Today the Wild Writers are thrilled to welcome debut author Willa Blair, whose novel Highland Healer, a Scottish historical with paranormal elements, went on sale October 1 – much to her surprise!
A funny thing happened to Willa on the way to her first release day. As she was carefully crafting a schedule of blog appearances around a January 2013 release date, her publisher, The Wild Rose Press, changed plans. They decided to take advantage of the KDP Select program, but in order to do so, had to offer Highland Healer exclusively on Kindle for three months. So with only a day’s notice, Willa was a published author! She’s here today to talk a little about her book and her journey to publication.
Q: How long had you been writing before you sold Highland Healer?
A: It took more than a decade to write Highland Healer. My day job definitely interfered. And I had a long commute, so by the time I got home, I had no energy left for creativity. I was a pantzer, not a plotter. I've since learned the value of plotting a book in advance. Like most new writers, I had a lot to learn about my craft. The best critique group in the world helped me - a group of amazing authors who taught me everything from the basics to the fact that even experience, multi-published authors struggle with their manuscripts. They encouraged me even when I was too burned out to write.
I also had a lot to learn about romance genres. The only cure for that is to read, read and read some more.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Highland Healer?
A: I saw the opening scene in my head: A woman standing in a tent while a big man is carried in on a makeshift stretcher. At first, I didn’t know if it was going to be a fantasy, an otherworldly scifi, or set in the highlands. But once I had a page or two, I knew - he was injured in a battle and she was going to heal him with her psi talent and ultimately help defeat the lowlander invaders. He didn't belong in her camp, but then, neither did she. Both captive, both longing for something they think they can never have, her touch would forge a bond they couldn't break.
Q: What was the most difficult aspect of writing Highland Healer?
A: Finding the right time period. The vision I had of the opening scene could have taken place in any period of Scottish history when bladed weapons were still the only game in town. I started digging into the internet, bought and read a few books on Scottish history, and went back through books on castles that'd I picked up during my last few trips to England. Eventually, I found a time period when there's an utter power vacuum in Scotland and knew that would work for my story.
Q: What makes the relationship between your hero and heroine special?
A: They're drawn to each other from the beginning. She touches every part of his body in the course of healing him. That tells her little about who he is, yet, she hopes he'll be the one to help her satisfy her longings. He's a laird who never expected to be one, yet his duty to his clan prevents him from taking what he wants - the beautiful woman who seems to have no fear of her captive.
Q: Will there be more?
A: I hope so! Highland Healer is the first book in the Highlands Talent series. The second book is already with my editor along with a synopsis for the third book and ideas for at least three more. As long as TWRP and my readers want to buy them, I'll keep writing them!
Q: And finally, our WGW wildcard question –boxers or briefs?
Ah yes, commando –always a good choice! ;-) Thanks for dropping by, Linda, and enjoy those three months of extra sales.
HE NEEDS HER FOR HIS CLAN. HE WANTS HER FOR HIMSELF. CAN HE HAVE BOTH?
Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileanna Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot resist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?
Aileanna Shaw has a healing touch - and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she's kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?
While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileanna. And Aileanna must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.
Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.
“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.
His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.
His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.