Thursday, March 22, 2012

Release Party Day 5-Inspiration- Part I

Today I've decided to share with you the books that steered me in the direction of writing something set in Scotland. For each one I'll explain why it was important to me.

Monica McCarty's 1st book was a great read for this Scotland lover, but it was a HUGE help for me as a writer. It was the first time I truly saw and understood the concept of GMC, goal, motivation and conflict. I'd always been a plot oriented writer- bombs, kidnappings, murders, car chases. But the concept of characters changing over the course of a story had always been  difficult for me to "get" as a writer. Other writers talked about the magic of Deb Dixon's GMC book, but that hadn't worked for me. But somehow, someway, Monica's book helped me finally make that transition from amateur to true, professional author.

Arnette Lamb was the author of the first Scottish historical I ever read. A friend of mine when I was living on the ridge of the Grand Canyon in 1993/4 brought it to me because she knew I loved to read romances and I loved Scotland. I went on to read everything Arnette wrote and loved them all.

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander was what I consider sealed my fate as a romance novelist. I read that book, LOVED it and decided then and there I HAD to write. I wanted to affect readers the way her characters affected me. (I mean, come on. Who doesn't love Jamie Fraser????)

How much I loved Jennifer Roberson's The Lady of the Glen was a complete surprise. I mean, here it is almost 15 years since I read it and I can still remember details. In fact, I was on a plane to Scotland when I was reading it. When my Highland tour took me through Glen Coe, I recognized the setting of her story, which made me go back, research the area & the Glen Coe Massacre, and finish the book. I don't usually read books more than once, but this is one for which I would make an exception.

Katie McAlister's Men in Kilts had me laughing so hard I had tears falling down my cheeks. I was thrilled with the opportunity to read a contemporary romance set in Scotland. Sure, I loved my Scottish historicals, but wanted something different. You might say Katie's books gave me the OK to write a contemporary Scottish story. Her success told me that there was a market for these types of stories.
On a whim one day in the bookstore, I picked up Terri Brisbin's Taming the Highlander. I was just at the start of my "I love all things Scottish" phase and so I read the back. I glanced at the other books in my hand, added up the cost and put Terri's book back. But I couldn't stay away. I can't remember if I put something else back or I just sucked it up and bought this one as well, but I was thrilled I did. I've since read several books by this author and I've loved them all.

So there you have my list of my favorite Scottish stories that played some part in getting me where I am today. If you haven't read these, I hope you look into some of them (if not all)! Let me know what you think. If you've read any of these leave us your comments.

Later today I'll be sharing some other inspiration! Don't forget to come back and see!

Have you read any of these?


  1. These look like really great novels, Alexa. I would like to recommend another. Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series! They are fabulous. If you like fae, druids, handsome men, romance, and time-travel, you may love them as much as I did! :)

    -Diva J.

  2. I've read one of Moning's books and liked it, but I'm not really a big fan of fae & druid stories. Of course, I LOVE handsome men, though!

  3. I LOVE Monica McCarty--she's my favourite author. Her books are simply brilliant. I especially love her newest series, The Highland Guard.

    This author is old school, but I really love Julie Garwood's Scottish romances. It's been a long time since I've read them, but she was the one who introduced me to the whole genre =)

  4. Ooooh, I forgot about Garwood! I've read many of her Scottish romances too and loved them.