I'm pleased to start this week as a stop on Becky Banks' Legendary Blog Tour celebrating her novel The Legend of Lady MacLaoch! Be sure to check out my next post with my review of the book and after reading through this author interview, leave a comment with your best guess to the trivia questions as an entry to win a paperback copy of the book - details below!
Alooooooha! Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) Lisa for having me! Well, the two-second explanation on how a girl from Hawaii got to Scotland is, by plane. Iceland Air, specifically.
Ha-ha! No, really though, I first attended college here in Oregon (go Beavs!!) then settled down in Portland and started my career in the environmental field. A handful of years went by and in 2009 my husband and I took a trip to Scotland. At that time I had already dabbled in novel writing, I had written but not finished two manuscripts and with the excitement of the trip began my third. After Scotland, being immersed in the history and ancient lore of places like Portree, Urquhart, Drumnadrochit, Sterling, Elgin, and Dunvegan the tapestry of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch took shape.
What type of research went into constructing the details of this novel?
Being curious by nature and having a knack of never forgetting certain details, the majority of the book came right out from memory from the ten days we spent in Scotland. The biggest research portion was the fighter jet scene at the beginning. Right at the beginning *spoiler alert* Rowan and co-navigator Vick are cruising in a jet and get struck down. Now, I’ve logged my fair share of mileage in planes traveling to and from the islands from the mainland, but an airline is called an airbus for a reason. It’s pretty much a different world from being in a fighter jet. I feel that one can be told or read about what it’s like to be in the cockpit of a jet but for me nothing can replace seeing it, or being there. I have a healthy fear of heights so I wasn't about to sign up for ride in one. Enter YouTube. I spent hours flying in jets, doing flybys and ejecting all via uploaded videos. You’d be surprised on how many ejection videos there are on there – and some recorded from the cockpit!
your website, you have a poll for readers to choose which Scottish actor they most picture as Rowan MacLaoch. Did you have any of these highland hotties in mind when writing Rowan?
Ha-ha! Oh, great question. Actually, Rowan is none of these men. He lives and breathes as a bartender in Portree on the Isle of Skye. Of course I took a few major liberties on his persona, using his looks and physique as the inspiration. I did little more than converse briefly with him (he being a MacLeod) and when he overheard my husband and I talking about visiting the MacLeod castle estate that day he said, “Ye visited my castle today, aye?” One look at him, and into the story he rolled.
What would you say are the highlights and challenges of working as an independent author?
My other profession, besides being an author, is in the marketing field. I have been involved with taking an environmental start-up company with a bootstrap budget to a successful nationally recognized leader in its industry. With this experience under my belt I thought going independent would be easier than trying to go the traditional route with the manuscript. I also need to confess now, I am a control freak. As an independent author I have control over my novels from beginning to end. From cover art to editing styles. The other great part of being independent has been choosing my own team. As you may have read in the acknowledgement section, this was a community effort to create The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. My editing team are an awesome set of talented women, my peer reviewers too are amazing and each of them make being an independent author a major highlight of this career. The challenge however, is finding time to do it all. Because I take on more roles than just writing as an independent author, I find that writing, plus working a day job and still finding time for the rest of my life can be a little difficult. But despite that challenge, being an independent author is bliss.
What authors or works have inspired or influenced you?
Your blog recently mentioned a tribute to your late grandmother (you have my condolences) and you referred to her as a "certified badass" who instilled her spirit of strength and confidence into you. Do you see her present in Cole's character?
That’s a very interesting point! (And thank you for your condolences she was truly and amazing person) Gran and Cole do have many things in common, both are southern ladies who have more of the Wild in them than they do the Lady and both have a stubborn streak. :0) Cole also has an analytical air to her when it comes to research – in that she sees the data and sometimes gets pigeonholed there not seeing the world that the data exists in. Hence she has a hard time believing in coincidences. However, my gran was more an observer of the world, she enjoyed the stories that people told, and everyone whether they knew it or not had a story to tell. For her, the more coincidences and outliers, the better the story.
What projects are you currently working on and where can we find out more about your work?
The next project that I’m currently working on is another novel, its working title is The Mechanic. The Mechanic, is very very different from The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, as it is set here in the US and is much more of a gritty love story. The main character is a woman named Eva Rodgers. She’s a businesswoman and chief editing officer for a large magazine, the man in the story is a man named Nathaniel Vellanova. Nate is a street-wise European auto mechanic with a brutal past. The grit comes out in strong language, even stronger characters and a storyline that is about fast cars, smart yet tragic youths and intense life changes. Oh, and the bond of it all? Love. Currently planned to release early 2012.Thanks for having me Lisa and if people want to get more info or personally drop me a line visit me at www.beckybanksonline.com. Happy reading!!
And now for the giveaway! One lucky Her Book Self reader will win a paperback copy of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch! The contest will run from now until October 1st and is open to entrants in the US and Canada. To enter leave a comment below with your name and email address and your best guesses (or well researched answers) to these two trivia questions:
Question 1: What castle is Castle Laoch in The Legend of Lady MacLaoch loosely based upon?
Hint: This answer can be found in the comments at the first tour stop at www.romancing-the-book.com.
Question 2: What does laoch mean in Gaelic? As in MacLaoch.
Hint: Lisa's last name translated from Spanish has the same meaning.
You can gain up to three entries for this contest - one entry for making a guess at each answer, one entry if you get both answers correct and a third entry for leaving a comment on my review of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch! Good Luck!