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Friday, February 22, 2013

#Author Nancy Jardine Talks #Romance, Scotland, History and More!

Today I'm honored to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Nancy Jardine to The Divas of Desire. Besides writing romances, Nancy also writes historical novels and stories for younger readers. She's a great sport who's kindly agreed to answer five nosy questions from me. Before we start, Nancy has very generously offered a giveaway of her contemporary romance Take Me Now, so once you read the interview, please make sure to scroll all the way down and leave a comment!

Okay, great. NOW let's get started!

Hi, Nancy! Thanks so much for being here today.
You live in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Many of us in the States have a very romantic view of your country. Whenever I think of Scotland, I think of Robert Burns and highlanders. I also think of books and films that are set in Scotland.  Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your home country?

That’s a tough question. There have been many books, of different fictional sub-genres that I’ve really enjoyed that have been set in Scotland. My answer would very much depend on my mood. If I’m in a deep historical mood I love the Scottish novels of Nigel Tranter, his characters steeped in Scottish settings and historical situations. If I feel in what I’d call a ‘Scottish classics’ mood I might answer A Scot’s Quair by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. This is actually a trilogy of novels about a woman called Chris Guthrie who lives in Aberdeenshire, and begins around the turn of the twentieth century. Life for Chris is very difficult in the countryside at this time, hard toil tilling the earth.  Her family is dysfunctional and the era repressive in terms of relationships and marriage -the area permeated with a very Calvinistic, austere Church of Scotland lifestyle. It’s not a happy trilogy but I read it when I was a teenager living in the city of Glasgow which is around 150 miles from Aberdeenshire. When I moved to Aberdeenshire in 1988 the whole setting of A Scots Quair became much more real to me.  Though, back to answering your question I might also be in the mood for a Diana Gabaldon romance set in Scotland, or if I wanted something of the more bizarre, and almost scary, I would probably say something like Ian Banks. His novel ‘the Wasp Factory’ is not one I liked, but yet was fascinated by as a reader. For my ‘crime’ moods I would go for Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin- these are set in Edinburgh.

I've read Diana Gabaldon and Ian Rankin, but I must admit those other authors are unfamiliar to me. They sound fascinating! Your contemporary sensual romance, Monogamy Twist, is set on an English Estate. Take Me Now, another contemporary, takes place at a Scottish castle.  Are these settings based on places you've seen or visited in real life?

Kintore Townhouse, built in 1747
Mostly the answer to that is yes. When I tour anywhere in the world I gravitate to visiting the large tourist attractions of ancestral homes, palaces and houses of note. I’ve been to many estates in the UK though the house which appears in my ‘ancestral mystery’ romance, Monogamy Twist, is fictitious – a compilation perhaps of many places toured. The front of my house in Monogamy Twist is a larger, much grander version of the historic Townhouse (A Civic Building) in my home village of Kintore in Aberdeenshire. Built in 1747, Kintore Townhouse has curved ‘forestairs’ leading from both the left and from the right to a central doorway on the upper level. My heroine, Rhia Ashton, is conveniently placed to help Luke Salieri uncover his links to Amelia Greywood – his mysterious benefactress- and loves cataloguing all the fantastic antiques she comes across in Greywood Hall.
Hallforest Castle-Kintore

The Castle in Take Me Now is definitely fictitious, but that ‘corporate sabotage’ novel was conceived after I experienced a seaplane trip with 9 of my family. We chartered a seaplane and flew up the west coast of Scotland. During that fantastic trip we flew over many castles, some ruined, some inhabited which I could see had been recently restored to former grandeur.  The heroine in Take Me Now is from Vancouver, of Scottish descent, and is perfect since flying a floatplane is much more frequent occupation in Canada than in Scotland. The whole concept of the fun light-hearted romance came from that one trip. Though, as well as it being based in a fictitious castle, on a fictitious island opposite the real town of Oban on the west coast of Scotland, I have Aela Cameron flying Nairn Malcolm to many other places as they conduct his business and uncover the saboteur who put him in crutches, and who is out to ruin his adventure sports businesses. They have some exciting times in London (his business headquarters) and Paris, and Barcelona and Tallinn (Estonia). They also make a quick trip to Oman in the Gulf States, and to the Caribbean where Aela discovers the culprit! 
Ruined castle

These photographs are amazing! The Beltane Choice is set in 71 AD. Quite a switch from your contemporary romances. What made you decide to tackle a historical novel?

It wasn’t a switch to historical after writing contemporary work. It was quite the other way, in fact.
As a teacher I taught my 5th- 7th graders historical periods, and I loved covering the Celtic/ Roman Britain era of around two thousand years ago. It made me desperate to write a time travel novel for younger readers, taking a trio of kids back to Aberdeenshire during the occupation of the Roman Emperor Severus in AD 210. Unfortunately that work is still unpublished. However, I also wrote the first drafts of The Beltane Choice but set that in the borders between Scotland and England at an earlier time of AD71 just pre- Agricolan times. During the time (usual story of more than a year) I waited for a rejection letter to appear, having submitted my historical romance to one of the big category publishers, I decided to try my hand at writing a contemporary romance. My love of ‘all things historical’ sneaked in, though, since Monogamy Twist is based around a weird ‘Dickensian’ style bequest of that ancestral home you quoted above and around the family tree of Amelia Greywood.  I sent it to The Wild Rose Press and to my utter delight it was accepted immediately. Take Me Now was written after submitting Monogamy Twist and was also accepted immediately. During the submission/ edits stages for those two Wild Rose Press novels I re-wrote my ‘Celtic/Roman Britain adventure’, The Beltane Choice, sent it off to a new publisher I had heard of which is based in Edinburgh, and Crooked Cat Publishing accepted it! I was over the moon since this is the novel I’d wanted to have published for years!
It's great that you were able to blend your love of history into your contemporary romance. Your mystery/adventure novel Topaz Eyes involves a worldwide search for missing jewels.  Where have you traveled in real life and does one place stand out as your favorite?

I can’t say that one particular place has stood out as my favorite place to visit. I’ve been very lucky to travel a lot, and whenever possible I add in details of places I’ve visited into my writing since I love to share those experiences with my readers. My husband travelled a lot on business and I joined him in far flung places during my vacation breaks from school.  So far I’ve only two places added to my novels that I’ve not personally visited and they are Tallinn and New York.  I didn't want to repeat any destinations in Topaz Eyes that I’d used before in my novels so I have Keira Drummond and Teun Zeger travel to Heidelberg, Vienna, Amsterdam, Duluth and Rochester Minnesota and New York on that quest to find the Tiru Salana emeralds. Topaz Eyes is also heavily based on a complex ancestral tree since I wanted to develop further the ancestral tree creation I’d started with Monogamy Twist.
I will probably write in the European destinations of Prague, Venice, Florence and Verona sometime – along with Vancouver, Banff, Calgary and the places I've visited in California!

Nancy, can you tell us more about one of your books or what you have planned for the future? We can't wait to hear more!

I’m currently writing a sequel to my historical novel The Beltane Choice. This one takes on a character that appears in The Beltane Choice into a story of his own. This spans a little more than a decade and culminates in one of the most well known battles between the Celtic Tribes of what we now call Scotland and the Roman Empire. The battle of Mons Graupius was devastating for the Celts of the North.
A second working progress is a family saga – very loosely based on some facts gleaned from my own family ancestry researches. My saga starts around 1850 and will go through to approximately the 1930s.
Of course, I’m also going to have to find time to partially re-write my novel for younger readers and market it as a novel for ages 12-14yrs and get it published! 

Thank you for asking such interesting questions and for featuring me!

Nancy, thanks so much for being here. It's been great fun and I've learned a lot!

Blurb for Take Me Now
Nairn Malcolm’s looking for the impossible. He needs a highly skilled, enterprising aide who’ll be at his beck and call 24/7. No ordinary Jane Doe will do. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who drops in at his Scottish castle for an interview to be so competent…or so stunning.
Aela Cameron’s got exactly the right mix of talents to satisfy all Nairn Malcolm’s needs, and more. She loves the jobs he needs done, adores his castle, and finds his frenetic lifestyle energising. But she’s only looking for temporary: not to fall in love with the man.
Can Nairn convince Aela she’s tailor-made for him in every way…and not a passing fancy?      

Unadulterated vigor oozed from every last bit of him—overall a dangerous concoction. Something stirred way-down-low inside Aela again. He was a real honey, and the bee in her wanted to be very sticky.
Her mind whirred. The man bore a vague resemblance to the ruggedly handsome thirty-two year old Nairn Malcolm of the internet photograph, but would the blonde limpet in the recent celebrity snapshot want to curl herself around this forbidding wreck of a man? Aela thought not. She wondered, though, if his blank expression was caused by current circumstances, or if this was his normal demeanor, since he hadn’t been smiling in the photograph either.
With the high granite wall as his backdrop she could easily imagine this man lording over the castle, ruthlessly challenging any invaders to his domain. Taking any woman he wanted? Now there was a thought she was happy to entertain. A tiny smile broke free. Tamping down her crazed imagination she re-assessed him.
What had the guy been doing to get himself in such a state?
Who was he?

Take Me Now
Amazon.com : Print and ebook    http://amzn.to/MOmbWT
B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Take-Me-Now?keyword=Take+Me+Now&store=allproducts
Youtube trailer    http://youtu.be/stDC4Yhm2r0
Amazon.com author page for all novels http://amzn.to/RJZzZz 
Nancy Jardine can be found at:  http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com   http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com  http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG   Twitter @nansjar

Nancy is offering a giveaway of her romance Take Me Now to one lucky commenter! Please leave a comment with your email address or just say hi! The winner will be selected on Sunday.

Have a wonderful weekend, all! 

Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic


  1. Hello! It's wonderful being here today! If anyone has any questions I'll pop back and do my best to answer them. :-)

  2. thanks for the wonderful giveaway. i do love any book set in scotland seeing as there's where my family has come from! i would love to win a copy!


  3. Fascinating stories, both the fictional ones and real life, Nancy! My parents lived in London for a few years, and I was lucky enough to visit and one time take a week to do a driving tour of Scotland. Stunning, intriguing, beautiful scenery and castles, great food, and even better people. Still stands out as one of my favorite trips ever. Thanks, ladies!

    1. Hi Melissa! I love Scotland but I also find thngs to live about most places I've visited.

  4. Hi Laurie and Melissa, thanks so much for stopping by. Nancy certainly makes her home country sound wonderful, doesn't she? Nancy, thanks again for being here!

    1. Thank you for the great oppotunity, Nona. It's great to visit you.

  5. The name just picked for the free copy of TOPAZ EYES is....Laurie! I'll make contact with you asap. Thanks to Melissa, too for commenting. And thank you Nona for inviting me!



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