Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR STOP: Kate Robbins, author of Bound to the Highlander

Kate Robbins lives in St. John's,
New Foundland, Canada with her
husband and two boys.

Joining me on ye olde blog today is Kate Robbins, whose award-winning debut novel, BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER, was released last week by Tirgearr Publishing. The novel won this year's TARA award for best historical romance and the rave reviews are already pouring in. Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a free download! I'm more than halfway through and finding it both suspenseful and sexy. Here's what Heart of Fiction had to say:

BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER harkens back to classic Scottish romances written by the greats--Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, Iris Johansen, Elizabeth Stuart, Bertrice Small . . . the list goes on. This story delves deeply into Scottish history but is equally played out against a love story so emotive you may find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat. Kate expertly weaves strong characters, rich culture, and a twisting plot that drives the reader forward through the story until the final page comes too quickly. For those who say Scottish romance has been played out in the industry needs to think again. This book is a fresh and welcome addition to decades long Scottish romance storytelling.

Nina Mason: Tell me about BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER.
Kate Robbins: This is the first in my Highland Chiefs series set during the reign of James Stewart, first of his name. The early 15th century in Scotland was a fascinating time with clan conflicts and plots to usurp the king. The high middle ages on the cusp of the renaissance saw the emergence of iconic writer Christine de Pizan and teenage warrior Joan of Arc. Women were testing the waters. And they were making quite an impact. I’ve explored that a little in BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER.

NM: Tell me about your hero and heroine.
KR: Raised by her uncle, Aileana’s the daughter of a nobleman who was sent to England as surety for the king’s ransom. He died there when she was little and so he despises the king and anyone who would support him. My hero, James MacIntosh, is a Stewart supporter who was talked into signing a betrothal contract binding him to Aileana by his father and her uncle. The story opens when her uncle dies.

NM: What compelled you to write Scottish historical romances?
KR: I love history and I love romance. Combining the two is as natural as breathing for me.

NM: Who’s your favorite author in the genre?
KR: Oh my. The list is long for Scottish historicals. Johanna Lindsay, Julie Garwood, Julianne MacLean, Nancy Jardine, Cathie Dunn, Deborah Hale. Wow, I could go on for days.

NM: What other authors have inspired you?
KR: Stephen King I would say is a huge inspiration. I love his attitude and I love his writing. He’s so vivid that no matter what he’s writing about, I’m convinced of it.

NM: What kind of research was involved?
KR: A lot!! Writing historicals is challenging because you want the reader to be immersed into the story and as such, into the setting as much as possible. Word choice is critical and the Merriam-Webster app on my phone has become my best friend when determining when a word was first used. No sense saying her heroine thinks the Laird is cool. That wouldn’t fly. I’ve also done a lot of research into the political climate of 1430 and of the social climate as well for the nobles of Scotland. I’ve scoured the internet and have purchased many, many history books in search of sometimes large pieces of information, sometimes teeny. I’ve visited Scotland twice now and have picked up all sorts of interesting impressions that I’ve since added to BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER and am now adding to the second book in the series.

NM: How much real history did you include?
KR: A lot in the background. Much of what happened with the king was true; I’ve just set fictional characters around the political backdrop. The clan conflicts and alliances are based on historical assumption and so I’ve tried to weave that into the story as well. For example, the Chattan and MacIntosh clans really did merge by marriage, it was just earlier than the time BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER is set. So I stay true when necessary and massage sometimes.

NM: What gave you the idea for the book and series?
KR: I was listening to two friends talk about a romantic scene in PS I Love You about when the hero and heroine meet on an old country road. From there, I just started writing.

NM: What projects are you working on now?
KR: Working on book two in the Highland Chiefs series, PROMISED TO THE HIGHLANDER. This one delves more into individual clan conflict and more of the reason behind the big plot to usurp the king that began in BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER.

NM: How many years have you been writing? How did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
KR: I started writing about 13 years ago when I did a screenplay-writing workshop. I thought, ahhh, I’ll try it. I went on to film the short script I wrote that weekend and it was later screened at a local film festival. Later still, I tried my hand at stage plays for youth. I’d begun a youth drama group and every now and again when I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to direct with the kids, so I wrote them instead. I wrote two 45-minute one-act plays that I also directed as dinner theatres. I’ve been writing novels for about five years.

NM: If you had one wish for your books what would it be?
KR: I just hope readers of Scottish historical romances like it. Readers of specific sub-genres expect a certain level of accuracy with original voice, theme, etc. I hope I can live up to the expectation.

NM: Any other thoughts or comments?
KR: Writing BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER has been a wonderful experience for me and I really hope readers enjoy it. Thanks for having me here Nina!! I love your blog and think you have a wonderful site here. Keep up the good work!

Same to you, Kate. Thanks for stopping by today and good luck with your book and writing.


  1. @Nina: Can't wait to get this...By the very title, it sounds enthralling :).... Keep going....

  2. Thanks Aeuphonos! And you win a free copy! If you'd like to email me at katerobbins@bellaliant.net and tell me which format you prefer I'll be happy to make that happen. Cheers!


Writing smexy paranormals with a Celtic twist. Blogging about good books.