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?