Sue asked me to talk a little bit more about my travels as an author. Recently, I went on several trips while collecting research for my stories. Besides getting some great plot ideas, I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. As I have gotten older (my birthday was November 13th) I realize life is short; I had better take it all in.
My memory being what it is, I jotted notes in a journal and used photography to help me remember my latest experiences. I have a small digital camera. Experimentation has proven irritating at times, like when I push the movie button instead of taking a simple photo. Grr!
I ended up taking nearly two-hundred photos at the New Hampshire Highland games (2,000 mile roundtrip). I networked with other authors and met editors and agents at the Moonlight & Magnolias writer’s conference in Norcross, Georgia (800 miles roundtrip). I took more photos, and enjoyed the workshops. I came up with even more strategies to use in my books.
Another visit to my folks in Florida (550 miles one way) ended with a side-trip to the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, Georgia (480 there, and another 400 miles to get home). All this traveling BY CAR in just thirty days proved exhausting, but I met my goals.
Now that I am on my home turf in North Carolina, I enjoy sitting in my office using all I heard, saw, and learned. I am working on the third book in my Highland Games Through History series, where I meld the scenery, people, and gaiety of a present-day Scottish Highland festival with the adverse conditions of the Scottish Highlands in the late sixteenth century.
World building is a little difficult when you have never had the chance to visit a location where you plan to set a story. No, I have not visited Scotland. Not yet. I have researched Scotland’s upper Highlands using the less exciting methods of opening a book, cruising the internet, and talking with Scots at the Highland Games.
The festivals themselves, held annually in various states and Canada, have been amazingly helpful in my research. Clothing, music, foods, beverages (Whisky and ale! Yum!) are represented. I watch people, as well. Here’s what I have learned this year:
1. Most visitors to the ‘games’ think the word ‘games’ stand for the athletics. Highland games encompass so much more; marching bands, kids activities, food, vendors, etc.
2. The favorite athletic event is the caber toss, where competitors throw a telephone sized log, weighing about 120lbs., end-over-end.
3. Sheepdog demonstrations are a kid (and adult) furry friend favorite event.
4. Scottish food is a little on the heavy side…and mostly brown.
5. Bagpipes sound MUCH better when accompanied by an entire marching band.
6. A kilt on a man is the sexiest thing going!
I have used my research to describe modern games in my latest book My Banished Highlander. In fact, my hero is lost in a modern world, and struggles to adapt while he awaits a chance to return to his time.
When his clan convicts Cameron Robeson of thievery, kidnapping, and treason in 1598 Scotland, the last thing he thought his cousin would do was banish him to the future. With revenge against Laird Kirkwall Gunn fresh on his mind, and the image of a woman left behind weighing on his heart, he passes the time doing an old woman’s bidding. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the New England Highland Games, he dreams of returning to his time, alone. His plans go awry when a comely lass wearing the Mackenzie plaid lands at his feet.
Worried about her friend lost in the past, Iona Mackenzie searches for answers among the tents and vendors at the New England Highland Games. She needs help, but who can she trust? Her father? The handsome blacksmith? Or, the Viking look-a-like. The tall, golden-haired Highlander makes her legs turn to jelly. Too bad she’s shoved romance to a back seat. Saving her friend, Haven, is her only priority, no matter how sweet the man can kiss.
When a magical amulet, an ancient book of spells, and an angry sorcerer send this unlikely couple back through time, more than one heart will be broken. When danger, intrigue, and threats surround them, feelings between Iona and Cameron grow hot and steamy. They team up with Cameron’s enemies to fight the sorcerer and search for Haven—Iona’s friend and the woman Cameron plans to steal from his cousin to make his own. Will the strong-willed Highlander and the present day witch stop fighting long enough to listen to their hearts?
More About the Author:
Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time.
Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games. She also writes as Nancy Lennea, and is a proud Army Mom.
As my birthday gift to readers, I will award a FREE ebook of My Banished Highlander to one lucky person. Simply leave a comment.
*Please include an email and format choice. (pdf, epub, or mobi)WINNER is Elizabeth H – congrats!