Thank you so much, Amanda, for inviting me onto your blog to tell your readers a little about The Lochmore Legacy – a series of four linked but standalone Highland romances set in different historical time periods.
When Mills and Boon asked me to write a Victorian set romance as the first book of The Lochmore Legacy I was torn between excitement and nerves: excitement because I loved the premise of the series, and nerves because of the responsibility of writing that first book; excitement at the prospect of tackling a new-to-me historical period (I usually write Regencies), and nerves for the exact same reason; excitement when I learned my fellow authors would be Lara Temple, Elisabeth Hobbes and Nicole Locke, and nerves because, well, how much worse would it be if I let down such good friends? But I said yes. I promised myself when I first became a published author five years ago that I would never say no to a challenge, and I have kept that promise! I had been involved in a continuity before, writing book four for The Governess Tales (September to December 2016), with all four books linked through the friendship of their heroines. I therefore knew more or less what to expect – much collaboration with my fellow authors!
But this series – The Lochmore Legacy – posed a greater challenge in that the books are linked through the setting (Lochmore Castle, which is built on a rocky promontory on a fictional stretch of the west coast of Scotland); two neighbouring clans (the Lochmores and the McCrieffs, whose feud has lasted six centuries), and a mystery that demands to be solved.
The Lochmore Legacy begins in Victorian times, with a marriage of convenience story, where a brooch is discovered in strange circumstances. Each unforgettable romance will reveal a little more of that brooch’s secret past as the reader travels back in time through the Regency and Tudor eras to Medieval Scotland, where the truth will finally be revealed.
I mentioned that my fellow Lochmore collaborators are great friends of mine, and I’d like to tell your readers a little about us. Of course, we know one another as fellow authors for the Harlequin / Mills & Boon historical line but our friendship has grown through our involvement with The Unlaced Historical Romance group on Facebook, which we run together with five other Mills & Boon historical writers. The nine of us teamed up to write a story for an online blog a few years ago, and we are certain that story gave the Mills & Boon historical team the idea for The Lochmore Legacy! Unlaced is not only about history and romance, it is also about friendship and support – a fun and safe place for our members to meet, chat, share interesting stuff and just have a laugh and we are always happy for more like-minded people to join us.
I’d like to tell you a little about His Convenient Highland Wedding and about my experience of collaborating with Lara, Elisabeth and Nicole on The Lochmore Legacy, and then I’ll hand over to them to tell you about their books and experiences!
His Convenient Highland Wedding
Publication date 21st March/1st April
Rich but lowborn Lachlan McNeill meets his bride, Lady Flora McCrieff, for the first time at the altar. Lachlan needs aristocratic patrons for his new whisky distillery and is only marrying Flora for her connections in Scottish society, not realising that his new bride is a disgraced outcast. Flora struggles to understand her secretive new husband and she has to dig deep to find the courage to persevere when all her efforts to bridge the gap between them are rebuffed. Lachlan, in the meantime, throws himself into business, determined never to reveal the details of his shocking past and even more determined to keep hidden the heartbreak and emotions he’s suppressed for so long.
As I said before, I was torn between excitement and nerves at the prospect of working with such good friends. As my story came first I felt a huge responsibility for getting things right, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience although I’m sure the others were exasperated at times by constant questions I bombarded them with. One of the difficulties was our different deadlines, with Nicole’s being at least 3 months after mine, which meant that while I was fully immersed in Victorian Scotland and trying to finalise details on the setting and the castle (even to the extent of drawing maps and castle plans!), the others were still at various stages of writing/editing their previous books and, quite rightly, concentrating on them! But they hid any irritation very well, and it was lovely to be able to bounce ideas around to find solutions to issues that arose. Lara and I, in particular, had to work closely because there is only 30 years between books 1 & 2, and her heroine, Joane, appears in my story.
Unlaced by the Highland Duke
Publication date: 18th April/1st May
Benneit, the widowed Duke of Lochmore, cares about two things – his son Jamie and his clan’s wellbeing. For both their sakes he knows he must ally with the rival clan by marrying Tessa McCrieff. But all his plans begin to founder when plain governess and widow Jo Langdale comes to Lochmore Castle to be a companion to Jamie and brings to the surface secrets and emotions long hidden.
Writing is a lonely occupation – and it’s meant to be. When I write I crawl inside my head and tune the world out and if the end result is terrible, it’s only me that’s embarrassed. So, writing with three other authors, all of whom are my friends and who I respect immensely, was actual quite scary. The positive side was that working with them sparked my own creativity – we bounced ideas off each other, built a world together (kudos to Elisabeth who scouted out locations physically and to Janice who drew architectural plans of the castle!) and cried on each other’s shoulders when we hit a wall. It was a brilliant experience!
A Runaway Bride for the Highlander
Publication date: 30 May/1 June
The events in my book are certainly enough to cause trouble between the Lochmores and McCrieffs, but they’re not the reason for the big feud. The actions of my characters go a long way to explain why the secrets have been all by lost by the time Lara and Janice’s characters first come across them. Ewan Lochmore arrives at Stirling Castle to attend the coronation of King James V after the death of James IV (and Ewan’s father) at the Battle of Flodden. Whilst there he meets a young Frenchwoman, Marguerite, who is betrothed to Duncan McCrieff. Although he is attracted to her, he thinks he has seen the last of her when he leaves Stirling to return to Lochmore. Until, that is, he discovers his cart is carrying more than his luggage…
I really enjoyed collaborating with Janice, Lara and Nicole because it was fascinating to see how they all approached the writing process. Creating the castle was great fun. I volunteered to do some site visits and brave the midges on a couple of camping trips. If the photos I inundated the others with were no use, they were too polite to say.
Secrets of a Highland Warrior
Publication date: 27 June/1 July
To redeem himself in his clan, Rory, son of Chief Lochmore, must seize his future…and his enemy wife, Ailsa McCrieff. But distrust between Clan Lochmore and Clan McCrieff runs deep. And though Ailsa and Rory marry, there are others who will do anything to keep the hatred alive…and the secrets of the past buried.
I am a last minute writer. Not that I mean to be, but somewhere around age five I got behind on a colouring project and I haven’t been able to catch up since. Which works fine most of the time, and my writer’s brain has been trained to work this way. Always the best (or any ideas) are the day before the deadline and I pull an all-nighter. Except that wouldn’t work on the Lochmore Series. Oh, sure, I wrote my book last (whew), but our stories entwine. To make it worse/better, my storyline comes first chronologically. So it was early to the story this time. And oh, boy did I suffer. If it wasn’t for the other authors (and very dear friends), I don’t know if I could have gotten it done. But I know the series is all the better for it. Now if only I can write early for my other stories!
Thank you again, Amanda, for featuring The Lochmore Legacy on your blog!
Connect with Janice Preston on the links below to learn more about this brand new miniseries!