It's my pleasure to welcome Rebecca Hagan Lee to TRD today. An award-winning author, Rebecca has received the Maggie Award from Georgia Romance Writers, various Romantic Times awards and has been a Romance Writers of America RITA® finalist. Her books have been published in nine languages and are currently being re-issued in English by Amber House Books.
You can find more information about Rebecca at her website and connect with her online at Facebook.
Please give Rebecca a warm welcome!
Thank you, PJ and Andrea for inviting me to talk about A HINT OF HEATHER, my latest release from Amber House Books.
Set in the highlands of Scotland in 1716, A HINT OF HEATHER is the story of one clan’s desperate struggle to survive the harsh British occupation following the first Jacobite rebellion. Or to use my publisher, Teresa Medeiros’s, tagline: “If a spirited Highland lass kidnaps an English earl, does she get to keep him?”
It’s the story of Lady Jessalyn MacInnes of Clan MacInnes and Neil Claremont, a major in His Majesty’s Royal Corps of Engineers. Jessalyn and Neil find themselves in an unlikely alliance when she becomes the new Laird of the Clan and her well-meaning clansmen decide to abduct a bridegroom for her—and not just any bridegroom, but an English earl and the grandson of “the King-maker”, the powerful Marquess of Chisenden.
Neil is Jessalyn’s wedding gift from the “Ancient Gentlemen of the Clan.”
When I think back on the writing of A HINT OF HEATHER, I realize that the idea of the story was a gift to me. I was sitting in a workshop on writing a bestseller at a Romance Writers of America conference when a scene popped into my head. Like watching a Technicolor movie, I saw a British major hanging upside down and tied across the back of a Highland pony being led by a group of Scottish Highlanders. Neil Claremont’s story had begun…
During a recent move, I came across the description I jotted down of that scene amid the notes of that RWA workshop while packing up my office. Like BRIGADOON and HIGHLANDER or BRAVEHEART and ROB ROY, or the Scottish Highlands, A HINT OF HEATHER was the story I had to tell in order to share my love of Scotland and all things Scottish. It was as magical and rare as the beautiful purple and white heather on the Scottish hillsides.
Unfortunately, the original publication of A HINT OF HEATHER never found its readership. But my friend, Teresa Medeiros, CEO of Amber House Books, thought A HINT OF HEATHER and I deserved a second chance.
You see, once upon I time, I dreamed that writing romance novels readers wanted to read was enough. But after writing and publishing fourteen full-length romance novels and two novellas for Berkley Jove and winning several awards, my career had come to a standstill. I spent the next six years writing and re-writing and submitting proposals and a full-length women’s fiction contemporary to my agent without success. I was told no one wanted to read what I wrote. No one wanted to read Americana westerns or Regencies or late Victorian settings or Scottish books.
I thought my dream was over. Then three things happened to give me hope.
Debra Dixon invited me to write Regency novella for a Christmas anthology. I sold a book to Berkley Sensation. And Teresa Medeiros approached me with her desire to start a boutique publishing house for the purpose of “Entertaining readers. Empowering Writers.”
Since July 2013, my dream and my career have been reborn. Teresa Medeiros and Amber House Books have enabled me to entertain my original readers and to gain new readership. She’s re-branded and published my Americana westerns, GOLDEN CHANCES, HARVEST MOON, SOMETHING BORROWED, and TWICE BLESSED as “The Borrowed Brides Series” and added A HINT OF HEATHER to the list.
I’ve not only been empowered, I’ve been inspired…
The films I mentioned inspired my love for Scotland. What Scottish films or settings inspire YOU?
Rebecca would love to give one Lucky Commenter today a $25 Amazon gift!