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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Q&A Interview with Margaret Mallory, Author of The Guardian

Please join me in welcoming Margaret Mallory today at Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

1Q. When you do a series do you have each book plotted out before you start the first one or do the subsequent books flow from the first book?

MM:  I didn’t know I would get published when I wrote Knight of Desire and wrote it with no plan for a series. Fortunately, there was a great secondary character who emerged in that book and then in Knight of Pleasure who begged for his own book and became the obvious choice for the next hero.

That worked out well, but when I started this new series, I wanted to have it more planned out. I did character sketches of all four heroes and heroines and their basic relationship conflicts. Over the series, I’ll have each hero accomplish an important step toward securing their imperiled clan. I wish I could say I have the plot worked out for all four books, but I don’t! 

2Q  When researching a book, have you ever found anything "hands on" or unusual required?

MM:  I was lucky to be able to visit Scotland last summer. It made a big difference to see the castles and countryside I was writing about in this series. I also found places that I hadn’t planned to include in my books but decided I had to work in.

I wanted to see Stirling Castle, in particular, to find out if the scenes I set there in THE GUARDIAN would work. Was the outer close as big as it looked in pictures? Would my heroine be breathless after running across it?

3Q. Can you tell us what inspired you to write this time period?

MM:  I prefer my men wielding swords, so that helped set my time period.
For a historical backdrop, I look for a time of conflict and great change. I decided to set my series in the wake of the Scots devastating defeat to Henry VIII’s forces in 1513 at the Battle of Flodden. Thousands of Scots were killed, including the Scottish king and many nobles and chieftains. I have my four heroes fighting in France at the time, and they return to find their clan in peril, their king and chieftain dead, and everything changed.

4Q Is any of your writing from personal experiences or is it completely imagination?

MM:  I definitely drew on my personal experience in portraying Sìleas as a funny-looking, late-blooming, thirteen-year-old in chapter 1. It gave me great satisfaction to make this ugly duckling blossom into a beauty who knocks the hero’s socks off when he returns five years later.

5Q. Do your characters live with you or haunt your dreams as you write?

MM:  They are pretty much my life. ;)  Sometimes I can’t get to sleep because I’m thinking about them. I keep a tablet on the bathroom counter so I can write things down and get back to sleep.

Visit my review post to enter the GIVEAWAY for The Guardian.

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