Today I am reviewing Highlander's Hope by Collette Cameron and she's also answering some questions and sharing an excerpt! What a treat! Be sure to comment because she is giving away a gift basket that includes a 20.00 Amazon gift card, Cadbury Chocolates, Vintage-looking cameo pendant, Highlander's Hope bookmark, blue rose china teacup and demi-spoon, blue rose soaps, notepad--all assembled in an attractive vintage decor box to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour!
~My review~Soooo you may have noticed I have a thing for historical romance....Well when the chance to review this book came up, I jumped at it. Highlanders? Action? History? Romance? Yes please! Ms Cameron has created a well-written, exciting story with a memorable hero and a great setting.
Initially I feared I was going to struggle with it. Ms Cameron is a talented writer but the introduction edged toward the wordy side - though no doubt she set the scene very well. However my fears were quickly forgotten with the introduction of Evan as he comes to the aid of the fiesty Yvette. She has fled the unwanted attentions of one suitor and now finds herself in the hands of another man interested in her for several reasons...the first being to help bring a traitor in.
In amongst a plot of intrigue and danger, Yvette finds herself attracted to the handsome Evan and a slow attraction builds. Evan is clearly attracted to her and occasionally pushes things but ultimately is very gentlemanly. I liked this. He managed to retain his strength of character while still being mindful of Yvette's feelings and inexperience. Often these historical heroes can be very high-handed and it gets a little old. Yvette too was a great heroine. Whilst remaining strong and opinionated, she still felt like a historical heroine - a woman suited to her time and upbringing. Several twists and turns keep you gripped along with some sensual chemistry. All in all a well-written book. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Cameron does next.
And now you've read my thoughts, we get to hear from the lady herself! Please welcome Collette as I put her in the spotlight.
Samantha, thank you so much for hosting me today. It’s such a pleasure to be here.
What is your name (or pen name) and where do you live now?
My name is Collette Cameron, and yes, that’s a pen name. Collette is my middle name and Cameron is a family surname. I live in a small rural community outside of Portland, Oregon in the United States.
First off, how has your week been?
Fabulous. School is out for the summer so that means I have lots of time to write and to garden.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m a third grade teacher by day and a writer the rest of the time. I absolutely love dogs. I have seven; five dachshunds and two labs. I like flavoured coffees and teas; peonies are my favourite flowers; and I’d love to visit England and France again. A stop in Scotland would be very nice too!
I started writing, on a whim really, in February 2011. I was only teaching part-time, and because my children are grown, I had free time on my hands. I’d flirted with the idea of writing a novel for years. On day I sat at my computer and started tapping out a Highlander’s Hope based on a single scene that popped into my mind weeks before.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it what would you say?
The Earl’ Enticement is the third book in my Blue Rose Trilogy. It’s my favourite book so far.
The story is a Regency historical about a brash Scot’s lass, Adaira (Addy) Ferguson who cares more for horses than conventions. She is hiding a dark secret from her past, swears, and wears breeches. Mistaking Roark Marquardt, the Earl of Clarendon for his villainous brother, she abducts him and locks him in the dungeon of her family’s castle. Things get quite interesting after that.
What genre would you place your books into?
My books are cross-genres. They are Regency historical suspense with a highlander or two thrown in for a bit of extra excitement. At one time that was much more difficult to market, but fortunately, my publisher specializes in cross-genre books.
I do have some ideas for a paranormal historical trilogy, a couple medieval, and even a contemporary romance.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
Ideas for my books just come to me.
Typically, a single scene plays out in my mind like a movie. If I think I can write an entire story around it, I write it down in my “Writing Bible” with as many details as I can come up with. Highlander’s Hope, which released in May, was written around the Banbury Inn scene where Ewan finds Yvette asleep in his chamber.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
For the first year and a half I wrote, I wrote in my hubby’s den. Last fall, I converted one of the empty upstairs bedrooms into a shabby chic writing room. It’s very feminine, very froufrou, and I adore it.
I have all the things I love around me. Pictures of my family, Regency and Victoriana memorabilia, flowers, lace—oh, and my dachshunds, of course. My mini-dachshunds puppy, Ayva, sits in my lap while I write. It’s so cute. The minute I sit down in front of the computer, she’s hopping against my leg, begging me to pick her up.
I like a nice steaming cup of coffee with crème brulee creamer when I first sit down. I rarely drink more than a third of the cup before I’m lost in the writing process, and the coffee turns cold.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
For my first novel, I decided as I went along. For my last two, I’ve completed a 50+ character questionnaire that helped me determine in advance what my characters’ traits would be. I’m not rigid in adhering to the qualities because as my characters develop, sometimes I need to add or remove some traits. But, having the questionnaire forces me to create deeply developed characters with clear internal and external conflicts, as well as what their goals and motivations are.
Because I’m a pantser, they do still surprise me sometimes.
Do you have to do much research?
I’ve done a tremendous amount of research on the Internet and bought dozens of books on the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian eras. I’m a stickler for historical accuracy. I have my hero and heroine in Highlander’s Hope get married without a ceremony. I had to do some deep digging into Scot’s Canon Law to find evidence to support that critical element in the story.
Recently I discovered some of the words I’d used in Highlander’s Hope were not used during the Regency era, though I’ve seen them in several Regency books. I changed them to period accurate terminology.
On an airplane flight yesterday, I was reading a book and realized I was going to have to make a change in my current work in progress because of an inaccuracy.
Thank you again for hosting me today. I really enjoyed answering your questions!
Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, the Viscount Sethwick, hasn't dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago. He's determined to win her heart and make her his own. Heiress, Yvette Stapleton, is certain of one thing; marriage is risky and, therefore, to be avoided. At first, she doesn't recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London's docks, but Lord Sethwick's passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, Ewan draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish law, declaring her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, "I do." Will Ewan's manipulation cost him her newfound love?
She stepped back as he pushed his way into the room, leaving the door ajar. His hair was damp, no doubt from bathing, and the stubble darkening his face earlier was gone. Feet bare, wearing only buckskin breeches and a shirt unbuttoned to the waist, he resembled a pirate—a dangerous, rakish, sinfully handsome pirate.
She sucked in her breath. He oughtn’t to be here, but he’d said he wanted to talk to her, and he had promised to behave.
Yvette’s eyes traveled the path of silky hair from his chest until it disappeared into his waistband. Her stomach flip-flopped. Sweet Lord above. She pressed her hands to her frolicking middle. Why doesn’t he say something?
A distraction, that’s what she needed. She escaped to the lumpy bed where she had flung her clothing before bathing. She folded and packed the garments into her valise and set it on the floor beside her trunk. She bent to retrieve her bath towel, and peeked side-ways at him from the corner of her eye. He hasn’t moved. What’s he about?
Grabbing the towel, she glanced down and froze. The candles to her left bathed her in a stream of light. She could clearly see the outline of her legs. Her nightwear was almost translucent in the candlelight and gave him a shadowy view of— dear God—nearly everything.
No wonder he hadn’t moved, the bounder.
Standing upright, she held the towel before her, and faced him. “Enjoying the view, your lordship?” she snapped.
Ewan still leaned against the doorframe, watching her. “Immeasurably.”
A life-long Oregonian, Collette Cameron was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon
coast. Today she makes her home in a rural community, 30 minutes west of Portland. Her Victorian farmhouse sits on a one-acre certified wildlife habit, interspersed with a plethora of gardens: English, rose, butterfly, rock, water, and of course, vegetable.
A voracious reader of romance since her teens, she even named her daughter after a heroine in her favorite romance novel. An enthusiast of times gone by, and anything related to romance, she writes Historical Romance, with a dash of inspiration, a pinch of humor, and a liberal portion of suspense.
Having dabbled in interior decorating in her youth, Collette returned to school, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University, and going on to obtain her Master's Degree in Teaching. She is member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, The Beau Monde, and Love Faith and Hope, Inc.
Some of Collette's favorite things include unique blends of coffees and teas, trivia, Cadbury Milk Chocolate, inspirational quotes, and scented candles. Her Christian faith, husband, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds round out her life quite nicely! When she's not teaching or writing, she enjoys amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, boating or fishing on the Columbia River, and reading.
Find out more about Highlander's Hope here and find Collette on her website and Facebook page.