In honour of Book Week Scotland, we hear from three American indie authors on why they were inspired to set their books in Scotland.
Is it the heather-covered hills and the breathtaking waterfalls—countryside so alive that it almost becomes a story character? Is it the haunting cry of the bagpipes and the powerful thunder of the North Sea? Perhaps it’s the rich history and prehistory, evidenced by towering castle ruins and mysterious stone circles. Or maybe it’s the mix of fascinating folk who have called Scotland home, the strength and character of the Scots themselves.
Oh, who are we kidding? Ask any reader. It’s the men in kilts.
But as authors, we need more than sexy attire to inspire a story. The three of us—Tanya Anne Crosby, Laurin Wittig, and Glynnis Campbell—have a love for the country and culture that runs so deep that we’ve written over forty books set in Scotland! We thought you might enjoy hearing a wee bit about the romantic land that inspires us and makes readers’ hearts beat a little faster.
Our Own Brigadoons
We all have our beloved places in Scotland, though deciding which is our favorite is a challenge.
Laurin adores the Kilmartin Glen in Argyll. The overlay of prehistoric sites—stone circles, standing stones, and a series of burial cairns—with layers and layers of the history we know, creates an amazingly mystical place where it feels like walking between times.
For Glynnis, there’s something special about Stirling with its majestic castle and charming village. Stirling is sometimes called the kilt pin of Scotland, because it’s the historic crossroads where the Lowlands and the Highlands meet, and it’s a gateway to the stunning landscapes of Glencoe.
Whether it’s Sean Connery or Sam Heughan, Gerard Butler or Iain Glen, there’s no denying that Scotsmen are a different, sexier breed.
Glynnis blames the rugged terrain and weather. In order to survive, Scots have to be tough, with stout hearts and a good sense of humor. She admires their grit, their wit, their honesty, and their charm.
Laurin thinks there’s something really wonderful about a warrior with a soft heart for the people and the country he loves.
What makes the Scottish accent so alluring?
Tanya has no idea, but that doesn’t keep it from sending a shiver down her spine.
Laurin agrees. It makes her knees weak when she hears it.
Glynnis thinks there’s a brilliant music to the Scottish accent, which combines a seductive lilt with a low growl that’s as rough and intoxicating as whisky. (She could listen to James McAvoy all day long.)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Edinburgh
Whether it’s peering through the arrow slit of a medieval castle, engaging in an enchanting chat with a local, or making an eerie visit to an ancient battlefield, a research trip to Scotland is always full of inspiring surprises. Here are a few of ours.
Glynnis and her BFF, author Lauren Royal, had the privilege of commandeering Roslin castle for three days. She never saw the ghosts that are supposed to haunt the place. She was, however, startled half to death by bats while exploring the ruins of the dungeon at midnight.
Laurin was looking for Carnasserie Castle with a friend and stopped at a petrol station to ask directions. The clerk had no idea what they were talking about until they explained that it was a historical site. She replied, “Och, the ruins? I never go to the ruins.” They had come across the ocean to see what she ignored in her own backyard.
On another trip, Glynnis was lucky to interview the head chef of Stirling Castle, who taught her all about Tudor cooking. He later sent her a photo of himself in his Tudor costume, reading one of her books!
What IS so sexy about a man in a kilt?
All three authors agree that it’s the confidence it takes to wear one. Nothing is sexier than a man with confidence. Historically, the great kilt symbolizes a connection to the elements that make Scotland so wild. It’s made from the sheep tended by a man’s clan, dyed from the plants around him, woven by a talented woman in his community. The kilt was a proudly worn symbol of his connection to his home and people. What could be sexier than that?
Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure historical romances. She was once in an all-girl band on CBS Records and has done voiceovers for the MTV series “The Maxx,” Diablo and Starcraft videogames, and Star Wars audio adventures. She makes her home in Los Angeles with her high school sweetheart/rock star husband and loves playing medieval matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well.
She is always delighted to hear from readers and other authors, so please feel free to visit her website at glynnis.net, email her at email@example.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and BookBub.
Tanya Anne Crosby is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty novels. She has been featured in magazines and periodicals, such as People, USA Today, Romantic Times and Publisher’s Weekly, and her books have been translated into eight languages. Her first novel was published in 1992 by Avon Books, where Tanya was hailed as “one of Avon’s fastest rising stars” and her fourth book was chosen to launch the company’s Avon Romantic Treasure imprint. Known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, Tanya is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor, and her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. Tanya and her writer husband split their time between Charleston, SC, where she was raised, and northern Michigan, where the couple make their home.
Laurin Wittig is a bestselling, award-winning author of exhilarating historical romances inspired by the conflicts and mystical culture of the medieval Scottish Highlands. Readers say, “Great stories with magical mystery.” Romantic Times says, “She’s well on her way to becoming one of the genre’s finest storytellers.”