For most of us, life has taken a radical turn in recent months. As a writer, I’m pretty reclusive anyway, but now it’s extreme. I haven’t left the house since February except to walk or jog in the neighborhood and surrounding hills. My husband still goes out to work one day a week, so he picks up groceries, and everything else is cancelled. I stay home.
You are experiencing this crisis and quarantine in your own way, and there are a lot of challenges involved. One upside—as I see it—is more time to read!
Let the Highland Spirits lift you
One series I’ve greatly enjoyed reading is the Highland Spirits trilogy by M. MacKinnon. Very entertaining, full of humor, romance, and lots of intrigue. Plus, the stories are set in Scotland, which is lovely. The third book, The Healer’s Legacy, just came out last week.
I had the opportunity to interview the author recently, and today I’m sharing parts of that interview with you. I think you’ll enjoy meeting M. MacKinnon.
Joslyn: Where did you get the idea for the Highland Spirits series, and how did you develop it?
MacKinnon: After my first extended stay in Scotland, I came home and just felt…empty. To keep myself from hopping on the next plane back, I began to look up old legends and ghost stories, and found a paragraph about a ghost with no hands who haunts an obscure ruin near Nairn, in the Highlands.
I didn’t like the way things turned out for her, and decided to give her a name and a happy ending. Oddly, although the ghost story in each of the books is much shorter in length than the modern story, I feel somehow closer to my ghosts and I still get emotional over their romances and histories. Once the pattern was set, it was a matter of seeking out other ghost stories that needed the benefit of my interference.
Joslyn: How important is research in your plotting? Tell us how you go about it.
MacKinnon: That’s a good one. Research is key to the story—the places, tour anecdotes, and history are all real. The restaurants in Inverness are actual favorites of mine, and I’ve been fortunate to have met some lovely Scots who are in love with the minutiae of their country’s history and have taken me on back roads tours to museums and locations I’d never have found otherwise.
The tours Aubrey and her friends took were taken from my own experience. The castle ruin in The Comyn’s Curse is real. Dunebrae, in The Piper’s Warning, had to be renamed and moved to protect the innocent, but the ghost story is real, with a few tweaks here and there. Balfinnan House in The Healer’s Legacy is entirely made up, but based on a real castle that was used in WWI as a hospital for wounded soldiers. So yes, every step of the way involves careful research.
Two more “must-reads” for your quarantine enjoyment
I loved learning about how these books came together. I enjoyed the first two books in the Highland Spirits series, and I’m looking forward to reading The Healer’s Legacy. I hope you are, too!
Here’s another one for your reading list—I’m excited to announce the new Joslyn Chase release, No Rest.
The book features fourteen tales of chilling suspense, guaranteed to send a tingle up your spine. You’ll find spies in training, experts in deceit, and desperate artists struggling under the weight of crushed dreams. You’ll meet disturbed domestics, ambitious chefs, and lowlifes with nothing left to lose.
You’ll thrill at these suspense-packed stories. So catch up on your beauty sleep.
Once you start reading, it’ll be No Rest for you!
I’d love for you to check it out at https://books2read.com/norest
My best wishes for your health and safety
You mean a lot to me, truly. I may not know each of you personally, but you are the reason I write. Without someone to enjoy and connect with the stories I create, there would be little point for me in doing it. I am motivated by what I might be able to do for you.
However the Covid crisis is affecting you, I wish you the best in getting through it. Take care of yourself and your family. Enjoy some down time. Know that this will pass and life will return to a semblance of what it used to be, though never quite the same.
We have been changed, but it can be a change for the better.
How about you? Read any good books over the quarantine? Have you read the Highland Spirits series? Tell us about it in the comments.