warms me up more on a cold winter night than the mental picture of a rugged Highlander in a kilt with his seductive burr and strong-yet-vulnerable persona! Well, maybe one thing! 🙂
I would enjoy reading this book to have a breath of fresh air from all the popular books I’ve been reading in urban fantasy, romantic suspenses and sci-fis. Once in awhile I need to clean my palate as they say. Stories set in Scotland seem to do that for me.
Enjoyed the blog today.
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
Hi Ladies – I’m back again. Thanks so much, all of you, for looking in here today. WendyK is one of my very favorite people and visiting her blog is always one of the special highlights of release months. I always know I’ll be warmly welcomed here.
I’ll say hello to each of you in a moment.
This is just so you know I’m here again….
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
Hi again, Ladies –
CrystalGB – Thank you for your good words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. They picked great questions, didn’t they? I hope you’ll enjoy Sins of a Highland Devil. I really love this one.
Wilma F – Bless you, too, for looking in here. I appreciate it. I know you love Scottish stories. I hope you’ll like this one, too.
Alice W – Yes, that’s how the stories come to me. Everything all there like a ribbon-wrapped package. As to how or why they come that way, I sure can’t say. Probably because I’ve always had such a vivid imagination. Toss in the inspiration of visitng Scotland and the stories just come. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful.
Thanks so much for your kind words.
LSUReader – Thanks so much for looking in. We’re on the same page, I see. It really is all about the passion. The writer has to feel it. If not, the characters and everything else will be flat.
I think that can apply to reading as well… readers surely enjoy books about people and settings they love much more than they’d enjoy the best-written title about characters or a storyworld they aren’t interested in. A book might be number one on NYTs, but if the characters and subject matter aren’t your personal cuppa, all the hype and huzzahs in the world won’t make the book resonate with you.
MissKallie2000 – Thank you, too, for looking in here. I can tell how much you love Scottish stories. You’ve painted a beautiful picture of why the land and people are so very endearing to so many.
Thank you for your good wishes about the series. I appreciate it.
Laura H – Thank you as well for stopping in. You, too, have painted such an appealing picture of Scotland and Scottish historicals. I love seeing readers so enthusiastic about this genre. Thanks so much.
JackieW – Bless you! I hope your visit to the Glen of Many Legends will indeed be an enjoyable break for you. Thanks so much for looking in here today. I really appreciate it.
Everyone Else – I believe – hope – I haven’t missed anyone? I’ll look in again later this evening so that I can say hello to anyone else who might drop in.
For now, thank you so much to WendyK and April for inviting me. I’ll see you all again in a while….
Love reading about Scotland and the Highlands, and have enjoyed all your books as they come out. Looking forward to reading ‘Sins of a Highland Devil.’ Also enjoy your website and the great pictures of Scotland… Good interview, I enjoyed it very much.
Enjoyed reading your comments today. Your book sounds really good. I have read a couple of your other books and liked the way you write. Would love to win this one.
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
Hi Ladies – I’m looking in here again. Just returning from walking my little dog. We saw a dolphin! That’s always such a joy. Anyway, I see a few more of you have looked in here. That’s great!
Hi Suzy – Thank you so much for stopping in, I really appreciate your good words about my books. I hope you’ll enjoy Sins of a Highland Devil, too.
And thanks so much for your good words about my websites. I’m so glad you like them. I’ve always enjoyed sharing photos from my Scotland travels. Wendy chose a really stunning one for this blog piece, didn’t she? The photo of the cliffs is Shetland and I took the picture from one of my all-time favorite picnic sites. Amazing scenery…
Hi Joye – Thank you, too, for looking in here. I appreciate it. Thanks for your kind words about my writing. I’m glad you like the sound of Sins of a Highland Devil and hope you’ll enjoy the book.
Wendy and Everyone Else – I will look in again later tonight so no one is missed. Thank you so much for inviting me here and also to everyone who took the time to come and say hello. I appreciate it.
Chelsea B. said:
Thanks for sharing the great interview! So looking forward to reading you newest, Sue-Ellen!
hi Sue-Ellen and everyone. thanks for being our guest. you know
I adore and love you and your writing!
everyone have a great night!
Barbara Elness said:
The reason I think I’d enjoy Sins of a Highland Devil is because I love stories set in Scotland, and about Highlanders as well. This sounds like a great new series, and I’m looking forward to reading it.
Sue-Ellen, I am so glad you write about the things you love. As you already know that is my love too: Scotland, a place that pulls your heart there and then your feet must follow. And for the sake of your bank account, I am happy that I and so many others love & buy your books. Keep them coming. Oh boy, another contest. I hope I am the lucky one as today is hubby’s birthday. I know that is what he wants for his gift. Helen in Ark.
P.S. the blog queen!!!
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
Hi again, Ladies!
I’m just looking in again before heading off to bed….
Chelsea B – I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. WendyK and April are responsible for that – they asked great questions. It’s always a pleasure to be here.
Thank you so much for looking in tonight. I appreciate it.
Barbara E – If you read Sins of a Highland Devil, I hope you’ll enjoy it. All my love and passion for Scotland goes into every page of my books. Thanks so much for looking in here.
Helen in Ark. – You are making me laugh tonight… blog queen, indeed. I am the hermit-ess with the mosted-ess. Just the opposite of a blog queen. I won’t be able to sleep tonight for giggling about this. I am such a quiet, keep-to-myself author.
But I will hope your good words about my sales hold true. I’d love to see this book and series do well.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your husband’s birthday brings you good luck in winning in these contests!
Thanks so much for looking in here and elsewhere today. You’ve brought me great smiles all day.
WendyK – thank you, as always, for having me here. It’s been lovely and I will look in again tomorrow so no one is missed. And April – thank you so much for the wonderful review! I am so glad you enjoyed the book so much,
Everyone else – thank you so much for stopping in here today. This is one of my favorite place to guest blog, so I am glad you looked in. Doing so made today extra-special for me.
Thank you so much!
Carol L. said:
I’m late to the party but I have to say first I enjoyed the interview very much. Sue Ellen is my Scottish Historian when it comes down to it. Her love of what she writes and Scotland carries right through to her readers. In the 10 years I’ve been reading her books as Sue Ellen and Allie I have loved all of her characters. They’re all strong and passionate and pull you right into their lives. Thanks Sue Ellen for all those stories.
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said:
I wanted to look in again so no one was missed and I’m so glad I did.
Hi Carol L. – Thank you so much for looking in. I appreciate it. WendyK had already told me the piece would be up for a few days, so I knew readers would still find it if they looked – so you weren’t really late.
Bless you for your kind words. I know you’ve been reading my books forever and always enjoy them. I’m so glad. Scottish Historian, h’mmm? Well… studying Scottish history, culture, and just everything about Scotland has been and is a lifelong passion for me. I was passionate about it all the years before I ever considered writing and it will remain my passion when I no longer write. So I dip into that knowledge-base when writing and hope to use what I’ve learned and love so much to breathe life into my stories. I don’t believe an author can make a storyworld read true unless she knows that world inside and out.
Thank you as well for mentioning my Allie Mackay titles. I am so glad you enjoy them. I really love those books – they are my fun books. The heroine is always me, reliving my Scotland adventures. Not many readers know I’m also Allie Mackay, I think.
Anyway – I hope you’ll enjoy Sins of a Highland Devil. I love this one very much. And I’m delighted you enjoyed the interview. They asked great questions.
Wendy – I’ll look in again this afternoon or evening so no one else is missed should anyone yet pop in.
Thanks again so much!
I have never been to Scotland but it looks like a gorgeous place to visit. I do enjoy Scottish historicals and this looks like an intense and exciting story that I would enjoy.
I commented on both the feature & review posts. I would enjoy this book because I love all things Scottish. I really became interested in Scotland & the culture when I started watching the TV show ‘The Highlander’ many years ago. In my mind, the star of the show, Adrian Paul, represents everything a Highlander should be.
Terri C. said:
Thanks for the inteview and giveaway. I want to read this simply because it sounds really good. I love historicals!
I also commented on the review.