06 November 2011

Guest Blog: Margaret Mallory

This week, we're welcoming regular contributor Margaret Mallory, as she celebrates the release of THE SINNER, her second book in THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS series. It is available now. Margaret is here to talk about her novel and give away a signed copy!


Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

Alex MacDonald is known for his skill as a warrior, his prowess with women, and his vow to never take a wife. But now his chieftain has asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice: wed Glynis MacNeil, a lass famed throughout the Highlands for her exquisite beauty-and defiant ways.

Familiar with heartbreak, Glynis refuses to fall for another handsome scoundrel. Yet when Alex's past sins force an unlikely union, Glynis gives in to temptation and becomes his wife. Will their newfound passion be strong enough to fight the enemy that threatens their home, their clan, and their very lives?

**Q&A with Margaret Mallory**

Can you tell us a bit about the historical setting of your new release, THE SINNER?
This the second book in my four-book series, THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, which takes place in the wake of the Scots’ disastrous loss in 1513 to Henry VIII’s forces at the Battle of Flodden. In the first book, THE GUARDIAN, the four heroes return from France to find their king and chieftain dead, their clan in grave danger, a rebellion brewing, and factions fighting for control of the Crown.

In THE SINNER, my four MacDonald heroes have secured their clan’s castles and lands on the Sleat Peninsula of Skye, but their clansmen on their other lands are still in danger, the rebellion continues, and a new Regent is causing them trouble.
Alex MacDonald volunteers to become keeper of the clan’s crumbling castle on North Uist and to drive away the marauding pirates who have been harassing their clansmen there. Before he undertakes this critical task, however, Alex must travel across the Western Isles and to Edinburgh on behalf of his chieftain in an effort to appease first the rebels and then the new Regent.

So tell us a little about your hero and heroine.
Alex MacDonald is a charming and handsome warrior with a gift for storytelling and a sixth sense on the water. After watching his parents battle for years, he has no intention of ever marrying. He enjoys the company of women, in and out of bed, but he makes certain that the lasses he spends time with are only interested in a bit of fun. And yet, Alex can’t help being intrigued by—and wildly attracted to—the serious-minded Glynis MacNeil.
Glynis MacNeil, whose brief, disastrous marriage ended with her dirk in her philandering husband’s thigh, is every bit as opposed to marrying as Alex is. While the fiery attraction between them is undeniable, Glynis is certain she could never trust him to be faithful. And yet, when Glynis finds herself in trouble, Alex is the one man she turns to.

You often incorporate historical characters into your novels. Any particularly interesting ones in this new book?
My hero and heroine get caught in the conflict between the colorful chieftain, Lachlan Cattanach “Shaggy” Maclean, and his wife Catherine Campbell. I won’t say what happens here, but when Shaggy was murdered in bed in Edinburgh some years later, everyone assumed the dirk found in him belonged to a Campbell.

The Duke of Albany has my hero tossed into a cell in the bowels of Edinburgh Castle for a time. Albany, a Stewart who grew up in France and spoke neither Scots nor Gaelic, was called home from France to replace Margaret Tudor as Regent.
Finally, Antoine D’Arcy, nicknamed The White Knight, was a French nobleman and warrior with a shining reputation who came to Scotland with the new Regent. Naturally, The White Knight is the man I chose to vie with my sinner-hero for the heroine’s affections.

What’s next?
THE WARRIOR and THE CHIEFTAIN, books 3 and 4 of THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, are up next. Readers can find more information about my books, including blurbs, excerpts, reviews, articles & book group discussion questions, on my website: www.MargaretMallory.com
Follow Margaret on Twitter or  Facebook

Thanks for telling us about your new release, THE SINNER!
I’d love to respond to comments!  I’ll give one of the commenters an autographed copy of THE GUARDIAN and a writing journal with the gorgeous cover of THE SINNER on the front.


Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Margaret. Happy to hear they'll be more books in The Return of the Highlanders series to look forward to.

The Brunette Librarian said...

I'm so ready to read "The Sinner!" :)

I have a question - What made you so interested in this time period? You write it so well and it seems so genuine. I feel like I'm there. It's so different from other authors but so wonderful! :)

Thanks! rachie2004 AT yah00 *d8t* c0m

Buffie said...

Congrats on the new release, Margaret. I'm actually sitting here writing my review of THE SINNER. As usually, I loved it!! This new series of yours is just fabulous. I think Highlanders are your calling ;-) I can't wait for next year to read about Duncan and Connor!

Maria D. said...

Congratulations on the release of The Sinner it sounds great. I love the cover! Loved the information on "Shaggy" MacLean and Catherine Campbell, thanks for sharing that.

Margaret Mallory said...

Thanks so much for the congrats & the lovely comments about my books!

Buffie, I'm looking forward to your review. :)

Brunette Librarian (great name, by the way), I looked for a period with enough conflict to carry a four-book series. I set it in the wake of the Battle of Flodden because the King and so many high-born Scots died. That led to a period of uncertainty, conflict, and change at many levels. If anything, I have too much conflict to deal with!

Miriam Newman said...

So happy to see this series continued, Margaret. Best of luck with it!

Margaret Mallory said...

Thx, Miriam! I've handed in the next one, THE WARRIOR, and am waiting to hear what my editor thinks.

Jacquie Rogers said...

Besides what everyone else said, nice cover, too! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into The Sinner and your series, and best of luck to you. :)


Chicks of Characterization said...

Ok, I am going to try this again!!!

Congratulations on the release of the SINNER Margaret!! I LOVED the Guardian and have been waiting impatiently for THE SINNER to come out!!

I checked my local Walmart today and its still not in. :O(

I can't wait to read it!!!

Wishing you the best of luck and many, many sales!

Margaret Mallory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Mallory said...

Thanks for the good luck wishes!

Chicks of Characterization, I'm glad to hear you loved THE GUARDIAN. BTW, it was just nominated for the RT Book Reviews reviewers' choice award for best Scottish Historical Romance of 2011. :)

Sorry you haven't been able to find THE SINNER at your Wal-mart. I know some Wal-marts have it--yay--but I don't know how many of them will. It is in B&N's, in the grocery store chains where I live, in Books-A-Million, & at all of the on-line stores.

Buffie said...

I've handed in the next one, THE WARRIOR, and am waiting to hear what my editor thinks

I can't wait to read Duncan's story. I have a feeling it's going to be great. And so glad Connor's is the last book.

Nancy said...

Congrats! An intersting time period, fantastic cover, and sexy plot. Yahoo!

Jen B. said...

I saw the post earlier this week about the book and I was so excited. I love Highlanders and the description of this book sounds great. I am always looking for new authors to read! Thanks for the giveaway.

Debby Lee said...

Hi Margaret, that was a nice interview. Thanks for sharing with us, more interesting things about your book series. I've got the first one and I'm looking forward to getting the rest and enjoying every one of them.

Margaret Mallory said...

Nancy, Jen, & Debby, thanks!

Buffie, Duncan's story was the one I was most worried about at the outset, but I'm feeling really good about how it turned out. We'll see if my editor agrees...

Of course, now I'm nervous about Connor's. ;)

Alison said...

Great cover and an interesting time period. Especially in those centuries, the absence of a strong male ruler could have dreaful consequences.


Sarah Hoss said...

Hi Margaret!

I love your work. I have even requested your books at the local library.

I cna't wait to get my hands on The Sinner!!!!

Virginia said...

Congrats on your new release! I do love me some highlanders so am happy we will be getting more of them.


Margaret Mallory said...

You're right about a strong ruler, Alison!

Sarah, I'm so glad to hear you love my books and thanks for asking your local library to order THE SINNER. I'm a big fan of libraries, and not just because my sister is a librarian. :)