Michelle Willingham At The Riskies!

Riskies: Welcome back, Michelle! Tell us about Taming Her Irish Warrior!

Taming Her Irish Warrior is the fourth book in my MacEgan Brothers series. It tells the story of Ewan MacEgan, the youngest brother. Readers might remember him as an awkward teenager in my earlier books, but he has definitely grown up as one of my favorite heroes . . . not to mention how strong he is now! I gave him a heroine ( Honora St. Leger) who is an incredible swordfighter herself, and that caused some fun tension.

Riskies: You also have an Undone, The Warrior’s Forbidden Virgin! What is it about? How does it fit into Taming Her Irish Warrior?

When I was writing Taming, I was asked to do a connecting story for Undone!. “The Warrior’s Forbidden Virgin” shows a lot of the off-scene moments from Taming. It tells the story of the secondary characters, Lady Katherine and Sir Ademar. Don’t worry though—both stand on their own, and you don’t have to read one to understand the other. Still, it gave me the chance to write a bigger book, and try some new things. The character of Sir Ademar is a virgin hero, which I’d never done before. He’s the strong, silent type who has trouble speaking to women, and I absolutely adored writing him. I only wish I could have put the two stories together to do a full-length medieval book!

Riskies: How do these stories fit with your series?

Taming Her Irish Warrior is the second-to-last story of the MacEgan Brothers series. I’m currently working on Trahern MacEgan’s book now, which should be released next fall. “The Warrior’s Forbidden Virgin” is loosely connected to the MacEgans—the heroine Lady Katherine was spurned by Ewan MacEgan, and she’s not too pleased about it!

Riskies: Tell us about the gorgeous tattoo on the cover! Is it in the book?

Ewan ended up with a tattoo as well, but not in the way I expected! I wrote the book, completed revisions and copyedits, and then suddenly the cover art arrived, and the artist had put a tattoo on his upper left arm.

My first reaction was–but, but, Ewan doesn’t have a tattoo! I turned to the history books and found that Celtic tattoos were definitely a part of Irish culture, and many were a mark of honor among warriors. I sent a quick note to my editor, asking if I could add the tattoo to the hero’s physical description. We raced against the printing press, and I’ll let readers discover whether the tattoo description actually made it into the book. J In fact, I’m holding a contest with that very question next month for newsletter subscribers, and the prize is an Amazon gift certificate. Readers who’d like to join can sign up with their e-mail address on my website: www.michellewillingham.com .

Riskies: What’s next for you?

Quite a lot, actually! I’ve written a free online daily read at eHarlequin, starting November 9th. Voyage of an Irish Warrior is tied into my MacEgan Brothers series and features a few cameo characters from Taming Her Irish Warrior and Her Warrior King.

I also have a short story in The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance called “A Wish to Build a Dream On,” available in the UK on October 29th and in December for the U.S.

Then in January, I have a Victorian trilogy coming out. “An Accidental Seduction” is another Harlequin Historical Undone! short story, and this time, it’s a direct prequel (with the same hero and heroine) for my February U.S. book The Accidental Countess (It releases next month in the UK in hardback library edition, and January in UK paperback). The Accidental Countess is basically Cinderella meets “The Bourne Identity” where the hero has no memory of marrying her.

In March, The Accidental Princess is a secret royalty story, inspired by The Prince and the Pauper. Two men look exactly alike—but who is the prince and who is the illegitimate son?

Riskies: What are the challenges of moving between medieval Ireland and the Victorian period?

I found that the cultural aspects changed the pacing. Since the medieval time period is so raw and primitive, the characters can be very sensual earlier in the story. The Victorian time period is at the other end of the spectrum, and sensuality has to be extremely subtle. For the hero to touch any part of the heroine with an ungloved hand invites quite a scandal! Still, I enjoyed the challenge, and my Victorians tend to have more of a murder-mystery feel to them. The heroine in The Accidental Countess loves to cook, and I enjoyed exploring Victorian historical recipes, as well.

Today, I’m offering up two prizes for two lucky commenters—a free download of “The Warrior’s Forbidden Virgin” and a signed copy of Taming Her Irish Warrior. Just tell me–do you like connected novels and short stories with the same characters? Or would you rather have them all part of one larger book?

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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34 Responses to Michelle Willingham At The Riskies!

  1. Elle J Rossi says:

    Good morning!

    I actually love connected novels. It’s great to get o know certain characters and then see them again and again over several books. Usually in the first book you’ll always find at least one or two characters you’re hoping will be featured in their own story!


  2. Amy Kathryn says:

    I do sometimes prefer connected books or an additional short story either on its own or in an anthology rather that one big book. That way I can start and finish a story with with some favorite characters or by a favorite author when I only have a limited time to do some reading.

    Then again, when I have a long weekend nothing beats a great big doorstop of a book!

  3. I love connected stories and books. 🙂

  4. jcp says:

    I prefer books to anthogies-tend not to buythose anymore just for 1 100 page story. I wish the publishers would list the whole series on the front inside cover so the reader knows all the titles in order.

  5. kimmyl says:

    I love connected books and series.

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    Welcome back, Michelle! What a busy little bee you’ve been! So many exciting books and stories.

    jcp, the reason they don’t list the titles of the whole seried is that with the first one, they might not know the titles for the second one or third one. My Dec book is one of three and I don’t have titles for the other two.

    And about anthologies–I’m just saying–The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, featuring my novella, Amanda’s and Deb Marlowe’s, is like one whole book because we connected the stories.

  7. Michelle, I have really enjoyed this Irish warrior series and I am looking forward to your Victorians!!

    I thoroughly enjoy connected novels and I don’t mind seeing characters in novellas as long as I know when they are coming out so I can snatch them up. If I like a series I tend to want every piece of it on my shelf. Characters I love can show up over and over again and as long as they are well-written and an integral part of the story I am a big fan.

  8. I do enjoy connected novels and short stories, but only if I’m in love at first read from the beginning. If not, then I pass them up. If so, then I salivate for more to come.

  9. Personally, I love connected books and characters, particularly when I see the same family members. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton family, for example, and Eloisa James’s Duchesses…love those!

  10. Amy–with anthologies, I love it when the characters interact (like the Diamonds anthology) or when there are scenes that you see from different characters’ viewpoints.

    One really huge challenge I had with The Warrior’s Forbidden Virgin was the ending. I had a huge climactic moment where both characters were there…but I couldn’t give away what was happening to Ewan MacEgan and Honora, or it would ruin the book for those who hadn’t read it yet. So it was a matter of choosing VERY carefully which parts of the scene I wanted to reveal. It was tough!

    JCP–I will often buy an anthology for a lead author that I know, and sometimes I find some fabulous new-to-me authors.

    I’ve also bought some of the short e-book stories from eHarlequin, especially when they drop the price. Paying $1-2.00 for entertainment isn’t too bad at all. I think the Undones are listed at $0.99 on Kindle.

  11. Louisa–thank you so much! I hope you enjoy Ewan’s book. 🙂

  12. QuinnT says:

    I’m a big fan of connected stories. An advantage they have over a big book is that you get the pieces of the story sooner, and each time a new piece comes out it’s exciting.

    That being said, I’m debating turning 2 connected stories into a big book to expand the marketing possibilities. There aren’t many publishers that want short category length.

    I’ll be watching which way you go!

  13. I LOVE connected novels. I hate leaving characters behind never to be seen again. LOL yes, I do get attached to them easily.

    Great interview.

  14. I like connected novels when I find the characters fascinating on reading the first in a series (Michelle, like you I also enjoyed Eloisa James’s Duchesses). If I’m not keen on the characters, then I usually don’t bother.

    I’m looking forward to discovering the latest MacEgan adventures.


  15. Virginia says:

    I like them either way! If its one big book you can finish a story and then start a new one later. I do love connected novels so you can continue on with the characters, so either way works for me.

  16. What I especially love is when I discover a new author and I can glom onto her backlist. I think I tried an earlier Eloisa James and put it down for whatever reason…I started the Duchess series in mid-stream and completely adored the character of Villiers. I’ve read almost all of the books now and just finished Lisa Kleypas’s latest (Tempt Me at Twilight). (happy sigh) Did any of you read it? I just about died when I read the last line of the epilogue! I want Leo’s book now-now-now… 🙂

  17. What are some of your favorite connected books and series?

  18. Diane Gaston says:

    I think the Undones are listed at $0.99 on Kindle.

    Not quite, Michelle. The Undones are sold for $2.39 on the Kindle, which isn’t bad!

    (I love my Kindle)

  19. danie88 says:

    Hi Michelle!

    I actually have to say that I really do like connected novels, i love seeing the characters show up again and again in the books.

  20. Hetal says:

    I happen to love connected novels. It’s a perfect balance between meeting new characters while not having to give up a hero and heroine I’m attached to.

  21. Diane–I think the Undones that have been out a while are listed at $0.99 on Kindle, maybe? My Viking’s Forbidden Love-Slave is listed at that price right now: http://bit.ly/Wzo37 .

  22. Diane Gaston says:

    Michelle, I think those $.99 Undones were the originals that Harlequin offered at that price. I remember they had that price to entice people to give them a try. My later Undone is at the $2.39 price.

  23. Aha, that explains it. 🙂 Either way, it’s a great deal!

  24. I do love connected stories, both as a reader and a writer. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of characters I like. 🙂

    I just bought the new Kleypas, it’s a reward read for when I finish my deadline. Maybe I need to just take a little peek now…

  25. Portia says:

    I enjoy connected stories. Some characters are just too good to let go after one story.


  26. Jane Austen says:

    I like it when characters are intertwined in several books. Lots of times there are secondary characters that I would like to know more about. I do, however, like it when the reader knows there are other books in the series. I hate reading things out of order.

    I’m intrigued by your Victorian that is coming out. I am attracted to the Victorian era.

  27. Lynz Pickles says:


    *cough* Sorry, I just really adore virgin heroes. They’re so much fun 🙂

    I love connected books. It’s so nice to be able to revisit characters I loved, and to get to learn more about characters who made me curious. But when revisiting old characters, it’s really important to me that they don’t seem to have changed. I hate it when I get to read about a couple from another book, only to discover that they seem totally different.

  28. Cara Elliott/Andrea Pickens says:

    Great interview, Michelle! Glad to see you here.

    I’m a big fan of connected books—I love seeing interesting secondary characters get their own books, and while many “stand alone” as stories, the backstory is nice to have a a frame of reference.

    Can’t wait to see your Victorian books! I’m a big fan of that era as well as the regency.

  29. Lynz Pickles–you know what’s funny is that I didn’t realize he was a virgin until I started his story…and it just fit him too well.

    Cara and Jane–I loved writing the Victorians. It was a nice change of pace and a good way to stretch myself. 🙂

  30. Diana W. says:

    I love connected novels because they give me something to look forward to. I love the anticipation that comes with waiting to buy a book I have been waiting for. In my opinion, that makes reading it more fun. I currently read more series than I can count, and I’m always looking for the next one. I absolutly love this series because it has two things I love, Ireland and swords. The stories are great and as I learn more about the other characters in one story, I want to read more. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to.

  31. chey says:

    I enjoy connected novels. Instead of being sad that a story is over, I can look forward to the next in a series.

  32. CrystalGB says:

    I love connected stories. You get revisit characters you like and secondary characters get their own story.

  33. Carol L. says:

    I love connected stories. It’s such a good feeling hooking back up with familiar characters as you read. It’s like you’re part of this big family. I love books but connected is better. 🙂 Can’t wait to read about your Warriors and Victorians.
    Carol L.

  34. Diana W.–I really love doing the research, as well as writing the books. Ireland is such a fascinating country to me.

    Chey and CrystalGB–me, too!

    Thanks, Carol. I hope you enjoy them!

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