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Tag Archives: Michelle Willingham

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: .

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?

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Regencies aren’t the only way Historical Romance can be Risky, which is why we invited Michelle Willingham to be our guest today! Michelle took a risk and set her books in Medieval Ireland! And her first book, HER IRISH WARRIOR, was scooped up by Harlequin Historical and released this past May.

Michelle graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and earned a graduate degree in middle-school education. Michelle actually enjoys teaching hormonally charged sixth graders who ask her fascinating questions such as, “Your hair looks weird. Did you dye it?”

Critical acclaim for Michelle’s debut book and first book in the MacEgan Brothers series!

“…In romantic fiction, a happy ending is expected, and it’s delivered in this excellent, plot-driven, page-turner of a book.”
-4 Stars, Romantic Times Magazine

“Historical romance at its best, Her Irish Warrior will please any reader who is lucky enough to purchase it.”
-5 Stars, Cataromance

1) First things first–tell us about your new book!

THE WARRIOR’S TOUCH is the second book in the MacEgan Brothers series. It’s the story of an Irish warrior, left for dead, who is healed by a woman from his past. The story involves both physical healing, because Connor’s hands are crushed, and emotional healing from a broken relationship. The heroine Aileen has to feed, dress, and bathe the hero, which made for some very sexy scenes! It was inspired by the Beltane ritual described in the book THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Ireland has such rich, evocative traditions, that I thought it would be wonderful to play upon the story of a man and a woman who become lovers on a mystical night of secrets. The hero Connor MacEgan does not know the identity of the heroine when they first share that night together…and it has quite a few consequences for them, years later when the story opens.

2) You’ve created a unique niche for yourself with the Irish medieval settings. What was your inspiration? What is it about the time and setting that makes you set your books in it?

I first visited Ireland in the summer of 1993 and felt an instant connection with the country. After visiting countless castles and ruins, I couldn’t understand why I had not seen many romances set in medieval Ireland. Scottish medievals are always popular, so I thought I would try to build my own world with Irish medievals. And there’s something very appealing about sexy, Celtic men who would lay down their lives for the women they love. I visited the country again in the summer of 2006, one month before I sold my first book in the MacEgan Brothers series, HER IRISH WARRIOR. By visiting12th century castles and traipsing around the countryside with an archaeologist who showed me ringfort ruins, I was able to add more texture and detail into the books.

3) What are some of your favorite research sources? Have you discovered anything unexpected in your travels and reading?

My “bible” was a two-volume set called A SOCIAL HISTORY OF ANCIENT IRELAND by P.W. Joyce. It provided a lot of the daily life information that I needed. I’m also a member of a listserve called Early Medieval Ireland, through yahoogroups. They are comprised of Irish scholars, authors, researchers, and archaeologists. It was through this group that I met an archaeologist who was willing to take me around to some of the sites when I visited Ireland. As for anything “unexpected,” I was surprised at how much freedom native-born Irish women had in the medieval age. They could marry and divorce at will, keeping any possessions they brought into the marriage. The most surprising fact was that the Catholic church was not yet under Vatican control in the 12th century which meant priests could marry and have children!

4) Tell us what’s “risky” or different from the norm about this book! (You might have noticed we’re all about “riskiness” here, LOL)

I think what makes THE WARRIOR’S TOUCH unique is that it’s a medieval book that doesn’t take place in a castle. It’s an intimate story of a warrior and a healer, and most of it is set in the privacy of her home within the ringfort. Because of his injuries, the hero must rely completely on the heroine in the beginning of the story. He’s incredibly frustrated at having his warrior skills taken away, and while he’s trying to train and rebuild his former strengths, they fall in love.

5) Tell us what’s next for you! Any booksignings or appearances coming up?

I am doing a series of booksignings in the Tidewater, Virginia area. The first is Sunday, September 2nd from 1:00-3:00 at the Newport News Borders. Then I’ll be joining a group signing in Williamsburg at the College of William and Mary Bookstore on September 15, also from 1:00-3:00. The last signing is September 29th from 2:00-4:00 at the Newport News, VA Barnes and Noble. After that, I’ll likely collapse into a heap!

In addition, the third book in the MacEgan Brothers series, HER WARRIOR KING, is the story of Connor’s brother Patrick and that will be released in January 2008. Right now, I’m working on another Irish medieval for Harlequin Mills and Boon, tentatively titled SLAVE TO HER DESIRES. It’s about a warrior sold into slavery who earns back his freedom through woodcarving.

Also, I’d like to give away a signed copy of THE WARRIOR’S TOUCH to one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is post a comment below and tell me what you enjoy most in a historical romance! I’ll draw a name tomorrow and notify the winner via e-mail. Thanks so much for having me and feel free to drop by my website:!

(Michelle joined Amanda and Diane in Colonial Williamsburg this August for dinner at the historic King’s Arms Tavern)

The fun continues in Williamsburg, Virginia! On Friday Amanda and I took a break from sightseeing and went shopping. Book Shopping, especially at the William and Mary Bookstore where I’ll be joining other authors (including Harlequin Historical author Michelle Willingham, whom we met for dinner on Thurs) for a Romance booksigning on Sept 15.

On Saturday we met our friend and fellow Harlequin Historical author Deb Marlowe (Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss, Nov 2007 in the UK, Feb 2008 in North America-her debut book!) for a day of sightseeing and working. Amanda, Deb, and I are going to do a Regency Anthology to come out in 2009 (so start saving your pence now!). The photo is of us at the Kings Arms for Sunday lunch, the same restaurant where we ate with Michelle Willingham (The Warriors Touch, Sept 2007) .

At Williamsburg there are reenactments all day long starting with the Governor arriving in a carriage at the Capitol where he addresses the people after word arrived about the Boston Tea Party, and dissolves the House of Burgesses. Well, what was the man to do? These pesky Colonials and their addlebrained ideas of Independence. It was enough to make George III go mad….well, maybe that wasn’t what made him go mad…

Anyway, we had a terrific time working our way from exhibit to exhibit and gift shop to gift shop all the way to the other end of the Historic area. One of the exhibits was the Print Shop, where we watched the Reenactor run the press and I learned things I need for the book I just turned in. I’ll add them during Revision time. We also visited the Milliner who was making stays and the Apothecary, the Silversmith, the Blacksmith. We even worked a little.

Sunday Amanda and I returned to Jamestown, this time to the actual site. We could not see much of the archaeological work that is ongoing because it was all covered over in case of rain, but we toured the museum and walked where John Smith walked all those years ago. Then we met Deb for lunch and then…..we had to drive home. I’ll take Amanda to the airport today.

It was a very excellent adventure, indeed!

What were you all doing while we were in Williamsburg??

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