History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

06 May 2011

Welcome Margaret Mallory & The Guardian!

The Guardian
by Margaret Mallory
Available Now!

"TOP PICK! 4 1/2 stars! Mallory imbues history with a life of its own, creating a deeply moving story. Her characters are vibrantly alive and full of emotional depth, each with their own realistic flaws. Her sensuous and highly passionate tale grabs the reader and doesn't let go." (RT Book Reviews )

Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.

As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer.

THE GUARDIAN (THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS) is set in Scotland in the 1513. Is there a particular reason you chose that year?

I like a lot of adventure with my romance, so I looked for a period of conflict and great change. I found that in the wake of Scotland’ devastating defeat to Henry VIII’s forces at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Thousands of Scots were killed in the battle, including many nobles and clan chieftains. James IV, a strong and competent king, died as well and left a babe on the throne. After Flodden, the crown was weak, court factions vied for control, clans rose in rebellion, and alliances shifted constantly.

The four heroes of my series are fighting in France when news of the terrible Scottish defeat reaches them. When they return home to the Isle of Skye, they find their chieftain dead, their clan in peril, and rebellion brewing.

How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

I prefer to have my heroes clanking swords, and there’s something wonderful about the strength and earthiness of these wild Highland warriors of the early 16th century. They fit the kind of adventurous romances I like to write.
There are so many colorful historical figures in this period that I had to be careful not to overcrowd my stories with them. Luckily, it’s a four-book series!

One of the intriguing historical characters readers will meet in THE GUARDIAN is Shaggy Maclean, a Highland chieftain who holds my heroes in his dungeon for a time. My heroine has an encounter with a dangerous pair of more famous characters: Margaret Tudor, the widowed queen of Scotland and sister to Henry VIII, and her lover, the handsome and ambitious chieftain of the Douglas clan.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or was difficult to research?

Researching clan histories was a huge challenge. Little was written down at the time. Although the clans have rich oral histories, legend and fact are blurred together and different clans have differing accounts of the same events. The constantly shifting clan alliances and the multiple marriages of some of the chieftains add to the confusion.

Anything you flat-out altered or “fudged”? If so, why?

I was very disappointed to learn that Highland men did not wear kilts in 1513. I didn’t want to disappoint my readers as well, so I didn’t mention it. Another surprise was that clans had not adopted specific tartans at this time. I didn’t ignore these facts, but I glossed over them as much as I could.

I fudged travel times and made some adjustment to the dates of actual events, but I owned up to this in my Historical

Note at the back of the book.

Any gaffs or mea culpas you want to fess up to before readers get their hands on the book? I know I always seem to find one after the book has gone to press. *sigh*

None that I’m aware of yet!

Tell us a little about your hero. Something fun, like his favorite childhood pet, or his first kiss.

The clan’s ancient, one-eyed seer predicted Ian MacDonald would wed twice: once in anger and once in love. He was a lad of ten at the time and hoping she would foretell his many battle victories as a great warrior.

What sparked this book? Was it a character?

The hero and heroine came to me together. Although I didn’t know what setting I would put them in, I’ve had the idea for them and their relationship in my head for a long time. This is both an ugly duckling and a second chances story about two people who had a close bond as children.
From the time she could walk, Sìleas loved Ian MacDonald, a black-haired, blue-eyed boy who is five years older than she is. For his part, Ian ignored the teasing from other lads about “his wee shadow” and let her tag along. Since no one else looked out for Sìleas, Ian was always having to rescue his little friend from trouble.

A few years later, Ian is a handsome young warrior, and Sileas is thirteen and in her absolutely least attractive phase. After Sìleas prevails upon him to come to her aid yet again, Ian is forced to say wedding vows to her with a dirk at his back. Ian is furious and blames Sìleas. Of course, Ian doesn’t consummate the marriage—that would be disgusting—and he leaves for five years.

The story really begins when Ian returns.

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

I was amazed to learn that Highland chieftains of this period ran through wives in a way that rivaled Henry VIII. But while King Henry fought with the church over it, the Highland chieftains followed the old Celtic customs without being overly troubled by the church’s rules. Rome was a long way away, and they chose to ask for forgiveness rather than seek permission. Women “put aside” husbands, too.

I found that the first chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat had six sons by six different women and that the animosity between these six half-brothers led to two generations of violence and murder. Naturally, this is the clan I chose for my four heroes. ;)

I was very fortunate to be able to make a research trip to Scotland last summer. Here are a few pictures from my trip of places that are in THE GUARDIAN.

What’s next for you?

THE SINNER, book 2 of THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, will be out in November. After that, readers can watch for book 3, THE WARRIOR, and the final book in the series, THE CHIEFTAIN. Readers can find more information about me and my books on my website: http://www.margaretmallory.com/.

Thanks so much for letting me visit! I’d love to respond to comments or questions. I’m giving away a signed copy of THE GUARDIAN to one of the commenters.


Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Margaret -

Congrats on the release of THE GUARDIAN! It sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it!

What made you choose the name Sileas for your heroine? It's unusual, but very pretty.


10:10 AM  
Blogger Margaret Mallory said...

Thanks, History Hoydens, for having me as a guest!

Jena, it took me forever to pick out the names of my characters. This is a four-book series, and the characters in each others' books, which meant I needed to find 8 main character names that were distinctive but also appropriate for the time & place. I was pleased to find such a pretty Gaelic name for my first heroine. It's pronounced SHEE-las.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

Thanks for coming to visit. I was so happy to see that you skipped over kilts and clan tartans. Those are major pet peeves of mine in a lot of Scottish histoicals. I gave a class on the topic in Atlanta a few years ago and basically I had a room full of VERY annoyed writers to contend with, LOL!

The book sounds absolutely wonderful and I’ve already added it to my TBR pile.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Margaret Mallory said...

Isobel, I already had one reader write to tell me my hero is in the wrong clan tartan on the cover. It hurt me to point out the issue with tartans, that the guy wouldn't be wearing a kilt, and that he probably wouldn't be shirtless either...Sad, sad, sad.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

I really wish publishers would just put them in the right costume on the cover. I happen to think léinte are every bit as sexy as kilts. *shrug*

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's to many sales, Margaret! Loved learning more about you!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Janie Mason said...

This series sounds fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading each one.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Margaret Mallory said...

Thanks for the good wishes for my sales, Tess! Janie, hope you enjoy my books. :)

10:53 AM  
Blogger Clancy said...

Margaret, I'm glad you fudged the kilt thing. What's a Highlander without the kilt.... can't wait to read.


2:42 PM  
Blogger Janette Harjo said...

Very Interesting Interview, Margaret! I had thought Kilts were what the Scottish men were all about! LOL! If not Kilts; what did they wear?! Oh! And your flicker about the places you visited in Scotland did not work for me. :(


3:41 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Love the story idea of your new series, Margaret. Can't wait to read The Guardian.


5:04 PM  
Blogger Dtchycat said...

Hi Margaret - Reading this right now, so far I love it!

4:54 PM  
Blogger Margaret Mallory said...

Dtchycat--Glad to hear you're loving THE GUARDIAN! Thanks for telling me. Hope you love it all the way to the end. :)


7:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Site Counter
Kennedy Western University Online