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.