I am excited to welcome author Heather McCollum, who is celebrating the release of her latest Highland Hearts novel, Crimson Heart.
Elena has spent her entire life hiding her family name while walking the thin line between lady and servant in a Protestant household. She has kept the secret of her lineage for years, but with a new, fiercely Catholic queen on the throne, Elena’s Protestant caretaker is being targeted. And when Bloody Mary discovers Elena’s true identity, she must flee to Scotland to save her life.
Highland warrior, Searc Munro, has secrets of his own. In a family of healers, his dark, killing magic must never be known. When his father’s life is threatened, Searc unleashes his lethal power to save him. With his clan’s suspicious glances and whispers plaguing him, he sets off alone, only to find another use for his magic in saving a beautiful lass being attacked in the forest.
Teaming up as exiles, Elena and Searc head toward Edinburg to find refuge. Yet, with a series of ritual killings haunting the city and a traitor attempting to assassinate Scotland’s regent, suspicion turns to Searc. As word of another British heir reaches the country, the two must learn to trust each other before it’s too late.
Better than Reality TV- Heather McCollum’s Fascination with British History
“Off with her head!”
“Find me another wife.”
“Burn all the Protestants.”
Thank you so much for having me here today on Literary Escapism to talk a bit about my fascination with historical figures, especially King Henry VIII and all the British royalty of the Renaissance. Did King Henry or his daughter, Queen “Bloody” Mary come to mind when you read the first three quotes? Actually there are no records of them saying these things, yet they are remembered by their actions.
Both real-life historical monarchs appear in my 16th century series, Highland Hearts, along with Scottish regent, Marie de Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots. Henry VIII threatens the Macbain clan in Captured Heart and nearly executes my hero, Ewan Brody, in Tangled Hearts. In my latest release, Crimson Heart, Queen Mary’s religious fanaticism sends my heroine fleeing for her life where she ends up embroiled in Scottish politics with Marie de Guise.
I love British history (especially the Tudors) and have been fascinated with it for years. I spend my evenings reading biographies about Henry VIII, his wives, children, parents, victims, etc. The man was a God-like tyrant, completely ruling England with iron strength born of kingly self-confidence. Charismatic and powerful, his people respected the memory of his father (who ended the War of the Roses on the battlefield). The English populace remembered Henry VIII’s glorious, kingly youth, only turning away from him when his unchecked revenge on the Catholic Church tore apart the heart of England. But even then his strength was too great and his power over armies so complete that any attempt at rebellion was squashed with harsh, public punishment and death. His 56 years of life reads like a terrible tabloid drama full of opulence, beauty and insane living. It draws me in like no other reality show!
I don’t think Queen Mary Tudor, Henry’s eldest daughter, would have been able to hold onto the throne for as long as she did without the memory of the greatness of her father. Yet Mary was unable to stick to her kind-hearted principles when it came to politics. She would weep if she knew that people remember her as Bloody Mary, the killer of Protestants and the young, 9-day queen, Lady Jane Grey. Queen Mary never wanted to kill her cousin Jane, and resisted the pressure to execute her sister Elizabeth (later to be the most amazing queen ever, IMHO). Mary signed the death orders of under 320 people. Her father, King Henry VIII, was responsible for the deaths of over 72,000, yet Mary is called Bloody Mary and he is remembered as a glorious Renaissance king. Umm…what?!
Marie de Guise was French and smuggled her infant daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, out of Scotland to live her early life in France, away from those who would use her or kill her in Scotland. Marie fought for and won the regency, ruling Scotland in her daughter’s name until Mary came of age to govern the land herself. Marie’s quest was to secure a safe, civilized kingdom for her daughter. Although she did (somewhat) garner the respect of the Scots, it was probably the fact that Marie was French and not English that tipped the scales in her favor. As a mother myself, I appreciate what this strategizing woman did to create a safer and more comfortable home for her child.
These people fascinate me! They ruled empires and the fates of everyone they interacted with – Henry certainly with absolute authority. Both Henry and then Mary left behind a broken country to which Queen Elizabeth had to fix. And that she did. Unfortunately Marie’s daughter, Mary Queen of Scots did not have the same, leave-England-alone opinions as her mother. After years of house arrest Mary Queen of Scots ended up with her head on the block when she was found guilty of several attempts to take over the English throne from Elizabeth. See – fascinating! Scheming, secret meetings, dashing escapes, murders, executions – and unlike prime time television, it all really happened, and in gorgeous gowns nonetheless!
I love to take these true-to-history characters and events and weave them into my own plots. In this way I’m able to partake of the adventure and intrigue without being in danger of losing my head. If you’d like to do the same, pull up a chair, sip a delicious latte and take a read of the Highland Hearts series : )
Do you like history? What parts are your favorite?
Meet Heather McCollum!
Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and contemporary YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology from the University of Maine, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. Ms. McCollum has four full length historical, paranormal romances released in both electronic and digital formats. She also has one short novella released in electronic format.
Want to purchase Heather’s novels?
The Dragonfly Chronicles