HIGHLAND YEARNING (The Mackay Saga #2) by Dawn Ireland-Review, Interview and Giveaway
The Mackay Saga
by Dawn Ireland
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Genre: adult, time-travel, Highlander romance
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 20, 2016
Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alone marry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman he’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own?
Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?
REVIEW: HIGHLAND YEARNING is the second installment in Dawn Ireland’s historical, Highlander The Mackay Saga paranormal, romance, time travel series. This is Laird Caden Mackay, and Ariel Sutherland’s story line. HIGHLAND YEARNING can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.
Told from dual third person perspectives (Caden and Ariel) HIGHLAND YEARNING follows Ariel Sutherland as she is hurled back in time, into the eighteenth century, and into a clan war between the Sutherland’s and the Mackay’s. In present day a stranger in a kilt offers Ariel a gift of the missing Mackay Ring of Belief, a ring she has been contracted to find by one of the current day Sutherland’s. Thought to have been lost for over two hundred years, one touch finds our heroine traveling through time into an age and people with whom she is very familiar. What ensues is the desperate search for the ring so Ariel is able to return to her time, and the building relationship between Ariel Sutherland and Caden Mackay- a relationship not approved by Caden himself.
Caden is a man determined to stop his brother Gavin’s upcoming marriage to Lady Kathleen Sutherland. The Sutherland and Mackay clans are at war, and Gavin’s marriage is not what it seems. While our couple search for the missing ring, Ariel begins to investigate the people of the Sutherland clan only to discover that someone has set out to destroy our story line heroine who is a woman use to her independence and ability to get things done.
The relationship between Ariel and Caden begins slowly. Caden is a man determined to find out why a ‘Mackay’ from the ‘colonies’ has been found on his estate, and Ariel is hoping to discover a way back home. As the relationship begins to build Caden realizes that he too has fallen for their presumed enemy, and Ariel knows that to keep the families from going to war, she is going to have to move on without the man that she loves. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense without the over the top graphic sexual content.
There is a large ensemble cast of characters from both the Mackay and Sutherland clans whose various roles are as vast as the Highland countryside. We are introduced to Caden’s father Donel Mackay who doesn’t seem surprised by Ariel’s appearance; and Caden’s brother Gavin who is so in love with Lady Kathleen Sutherland he is unable to see the bigger picture.
The world building looks at the struggle to survive in a world without ‘modern amenities’ including medicine and competent doctors. The similarities with the Outlander series cannot be denied but HIGHLAND YEARNING is an entertaining and colorful story of time travel, Scottish brogue and Highland romance. The premise is a fast paced with a little bit of mystery and suspense; the characters are energetic and animated; the romance is fated by time and magic. The epilogue fast forwards the story line several years where we catch a glimpse into the future and the possibility of another Highlander finding love. HIGHLAND YEARNING is a wondrous and enchanting story about family, love and acceptance.
Copy gifted for review
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Dawn. Welcome to The Reading Café.
Congratulations on the release of HIGHLAND YEARNING.
Dawn: Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here!
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Dawn: I never know what to say to this. Okay, here goes: I’m a lover of whimsy and Disney, I have way too many interests, I get tickled over wonderful romantic movies like Ever After, While You Were Sleeping and Pretty Woman, I live in Upstate New York in a Victorian home that is decorated with-you guessed it-antiques☺. Come on, I write historical romance. What did you expect?
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Dawn: Pat Ryan was my mentor. She won a RITA for her book, Silken Threads, and she was a wonderful teacher and guide. If you’re a new author out there, I can’t stress enough the importance of taking classes, talking to other authors, joining writing organizations and honing your craft.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?
Dawn: My biggest stumbling block is time. I’ll come up with a story idea and life intrudes. I’ve had to become more organized. Now, I even write down blog, interview and publishing dates on a calendar. (shudder) Of course, my German husband is thrilled. He’s been hoping, for years, that I’d catch the organization bug.
TRC: Would you please tell us something about HIGHLAND YEARNING?
Dawn: There were moments when I smiled as I wrote Highland Yearning. Time travel stories are great because you have plenty of opportunity for amusement and confusion. There’s always conflict when your hero and heroine don’t really understand one another.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the Mackay Saga series?
Dawn: It will depend on what characters inspire me. Gavin, Ian, and Gordon all have aspects of their personality that make me want to write about them. Sterling Mackay has tangled with the Ring of Belief’s witch, Elspeth. I don’t believe he came away unscathed, so I’d like to explore that path and delve deeper into his ‘second sight.’ And some of the Mackay woman have stories to tell. It’s really going to depend on the books my readers want me to write. So, if you have a favorite secondary character, make sure to let me know.
TRC: Will Gavin’s story line be told next? And if so, do you have a possible date of release?
Dawn: Yes. Gavin’s story is next in my Mackay Series. Poor Gavin. He’d been blinded by love, but the future holds even more challenges for him. He’s decided a woman will never again influence his choices. Especially not a Sutherland. I’m hoping to have his story out in the first half of 2017.
TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Dawn: The twists and turns come from the characters. Some of my biggest surprises have come from my villain’s motivations. I’ll be writing and all of a sudden I’ll understand ‘why’ my bad guy is making my hero squirm. If realizations surprise me, they will usually surprise the reader.
TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit the Highlands of Scotland, and if so, how much of an influence or impact did the visit have on your
Dawn: I never made it as far as the Highlands. I flew out of the airport in Glasgow and only managed to see Robert Burns’ cottage. There’s a story behind that trip, but I think I’ll save that for another day. (Gordon Maclean, where ever you are, it’s a wonderful memory☺ ) I would really like to visit Dunrobin, as my stories are based in that part of Scotland, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible in the near future.
TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?
Dawn: Without a doubt. The cover is the first thing that makes you stop as you’re looking over a sea of images on Amazon. Then, you need a blurb about the story that hints at the conflict. But all your effort is wasted if you don’t write a book that keeps readers turning pages.
TRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Dawn: The characters always direct me. I start out knowing my main characters and the major turning points, including the end. But along the way, I meet characters who interact with my hero and heroine and show me who my lovers really are and what they want.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Dawn: Most writers would say you have to use all the senses. I agree, but I don’t think that goes far enough. As a writer, you must be totally in the scene. If you try to write because you know what is supposed to happen, instead of experiencing it, you will fail. You need to write what your characters are feeling. (Okay, can you tell that I’ve done some acting?) If you don’t feel the emotions when you read your work, neither will your readers.
TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?
Dawn: If I listen to music, its groups like Celtic Women or Michael Feinstein. Although, Yanni has a song I really love, One Man’s Dream. When that comes on I simply sit and listen. I wonder if he’d ever let me use a little of that as a background for a book trailer?
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Dawn: Most of the time I run story lines by my editor. She tries to keep me from being too far out there. For instance, in Highland Yearning I wrote the epilogue from Scruffy’s point of view. My editor suggested that, as I hadn’t done the dogs POV anywhere else in the book, I should keep the story in my hero or heroine’s head. She was right. The ending was much stronger when I re-wrote it. That said, I still did an interview with Scruffy and put it on my blog.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?
Dawn: That it’s easy to write a book. I thought, that as an avid reader, I wouldn’t have any trouble writing a novel, but you need a different skill set when you actually create a story.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Dawn: I love to sing karaoke.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Dawn: I’ve promised the readers of my Georgian historicals I’d write Morgan’s story next. I’m half-way through ‘Morgan’s Folly’ and I’m hoping to have it done by the end of this year, or the start of 2017. Then I’m turning my attention to Gavin’s story.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Dawn: I really do enjoy hearing from readers! I’m always inspired when a reader asks a question about one of my books, or looks at one of my characters in a new way. So, don’t be shy☺
Favorite Food – stuffed peppers
Favorite Dessert – Bacardi Rum Cake, no, wait, Monkey Bread (May I have several choices?)
Favorite TV Show – Firefly, which was canceled☹ Now I watch ‘Once Upon a Time’ (of course)
Last Movie You Saw – Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’
Dark or Milk Chocolate – dark
Secret Celebrity Crush – Hugh Jackman (sigh)
Last Vacation Destination – Port Jefferson, Long Island
Do you have any pets? – Two cats (Greystoke and Carmella) Highland Yearning is dedicated to Sir Smudge, the tuxedo kitty we lost last year, and to all the pets that bring us such joy.
Last book you read – Kim Harrison / The Good, the Bad and the Undead (I’m listening to the whole series on audio.)
TRC: Thank you Dawn for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Highland Yearning.
Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.
Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?
Dawn lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats. When she’s not writing, she’s singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. If you’d like to learn more about Dawn and her novels, go to her website at www.dawn-ireland.com
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