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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Guest Author Interview: Margaret Mallory

Alexis: Happy Mother’s Day everyone! What a great day to have Margaret Mallory visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts. After all, what’s a better gift to those of us who are moms than a wonderful romance novel? What is truly great about Margaret’s most recent release is that it is just the beginning of a series, so THE GUARDIAN is the type of gift that will keep giving ;-)

Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts, Margaret. We are so pleased to have you and I, for one, love a great series. Where did you get the idea for the Return of the Highlanders Series?

Margaret: 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.

Alexis: What a great backdrop for a romance, built-in tension for both setting and characters. What are your favorite character traits of Sileas and Ian?

Margaret: I like Sileas inner strength, resilience, and loyalty. When things get bad, she really shines. 

 I admire Ian’s driving need to save his clan, right the wrongs of his past, and redeem himself.

Alexis: This story is obviously based in the thick of a long-standing historical conflict. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

Margaret: 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 spent quite a bit of time researching clan histories. When I found that the first chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat had six sons by six different women and that the animosity between these six half-brothers led to two generations of violence and murder, I knew I’d found the clan for my heroes.

My characters would be speaking Gaelic, so I listened to Gaelic for the cadence of the speech. I also looked for Gaelic expressions and had fun including some of them in THE GUARDIAN.

Alexis: Since I consider Scotland my home away from home, I can completely understand your need to add a few more locations after visiting. It is truly the perfect country for romance, heroic action, and historical upheaval. And I have to say that historical romances have always held a special place in my heart.  What was the first historical romance you ever read? First Scottish historical?

Margaret: It’s hard to remember the first historical, but it might have been a Judith McNaught or Georgette Heyer. My first and favorite Scottish historical is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Alexis: Ah, yes. Diana’s is truly a classic. You said you’d visited Scotland. Which is your favorite Scottish Castle and why?

Margaret: I can’t choose! Edinburgh Castle is majestic and huge, sitting up on a volcanic rock. Stirling Castle is stunning. Urquhart is in ruins and is in a gorgeous setting on Loch Ness. I could go on… 

Alexis: I do know how hard it is to decide on just one.  I can’t decide either though Doune, Dunnottar, and Kilchurn are definitely at the top J

Margaret, thank you so much for stopping by. Here at Happily Ever After Thoughts, we love romances and enjoy meeting the lovely people who create them for us.

Blog readers!  If you want a chance to win Margaret’s book, THE GUARDIAN, be sure to leave her a comment and we will pull a winner Wednesday morning. If you want to learn more about Margaret and her new series go to

Check out this excerpt from THE GUARDIAN:

The room fell away as Ian stared at the young woman who stood in the glow of the firelight. Her hair was the most beautiful shade of red he had ever seen. It fell in gleaming waves and framed a face so lovely it squeezed his heart to look at her.

When she lifted her gaze and met his, the air went out of him. There was something very familiar about this lovely, green-eyed lass, but Ian could not place her.

"Ian." Alex jabbed him in the ribs.

Ian knew he should stop staring at her, but he couldn't help himself.

"Hmmph," Alex grunted as he pushed past Ian. He strode across the room and greeted the young woman with a kiss on her cheek, as if he knew her well. "Ach, you are a sight to behold," Alex said. "If I were your husband, Sìleas, ye can be sure I wouldn't have kept ye waiting a single day."

Sìleas? Ian shook his head. Nay, this could not be...

The young woman was nothing like the scrawny thirteen-year-old he remembered. Instead of gawky limbs and pointed elbows, she had graceful lines and rounded curves that made his throat go dry.

"Welcome home," the young woman said to Alex in the kind of throaty voice a man wanted to hear in the dark.

"Ye two must be hungry after your travels. Come, Sìleas, let us get these men fed," his mother said, taking the lass by the arm. His mother gave him a wide-eyed look over her shoulder, the kind she used to give him when he was a lad and had committed some grievous error in front of company.

When Ian started to follow the two women to the table, Alex hauled him back. "Are ye an idiot?" Alex hissed in his face. "Ye didn't even greet Sìleas. What's the matter with ye?"

"Are ye sure that's Sìleas?" Ian said, leaning to the side so he could see past Alex to the red-haired lass.

"Of course it is, ye fool," Alex said. "Did ye no hear your mam just say her name?"

From the corner of his eye, Ian saw the back of Sìleas's skirt disappearing up the stairs. It occurred to him he had the right to follow her up and take her to bed. Tonight. Right now. Before supper, if he wanted. And again, after. The part of him between his legs was giving him an emphatic "Aye!"

His reaction startled him. For five long years, he had planned to end the marriage as soon as he returned. He'd harbored not a single doubt.

But he made that plan before she turned into this enchanting lass with curves that would have him dreaming of her naked as soon as he closed his eyes.

Aye, he most definitely wanted to take Sìleas to bed. Any man would. The question, however, was whether he wanted her to be the last woman he ever took to his bed.

Alexis:  Remember to post a comment for a chance to win this awesome book J


  1. This looks wonderful! And I'm jealous. Someday I'll make it to Scotland...someday. :) Congrats!
    rmjamuse at msn dot com

  2. Margaret,
    What a marvelous series idea - I look forward to reading your stories. I've never been to Scotland but it's on my list of places to someday go. I'd love to see the castles - luckily for me, there are authors like you who can show me what they look like before I even step foot on Scottish soil.


  3. Great post ladies!!!! I CANNOT wait to read this Margaret!!!!!!!!!!!



  4. I'm always looking for new books to read especially about Highlanders. Congrats on the new book, I'm looking forward to reading it.

  5. Great blog and I can't wait to read this book!

  6. Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers! Thanks, Alexis, for inviting me to visit today. :)


  7. I'd love to win a copy of The Guardian. It sounds like Ian is going to have his hands full with his bride. Can't wait to read it.

  8. Oh my! What a WONDROUS start to what looks to be a delightful series. I can't wait to enjoy these stories. I adore Scotland, Margaret and I can tell you've truly done it justice. Well done!!

    maevegreyson at gmail dot com

  9. Happy Mother's Day everyone. I absolutely love the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com

  10. Congratulations on another great series Margaret! Loved the excerpt, and am very jealous you've been to Scotland! I will go there someday!

  11. I love it when guys don't see what's right in front of them and then look a little goofy. Always makes me smile. Can't wait to read!


  12. so I messed up my email - not uncommon :(

    This is me looking goofy :)

  13. I just finished reading your book "The Guardian" on Friday. I can't wait to read about the next warrior in Ian's group to fall in love! I wonder which character will claim a wife in your next book. :)

  14. Absolutely loved the book. I wish you weren't making us wait so long for Alex's story.

  15. Paige & Ora, I'm thrilled you loved THE GUARDIAN! Yay! The Sinner, Alex's story, is all wrapped and will be released October 25th. I'm working on Duncan's book now.

    I'm glad to see that others enjoyed the excerpt and the post. Yes, Sileas has to make Ian suffer. :)


  16. As usual, men can be pretty dense. LOL. Loved the brief excerpt. I'm gonna stalk you to win a copy of The Guardian. ;)

    angela (at)


  17. Hi Margaret and welcome to the blog!
    I can feel the life of the Scottish in your excerpt and am sure the setting will put me right there when I read your novel.
    If you had visited England, or Portugal, etc., would that have changed where the series took place?

  18. I've been to Ireland and would love to set a novel there, too, Dawn. For now, I'm making do with having a couple of scenes in the 3rd book of THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS set in Ireland. As you probably know, there were very close ties between the Western Isles of the Scottish Highlands and Ireland during the time of my series.

  19. Sounds fabulous!
    Good luck with your series:)

  20. And a happy Mother's Day to you, too, Margaret! It's winding down now, and I'm late to comment, but I'm 2/3 through your story and enthralled. You have captivated me with Ian and Sileas' love and the ensuing complications. I love their strenth...and Ian's willingness to show her...well, I don't want to spoil it for anyone else. :)

  21. Happy Mother's Day Margaret ^_^. Thanks for stopping by and the interview too.
    You said you learn Gaelic, because your character speak Gaelic. Is it hard to learn this languange? And are there a difference between Scotland and Irish Gaelic? I always want to know about Gaelic, because I think it's a beautiful languange :)

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  22. Glad you are enjoying THE GUARDIAN, Laurie! Ren, I've collected a lot of Gaelic expressions and words, but I haven't learned Gaelic. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at learning other languages.


  23. I had to sneak by and say how wonderful this book really is! You guys will love it! You don't have to be a fan of Scottish Romance to love this one, you just have love romance. This is a perfect example of the type of book anyone will enjoy.

    Good luck! (you don't have to enter me)

  24. Wow! That was some post, made me completely forget to be jealous about your Scotland trip. Congrats on the new release. How many yummy highlanders are in the series?

  25. HighlandHussy, thanks so much for stopping by to tell everyone they'll love my book!!! That was so sweet of you.

    Linda, this is a 4-book series. The heroes are 3 cousins and a friend, and all of them make appearances in each others' books. I'm getting very positive feedback from readers on the guy-bond between these four Highland warriors. :)

  26. Great interview and I also enjoyed the excerpt! This is definitely going on my TBR list, I look forward to reading it! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!


  27. The book looks really good. I love highlanders! count me in.