Thank you so much for having me here on Fresh Fiction today! I’m Heather McCollum, mother of three overly dramatic kids, wife of one Highland hero, ovarian cancer slayer, lover of chai lattes and dragonflies, and author of Scottish historical romances. My twenty-first book, THE HIGHLAND OUTLAW, was just released on October 21st (I love coincidences!).
I’m often asked where I get my ideas. I feel like ideas are just floating around out in the world everywhere, and I have fun picking them out of the tangle of must-dos and everyday occurrences. It means that I’m sometimes hyperaware of my surroundings. The worlds around us are our own personal settings, just like settings for characters in books. Just like I need to recognize the sights, smells, and sounds in my books, I try to take those all in while living my life.
Then I let my mind wander and expound upon those details. For example, I walk my dog each morning through my suburban neighborhood. Being the conscientious dog owner, I pick up her poop and drop the biodegradable baggie in the neighborhood dog waste cans set along the streets. Almost every time I lift that lid to toss it in, I imagine something unexpected being in there. Like, what if there was a severed arm in there? What would I do? What if it had a diamond ring on its finger (no I wouldn’t steal it, but it would make me know it wasn’t a robbery gone wrong)? What if my crazy golden retriever jumped up and grabbed it and ran off with it? Would I scream? Call the police? Yell at her to drop it?
I also try to choose which house I would investigate first if suddenly I was the only one left on the planet. LOL! And what if I rounded the corner where the house sits that is surrounded by mulch (they have no grass in their yard at all) and see a lawn service guy there looking suspicious? Or a man riding a horse in a kilt who stops to ask me what year it is in a heavy brogue? See, ideas everywhere! Or delusions depending on who you ask!
Even though I write 16th and 17th-century romance, themes and lessons about love, hate and revenge carry through the centuries. Here’s a TMI example from my own life. I had terrible menstrual cramps as a young adult, crippling even. One night in college, when I was dating my future husband, a false fire alarm went off. There was three feet of snow outside, and I was having extremely bad cramps. My boyfriend literally carried me through the snow to his dorm and then proceeded to wake up everyone by knocking on doors until he could find me ibuprofen. Yes, he was definitely hero material.
This modern life event translated into a scene in one of my first books, CAPTURED HEART, where the hero rides through the night to get raspberry leaves to bring back for the heroine who is in pain from her “monthly flux.” She had thought he left once he found out what she was experiencing, but really, he was riding to find her something that would help.
So when asked where I find my ideas, I really have to say that they are everywhere from tossing dog waste to suffering from cramps to surviving chemo to stopping to stare at the morning dew on the perfect red rose. In THE HIGHLAND OUTLAW, my own experiences with raising babies gives me real-life details with the baby that the characters must get safely to a ship bound for France. For my next series, which involves horses, I’m spending time with the noble creatures. There is so much more to horses than being just a mode of transportation. Inspiration can be found in the dustiest corner as well as the fanciest ballroom. I just have to remember to open my eyes, breathe in the smells, touch the rough stone castle walls, and listen to the whispers in the breezes.
The Campbells #4
Shaw Sinclair, chief of the outcast clan of Sinclairs of Caithness in northern Scotland, has made a deal with the devil. Despite his strength and lethal skills, he needs help–specifically from a woman–to accomplish his mission to bring a bairn to safety to the coast. When he meets the brave and beautiful Alana Campbell at a Samhain Festival, he decides she’s the one.
Alana Campbell is ready to show the world she’s just as skillful with a sgian dubh as any man. Attracting the attention of the brawny chief who coerces her to join him on his journey to the coast of Scotland gives her that very opportunity. Sparks flash between them as they’re forced to act as husband and wife to accomplish the deadly mission. However, when secrets threaten to tear them apart, they have to decide if their differences outweigh the reality of their feelings. . .
Each book in The Campbells series is STANDALONE:
* The Scottish Rogue
* The Savage Highlander
* The Wicked Viscount
* The Highland Outlaw
Romance Historical [Entangled: Amara, On Sale: October 21, 2019, e-Book, ISBN: 9781640638716 / eISBN: 9781640638716]
About Heather McCollum
Heather McCollum is an award-winning, historical romance writer. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.