On the first Friday of September 2015, we are having breakfast with Romance Author Kathleen Harrington – winner of the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Booksellers’ Best Award – has touched the hearts of readers across the country and the world with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice, the HOLT Medallion, and the Golden Quill. Her fabulous heroes have garnered the K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. Kathleen lives in Southern California. Her latest book, BLACK RAVEN’S LADY, Book 3 of the Highland Lairds Trilogy, is now on-sale.
For this September breakfast, I’m having a lingonberry scone with strawberries and musk melon from my garden dusted with chia seeds, and black coffee. Kathy, what are you having?
In celebration of my visit with you this morning, Michelle, I’ll be having my favorite breakfast – champagne with Eggs Benedict and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Yummy.
Oh my. Terribly elegant! Kathy, tell us about your writing process from concept to draft to revision.
Since I’ve written twelve historical romances, I have, by now, established a comfortable (for me) sojourn from initial idea to finished product. My writing process begins with research. I’m a stickler for accuracy in all the historical details. While I’m exploring the time and place for the setting of my proposed romance, the story starts to evolve in my imagination. (My son has told me several times, “Mom, you steal from history.”) It’s true. The events in my stories are often based on real happenings. I weave my hero and heroine’s love story into the panorama of the larger canvas. Consequently, I’ve had riots, explosions, sea battles, duels, and the storming of castles in the midst of the couple’s romantic journey – all events that actually occurred in history. For example in LACHLAN’S BRIDE, there is a fire in a stables which results in the loss of Princess Margaret Tudor’s favorite palfreys. In my story, the fire is set by the villain in an attempt to kill the hero.
What’s a test of true love without a little mayhem?
After all the research, I begin a timeline of important events and people. Then I create an outline of the major plot points of the book. At the same time, I also begin character sketches of the main and secondary characters. I spend a lot of time on background, developing the hero/heroine’s backstory. What is his/her wound? What secrets are they keeping from each other? At that point I’m ready to make a detailed synopsis. I use Chris Vogler’s, The Writer’s Journey, as my guide. Always.
By the time I begin writing the book, I pretty much know what’s going to happen. But my characters always surprise me, and I’m happy to follow their lead.
I polish the manuscript as I go along, so my first complete draft is also my last draft. My revisions come after my editor reads the ms and makes suggestions. Usually, very little needs to be changed.
I love mayhem! Let me top off your champagne, Kathy. What did you find fun/intriguing about writing THE HIGHLAND LAIRDS TRILOGY and what was difficult?
THE HIGHLAND LAIRDS TRILOGY resulted from the last book in the Dreamkeepers Series, which was set in the Highlands in 1886. While writing ENCHANTED BY YOU, I became enthralled with the history of the Highlanders and decided to go back to the Golden Age of Scotland during the reign of James IV. You might say I was seduced by men in kilts. But aren’t we all?
BLACK RAVEN’S LADY, the final book in the trilogy, centers around the third brother, who also appears in the first two books. Although the story can stand alone, I think it’s more fun for the reader to become acquainted with Keir MacNeil before reading his story. The fun and intriguing part for me was the thread of magical elements spun around the heroine, whom we meet in THE MACLEAN GROOM, the first book of the trilogy. Raine Cameron is known to have the gift of Second Sight, which Keir vehemently denies. Much of the story takes place on Keir’s ship, the Black Raven. So I had to meet the challenge of learning about the sailing ships of the early 1500’s.
Tell us about your next project and when it may be published.
Presently, I’m presently in the years immediately after the American Revolution, at the time of the birth of our nation’s navy. Sailing ships continue to fascinate me, and I’m beginning a series based on a family of shipbuilders and sea captains. I’ll bring in threads of the Boston Brahmins, the Quakers in Philadelphia, the early abolitionists in England – plus the privateers of the French during their bloody revolution under the Jacobins and, of course, the pirates of Algiers. I’m hoping to complete the first book by July 2016.
You had me at Quakers, abolitionists, and pirates! I have Kathy’s Black Raven’s Lady (available on Kindle now for $1.99) and happily recommend the trilogy to those who enjoy a hot 1500s Scottish romance with strong characters, standing stones and lost fathers.
Thank you for visiting with us, Kathy. Your next project intrigues me and I’m looking forward to buying it. Let me pour us all another virtual flute of champagne before we rush off to read Kathleen Harrington’s Author’s Page at Amazon.
Thank you so much, Michelle, for giving me the opportunity to become acquainted with your readers.
My pleasure, Kathy!
Learn more about Kathleen Harrington through:
Twitter at kathleensbooks and Facebook at Kathleen Harrington/Author Page
A list of her historical romances are at her website: http://kathleenharringtonbooks.com