Please welcome Collette Cameron to the blog today to celebrate her imminent debut release, HIGHLANDER’S HOPE. I met Collette online through the The Beau Monde chapter and chat with her regularly on twitter and Facebook.
I got a chance to read an ARC of this novel and I know you’re in for a special treat! This isn’t your typical Regency fare waltzing through the ballrooms of London, but it’s also not your usual Scottish Highlander novel filled with raids across the border and kidnapped London misses either. No, this plot takes your expectations and sets them on end through a mix of common Regency and Highland elements but with twists that pleasantly surprise. The author’s sense of humor shines through in descriptions, especially regarding the secondary characters, and in the dialogue. Yvette and Ewan’s HEA is satisfying and the tension of suspense is kept taut throughout as the heroine is chased from America, to London, to Scotland while the hero must unravel a spy ring.
If you enjoy Regency Romance romps or Historical Romance with light suspense, give this one a try! I’ll be sure to add buy links as soon as it’s available!
by Collette Cameron
She was the heiress determined to never marry.
Shipping heiress Yvette Stapleton is wary of fortune hunting men and their false declarations of love. She’d rather become a spinster than imprisoned in the bonds of marriage. At first, she doesn’t recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London’s docks, but her reaction to Lord Sethwick’s passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony.
He was the nobleman who vowed to make her his own.
Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, Lord Sethwick and Laird of Craiglocky, hasn’t dreamed of the sensual beauty he danced with two years ago; he’s determined to win her heart. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, he unwittingly draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish Canon law to declare her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, “I do.”
Amidst murder and betrayal, Ewan attempts to win Yvette’s forgiveness. But is it too late? Has his manipulation cost him her love?
Excerpt: London Inn Scene
Ewan jolted awake. “Merde.”
He had fallen asleep with Yvette in his arms. Shooting a worried glance at the window, he recognized the first golden blush of daybreak sweeping across the hazy sky.
Sucking in a strangled breath, he grasped the inexperienced hand fondling him. Blast it. The towel had come loose while he slept, of course.
“Yvette,” he whispered as she showered kisses across his bare chest and neck. Grasping her roaming hands, he ensnared her in his embrace, and raised his voice. “Yvette, wake up.”
He gave her a gentle shake. Dark lashes trembled, rising to reveal drowsy eyes. A smile lit her face when her gaze met his. She lifted her hand, caressing his face, her fingers lingering on his scar before she raised herself up and kissed the mark. Caught up in the powerful spell, he almost forgot himself. He fought the urge to throw reason to the wind and kiss her with all the desire he was holding in check. “Yvette. . .”
Ewan knew the moment she awoke. He felt her stiffen in his arms and heard her small cry of shocked dismay. She pressed at his chest with both hands. He released her and watched her scramble across the bed. She stopped in the middle, facing him. Her hair swirled around her, settling in shimmering waves about her hips.
Dawn’s glow lit the room. He could see her expressions. Shock—followed by confusion, then complete horror as she realized the full scope of her situation.
I hope you enjoyed that excerpt, but let’s find out a little bit more about Collette herself and her writing in the Regency Era.
1. What drew you to writing Historical Romances in general and specifically to setting stories during the Regency Era where English propriety clashes with Scottish brashness?
When I was 13, a friend gave me a Barbara Cartland Historical Romance to read. I fell in love with historicals, right then and there. I do enjoy other romance genres, but historicals appeal to the romantic and the historian in me. I’m a history buff and digging into the research for a historical is something I really enjoy.
Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are my favorite eras, (all those lords and ladies, you know) so when I decided to write a historical romance, I choose the Regency era. It was such a time of transition; strict propriety strove—ineffectively, I might add— to conceal an undercurrent of immorality and entitlement.
Highlanders are the epic heroes. A bit too unrefined for the Haute Ton, but, oh, do they add a delicious element in a romance.
2. What’s the strangest bit of historical trivia you’ve picked up in your research?
I found a Scot’s Canon Law that “covered” irregular marriages—those not performed by the church. In essence, you could declare you were married, or exchange vows, in front of anyone, and you were legally married.
That law came in quite handy when I was writing HIGHLANDER’S HOPE.
These next few questions assume that time travel is possible.
3. What modern conveniences would you miss most? What would you miss least?
Bathrooms! My hubby teases me because I don’t even like to go camping unless there is hot running water and electricity so I can style my hair.
I do not know how the elite could stand not bathing. I see paintings of the most extraordinary fashions, and I’m appalled that such an exquisite outfit was donned by a stink-meister.
Telephones too, though not so much for communication, but for emergencies. You know when the coach breaks down or your horse goes lame? Just dial the 1800s version of AAA.
Refrigerators and clean water.
Water wasn’t safe to drink (which is why so many cooks had a drinking problem) and food was hard to keep from spoiling. During my research I discovered that many of the thick, rich sauces favored during those eras was actually a means used to cover the taste of half-spoiled meat and fish.
4. What would be the hardest for you to adapt to in the Regency Era?
Lack of good hygiene and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.
5. Where would you fit into the society? Where would you like to visit most?
I’m a teacher so most likely, I’d be a governess or an instructor at a school for young girls. Though perfectly respectable, neither position was enviable. Most women who filled those roles did so because they had no other recourse. There were very few jobs available for decent women, which is why the prostitution rate was so ghastly high.
I’ve been to London and Paris, but I’d love to go back. Right now, I’m trying to figure out a way to finagle a visit to Scotland. I have a six-book saga about highlanders in the planning stages, so a trip for research is a must, don’t you think?
6. How long have you been writing? What advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning novelist if you could? Would this advice differ from what you’d say to an aspiring author now?
In February 2011, I plopped myself in front of my computer, on a whim really, and decided to write a romance novel. It took me six months—I taught the whole while—and when it was done, I realized I had only really begun. Two major rewrites, including cutting 73,000 words, and two title changes occurred before it was ready to submit.
I didn’t have critique partners for my first novel. I do now, and they make a huge difference in the revising and polishing of my work. I also hadn’t read any books on the craft or attended any workshops. I wasted a lot of time learning stuff after my manuscript was finished.
I think it is extremely important that a writer stay true to their own voice and creativity. Learn from others, but make sure your writing reflects you as the artist.
7. Your blog prominently features blue roses and you have a wonderful explanation with some gorgeous pictures there, but how did your series become the Blue Rose Series? Did you consciously set out to include them and build around that idea, or did your character(s) make the suggestion?
When I first dove into the whole publishing thing, everyone kept saying you need an author platform. A what?
You need to create your branding? My what?
I came up with the blue rose for my branding because my favorite color is cobalt blue, and anyone that knows me, knows I’m nuts about flowers. There are only two rooms in my house that don’t have floral wallpaper. I’ve pictures of flowers on my walls, and yes, I do have scads of flowers in my yard.
My dishes actually have a blue rose pattern so it was a natural transference to my author branding.
Now, as far as the Blue Rose Trilogy, I named the trilogy before I started writing it. My reasoning was as a new author, I needed a way for readers to identify me. Each of the books has multiple references to blue roses in them.
I’m actually thinking about having a blue rose contest after Highlander’s Hope releases and asking readers where blue roses are mentioned in the book.
Oh, I also have a really fun Blue Rose Romance page on Pinterest, in case anyone would like to take a peek.
8. Between writing and teaching, you manage to find time for a number of hobbies: amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, and salmon fishing on the Columbia River. Not to mention a husband of thirty years, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds. How do you balance it all?
You know that thing called sleep? I don’t get much of it.
It’s all about prioritizing. What’s most important right at this moment?
Because I’m a substitute teacher, my teaching is more flexible. I also utilize my time really well. It helps that I’m a very organized and disciplined person. I don’ t spend as much time gardening, bird watching or fishing as I used to. My focus at present is launching my writing career.
I also have an extremely understanding hubby.
9. Are you reader? What are some of your favorites?
I am a reader. I don’t know any authors that aren’t.
I don’t really have any favorites though. If a story appeals to me, I read it. I did name my daughter after Brianna in THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER by Kathleen Woodiwiss.
10. What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
I think the promo and marketing are what I find the most challenging. I’m not a natural at either, and both make me uncomfortable.
Also, developing a thick skin is a must. That comes with time, I think.
Not everyone is going to like my writing; I don’t like some books that I’ve read—yes, even some romances. I’ve not had any reviews yet, but I hope to respond with dignity and grace when poor reviews come in because, it’s inevitable, they will.
About the Author
A life-long Oregonian, Collette Cameron was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon coast. Today she makes her home in a rural community, 30 minutes west of Portland. Her Victorian farmhouse sits on a one-acre certified wildlife habit, interspersed with a plethora of gardens: English, rose, butterfly, rock, water, and of course, vegetable.
A voracious reader of romance since her teens, she even named her daughter after a heroine in her favorite romance novel. An enthusiast of times gone by, and anything related to romance, she writes Historical Romance, with a dash of inspiration, a pinch of humor, and a liberal portion of suspense.
Having dabbled in interior decorating in her youth, Collette returned to school, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University, and went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Teaching. She is member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, The Beau Monde, and Love Faith and Hope, Inc., and a whole slew of other author/writer groups.
Some of Collette’s favorite things include unique blends of coffees and teas, trivia, Cadbury Milk Chocolate, inspirational quotes, and scented candles. Her Christian faith, husband, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds round out her life quite nicely! When she’s not teaching or writing, she is a content and copy/line editor for an Ebook publisher, enjoys amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, boating or fishing on the Columbia River, and reading of course.
To connect with Collette, please visit http://collettecameron.com/ or http://www.blueroseromance.com/. She can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, Goodreads, Twitter, and the Soul Mate Publishing Author’s Blog.