Today we welcome award-winning author Jennifer Hudson Taylor as we talk about two books in her Highland series. Considering how much I love Scotland, and the Highlands in particular, it's a pleasure to have her joining us. Welcome Jennifer!
Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
I have wanted to be a published author since I was 12. I started writing my first book by hand in a spiral notebook at that age. After I married, I decided to get serious about my writing, joined Romance Writers of America and began pursuing publication. Fourteen years later, I finally got the call from my agent that a publisher wanted to buy my manuscript.
What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
I enjoy spending time with my family. We watch movies, go for walks, travel, and tour historical places.
If you had to sum it up Highland Sanctuary in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Highland Sanctuary is an historical Christian fiction novel set in 15th century Scotland where the hero meets the heroine in a village of misfits and discovers a sanctuary of secrets.
What inspired the idea behind your book?
The book is dedicated to my 14 year old daughter. She was born with a seizure disorder and we had a list of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and medications to help us. What would it have been like in a time when none of that was available? I decided to write a book like with an heroine who has a seizure disorder in 15th Century Scotland.
What has been your greatest challenge in writing the books?
When I was writing it, one of my greatest challenges was separating the personal experiences of watching my baby suffer through her seizures and allowing my characters to have their own experiences. The opening scene was most difficult for me. I cried while writing it and had to cut 6-7 pages from it.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
When they are outside the castle up above the sea and Gavin teaches Serena how to dance for an upcoming celebration.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The seizures in the book were taken from my experiences with my daughter’s seizures, especially the opening scene when Serena was an infant.
Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
No, I prefer to be alone at times, but since I work a full-time job, I have had to learn how to write whenever and wherever I can regardless of what it going on around me or who I’m with.
What kind of research was involved for the series? Did you find it became easier with each book?
Highland Blessings was my debut novel and the sequel is Highland Sanctuary. I read several nonfiction books on medieval Scotland, studied the clan structures, dialect, church structure, history of epilepsy, clothing and geography of the where the books are set.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Currently, I’m working on the first book in the MacGregor Quest series. This series begins in 1760 from Argyll, Scotland to Charles Town, SC. The second book will be about the next generation in the family during the Revolutionary War, and the third book is about the third generation during the War of 1812.
Does where you live or have places you’ve been influenced your work?
I write historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas. I was born and raised in North Carolina and have deep family history roots in both North and South Carolina. Therefore, lots of my stories have some kind of ties to the Carolinas. I love the history here.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
We only have the two books that are already published in my Highland series, but I have lots of readers asking me to write Leith’s story, and I also would enjoy writing Sim’s story.
Gavin MacKenzie is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh. He discovers a hidden village of outcasts that have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass who captures Gavin’s heart. The villagers have an intriguing secret, while Serena harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.
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