Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Wrong Bride by Gayle Callen (Highland Weddings #1) #Interview #NewRelease @GayleCallen @Avonbooks #HighlandWeddings

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Highland Weddings #1
Gayle Callen
Releasing Oct 27th, 2015
Avon Romance

The first in a wonderfully engaging series set in the Scottish Highlands, USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen creates an unforgettable story of mistaken identity and irresistible attraction.

Shaken from sleep during the night, bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he’s kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction…

At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he’s starting to crave Riona for her own sake. But her true identity jeopardizes his clan’s contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he’ll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he’s fought so hard to save-the passionate marriage they could have together.

Welcome to A Tasty Read Gayle!

Thanks so much! I’m glad to be here.

 Who is your latest romance author crush(es) and what about this person’s writing makes you swoon?

Probably Sarah MacLean. I’ve been devouring her “Rule of Scoundrels” series. I think it was her titles that first hooked me, like Never Judge a Lady by her Cover; or No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. They’re so clever!  But her writing itself captured me, with her unique plotlines and flawed characters and deep emotions.

When it comes to research and the setting of your books, do you weave your story from history, (facts that intrigue you), or think of a story and then insert it into history?

I’ve done both. Sometimes a historical fact just inspires a plot for me. Recently, I read about an outlawed Scottish clan, and I immediately knew my next hero would have to be an outlawed chief. I’ll be writing his book next year. For my newest book, THE WRONG BRIDE, I had some specific plot points I needed, and that helped me narrow down the time period. I knew I wanted to deal with some elements of the British and Scottish despising each other; I wanted my hero Hugh to have fought for Scotland; and I didn’t want to write a medieval story (I’ve done 6 of those early in my career, and another six writing as Julia Latham, so I didn’t feel the need to revisit that). Plus, of course I needed Hugh to wear a kilt (those were outlawed after 1745 until the late 19th century). I ended up narrowing the time period down to the 1720s, between the last two Scottish uprisings, when tensions simmered between the English and the Scottish, ready to boil over. And that’s how I thought of a story and found a place to insert it into actual history.

What was the most challenging thing you’ve done in the name of research that might have been out of your comfort zone?

I rented a car in England and drove around for a week to research different castles and estates. Driving on the left side of the road was truly scary at first. Just navigating the maze of roads around the airport gives you a crash course in survival. After that, I just kept saying to myself, “Stay left, stay left.”

Please tell us five fun facts about the Highland Weddings Series that readers would love to know!

1) I love Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, so I consider it quite fun to set my Scottish trilogy within twenty years of her initial time period of the 1740s.

2) I thought setting a new series in Scotland would involve some extra research, since the country was new to me as a writer. Boy, I didn’t realize how truly different Scotland is, by culture and history and customs. I really learned a lot!

3) I usually plot in trilogies, and “Highland Weddings” is no different. If I’m going to create a family and a lot of background, I like to use it across several books! The three books are related like this: Hugh is the hero of the first book, his sister Maggie is the heroine of the second book. Riona is the heroine of the first book, her cousin Owen is the hero of the second book, and Owen’s sister Cat is the heroine of the third book. Confused yet? ;) But I’m very careful to make sure each book stands alone, so you don’t have to read them in any order.

4) THE WRONG BRIDE begins with a kidnapping—I find that such fun! It’s challenging to make a woman fall in love with a man after he’s done something like that.

5) I’ve been writing in the 19th century for a long time. Jumping back 100 years, it was fascinating to see that women had a little more freedom. Okay, they still couldn’t be alone with a man in a private, but a woman could walk outside without the need for a chaperone. Amazing! (and amazing to remind myself how lucky we are to live in the 21st century)

If you could only describe a single scene to encourage someone to read your novel, The Wrong Bride, which scene would you describe?

I really like the first kiss scene.  They’ve arrived at the clan castle, and Riona has now realized she has some power over Hugh, her kidnapper. She’ll keep quiet about the kidnapping (since she knows no one will believe her anyway), while she’s trying to find a way to escape, but in exchange, she wants answers and explanations from him. He admires her daring, and to show her he’s still in control, he kisses her. And the fun part is that this whole scene takes place while Riona is in the bathtub. Her refusal to back down in such a vulnerable situation made me smile.

What's the craziest writing idea you've ever had and what makes you toss a book aside in frustration?

I once had two books in a trilogy set during the exact same time frame. (NO ORDINARY GROOM and THE BEAUTY AND THE SPY) I even overlapped 3 or so scenes in the books. The first book wasn’t so difficult to write, but during that, I boxed in the characters of the second book with specific actions, so by the time I wrote THEIR book, I really had to write a twisted plot that still worked within the timeline of the first book. I say “Never again!” but of course, you never know…

As for what makes me toss a book aside: Shallow characters with no deep background; poorly motivated situations, which makes me yell at the book “But the heroine would never do that!”

What are you currently working on?

I also write small-town contemporary romances as Emma Cane. I’ve written the Valentine Valley series, set in a ranching community in Colorado, and now I’m starting a brand new series set in Fairfield Orchard, a family orchard in Virginia.

This or That
1. Alpha or Beta?
Beta (which explains why I’m exploring small-town romances now)
2. Wallflower or Belle of the Ball?
Wallflower (I’m a geek—what can I say?)
3. Debutante or Spinster?
Spinster—see above.
4. Virgin widow or Secret baby?
Virgin widow—although both plot lines are really difficult to pull off. I don’t think I’ve written either!
5. Titled peer or Working man?
Titled Peer. I love the fantasy of lords and ladies.
6. Love at first sight or Second chances?
Ooh, can I say I love them both? I’ve written over 35 books across several pseudonyms, so I’ve written them both many times.
7. City or country?
Country, because the view is so gorgeous and relaxing.
8. Writing or Reading?
Reading. It’s far more relaxing to read what another writer has written. And I think I learn so much, and that benefits my own writing.
9. Plotter or Pantser?
Plotter all the way! Index cards, detailed outlines, you name it. I need a blueprint to follow or otherwise I panic.
10. Your turn to ask a question:
Thanks for the great interview!
As I said, I’ve just begun my first trilogy set in Scotland. 
What’s your favorite country to read about?

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After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane. Visit her website at www.gaylecallen.com.


Gayle Callen said...

Thanks so much for the great interview!

Crystal Cuffley said...


Crystal, Tasty Book Tours