The Write Way Café welcomes author Collette Cameron, who shares her fascination with history through the characters and settings in her books.
When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I don’t actually know when the notion started about writing. Somewhere tucked into the corner of my mind had always been this niggling thought that maybe someday I’d write a book. I didn’t have a clue what kind, except I knew it wouldn’t be a romance novel.
The idea of writing dialogue terrified me, and there were concerns about what people would think if I wrote one of those books.
So what do I write? Historical romance novels.
I had a scene pop into my mind one day, and I wondered if I could write an entire book around that scene. I did, and Highlander’s Hope was the result.
Where did the idea for your story come from?
Triumph and Treasure was birthed from my Castle Brides Series.
There were so many fabulous secondary characters in those first three books, I knew many of them had to have their own stories. Truthfully, some of them nagged incessantly until I agreed to share their tales. Characters can be quite impatient and demanding.
Flynn, the Marquis of Bretheridge, was a fun-loving popular fellow in that first series, and I wanted to introduce something into his life that would challenge his usual jovial attitude. I also wanted Scottish roots in one or both of my main characters. I knew Angelina would be different than the typical Scottish Regency heroine, so I had her raised in America.
Why did you pick the setting you did?
I love both Scotland and England. I seem to have a penchant for setting my stories in those dual locations.
I’ve been to England twice and fell in love with the country. My hubby and I are going to Scotland in the summer of 2015, so I hope to get a bunch of research done while I’m there. That is if I don’t spend all my time exploring the castles and standing stones.
Plus, with a name like Cameron, it’s in my blood!
Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are all completely imaginary, though people swear there are aspects of me in my first heroine. If there are, they were completely unintentional, and in fact, I believe she rubbed off on me, not the other way around.
I actually deliberately try to create characters totally different than me, which can be a challenge sometimes to get inside their heads and emotions.
After my stories are written, I’ve seen some character traits in some of my secondary characters that are very familiar, and in one case, I realized the character could, indeed, be someone I actually know.
Maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me something.
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I’m what people have called a linear pantser or a plantster. I write beginning to end, and I have some basic plot points I want to hit on, but I don’t know my entire story in detail until it’s done.
I love how my characters will take me a direction I didn’t see coming or how I’ll suddenly know what a secondary character’s story is going to be because of something that happened during the writing of the story.
It surprises me how strongly some people react to the fictional people in my books.
What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about slave-trading, gambling, and Scottish royalty?
As you might expect, historicals require a great deal of research.
When I was creating the villain for Triumph and Treasure, I wanted someone involved in something despicable, so I began to research the slave trade in France. I was stunned to learn that slave traders in France were responsible for far more numbers of slaves being sold than the United States.
Gambling was an acceptable social practice for both men and women as a form of entertainment. Though gaming was all the rage during the Regency era, many a man lost everything at the tables, and some even took their lives after losing a wager.
The Scots are a fascinating people, and I greatly admire them. The peerage in Scotland is similar to that of England with a few exceptions. Flynn, the hero in Triumph and Treasure holds a British title.
Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I have the most beautiful writing space; at least I think so! I call it my shabby chic writing room.
When my youngest son left home, I commandeered his bedroom. It overlooks our backyard which is also a Certified Wildlife Habitat. I filled the room with all sorts of repainted cast-offs and everything I love the most: flowers, candles, teacups, pictures galore.
It’s a bit busy for some people, but that’s okay. It’s not their room. It’s my quite place and the ambiance in the room is perfect for writing.
What are you working on now?
I’m in the middle of Heartbreak and Honor, the third book in my Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series. December is busy month for me. The first book in the series, Triumph and Treasure, just released and I’m finishing up the second book, Virtue and Valor.
I’m also in the final edits for Bride of Falcon, a Regency novella that will be released as part of a boxed novella set, Captivated by His Kiss, with seven other Regency authors in January. And then there’s a 2015 Valentine anthology that features my short story, Heart of a Highlander, and I have another short story releasing in January, A Kiss For Miss Kingsley.
Many of the characters in those books have been introduced in my other books as well.
Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
While historical romance will always remain my favorite genre, I have a time-travel series, a new adult series, and a contemporary series planned.
There are historical elements to the first two series, so I guess I’m not getting away from writing historicals altogether.
What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
I tend to be a wordy writer, which means I have to go back and be brutal about tightening scenes. Thank goodness I have a couple of critique partners who have no qualms about telling me to cut, cut, cut!
Triumph and Treasure
Book One in the Highlander Heather Romancing a Scot Series
A disillusioned Scottish gentlewoman.
Angelina Ellsworth once believed in love—before she discovered her husband of mere hours was a slave-trader and already married. To avoid the scandal and disgrace, she escapes to her aunt and uncle’s, the Duke and Duchess of Waterford. When Angelina learns she is with child, she vows she’ll never trust a man again.
A privileged English lord.
Flynn, Earl of Luxmoore, led an enchanted life until his father committed suicide after losing everything to Waterford in a wager. Stripped of all but his title, Flynn is thrust into the role of marquis as well as provider for his disabled sister and invalid mother. Unable to pay his father’s astronomical gambling loss, Flynn must choose between social or financial ruin.
When the duke suggests he’ll forgive the debt if Flynn marries his niece, Flynn accepts the duke’s proposal. Reluctant to wed a stranger, but willing to do anything to protect her babe and escape the clutches of the madman who still pursues her, Angelina agrees to the union.
Can Flynn and Angelina find happiness and love in a marriage neither wanted, or is the chasm between them insurmountable?
Available from Amazon
Connect with Collette:
Visit her website for her email address and mailing address.
About Collette: Award winning, multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master's in Teaching. A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette’s been married most of her life, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You'll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.