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Friday, August 16, 2013

Embracing my inner highland lass

I write romantic suspense and I love to read it, but I admit to a weakness for historicals—particularly Scottish historicals. And I do quite a bit of my "reading" in my car, listening to books on tape. There's just something about a man with a Scottish accent (particularly if it's Phil Gigante narrating Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series or Kaleo Griffith doing Pamela's Clare's MacKinnon's Ranger series).

So as I drive through the highlands for the first time, I try to imagine what it would be like to live in a place so ruggedly beautiful but so seldom truly warm. I'm from New England, so I'm partial to cool weather, but August in Scotland means bundling up in fleeces and hoodies, particularly when the wind is blowing. Still, watching the clouds swirl around green hills and rock ledges wrapped in heather, then roll down into the valleys, I suspect it would take a long time to tire of this magical place.

There's so much more water here than I imagined, despite having studied the map before coming. If I lived here I would find a home on a hilltop with a porch—or turrett—looking out over a loch or the sea. I would fix myself pots of tea and sip it in a wicker rocker with a wool tartan on my lap. I'd put on soft bagpipe music in the background to get in the mood, and tap away at my laptop.

It doesn't get more idyllic than that.

Where my dream breaks down is when I go the next step and try to imagine writing a contemporary romantic suspense in my highland rocking chair. Could I write a political thriller in this kind of setting, or would I need to be home in Washington, DC to be in the proper frame of mind? How much does where you write affect what you write?

I only wish I had more time here to find out!


Ana Barrons writes sexy romantic suspense, often set in Washington, DC. Visit her on her website:, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.


Shelley Munro said...

Scotland is beautiful, although I've only been there during the warmer weather. It's funny, but I started thinking about brawny Highlanders earlier this week. I need to write some!

Maureen A. Miller said...

Oh, can I come sit up in your turret with you?

There's some contemporary suspense in the highlands. At least when James Bond gets involved. I loved that Skyfall went back to the mother-land.

But yes, atmosphere plays heavily on your writing...I think.

Have a great trip!

Unknown said...

I haven't seen any truly brawny highlanders, Shelley, but I have a seen a few hot waiters in kilts. ;) Now, Daniel Craig in a kilt would be something wonderful to see..

Rita said...

The place I write has nothing to do with what I'm writing. It does contribute to my state of mind. Many authors I know can write anyplace, in a busy airport. In the hotel lobby while attending a conference. I need serenity. Scotland would certainly do the trick.LOL!

Elise Warner said...

I loved Scotland but I did have to buy a bubble jacket there in Sept. A good deal colder than NYC. I think I saw those same waiters in their kilts. I don't have to be in a place but I do have to learn a good deal about it to write a story. When I do travel, I gather material and take scads of photos. Perhaps you'll get Daniel Craig to star in the movie version of your next book.

Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

(I logged in as someone else just then...) I think you're right, Rita. If I could actually find my turret I could probably write anything. I've written romantic suspense in New Hampshire and St. Lucia, so why not Scotland? And yes, Elise, Daniel Craig is welcome to star in anything I ever write!

Anne Marie Becker said...

I've been loving your pictures on Facebook (and here). What a fun experience! I, too, have a weakness for Scottish highlander historicals. Will have to try listening to them on tape - never thought of that! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Anne Marie, I've got a ton of pictures. I'll be putting them up on my website when I get back.

Jean Harrington said...

Ana, Love those highland kilted guys too. Have you ever considered an Irish hero? How about Owen O'Donnell, the crippled (through a boyhood accident) hero of The Barefoot Queen? Actually he's only a short sail across the Irish Sea. Just askin'.

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