Jane Austen

The Riskies Welcome Michelle Willingham!

Welcome back to Risky Regencies, Michelle! Tell us about your new book Seduced By her Highland Warrior…

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.

I love the idea of a heroine who works with stained glass–what was the research like for that?

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 .

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Janet Mullany
11 years ago

Michelle, I love Art of Fire’s work. They’re usually at the Maryland Ren Fest and seeing them do their stuff is a highlight of attending.

Congrats on the release.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Hi, Michelle!
How fascinating to use glass-making in your mediveal!
This sounds like another great book.

Danielle Gorman
11 years ago

My father in law really got into working with stained glass a few years. I think it’s beautiful but I could never do it.

Congrats on your new release. j

Danielle @Ramblings From This Chick

Johanna Jochum
Johanna Jochum
11 years ago

I love stained glass! I did some small peices in highschool. We have a a beautiful stained glass picture in our bathroom of foxgloves that we had specially made for us by a local artist.
I’m not very crafty but I do enjoy cross-stitching on occassion.


Dalila G.
11 years ago

Good morning Michelle!

First, I would like to say how much I enjoy reading your books! They’re wonderful reads…. when I can cozy up in my favorite chair, also helps if I’m left alone! LOL!!

A big ‘WOOHOO’ on your new release, wishing you the best!

I enjoy watching blown-glass being made. I remember being taken to a site for a field trip once, pretty amazing.

My favorite thing to do when I have free time is baking. I always try out new recipes for family and friends. You should see some of my ‘screw-ups’, they always partner-up with smoke! LOL!!
When bake goods come out right I feel lke a super-star!! Now if I can only find a magic recipe to keep the pounds off I’ll be in business! =)

Thank you for sharing today, have an awesome day!

Cathy P
11 years ago

Welcome, Michelle! Your new books sound awesome, and since I am a fan, I can hardly wait to read them.

I have never seen stained glass made, but it is so beautiful.

I like to read or cross stitch in my spare time.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

I have my own copy of Seduced by Her Highland Warrior waiting for me on the top of my TBR stack! Can’t wait to read it! Especially as it explores one of my favorite art forms – stained glass. I’ve always been fascinated by it and amazed at the beauty of some of the older examples found in early chapels and cathedrals.

When I have the time I quilt, candlewick (a colonial needlework) net darn and cross-stitch. I wish I had the time to do more, but I generally only get one piece done a year. I have almost as many containers of fabrics for quilts as I do ideas for books!

Barbara E.
11 years ago

I think stained glass is awesome, but I’ve never worked with it or even seen anyone work with it.
What I mostly do in my spare time is read, but I have made crochet items and done a bit of quilting here and there.

11 years ago

Congrats on your new release! I have never worked with stained glass, sound interesting though. My hobbies are reading and I do some quilting but its been a while since I pieced a quilt. Will have to get back into it soon.


Keira Soleore
11 years ago

I have to say again that Harlequin Historicals does great covers. And Michelle, your medieval heroes are the stuff of dreams.

Having known from Twitter and in-person how dedicated a writer you are, it’s great to read here about the books you produce.

I seem to have missed the first of your MacKinlochs. I thought you were doing only Victorians for a while. And as you know medievals are close to my heart. So now I have two MacKinlochs to look forward to.

Love the idea of a heroine with a vocation that is also pivotal to the story. Looking forward to reading it.

How do you find switching between the medieval and Victorian time periods every other book?

Keira Soleore
11 years ago

I have been to Dale Chihuly’s glass factory as well as the museum of glass to see them use the liquid glass to produce shapes and vases. It’s fascinating to see how quickly and precisely they have to work, because the liquid glass cools and hardens so fast.

In my spare time, I sing in choirs and take voice lessons.

11 years ago

Janet–I have a Christmas ornament made by Art of Fire, and it’s gorgeous. 😉
Diane–hi! Nice to see you! 🙂
Danielle–my father enjoyed stained glass, and he showed me his tools and a few techniques. It looks like a lot of fun.
Johanna–That really does sound beautiful. Fox gloves are gorgeous flowers, aren’t they? My mother enjoyed cross-stitch and needlepoint. I’ve done a little cross-stitching, but mostly I was left behind when the “craft” genes were passed out. 😀

11 years ago

Dalila–oh, thank you so much! I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the books! And like you, I adore baking. I used to invent my own cookie recipes. Some were disastrous because they were too sugary (e.g. brownie cookies with caramel and fudge!).
Cathy P–good to see you here! I love reading in my spare time as well. 🙂
Louisa–I hope you like the book! Like you, I’ve done some quilting. It’s addictive, isn’t it? I made a baby quilt for my daughter and she still sleeps with it, even though she’s now seven.

11 years ago

Barbara E.–I never could quite get my crochet stitches to come out even. I made a few pot holders, but wasn’t very good at it.
Virginia–I always liked the piece-work better than the actual quilting. It was fun to see how the colors came out when you put them together.
Hi Keira! It’s great to see you again. My first MacKinloch book was Claimed by the Highland Warrior, and it came out in May. As for switching between time periods, it’s something I love because it keeps me fresh. 🙂
I didn’t know that you sang. How wonderful!

11 years ago

Hi Michelle,
What a great interview, I am excited to read this book as you know I loved the 1st one. I have done stained glass in highschool. It was really amazing and I would love to have the room to do it again. Now for crafts I make candles and read. I do know how to knit and crocet but I am not that good at it.
Thanks for a great contest maybe I can win a mate for the 1st book I have signed by you =)

11 years ago

Hi Michelle. Great post. I have never worked with stained glass. I think it is beautiful. I like to garden.
I am a big fan of your books. Love the cover to your book.

11 years ago

Debbie–making candles sounds like fun! Do you make scented ones or just different colors? Knitting is something I’ve always wanted to learn, but I need a hands-on lesson. 🙂

11 years ago

Hi Michelle,
I have never worked with stained glass before and can’t imagine how they are made. I am going to google this right after I comment. I think it’s wonderful you gave the heroine such a unique trait and that she finds healing in doing so. I love to garden with my mom. We love watching the vegetables grow and then get a little sad when we eat them. I also like paper origami. I’m thinking of trying my hand at fruit origami?, turning fruits into wonderful art pieces.

11 years ago

I forgot to add, I would think stained glass making in the past is very different than the modern way. I’m glad you gave the heroine a challenge but at the same time introduced to me a whole new hobby.

11 years ago

I’ve never workded with stained glass, but my hubby and I took a glass blowing class last month and it was awesome!

11 years ago

Great post:)
I love to read and be with my kids in my spar time! I think working with glass would be kinda cool or at lest wacth someone do it.hehe i think i would burn myself or at lest hurt myself.
Thank you for the giveaway

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Keira, I’ve also visited the Museum of Glass and watched them working, so I am especially looking forward to reading this books 🙂

11 years ago

Like Keira, I love Dale Chihuly’s work. He once had a piece hanging in the lobby of a company I used to work for. I’ve never personally worked with glass though.

I vaguely recall a book in which the heroine works with stained glass. Hm….

ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

11 years ago

I definitely could not be trusted with stained glass. I briefly tried calligraphy but it was like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with ink. Now, I still to cooking and reading (though even cooking is sometimes dangerous :D)!

11 years ago

You are writing my favorite – medieval Highland romances. A couple of them are sitting on my TBR mountain at the moment. Must get to them soon.

I have several lovely pieces of stained glass work, one made by a friend, and love them. Have wanted to try it, but never gotten around to it. I like needlework – embroidery, needlepoint and sewing. My husband and son are woodworkers and blacksmiths. I have done some beadwork both as jewelry and as decoration on native american outfits.

This new book is on my Wish List. Best of luck with the release.

11 years ago

Na–I used to garden, but the squirrels kept getting into the food. There’s nothing better than home-grown tomatoes, though!

Diana–how fun! What did you get to make?

Loretta–being with kids is a wonderful hobby, isn’t it? And reading, too!

Kaetrin–too funny! I tried calligraphy as a child, but it was very time-consuming.

Librarypat–It takes a lot of skill to do beadwork. Glad you’re enjoying that and sewing!

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