Hello and thanks for having me at Romance Junkies! For those who don’t know me, I write medieval romance for Harlequin Historical featuring characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. My new book, HIS BORDER BRIDE, is out now and I’ll be talking about it a little more below.
But first, I must start with some good news. Last year’s book, IN THE MASTER’S BED, was chosen by Romance Junkies as one of the best reads of 2009. Well, Romance Junkies have good taste, because I’m so excited to share that IN THE MASTER’S BED is a finalist in the short historical category of the Readers Crown awards! This is a new, reader-judged contest, and I’m more than thrilled. So on to this year’s release! HIS BORDER BRIDE is my first book set in Scotland and my first to feature a “bad boy” hero. Gavin Fitzjohn is the son of a much-hated prince of England and a Scots woman. A man without a country, he’s seen the worst that men can do, and done some of it. Clare Carr believes in the laws of chivalry and is sure this man has broken every one. While she’s drawn to him, she’s afraid of what’s inside of him—and of her own dark urges when she is with him.
He’s an irresistible force. She’s an immovable object. And the love scenes almost wrote themselves. (Sigh.) Beyond the characters, though, as a Scottish “virgin,” I had a lot to learn about the country. For example, in romance, the word “Scotland,” generally means the highlands. Clans and warriors. Highland hunks. My book is set in the Lowlands, so 90% of the research I came across did not apply to my story. All that interesting stuff about the Gaelic language and Celtic history? Not applicable.
Another surprise? Scotch whisky (no ‘e’) is a late invention. Cheerfully writing an early scene, I wanted my character to cradle an after dinner dram. Alas, the first documented reference to whisky in Scotland is nearly 150 years later than my story. And the plaid that graces my beautiful cover? That’s a late comer, too. Certainly in the Highlands, weavers of a certain area used consistent patterns that became associated with regions. There are references to “plaide” even in the 14th century. However, to quote Wikipedia: “Tartan as we know it today, is not thought to have existed in Scotland before the 16th century.” And not until the 1700’s, hundreds of years after my story, were plaids and families tightly linked. Beyond that (remember the Lowlands, Highlands?) it’s been said that a borderer “wouldn’t be caught dead in a plaide.”Still, I came to love the stubborn, independent, hard-headed, ornery, freedom loving Border Scots. In fact, my next book will be set on the Scottish border, too.Leave a comment on what you love about Scottish settings. (Or don’t!) I’ll give a copy of HIS BORDER BRIDE to one commenter. And thanks again to Romance Junkies for having me!
BLYTHE GIFFORD is the author of five medieval romances from Harlequin Historical. She specializes in characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. With HIS BORDER BRIDE, she crosses the border and sets a story in Scotland for the first time, where the rules of chivalry don’t always apply. Her 2009 release, IN THE MASTER’S BED, has just finaled in the Readers Crown contest. Blythe loves to have visitors at www.blythegifford.com or www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ®and T are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2010 ■ Author photo by Jennifer Girard