The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
To start out can you tell us about how you became an author?
Seanchaidh is Gaelic for storyteller. I come from a long line of bards in my family. It just seems a part of me, of my heritage. I wrote my first torrid romance at age 12. My mother discovered it, was properly horrified, and burnt it! After that, I turned my attention to penning mysteries. Only, the romance kept coming in and taking over the story. Of course, there really wasn't a romance category back then, so truly I wasn't too focused on getting published. At several points, I made attempts at marketing. However, the first book I sold was to Hilary Sares in 2005. My husband and uncle got together and mailed a package to Ms. Sares. She was calling with an offer two hours after it landed on her desk. Considering slush pile horror stories, you get the idea I hit big in this.
What genres have you written and what would you like to try next? I currently have two series for novels. Medieval Scottish Historical Romances for Kensington Books (A Restless Knight, 2006; In Her Bed, 2007) and Paranormal Contemporary Romances for Dorchester's Love Spell (The Invasion of Falgannon Isle, 2006; Riding the Thunder, 2007). I also pen novellas and short stories for Highland Press. I have five more books in each series, so I'm currently tired up and won't have the time for branching out into other categories for a couple years.
I read that your grandfather is a retired Scottish historian and used to tell you stories. How has that impacted your books? Again, it was a family tradition. I didn't get nursery rhymes, but tales of Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and Andrew de Moray. His lifelong passion was history, and that carried over to me. As how it impacted my books? I don't view history as something to research. The past is living to me. In many ways, I think in a medieval mind set. Merrimon Crawford, a Medieval scholar and owner of Merrimon Books, was surprised by my clear vision of the period. I owe that all to my grandfather. I've heard that you are very active in promoting your books and helping other authors do that same. Many authors write great books, but could use some hints on how to inform readers about their novels. What would you tell an author who needs help in this area? What works? MySpace. I cannot recommend it enough. It doesn't happen immediately and it takes work. I have been there around eight months. But I started seeing I was developing a fan base through the networking there. It takes time, but I don't think there is any place out there for writers that can help you connect as well. You are able to post your book videos, announcements, contests. No other place that can give a writer that impact and attention.
I also recommend the Amazon Connect program. Amazon provides authors with a personal blog, a book listing, and gives you the forum to speak to readers considering buying your book. Amazon Connect authors often see 10-15% higher sales than authors not using it do. Book videos are another tool I recommend. I do all mine with PhotoStory 3 and have been pleased with the results. One of my videos for Riding the Thunder has over 10,000 views on it on Youtube alone. Another is reviewing books. I have been a reviewer for nearly seven years. I think it's another means of keeping your name out there. It's about getting your name before the public. Writing articles, videos, reviewing, it all works toward name recognition.
You're a woman of many talents. You write fabulous books, design websites, make videos and still find the time to chat with readers, reviewers and other authors. How do you do it all? Insomnia!! Seriously, these days I don't sleep a lot. My mind is always awake with things I need to do. I do try to stack my time. Like when I cannot write, tired or just waking up, I do "chores" such as videos or book covers for Highland Press.
What one of your character's do you like best and what makes them really stand out? Oh, to make me choose! Wicked. I fall in love with each of my heroes. I thought I would never love a hero as I loved Challon. But then Damian came along and stole my heart. Des Mershan I just utterly adore, but Jago, his younger brother claimed my love again. To pick?I just couldn't do it. I would leave my husband for any of the four heroes! Hopefully, if my heroes keep making me fall for them, they are doing the same for the readers.
How can readers find out about your books? I am on myspace - http://myspace.com/DeborahMacgillivray my website - http://deborahmacgillivray.co.uk blog - at http://deborahmacgillivray.blogspot.com I keep them up to date with reviews, interviews, book covers and coming novels.
What influences you when you write? My own mood. I have to watch that it doesn't intrude and alter the characters' moods. Music can influence me. I often use it to set the tone, when my mood is not right. You have historicals, contemporaries and paranormals - What set you to writing those genres? The historicals came from my deep love for the Medieval period. Knights, damsels, chargers, armour, swords.they have always captured my imagination. I was working on a piece of family history for family records and came across the story of a warrior who came to Scotland to claim a lady. The story obsessed me for a long time, and I spent years trying to prove details. Some were there, others were too vague to verify. At some point, I started dreaming about the knight and his lady. I had to write what I `saw'. As for the Contemporary Paranormals, I started with a series based on my sisters, which quickly evolved into books that had little to do with them. Lynsay Sands encouraged me to go with the humorous tone. I wasn't sure, but she insisted I had the voice for it. I am so glad she did. I really enjoy writing them, using pieces of my life to bring them alive.
Can you please give us a sneak peak into what you have coming out in the next year? First up is One Snowy Knight (Kensington, October 2008). This is another Scottish Medieval, a Christmas book. It's part of the Dragons of Challon series, but not one of Challon's family. This knight is a friend of his. After that is Yield to the Knight (Kensington TBA). This one is Guillaume Challon's story. For Dorchester, I will do Trev Mershan's tale. This one will move back across the Pond to be set in England.
Can you tell us what you plan to work on next? There are a total of seven books in the Sisters of Colford Hall. But there are six brothers, so there could be more. You'll notice Liam and Netta's romance is left up in the air at the end of Riding the Thunder. There will be at least that brother's story. In the Historicals, I have a total of eight. As long as I have stories and can keep the series fresh, then I will continue doing them. I have several other suspense WIPS, and several paranormal project. I have plenty of WIPs, but PR takes so much of my writing time these days.
Who is your perfect hero? I don't think there is a perfect one. I have been a lifelong fan of Ian McShane, but I think my heroes come alive on their own. No one seems to really fill their shoes. We play that `who would you cast as your hero game.' I never find anyone that gets near my Challon, Damian, Des or Jago.
When did you first submit your work and how did you go about doing that? I purchased a copy of Writers Market and learned who published what. I submitted one of the sisters to Silhouette Intimate Moments and had a request for a full manuscript, but then bad health came into play. Google is there now, so I cannot stress enough for writers to check out publishers. What they buy, and learn the editors who are buying romance. After I got back on my feet, I submitted A Restless Knight in 2005, finally landing with Hilary Sares. It was published in July 2006.
You write for both small and large print publishers. What's it like doing both of those things. Do you have more freedom at Highland Press? Highland Press lets me write what I want. Of course, saying that, but I have written the books I wanted to write for both Kensington and Dorchester. So far, I have not heard the first `no, you cannot write that' from either large print publisher. I have been very fortunate in that.
Only, with Highland Press, I can do smaller ideas. Like my Cat O' Nine Tales, a collection of nine short stories and novellas. I doubt either publisher would have wanted to do that. I've been reading your book Cat O' Nine Tales and it's a real whoot. Do you plan on doing more sexy and funny anthologies? Yes, there will be a Cat O' Nine Tales 2, I should imagine. I enjoy doing the stories of cats in the romances. I think people enjoy the rather oddball cats. I love doing them. Half of the royalties from this anthology goes to Alleycats.org, to help them in there worldwide battle to rescue feral and homeless cats.
Thank you for this opportunity!