Alexis: Today we have Historical Romance author, Amy Jarecki who is giving away a choice of either The Highland Henchmen or Captured by the Pirate Laird to one lucky commenter.
Amy: Hi Alexis! Thank you for inviting me to the Happily Ever After Blog today!
Alexis: It’s great to have you, Amy :-) Let’s jump right in. Everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?
Amy: I build a notebook for every book. It starts with research. I usually find an event in history, or someone who sparks my interest. I learn everything I can about them and use that as a framework for my outline.
- Once I'm ready to write.
- Start with a premise statement.
- Write a 2-3 page general outline of the book/sequence of events.
- Develop my characters--I identify their personality type, then I use a character profile sheet to make them into a real person and write their back stories.
- I then use an Excel spreadsheet to plot each scene. I use a numbering system that allows me to insert scenes, because once I start writing, the gloves come off and my characters start taking over. Inevitably, the outline changes as the story comes alive.
- Of course I then edit the heck out of it...that has become my favorite part.
Alexis: What are you working on now?
Amy: I’m working on two things—editing a manuscript that’s the second book in a new Scottish historical series that will come out next year. And I’m writing a novella that is part of the Highland Force series.
Alexis: Why did you choose this sub-genre of romance?
Amy: I have always loved Scotland and reading Scottish historical romance. My heritage is Scottish, even my maiden name, and I got my master’s degree from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. It was a natural step when I started writing Scottish historical romances.
Alexis: Wow, I guess so. How long did it take you to write your most recent release? Why?
Amy: The Highland Henchman took me about three months. I already had the setting fleshed out from book one. I had to study about Mary, Queen of Scots battle of Langside, Iona and Renfrewshire, but I always have some history that needs to be fleshed out before I start writing. Also, Bran was a character in the first book, so it was easy to get into his head. Enya is a rebel like me, and I had a ton of fun with her character too. My novels are all about 95,000 words, and take me 3-4 months to write.
Alexis: That’s pretty quick for such long books. I’m sure you have some help getting them in shape. What do you think everyone should know about your critique partner?
Amy: She’s freaking awesome and she understands me.
Alexis: That about says it all :-) What do you think everyone should know about your husband?
Amy: I’m married to the nicest man on the planet. He doesn’t read my work, but he supports my writing, and he helps me write my back cover copy.
Alexis: Aw, you can’t beat that! Thank you so much for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts.
Check out this blurb from Highland Force Book 1, Captured by the Pirate Laird:
Wed by proxy to a baron old enough to be her grandfather, Lady Anne trudges up the gangway of a galleon that will deliver her into the arms of a tyrant. Crestfallen, she believes her disastrous life cannot get worse—until she awakes to the blasts of cannon fire.
Facing certain death, Anne trembles in her stateroom while swords clash and the chilling screams of battle rage on the deck above. When a rugged Highlander kicks in her door, she prays for a swift end.
But Laird Calum MacLeod has a reason for plundering the ship—and it’s not a stunning English lass. With no other choice, he takes Anne to his crumbling keep on the isle of Raasay and sends a letter of ransom to her husband. In time, Anne grows to understand MacLeod’s plight and finds it increasingly difficult to resist Calum’s unsettling charm—until the baron sends a reply agreeing to terms.
Ripped from passion that will be forever seared into their souls, will Anne and Calum risk everything for love?
Alexis: If that’s not enticing enough, check out this blurb from Highland Force Book 2, The Highland Henchman:
Intent on winning a Lowlander’s tournament, Bran MacLeod travels south with his laird. All goes as planned, except spirited Miss Enya Ross continually distracts him, and in the oddest situations. With no business lusting after a baron’s daughter, Bran decides to return to Raasay—until his laird pledges Bran’s services in the fight to reinstate Mary, Queen of Scots to the throne.
Enya has no deference for the lines of nobility, or for the Great Divide that separates Lowlanders from Highlanders. The way Sir Bran’s eyes hunger for her ignites an internal fire Enya cannot quell. All her life she’s wanted adventure and excitement, but now her every thought is consumed with the rugged Highlander.
With all odds stacked against them, can their forbidden love withstand the tumult of war and the menace of betrayal?
Alexis: For a chance to win either of these books, be sure to comment below. Good luck!
More about Amy
Amy Jarecki adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she has focused on the genre of Scottish historical romance. Her favorite eras are the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with a pair of Roman/Pict novels coming in late 2014.
Amy's web site: http://www.amyjarecki.com