I’m really thrilled to have my good friend and acclaimed historical romance author Claire Delacroix visiting the blog today. Claire – who also writes paranormal romance as Deborah Cooke – has published more than forty-five romance novels and a whole slew of novellas. The Beauty, part of her successful Bride Quest series, was the first book to land her on the New York Times bestseller list.
I’m going to turn the blog over to Claire, so she can tell us all about her new series.
Galloping Back to Medieval Scotland
One of the most exciting things to happen in my writing life this year has been the opportunity to return to medieval Scotland. I’ve missed the Middle Ages and I’ve missed that family at Kinfairlie, so it was wonderful to review all of their stories in order to continue writing the series.
The story at Kinfairlie begins with my book THE ROGUE which is the first book in my Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy. This trilogy of medieval romances are a bit more gothic in tone than the rest of my work – they remind me of those wonderful gothic romances I gobbled up when I was a teenager. The heroes are enigmatic and more than a little bit of trouble, and each heroine needs to get to the bottom of some mystery in order to be happy forever with the man she loves. That series begins at Ravensmuir on the east coast of Scotland and continues at Inverfyre in the Highlands, but we also encounter Ravensmuir’s neighboring estate of Kinfairlie.
The Jewels of Kinfairlie is a linked trilogy of medieval romances. These three books are more tightly linked – they star three of the eight siblings at Kinfairlie and their respective quests for an HEA. Madeline found her match in THE BEAUTY BRIDE; Vivienne fell head over heels in THE ROSE RED BRIDE; and Alexander married the love of his life in THE SNOW WHITE BRIDE.
These books are reminiscent of fairy tales to me, although they have lots of realistic medieval elements, too. There are battles and feuds, injustices to correct, and the camaraderie of a large family in a large household. There are the magnificent black warhorses bred at Kinfairlie’s sister-estate of Ravensmuir, the mysterious ravens that live at Ravensmuir, and some troublemaking faeries underfoot. That series ends with the oldest brother – Alexander – promising to let his unwed younger sisters marry for true love. Their aunt, Rosamunde, subsequently found her HEA in the short story “The Ballad of Rosamunde”, now also available in a digital edition. (It’s included in the new print edition of THE SNOW WHITE BRIDE, too.)
Over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of mail from readers who wanted to hear the stories of the other siblings at Kinfairlie. I always intended to write those stories, and now I am, in a new series called The True Love Brides.
THE RENEGADE’S HEART is the first book in this series and is Isabella’s story. Isabella – which you’ll know if you’ve read the series so far – is the outspoken sister, the one who is always ready to take a chance and the one most determined to set wrongs to right. She’s not the next oldest, but her character is such that she’d jump line! (And her older sister, Annelise, would let her.) I’ve always wanted to write a Robin Hood hero, and I knew that Isabella would be the kind of heroine who would see right through to such a man’s hidden truth – no matter what he insisted was his plan.
In THE RENEGADE’S HEART, we meet Murdoch, a man who is determined to see an injustice against his family corrected, and a man who believes the Laird of Kinfairlie is the villain responsible for the trouble. When Alexander denies any knowledge of this crime, Murdoch knows he is lying and sets to persuading Alexander to tell the truth – no matter what he has to do to convince him. Little does he expect that the curious sister of the laird (the one who tempts him to kiss her) will become his most stalwart ally inside Kinfairlie’s walls. The two work together to solve the crime and name the villain, even as Alexander becomes more vexed with the renegade occupying his forest. Of course, Isabella has no idea that Murdoch has been cursed by the Fae, and that even if she wins his heart, she will have to fight the Elphine Queen for Murdoch’s very soul.
It was great to travel back to Kinfairlie, to dig out my maps and notes and family trees. My office floor was covered! Of course, spending time away from even a fictional realm means that you see it differently when you return. I was struck by how Kinfairlie has always been rumored to be a portal between the realm of the Fae and that of mortals. There were lots of stories of the Fae meddling in the lives of those who lived at Kinfairlie – I chose to make some of those stories happen to the siblings. I love having paranormal elements in medieval romances, because I think the sense of magic works perfectly with a tone that is evocative of fairy tales. As a result, in THE RENEGADE’S HEART (and in the rest of The True Love Brides series) that portal to Fae is kicked wide open. I’m having a wonderful time with these books.
So, now my question to you is this: do you like to read historical romances with paranormal elements or not? Do you only like paranormal elements in certain time periods of history – like medieval or Regency? Tell me what you like and why.
One person who comments today will win a signed copy of the trade paperback edition of THE RENEGADE’S HEART. Good luck!
And thanks to Vanessa for inviting me to visit!
Thanks for being with us today, Claire! Your new series sounds awesome and I can’t wait to read it. Readers, be sure to visit Claire’s website to read the blurb and an excerpt from THE RENEGADE’S HEART. And don’t forget to visit Claire’s blog and her Deborah Cooke website!