Seduced by a Scot by Julia London is a book about survival and how someone can overcome extraordinary obstacles. The hero and heroine had to
overcome their past and learn to move forward.
A prominent Scottish family hires a fixer, Nicholas Bain, to help them weather the possible scandal. Calvin Garbett
has arranged for his daughter, unassuming in personality and beauty, to be married to someone whose family will help his business dealings. Falsely accused of enticing the fiancé, the ward, Maura Darby, is taken by Bain to marry an aging bachelor. Having
no other options, she agrees, but silently is plotting to return for her family heirloom necklace, taken from her by the mother and daughter. During their long journey, she vents to him about being hurt and disappointed by those who are supposed to care for
her. Maura challenges Bain at every turn to see her as a person rather than a problem to be solved. He realizes that she is entitled to her necklace and plots with her to get it back. As they spend time together they grow closer and sparks start to fly
between them. Bain realizes that they are kindred spirits since he was thrown out by his supposed father and the one possession, a pocket watch, he cherished was taken away. They find love and realize that they can trust one another.
Readers will enjoy the Cinderella element to the story. She was given the servant’s quarters and hand me down clothes. Mrs. Garbett took Maura’s beautiful clothes, belongings, pets and gave them all
to her daughter Sorcha who was extremely spoiled. Maura tried to stay out of her way, lurking in the shadows. Both women were petty, jealous, and cruel to Maura and would do anything to make her feel unwanted. Only while traveling with Bain does
she become someone determined, bold, and brash.
Relationship stories are the best when the hero and heroine can share a similar background. They both had to face secrets, lies, cruelty, resentment,
enviousness, and spite. Taking a journey with these two wounded souls allowed readers to share their emotions ranging from sadness to laughter.
Elise Cooper: Is this a series?
Julia London: It is the sixth and final book in “The Highland Grooms” series. I wanted to base it in the early eighteenth century when
Scotland and England were unified and acted like bad cousins. I thought it was a great backdrop to set a series about a Scottish family where the women were English. I thought it would be interesting to have the English women and the Scottish men struggling
with the same problems the countries were going through.
EC: How did you come up with the character Nichol Bain?
JL: He was in the previous book, hired by the Duke of Montrose. He wanted a seat in Parliament but his image needed an overhaul so he hires Bain. I wrote Bain as a crisis manager, a fixer, for rich men who got into trouble because of
women or gambling debts. This current book is about how Bain can fix everyone else’s problems, but cannot fix his own.
EC: The story highlights the reality of the limited options for unmarried women in 18th-century
JL: I wanted to give a strong perspective of how women were seen in the past. This
is why I had that scene in the book where Maura was blamed for the fiancé’s advances because she was pretty. 18th Century women had no skills,
could not own property, cannot have money, and Maura does not even have a family. Her options were very limited. She needed and wanted the necklace because it was the only item that tied her to her past and was something of value. It anchored her
to where she had come from.
EC: It is very rare that children could form their own relationships?
JL: Women did not have a say in love and compatibility. Especially in the upper classes, connections were made for a business or monetary reason, helping
the parents forge a future. I showed this with Sorcha where her dad wanted his iron works business to boom and arranged a marriage to help it.
EC: How would you describe Maura?
JL: Loyal, defiant, spunky, direct, brave, and determined. She is also clever because she was never fooled by anyone. I would have loved to
be her friend, knowing she would be the type to tell it exactly as it is. Part of the reason people underestimated her was because she was female.
EC: How would you describe Bain?
JL: Mysterious, closed off, insecure, someone who craved love, but was a loner.
EC: How would you describe the relationship?
JL: They are soul mates. Both never had anyone miss them, care for them, or love them. Those who should have protected them betrayed
them. I think this created barriers. Unlike most men of the time, Bain did not believe she was just property and under the thumb of every man, without the ability to make decisions for herself. He treated her as an equal.
There are very detailed scenes about riding horses. Do you ride?
JL: I used to ride
them because I grew up on a ranch. I think I put all the details because I was trying to figure out how Maura would ride the horse, especially wearing a dress and without a saddle. I do remember riding bareback, which is very difficult and really
hard to stay on, bouncing and sliding all over the place.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next books?
JL: I am writing a new series set on a Texas ranch. It is a contemporary western similar to the TV show Dallas, with a rich family. It will be a four book series and out in the spring. I will also be writing a new series that takes place
in the Victorian era. I created a European kingdom where the princes come to England for various reasons. They meet middle class women and fall in love. It is set in the 1840s and called “A Royal Wedding.”
Lies by T. M. Logan is his debut psychological thriller. From page one readers will be riveted to the storyline and it never lets up. The plot focuses on what can happen to someone’s
normal life when, in one moment, it comes crashing down with the main culprit, lies and betrayals.
The plot begins with Joseph Lynch and
his 4-year-old son, William, navigating North London traffic when William spots his mother’s car exiting the highway. A spur-of-the-moment detour leads to disaster. Mel, Joe’s wife and William’s mother, is spotted at the Premier Inn bar arguing
with her best friend’s husband, tech millionaire Ben Delaney. After Mel leaves, Joe confronts Ben with a civil conversation, but it quickly develops into a confrontation. Words lead to shoving and Joe pushes Ben a little too hard
where he falls and bangs his head. At the same time, he must help his son who is having a major asthma attack, leaving Ben unattended. Unfortunately, when he goes back later Ben is missing and so is Joe’s
phone. Later that night Mel is confronted and delivers her first lie, saying it is only a business meeting. Eventually she admits to an affair that begins a downward
spiral for Joe’s life. The more he tries to unravel the lies, the more deception he discovers. As the lies gain momentum, he realizes he can trust no one, and must mount a personal investigation to find the truth. Accused of having
something to do with Ben’s disappearance, Joe must find Ben to prove his innocence.
The storyline raises some valid and important issues about technology and social media.
Joe realizes that someone is manipulating his text messages, the home PC, his Facebook account, photos, and anything else they can get their hands on. It becomes clear the crime and the technology were going hand-in-hand.
It is interesting to have a story written from the male point of view. Joe is an average, contented, trusting man, happily married man, a daunting
father, and a respected teacher with a wife he loves and a son he worships. But he is also very naïve, lying to himself as he tries to persuade himself that he was not betrayed. He is the kind of character
a reader can root for.
This gripping psychological thriller is a twisted page-turner that will keep readers guessing with
an unexpected turn. There are layers of lies, secrets, and betrayals.
How did you get the idea for the story?
T. M. Logan: In 2013, I was looking for something new to write. I had
a conversation with my wife and she talked to me about someone using Facebook in a particular way. This got me to thinking that someone could possibly use it to frame someone for a crime they had not committed.
I thought why would someone do that, where would it take them, and what would be the consequences? I wrote these four main characters, how they would interact with each other, and how it would play out. I wanted
to explore truth and honesty versus lies.
EC: Is there ever a good lie?
Logan: There are white lies that could be considered good. We say things to people to not hurt their feelings. It
is easy to slide from a white lie to something altruistic. This is particularly true with social media where people are able to be anonymous and not accountable for what they say.
EC: Social media is an antagonist?
Logan: I have this
quote, “I was struck by what a strange view you could get of someone’s life from looking at his or her Facebook profile.” I do not think Facebook reflects someone’s real life. No one
is as happy as they appear on Facebook nor as angry as they appear on Twitter. I once read about an academic study by Birmingham City University that showed how Facebook was involved in 40 to 50 murders. People had a dispute and became antagonistic, some pretended to be others, luring people into dangerous situations, or to make it appear someone was alive when they actually were not.
EC: Joe’s life spiraled out of control?
It became irrelevant of what the facts were, and what matters is the perception of what people think. The truth does not seem to matter in someone’s guilt or innocence.
EC: How would you describe Mel?
Mel is independent, a liar, an extrovert, and an alpha-female in the book’s beginning. She is a wife, mother, and career woman. Once she started a new relationship she became swept along.
I hoped to make her reasonably sympathetic because there are different levels to her. She is pulled into the orbit of the person she is having an affair with, while looking for fulfillment.
She benefits from Joe only wanting to see the good side of her. In her new relationship, she becomes this secondary person, being led by their obsessions.
EC: How would you describe Joe?
He is righteous, every man, an average man, a good father and a loving husband. In the beginning of the book he is optimistic, kind, steady, and honest. It takes him a while to figure out bad things can
happen to good people. He wants to see the best in someone, which leads them to take advantage of him. People manipulate him because they could predict what he would do and how he would react.
EC: Is there any of you in Joe?
I am a father like Joe. What he says about William, his four-year-old, is what I would say. William is based on my son at that age, including his traits,
games, and challenges. Both Joe and I are family oriented. Just like William, my son was obsessed with cars and one of his first words was the car company Audi. The scene in the book is true, where we would
sit in traffic, calling out car names. My son matched up the shapes of his toy cars with the real cars owned by myself, my wife, and my parents.
EC: How would you describe the antagonist?
Logan: Obsessive, full of contempt, hate, and jealousy.
A shout out about your next book?
Logan:29 Seconds, also a psychological thriller will be available in the US
next year. It follows the story of Dr. Sarah Haywood, who finds herself in an impossible situation at work with her predatory boss. When a powerful stranger offers an unthinkable solution, she is assured there are no strings attached,
no comeback, no way she could ever be implicated, exploring what is just and what is right.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor explores relationships, some tragic and some hopeful. This historical novel, inspired by true events, is a gripping story about the extraordinary
female lighthouse keepers who lived one hundred years apart.
Readers first see the real-life heroine Grace Darling who in 1838 in Northumberland, England at the Longstone
Lighthouse on the Farne Islands rescued shipwreck survivors in a furious storm along with her father. This twenty-two year old woman became thrown into England’s national limelight, the subject of newspaper articles, poems, ballads, and plays. At the
time, it was unheard of for a woman to be involved in such a rescue. They did reach a number of survivors, eventually bringing them to safety but the memory of what they saw and experienced was forever etched in their consciousness. What came out of the fame
was the renewal of the friendship that had developed between Grace and a visiting artist, George Emmerson, who captured her with his brushes and in his heart.
one hundred years to another lighthouse, this one in Newport Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old, pregnant, and unmarried, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay until her baby is born, with Harriet Flaherty, a reclusive
relative and assistant lighthouse keeper. Tired of sitting around Matilda finds a chest full of documents of her families past that includes a half-finished discarded portrait, which opens a window into Matilda’s family history.
Although one hundred years apart both stories are one of heartache and inspiration. These three strong women are gutsy, courageous and brave.
Elise Cooper: How did you come across Grace Darling?
Hazel Gaynor: It originated with the real-life person. I learned about her in school as a young
girl and was fascinated by her. I really wanted to tell her story. I wanted to step into her heels to understand how she felt after she was catapulted into the public eye. Then I read about Ida Lewis, also a light house keeper off of Rhode Island, who
was known as the American Grace Darling. There was this incredible historic connection.
EC: Did you ever visit
HG: I took a boat to the Lighthouse and the island Grace lived on. It made me realize how remote her life was and how she lived under cramped conditions.
I also stayed at a lighthouse in Ireland with my husband and children. It is no longer a working lighthouse, but has been set up for people to stay in this 200-year-old structure. It was quite the experience, having to climb 190 steps from the bottom to the
bedrooms that came off a spiral staircase. There was no Wi-Fi and we were surrounded by nature, the country side, and the sea. I found it quite an emotional experience.
EC: How would you describe Grace?
HG: Amazing, complex, clever, vibrant, brave, and courageous. She was an earnest devoted
daughter. The duty she had with the lighthouse conflicted with the human emotions of a young woman falling in love. Being thrown into the public spotlight was something she felt very uncomfortable with. She could not handle the pressure, essentially
being elevated into this Saintly woman.
EC: Did you stick to all the facts surrounding Grace?
HG: Yes, including Sarah Dawson who was saved by Grace and her father, but not her children who did die on the rocks. Although I developed the artist because there are only sketchy details.
George Emmerson is my fictional interpretation of that relationship. I obviously imagined how Grace and George would interact. As a novelist, I drew out the different relationships, what their life was like, and what happened.
EC: There is some heartache to this story?
HG: We scramble for the happily
ever after but there isn’t always one. As an author, I also struggle with giving my characters a happily ever after. We do lose people in our lives and must deal with the real human experience of grief.
EC: How would you describe Matilda?
HG: Independent, rebellious, and brave. She did
not follow what society expected of her and in the end knew she had to stand on her own two feet. She was a young Irish woman who came to America to find a new life for herself. Even though she lived one hundred years after Grace, she still struggled
with having a say over her life. While Grace felt isolated, Matilda felt it very freeing. It is easier for her to shake off the social norms, able to make more choices than Grace.
EC: Was the lighthouse a character in the story?
HG: Yes. It is strong, immovable, and permanent. Bantered by
the elements it tries to keep people safe. As I wrote in the book, it has the company of the “birds and the sea, with the wild winter winds and temperate summers.’ Grace was connected to the lighthouse, having a relationship of sorts because her
life was rooted in this place.
EC: How would you describe Harriett?
HG: A whiskey drinking, pipe smoking, grumpy, grouchy Tom-boy. She is resilient, tough, yet hides behind this toughness with a vulnerability. Her story is centered around the 1938 hurricane, and the role of light keepers.
They must burn the light brightly, but it also their duty to go to the rescue of those in distress. She took her job seriously and was proud to help keep ships away from the rocks.
EC: What role does the weather play?
HG: A very dangerous storm was the catalyst that would change the direction
of Grace Darling’s life. The storm spiraled Grace’s notoriety. People can hear the wind and feel it shaking the lighthouse, with waves pounding in a very dramatic way.
EC: What about the cameo locket?
HG: I write in all my books about family connections. It is a theme of sorts. In
this story, it unlocks the real story of Matilda’s family. It represents a legacy of something physical passing down from one member of the family to another. It is something substantial yet quite a delicate connection of passing on a story of what was
important to our ancestors’ life.
EC: A shout out about your next book?
HG: I am writing a book co-authored with Heather Webb. The title is Meet Me In Monaco and it will be published in July 2019. It is inspired by the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier.
Rogue Gunslinger and Rugged Defender, the second and third books of the Clementine Sisters series by B. J. Daniels blends a great plot, setting, and characters. People cannot imagine how this
author can improve, but each book in this series just keeps getting better.
In Rogue Gunslinger, T.J. Clementine is a mystery author
that is being stalked. Receiving mail from one particular fan escalates into threats because she is not following their writing advice. Hoping to escape from possible danger she travels to her childhood home to be with her other two sisters in Whitehorse Montana.
Coincidentally she again meets in Montana, the man, Silas Walker, who either saved her or pushed her into an on-coming truck while in New York City. Deciding to investigate Silas, she realizes he protected her, and that as a former policeman he can actually
help her find the culprit. This loner and mountain man becomes not only her savior, but they form a bond, while trying to keep each other safe.
The next book of the series, Rugged Defender, focuses on the third sister, Chloe. She lost her job as an investigative reporter. Now in Montana for the holidays she decides that sitting around is not for her. Realizing that
a high school classmate, Justin Calhoun, left in disgrace with many unanswered questions about his brother’s death, she searches out the truth. Chloe and Justin decide to team up to find out what really happened to his brother, having their lives threatened
in the process.
As a recap, the first book in the story, Hard Rustler, begins with a city gal, Annabelle (Annie) Clementine, traveling
back to her home town of Whitehorse Montana. After high school, she decided to escape the monotony to become a famous model, leaving her love interest, Dawson, behind. Now, thirteen years later, she is back to sell her late grandmother’s house and to
get out of town as soon as possible. Confronted by someone who wants to find something in that house she realizes her life is in danger. Annie and Dawson must sort out the mystery and determine what her grandmother was hiding.
These books are about estranged sisters coming to terms with the past and making amends. It’s a love story and a mystery, with a lot of suspense. Each sister in their own way are strong independent women who know themselves and
end up knowing what they want out of life.
Elise Cooper: You were spot on with the interactions of the three sisters.
B. J. Daniels: I wanted to be able to write a book that is sister oriented. I do not have any sisters, but I do have a sibling. For me the dynamic
of families is interesting. I did meet a lot of people who had sisters so I was able to observe them and how they got along. I also think that someone’s profession has an influence. TJ being a writer never wants to be in the spotlight, while
her sister Annabell, a former model, enjoys it. The other sister, Chloe, an investigative reporter, enjoys digging for dirt.
The boyfriends from previous books just get a cameo appearance?
Daniels: I hope each book stands on its own. Because of that, if people do not read the books in order they
might not know about the hero. In addition, by the third book there would be too many characters to include so I basically kicked the previous boyfriends off to the side.
EC: Since TJ is a writer is that you?
Daniels: There is some of us in our characters even if we do not like to believe it. In Rogue
Gunslinger, I got into what it is like to be a writer, including all the demands. I have often told my agent I just want to write books, but was told that is not possible. TJ and myself are not fond of social media. I have said, ‘the
day I quit it will be because of social media.’ If someone reads a book and likes it that is when readers go looking for the author.
EC: Which of the three sisters are you most like?
Daniels: Of the three sisters, I am most like TJ. In high school I was a day dreamer as she is. Sometimes
the story feels real to life for me. For example, I moved things around in a town to represent how I saw it. When I visit there, some things seem out of place. TJ and I had writing choose us with our characters taking on a life of their own.
EC: The suspense part of the story has TJ stalked?
I have never been stalked. I remember writing another book where a character was attacked in a grocery store parking lot at night. I had just read something about the ways a woman could protect themselves and what to look out for. A friend
of mine stated, ‘I never knew you were attacked.’ But I hadn’t been. What I want to do as a writer is put myself in that place, show the reader how it works, and make it real enough for people to believe it.
EC: In the last book, Rugged Defender, the relationship is based around that kiss?
I have fallen in love and often felt that it is real after that one kiss. Anyone who has had one of those kisses knows what I mean.
EC: TJ says throughout the book she is not like her character Constance?
Daniels: I think TJ and I have that in common where our characters are braver,
more loyal, and become heroines. As writers, there are so many times we are hidden away from people while characters like Constance are out there kicking butt.
EC: TJ speaks of how she wakes up at night with characters getting into her head?
Daniels: Yes, that is true. My characters do talk
to me. There are days it seems they have come from outer space and I just type. I will be working on one book and then a character from another book pops into my head and starts talking to me. Then I always write it down. I hear scenes
and just start typing. Sometimes I feel I have painted myself into a corner and just wait for the answer to come to me. The characters come to life.
EC: How would you describe TJ’s boyfriend, Silas?
Daniels: He is a big tough guy. TJ realizes he actually led the life she writes about
but never lived. I think he is in awe, intrigued, and captivated by her. I compared him to a mountain lion because of his intensity. When TJ comes in contact with him, it is dangerous like coming across a mountain lion. He can be protective but
also thoughtful, gentle, and charming.
EC: How would you describe Chloe’s boyfriend, Justin?
Daniels: He is trying to make amends. Strong and independent.
Montana is very prevalent in all your books?
Daniels: I live in the prairie and just as with the town of Whitehorse you can see the Little Rockies in the distance.
I weave in the real life of the small town. We don’t even have stop lights and the nearest Target is three hours away. People love to dance and often go to bars to do it. It is also true that guys wear jeans almost any place including
weddings, funerals, and churches. I once wrote ‘a guy wearing a suit is either an undertaker or a lawyer.’ I describe in the books as I see Montana with “the wild prairie, the endless sky, the wide-open places… The peace and quiet.
Not one siren to be heard. No traffic. No honking taxis. No loud music from the apartment next door.” I meant it when I said ‘I just love this place.’
EC: Next book?
Daniels: Unfortunately, these characters will not come back. I understand people fall in love with them and want to
see them again but there is no easy way to bring them back. My next book will be out in November, titled Wrangler’s Rescue. It starts out with Cyrus falling off a cruise ship and believed dead. He is from Montana and his gal
did not believe that he had died. She goes in search of him, which lands them in the Caribbean. I hope readers feel it is a fast-paced novel.
With Death Is Not Enough Karen Rose has out done herself. This story highlights love and friendship, romance and passion, gruesome murder, frustrating injustice, with an engaging hero/heroine.
Although Rose’s readers have seen Thomas Thorne and Gwyn Weaver in previous books this novel is their story. Thorne actually gives defense attorneys a good name, always attempting to help those unfairly
charged, as was the case when he was young. His backstory is very compelling, having been falsely accused while in high school. It seems Déjà vu when he once again becomes the main person of interest in a murder. He is found in bed, drugged senseless,
next to a woman beaten and knifed to death, with his fingerprints on the weapon. His friends circle the wagon, standing by him and searching for details that will prove his innocence. It becomes apparent that someone is setting him up, out for revenge,
and wants to slowly destroy his life, piece by piece. The various attacks on his friends, his business and his reputation are intended to get at everything he holds dear and values.
Readers will not be
disappointed with this suspenseful story. They will be riveted hoping beyond hope that justice will prevail, and that the psychopath attempting to frame Thorne will get his due. Although the romance was not at the forefront, it added to the storyline.
Elise Cooper: Why the Thorne story now?
In Monster In The Closest he helped the good guys find a killer that made him the target of a vicious gang leader. I knew from the first Baltimore book of this series, back in 2011, I wanted to tell his and Gwyn’s story. I actually was able
to speak with someone who was in the FBI, became a prosecutor, and then a defense attorney. In some ways, I based Thorne’s character on those that believe everyone should have due process.
EC: The rule of law is important to him?
KR: He was upset when he saw due process circumvented and abused.
This country is built upon being punished for what you actually do. Defense attorneys are part of the check and balance systems. Justice is done in my books. It can be a good thing, but if used improperly it can be turned into a weapon.
Thorne takes this very seriously making sure that the Constitution is enforced, and that the prosecutors do not get away with bullying the system.
EC: Thorne’s friends seemed to circle the wagons?
KR: The police did not overreact because he had worked with them and had proven himself to
have integrity. All of his friends are good people who realize he is good person that was framed. I had everyone get involved.
How did the romance come about?
KR: Thorne had a fling for Gwyn for years. It never seemed the right time because both were unattached at the wrong times. He
was biding his time. They both danced around each other. He had to work up enough courage to tell her how he felt. I liked writing this friends to lovers’ story. They were best friends who have kept deep secrets from each other. They
knew each other well, but have been holding back traumatic issues. They never displayed all their cards on the table.
How would you describe Thorne?
KR: He is a large tough guy on the outside, but on the inside, he is vulnerable. His mom threw him away, he lost his high school sweetheart,
and was falsely accused of murder when younger. Thorne is definitely trustworthy, protective, and honest. He is a good guy and someone special.
EC: How would you describe Gwyn?
KR: She is trying to get her life back together, now 4.5 years after being horrifically assaulted. I would describe
her before the assault: sassy, someone who wanted to be the center of attention, had a good heart, and blunt, while afterward she withdrew. She had to overcome the emotional scars that ran deep, including trust issues. I think by the end of the
book she becomes her old self; what you see is what you get.
EC: I would describe your women characters, using the Helen Reddy phrase,
“I am woman hear me roar.” Do you agree?
KR: Strong women are a crucial element to a romantic suspense book. They take their lives back. I am used
to strong woman because my circle of friends are intelligent and strong women. They have spines of steel and will not let anyone push them around. Lucy, Stevie, Paige, and Gwyn all rallied around Thorne because they created a family around the
circle of friends. They took control over their own destiny and never cowered.
EC: Which is easier to write, the romance
KR: Writing suspense goes faster in my mind. I can rat-tat-tat the scenes when bullets fly. Also, if someone is justifiably irate my fingers fly. Writing
romance takes more emotions so it will take me longer. My personal pacing is slower for the romance scenes. It is a slow dance compared to a fast dance.
EC: What did you want the readers to get out of it?
KR: Good entertainment. Beyond that I wanted to show that both men and
women are tough, but do have vulnerabilities. People should be who they are, not who they think they need to be. I see this as my responsibility as an author. Women need to stand up for themselves and to take matters in their own hands. My
men characters see women as equals and not as delicate flowers. I hope my characters are role models. Strong women should be thought of as cool and not the “b” word. My fictional world is a world where people of all kinds play a role including
those with disabilities.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next book?
KR: It will not be a Baltimore series book. It is “ta-ta” for now. The Baltimore series is a good-bye for now. But I am excited, coming out in February I will have a new series. The first novel in
the Sacramento series is titled Say You’re Sorry. A serial killer is on the loose and grabs Daisy Dawson who manages to flee and grabs a necklace that she tears off the killer’s neck. This is my first book where the setting is out
west. There will be carryover for some characters, but the only Baltimore characters are Daisy and her father Frederick.