The Magic of Medieval Scotland By Claire Delacroix
I love the Middle Ages. I love the stories from that period of history, the pageantry, the myths and legends. Not only are there knights and crusaders on fine warhorses, but there are outspoken queens and beautiful damsels who may or may not need rescuing. I love the processions, the inventories of courses at feasts and – of course – the notion that the world is not all that it seems. If they ever invented a way to time travel to the 12th century in Europe, I’d be first in line!
The Middle Ages is also not that distant for us in terms of ideas Many of our ideas about love and romance come from the Middle Ages and the stories their troubadours told in medieval halls. (Maybe the first thing I’d do in the twelfth century would be to sneak into the great hall of a grand castle, find a seat at the board, have a cup of mead and listen to the music and stories.) In addition, many of our ideas about paranormal or fantastical beings – like the Fae or like shapeshifters – also have roots in this era. For me, the Middle Ages is a period in which all things are possible – and that’s why I write medieval romance.
Medieval Europe was a vast territory, each corner of it fascinating in its own way. For me, there are certain regions that are particularly interesting, and medieval Scotland is one of those. Why?
First of all, the landscape is beautiful. I have had the good fortune to travel in Scotland several times and the contrast between wild territories and cities within Scotland strikes me as being very medieval. It is easy to imagine wolves and elven queens in the forests even now, just out of range of the city’s walls and the church’s bells. I also love the old rocks, whether they are stone circles, broken castle walls, cobblestones underfoot or simply the rock of the earth itself, poking through the lichen.
Secondly, there is a rich cultural history in Scotland – as a storyteller, I love a place with good stories. Depending on the location in Scotland, there are stories influenced by the Norse and by the Irish Gaels, as well as those influenced by the French, the Normans, and the English. That mixture is distinctive and potent.
Thirdly, the Scots are a superstitious people. Their stories are filled with things that go bump in the night, ghosts that come back for one last thing, and dreamers who unwittingly get a glimpse of the future. I love paranormal and fantasy elements in the stories I read and write, so this pervasive awareness of the unseen is appealing to me.
It’s not a big surprise, then, that I couldn’t stay away from medieval Scotland. My last historical romance series was the Jewels of Kinfairlie, a trilogy of medieval romances which told the stories of the three oldest children at Kinfairlie. (http://www.delacroix.net/jewels.html) THE BEAUTY BRIDE is Madeline’s story; THE ROSE RED BRIDE is Vivienne’s story; and THE SNOW WHITE BRIDE is Alexander’s story. There are five more siblings in the Kinfairlie clan and I always hoped to tell their stories.
THE RENEGADE’S HEART (http://www.delacroix.net/trhX.html), my most recent medieval release, is the next Kinfairlie story. It’s the first of a new series called the True Love Brides, and it features Isabella. She’s not the next oldest sister, but she is the one who is outspoken and bold enough to insist upon her chance for love and happiness being next! Her older sister Annelise is the kind of quiet person who would let herself be pushed around – especially since Murdoch, the man who fascinates Isabella, is apparently a rebel and a rogue. He and Isabella are well-suited to each other, for she is not only unafraid of him but is determined to see him in good light, no matter what he’s endured in the past.
What has he endured in the past? Well, that’s the interesting thing.
There is also a consistent thread in the Kinfairlie stories of paranormal events and influences at that holding – as the maid Vera might say, “the veil between the world of men and the world of the Fae is thin at Kinfairlie.” That was another story element I wanted to build in these books and so, I kicked that portal to the realm of the Fae wide open. Murdoch has been captured by the Fae and has lost years in their realm. He quickly realizes that his release from captivity is just a reprieve and that the Fae queen intends to claim him permanently as her own. He is determined to make his time in the mortal realm count, by setting a wrong to right for his family, no matter what the cost. Isabella quickly takes his side to help him solve the mystery, never realizing that she will have to save Murdoch – and his soul – to win his heart forever.
I had a wonderful time returning to medieval Scotland in this book, and I loved exploring the realm of the Fae a bit more than in previous books. Now I’m working on Annelise’s book, THE HIGHLANDER’S CURSE, which will be out in December and will be another paranormal medieval.
What about you? Are you fascinated by different periods in history? Would you like to live in your era of choice? Tell me when and where you’d like to visit – and why. or tell me what you like about your favourite era in time.
One of the people who comment here today will win a signed trade paperback copy of THE RENEGADE’S HEART. Good luck!
Deborah Cooke sold her first romance in 1992, a medieval romance called THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE. Since then, she has published over forty-five romances, writing historicals under the names Claire Delacroix, Claire Cross and Deborah Cooke. She is New York Times and USA Today bestselling and has won numerous awards for her work. Her current series are The True Love Brides by Claire Delacroix, which launched with THE RENEGADE’S HEART in June, and Dragonfire by Deborah Cooke, which continues with EMBER’S KISS in October. You can find out more about her books at her websites (http://www.delacroix.net and http://www.deborahcooke.com), at her blog Alive and Knitting (http://www.delacroix.net/blog) and on her Facebook pages: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage