Guest Author: Adrienne Basso & Giveaway!!


I’m very pleased to welcome fellow Kensington historical romance author Adrienne Basso to the blog.  Adrienne writes wonderful Highland, Victorian, and Regency-set historical romance, and she’s gotten tons of acclaim over the years.  She’s here to talk with us about her new book.

Take it away, Adrienne!

I’d first like to thank Vanessa for graciously inviting me to be a guest blogger today.   Like many other authors, in addition to my writing career, I have a rather demanding full-time job.  Consequently, I don’t get out much!  I therefore really appreciate this opportunity to connect with romance readers.

How to Be a Scottish Mistress was released in early July and I’ve been so pleased with the  response.  This book is big change in setting and time period for me – medieval Scotland.  My previous historicals have taken place in Regency England and my holiday romances are set in Victorian England. 

How to be a Scottish Mistress

Yet as I contemplated my next project, I wanted to tackle a new challenge.  Here’s what I came up with:

As Robert the Bruce struggles to unite the clans of Scotland and free his country from English rule, a newly widowed English noblewoman turns to a proud, powerful Scottish earl for sanctuary and justice.  Since the earl must marry to secure a political alliance, she offers to become his mistress.  The bargain they strike thrusts them into passionate danger – both outside and inside their bedchamber.  As treachery and vengeance loom, they must decide how far they are willing to go to fight for the survival of their forbidden love.

Interestingly, the basic premise of this plot, along with the two main characters, Fiona and Gavin, had been rolling around in my head for years.  My original idea was to set the story in England circa 1120, but when I proposed it to my editor, he asked me to consider changing the location to Scotland.  I did some research, thought it over and decided Scotland, in the time of Robert the Bruce, would be an excellent choice and further enhance the story.

There was one other aspect of this novel that I debated in my mind for weeks before making a decision – should I use any Scottish “words”?  As a reader I usually like the Scottish dialog – yet it isn’t always necessary.

How to Seduce a Sinner

What about ye, lasses?  Yay or nay to those phrases?  Please, let me know.  One commenter will win a signed copy of How to Be a Scottish Mistress. 

45 thoughts on “Guest Author: Adrienne Basso & Giveaway!!”

  1. If the phrases feel like a natural part of the dialogue I’m happy they are included, but sometimes I do feel like they were just sprinkled through as an after thought.

  2. I’m in the camp of balance. A few endearments with the accent but not entire pages of it; it bogs the story down for me! That said, I’m currently enjoying Grace Burrowes’ The Bridegroom Wore Plaid and Nicola Cornick’s The Lady and the Laird both of which have that nice balance. Thanks for the giveaway offer!

  3. Hi Mary – hmm, I think you and I might have read one or two of the same books! I agree that every now and then it seems like just a few Scottish “words” were tossed in as an afterthought.

  4. Hello, Maria – yes, balance is the key when it comes to any foreign phrases. If you have to think too hard to understand what is being said, you start to lose the sheer enjoyment of the story. Sounds like both Grace & Nicola’s books have hit the mark on that score!

  5. Oh, May, I agree it can get very confusing sometimes. Then I find myself spending more time trying to understand what the characters are saying and that feels like too much work.

  6. I love the scottish “words”/dialog interspersed in… but like someone already mentioned… I’ve got to be able to intuit the meaning from what is said in English 🙂 Congrats on the new release!

  7. I approve of authors using Scottish phrases when appropriate. I really love reading the books of George McDonald (1824-1905) and speaking the Scots dialogue aloud. Love the way the words roll off the tongue when spoken aloud!

  8. Thank you, Erin – I am excited about this newest release. There are Scottish “words” in this newest book – I really hope that readers like them. PS – I just love that doggie photo – cute doesn’t come close to describing that puppy!!!

  9. Hi Marguerite – funny you should mention speaking the Scots dialogue aloud – I did that constantly while writing this book (and am still doing it with my current manuscript, also set in Scotland)!

    • For me, reading is relaxing, and if I can’t understand the words, then I’m working too hard to follow the story!

  10. they can help with establishing the setting/mood of the book but think its best if not overdone & consistant — that tough balancing act along with not making it a characterization or difficult to read

    love that cover by the way

  11. So glad to hear ye like a bit of the Scottish brogue in yer books, Chelsea. I’ve never attempted any Gaelic words, though as I was concerned I wouldnae use them correctly!

  12. It can be hard to be consistent with the Scottish words, Donna Ann, especially with an over zealous copy editor. But those occasional words can really set the proper mood and engulf the reader in the time/period. Thanks for the compliment on the book cover – I agree it’s really special. Though I must say Kensington always does a terrific job with the cover art and design.

  13. I don’t mind some Scottish phrases, especially endearments. I can almost hear them as I’m reading and I just love a Scottish burr.

  14. Yes, please! I do think it adds to the story if it is related and also it helps increase our own knowledge.

    Of course if it is unclear what the translation is then it glitches the story and loses it’s ‘teaching’ power.

    Love the book cover! I can’t wait to read it!!

  15. YAY ! I absolutely love the Scottish dialogue. It keeps me in tune with the story and characters. I wish I could speak it.

  16. I don’t mind “Scottish” (Gaelic?) words when it makes sense, like endearments, but a fake Scots accent irritates me. Also, Gaelic isn’t pronounced the same as English, so if you use a word without telling us how to say it, it makes it harder for me to figure out what is really being said. If you can work in the pronunciation, that’s great!

  17. I actually like having a little scottish brogue in the dialog. It makes me feel like I’m really there. Plus, I go through my phases on having a scottish theme books.

    • I seem to read in “blocks” too, Melody. Lots of paranormal, then it’s romantic suspense, Regency, contemporary – then mysteries, historical fiction – I also really enjoy series

  18. I don’t mind the Scottish words as long as I’m already familiar with them or can make out their meaning through context. I’m just now getting into medieval set books and have only read a couple but I do like them as well as the Regency and Victorian ones I’ve read.

    • I find that medieval era books have a gritty, sometimes darker edge, Molly, and that can work well with certain plot lines and characters

  19. I say yes. It makes it all more real to me if there’s a bit of it. Nothing that you can’t figure out though lol. I love Scottish themes and this one sounds wonderful!

    • Another yes vote – och, this is really encouraging me as I write my next manuscript – also set in medieval Scotland (promise not to include any words that a reader can’t figure/sound out )

  20. I think that when dealing with other languages, its always a bonus to add certain phrases, sayings, that pertain to the time of the book. Some words translate with no difficulties, like “wee bairn” but when the translation gets too difficult the reader can get lost and lose interest. A small glossary is always good, but a few books I read, I lost interest in when I was having to check the glossary two to three times a page and the glossary itself was 20 pages.

  21. I don’t mind Scottish phrases, as long as they feel authentic and aren’t used in a way that slows down the story. I like to be able to visualize and “hear” the story in my head, so if the language turns into a foreign language that I can’t read, then it doesn’t work. This sounds like a great story!

  22. Yes, I love Scots phrases in a Scots story…makes it realistic I think. I’m so glad Vanessa has introduced you on her blog. Historical romance is my fave reading genre.

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