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.