Hi, folks! Today I’m pleased to host Celtic romance author, Annie Marshall. She has a new release, Her Island Destiny, and she’s here to answer a few questions about it. Below the interview is an excerpt plus some information about the three castles in the book. Stick around and check it out!
In the days of Wallace and Bruce, two worlds and centuries collide on the breathtaking Isles of Orkney and Skye.
Cian MacKyleakin, known as the dreaded Wolf of Moal has dedicated his life to fighting for Scotland, but when his lineage is challenged, adding fuel to the rumors that are circulating through the English court, Edward Longshanks declares that the only way he can retain his lands is to marry the only daughter of the MacKinnons. But when she’s found dead, things get complicated very quickly.
Isla MacKinnon, call sign Valkyrie, is a CH-47 Helicopter pilot for the United States Army. Isla’s helicopter is attacked and crashes in the Afghan mountains. As the only survivor, she is ordered by her doctor and her command to take R&R to recover. Instead, she finds herself fighting for her life when a simple picnic on the beach turns perilous.
Can these two fallen warriors find the passion they need within each other’s embrace when they are from two different worlds and centuries?
Her Island Destiny is available now and can be found at these fine online retailers:
Her Island Destiny is the third book in my Warriors of Destiny series. The ideas for it (and the other books) came from the fact that I wanted to show that our women in the Army are strong, courageous, and fierce when need be but still have a soft and sensual side to them. And of course, dropping them smack dab into medieval Scotland puts them to the test especially when confronted with their alpha males. Truly, it’s my heroines who prove to be the Warriors of Destiny.
What do you like most about your heroine, Isla? How will readers relate to her?
Isla is a stubborn workaholic who when faced with what she thought was her most challenging life experience, all she wants to do is hide behind her job. However, her greatest challenge is yet to come. I think that is a lot of us. We get so caught up in what we are going through that there are times we forget how strong we really are. Life is about challenges. It shapes us into who we are and become.
What do you like most about your hero, Cian?
My Wolf of Moal is a fierce chieftain and warlord who is just as fiercely loyal to his king, clan and country. A man like that is passionate and it’s precisely that passion that spills over into his relationship with Isla. He’s willing to risk all for those he love. I adore this about Cian!
I’m a sucker for Scottish romance. What inspires you to write in this subgenre? I hope it’s because there are hot Scotsmen. 😉
Ha! Ha! Ha! Hot Scotsmen are definitely a bonus! However it’s the rich history of Scotland that draws me to writing about her. After fighting for their way of life and rich history of their own, our Scottish ancestors and present day Scots still hold themselves proud about their traditions and way of life. It’s their strength that I admire and I’ve often had to draw from my own Scottish bloodline to remind myself that when faced with life’s hardships, that I’m a “Strong Scottish Lassie” and can do anything.
What do you find is the most challenging part of writing?
For me it’s sitting still long enough so that the storyline can unfold for me. Because I’m working on a series, oftentimes other storylines will pop into my head while I’m working on my current project, which of course gets me excited to work on the new storyline. I’ve had to train myself to jot down the key points then get right back to the current work before I lose the energy and flow of what I was doing before. Another challenging part to writing a series is making sure there’s continuity of the dates and times of the characters and places. I can’t have two or more storylines going on in the same castle at the same time. It would be awfully crowded in the Laird’s bedchamber.
What other authors inspire you?
In the beginning, it was Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey who fueled my inner fire for the romance genre. They had me hooked! I read everything they published. My favorites were their time-travels and Scottish stories (Go figure). Eventually, I branched out to read others. Bertrice Small, Tess Mallory, Deborah MacGillivray, Janet Chapman, and the amazing Karen Marie Moning. It wasn’t until later that I truly appreciated the works of Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, and Charlotte Bronte.
And now for fun: What’s in your TBR pile?
Oh, gosh! My TBR pile consists of several piles around the house and on my Nook. Let’s see, a few are: The Saint – Monica McCarty; A Wish to Build a Dream On – Michelle Willingham; Ghost Walk – Heather Graham; Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half – Samantha Grace; A Laird for All Time – Angeline Fortin. And that’s just a few from my Nook.
This Ozark Mountain native has been writing short story comedies since Jr. High. Then after receiving her first kiss in Sr. High, her mind turned to romance and since, these short stories included a romance. At the age of twenty, she read her first Romance Novel by Jude Deveraux, “A Knight In Shining Armor.” She was hooked and to this day, it remains her one of her most favorite novels!
Most of Ms. Marshall’s books have a paranormal twist to them. She loves writing (and reading) about ghosts, time-travel, and old spooky haunted castles. She also has a deep love for Scotland, Ireland, and Wales and comes from a long family line of Celtic people.
An avid Pembroke Welsh Corgi lover, she is owned by two lively corgis named Aonghus and Hamish plus a sweet black cat named Miss Aella Boo.
Not only is Ms. Marshall an award-winning author of sexy Scots, she is also the Managing Cover Artist and Photographer for DCL Publications, LLC. She also does freelance work as well.
Along with reading and writing about men in kilts, ghosts, and time travel, she loves traveling, going to the beach to collect shells and sea glass, digging for gemstones, and jewelry making!
To learn more about Ms. Marshall plus her upcoming books and appearances, please go to www.annie-marshall.com!
You can also follow her at:
The Three Castles of Her Island Destiny
Castle Moal on the Isle of Sky, The Ancient Stronghold of the Clan MacKinnon
The ruins of Castle Moal is located on an island overlooking the harbor of Kyleakin in the Strait of Kyle Akin between Skye and mainland Scotland.
Moal was the ancient seat of the Clan MacKinnon and according to that tradition, Alpín mac Echdach’s great-grandson Findanus, the 4th MacKinnon chief, brought Moal into the clan around the year 900 AD by marrying a Norse princess that was nicknamed ‘Saucy Mary’. The Princess lies buried on Beinn na Caillich on Skye, her face reputedly turned towards Norway.
Whatever the accuracy of the castle’s traditional history, there is good reason for supposing the existence of a connection with Norway. King Haakon IV is thought to have assembled his fleet of longships there before the Battle of Largs in 1263 (hence the name Kyleakin – Haakon’s kyle). Haakon’s defeat there effectively ended Norse domination of the islands. Medieval and early modern documents also refer to the castle itself as Dunakin (Dun-Haakon), which is again strongly, suggests a Norse connection.
Even though Moal was a MacKinnon keep, I chose to make this Cian MacKyleakin’s castle because of the location and the heavy Norse influence that castle held. The MacKinnon name does come back to the castle by way of my heroine, Isla MacKinnon.
Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, The Ancient Stronghold of the Picts and Clan Keith
It is believed that the earliest written reference to the site where Dunnottar is located can in the Annals of Ulster which records a siege of Dún Fother in 681 AD. It is also mentioned as a site for a battle between King Donald II and the Danish Vikings in 900 AD.
William Wallace is said to have led the Scots to victory over the English at Dunnottar in 1296. The outcome was completed by Wallace imprisoning and burning the defeated English soldiers in the castle church.
By 1336 the resources of Edward III of England ordered Willam Sinclair, 8th Baron of Roslin to sail eight ships to the partially ruined Dunnottar for the purpose of rebuilding and fortifying to use as a forward resupply base for the northern campaign. Sinclair took with him 160 soldiers, horses, and a corps of masons and carpenters. The English efforts were undone the same year when the Scottish Regent Sir Andrew Murray led a Scottish force that captured and again destroyed the defenses of Dunnottar. By the close of the 14th century, Dunnottar was firmly under Scottish control, under the Clan Keith, whose chiefs were hereditary Earls Marischal of Scotland. The castle was rebuilt and augmented over generations by the Earls Marischal, including a large scale reconstruction under George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, founder of Marischal College, Aberdeen.
It is here at Dunnottar that I’ve chosen to house the Fae Guardian King and Queen, Teárlach and Lorna Keith. Even though the harsh conditions of the ocean and war have ravishes the castle over time, it still remains the home of the Fae royalty.
The Stronghold of Grímhildr, On the Isle of Hoy, Orkney
This huge fortress that is named after its people is one that I created to tie in the Norse bloodline to Cian and Moal. Cain’s mother was from the Norse occupied Orkney at that time and when she and her husband died, it was passed down to their only heir. Cian was not only Laird of Maol, he became Grímhildr’s Chieftain.
Cian’s Uncle Haldor Grímhildr, is the Warlord who maintains the castle while Cian is away.
Excerpt from Her Island Destiny
Cian had stayed behind after Isla excused herself explaining she was tired and wanted a bath. Truth be told, she’d had enough of the festivities for the evening.
It hadn’t taken long for Cian to grow bored of the revelry as well. After she’d left the great hall, all other conversations were a blur. He could only think about Isla. He’d even downed a couple tankards of ale to make him drowsy so he could sleep.
As he lay in his bed, all he could think about was how wonderful it would be to gaze on her naked body again, how incredible it would feel to have her underneath him. He rose from his bed to pace the floor. It was driving him insane this hold she had on him. “Christ’s teeth!” he exclaimed out loud as he pulled on his trews and walked across the dark corridor to her room.
Cian leaned his forehead against the outside of the closed door with both hands on either side of the wooden door frame, listening to Abi and Isla talk about various things from that night from food to music.
He knew he shouldn’t be there. The last thing in the world the lass needed was to have him chasing after her like a lad who’d found his first love, but he couldn’t stay away from her.
He was half listening as Isla was giving Abi advice where Támhas was concerned when the sloshing of water caught his interest.
Damn it, he thought she’d have finished with her bath by now. Even though it was just Abi in with her, he felt the pang of jealousy hit his heart as he wanted to be the one assisting with her bath.
Slowly he turned the door handle and quietly opened the door to a dimly lit room. Near the fireplace he saw Isla with her eyes closed as she slowly sank deeper into the tub.
Abi poured a pitcher of warm water over Isla’s tilted head and the light from the fire illuminated the streams down her shoulders and back. He knew he should leave the room but he couldn’t pull himself away. The sound of her voice with the sight of her bare flesh forced him to admit that he had more than a fondness for this woman. He wanted her more than any lass. He wanted to protect her…provide for her…lay with her.
“Abi, Lady Isla won’t be needin’ yer help for the rest of the evenin’,” Cian said as he took the pitcher from the girl and motioned for her to leave.