Seduced by Her Highland Warrior is the second book in my MacKinloch Brothers series. It features the clan’s chief, Alex MacKinloch, who is fighting to rebuild his clan’s fortress after they survive a battle with the English during the Scottish Wars of Independence. He’s estranged from his wife after they lost their infant son. In grieving, they grew apart and though they love each other, they’ve become virtual strangers. Laren found solace for her grief in making stained glass, and it’s a secret she’s kept from her husband. Alex tried to remain strong and focus his efforts on keeping the clan together, and he’s never faced the grief over losing their child. Together, they must work through the past to rebuild their childhood love.
The research was fascinating! I visited a glass studio in Damascus, Maryland, called Art of Fire (http://www.artoffire.com). Bruce taught me how hot the furnaces needed to be to melt the sand, ash, and lime together and how to blow glass (it took around eight hours for the fire to be hot enough). It meant that I had to create a secondary apprentice character to keep the fires tended for the heroine. I also used On Divers Arts, a medieval treatise written by Brother Theophilus, a monk who lived during that era and documented the procedures for making glass. The ash used in the sand and lime mixture was typically from a beechwood tree. Brother Theophilus describes that when melting the glass, it is first clear, then a flesh tone several hours later, and finally, a purple color hours after that. Oxidation helped achieve the colors, and they later discovered that minerals such as silver, iron, and manganese could be added to the raw materials to bring out the various tints.
My heroine, Laren MacKinloch, became their clan priest’s apprentice in secret, and when the priest died, she continued his craft with an apprentice of her own. In glassmaking, she finds her own worth. She also builds her own stained glass windows, from the colored glass she’s made.
What were some of the challenges of a story that starts in the middle of a broken relationship?
Since the hero and heroine were already married and had children together, some of their story is told in flashback sequences, so the reader can learn how their marriage broke apart after the death of their son. I wanted to write about characters who genuinely loved one another, but who had grown so far apart, they didn’t know how to rebuild what was lost. Laren’s shyness makes it hard for her to be the wife she thinks a clan chief needs—a “take-charge” heroine. She loves her husband but doesn’t know how to bridge the distance. Alex is frustrated because she’s kept secrets from him, but when a greater enemy threatens them, Laren’s glass holds the key to helping them all.
And what’s next for you???
I wanted to return to my Victorian series, to write the third book in the trilogy—The Accidental Prince. It’s set in my fictional kingdom of Lohenberg and it’s a Cinderella reversal, where Prince Charming loses his throne and has to live like a commoner while he tries to win the heart of his own princess. It releases in June of 2012. In the meantime, I’m currently finishing another Scottish medieval for the MacKinlochs. The hero of this book, Callum MacKinloch, lost the ability to speak while he was a prisoner of war, and it’s been quite a challenge to handle the “dialogue!”
I’d love to offer up a signed book or a Kindle copy of Seduced by Her Highland Warrior today. Have you ever worked with stained glass before? What’s a hobby you enjoy? Just tell me what you love to do in your spare time, and we’ll draw a winner from the comments.
About the author: Michelle Willingham is the author of over a dozen historical romance novels and novellas. Visit her website at: www.michellewillingham.com for more information about her books and excerpts or interact with her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/michellewillinghamfans .