This is the week of my e-book launch of Highland Summer and I’d like to tell you a bit about the book.
I try to set myself a technical challenge with all my books and those of you who have been following my e-books story so far, will know that Highland Summer is where I intersperse the third person narrative with extracts from the heroine, Robina’s, journal, as I explained in my blog last week. It was fascinating to see how Robina’s character gradually changed as I allowed her to have her say in what was going on.
e-book cover for ‘Highland Summer’. I’m so thrilled it’s coming out tomorrow!
Highland Summer is a three strand book. The first strand is, of course, Robina’s; naturally there are problems to be overcome and I wanted her to be feisty, intelligent, and able to cope with whatever life throws at her. She has made a life for herself – to the annoyance of her cousins who want her to remain the useful poor relation.
The second strand is based on a fascinating TV documentary I’d seen about a rich 19th century businessman who was murdered by his natural son. What interested me was the public’s sympathy towards his mistress, an attractive woman (but modest, as a Victorian lady ought to be, and certainly not brassy) who, they felt, had been treated appallingly. Thousands wrote to the Home Secretary begging for clemency towards her guilty son, who had been sentenced to death. But there was also an appalling fall out for the man’s legitimate daughters who were all left spinsters, such was the scandal.
I am not giving anything away, because this is NOT what happens in Highland Summer. Fellow writers will know, I’m sure, how one’s original inspiration undergoes a sort of chrysalis-like transformation and emerges as something very different.
Staffordshire Highlander, mid-19th century
The last strand is that of Edward Mountsorrel, my plant hunter hero. He is wealthy, good-looking, intelligent, and heir to a barony –what more could one ask? However, whilst he has an interesting life collecting plants in India, his pretty wife is bored out of her mind: she knows nobody, she doesn’t speak the language, and the situation rapidly becomes ripe for mischief.
Edward isn’t yet a hero and his ‘sentimental education’ is by no means complete. He has a lot of challenges ahead!
Throw in a wild Shetlander; two canny Scottish lawyers; and a poverty-stricken but noble family living in a decayed castle, and my story was ready to be told. All novels have their own technical challenges and Highland Summer’s final challenge was to ensure that all the strands wove in and out seamlessly and that the story reached an emotionally satisfying ending.
Scotland and 19th century War shelves in my study
Both Robina and Edward will discover that love can be unpredictable – and family secrets can be dangerous.
So, here I am at last. Highland Summer is the first of my books to come out in e-books – on Monday, 3rd August, with Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords, price £1.99. I am thrilled about it, and my grateful thanks go to John Hocking and Janet Gover, my brilliant computing wizards, who have seen me safely through so this e-books project so far – with an e-book to prove it.
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