The Next Big Thing: Willa Blair’s Blog Stop

Welcome to my “stop” on The Next Big Thing blog hop. And thanks to Linda Carroll-Bradd for tagging me to participate.  In turn, I’ve asked Kathryn Knight, Chris Redding, Mageela Troche and Bess McBride to participate, and they’ll be posting next week, beginning Dec 10.

“The Next Big Thing” is a question and answer discussion blog in which we discuss…yes! the next big thing we’re working on, or a recent release.  In my case, Highland Healer.

My Debut Book is a Bestseller!

  • Where did the idea come from for the book?  I saw the first scene like a movie clip – a big man being brought into a tent on a rough stretcher, a woman watching and waiting to assess his condition.  The rest of the book followed from that.  Initially, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be – historical, fantasy, science fiction or something else.  But as I wrote that first scene, it quickly became clear to me that the story took place in the highlands of Scotland in the past.  Then it was a matter of finding the perfect time in Scottish history, which took a lot of research.
  • What genre does your book fall under? Highland Healer is a Scottish Historical Romance with a Paranormal twist.  It won the 2011 Washington Romance Writers’ Marlene contest in the Paranormal category.
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Honestly, I have no idea.  In my imagination, the characters have their own faces and personalities, and I’ve never tried to find a “real world” analog for them.   I’d love for you to suggest some!  It would be fun to find out how my readers see them.
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   After Toran Lathan escapes with healer Aileana Shaw from the army where she was a captive and the invader lays siege to the Lathan keep to get her back, Aileana uses all her abilities to protect herself and those she loves while Toran fights to keep her.
  • Where can we get your book? Click on the cover above to link to Amazon Kindle. Highland Healer is  on sale there until its official release date on Jan 4.  After that, it will be available at full price from The Wild Rose Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, other e-formats and in print.
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? My first draft took a decade. I was a pantzer at the time, and still working my day job, so the energy to be creative and write was in short supply.  When I started the second book of this series, I first outlined each chapter and its scenes.  That book took less than a year to write – a huge improvement for me.
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I’ve always written – stories, articles for the school newspaper, something for the school literary journal.  A few novels that I started as a child are tucked away in a drawer – they’re written in pencil!  This book grew over a long period of time out of that initial scene, and like most debut books, a lot of twists and turns in story structure, plot, characters and setting happened before it all come together.
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Highland Healer is not your usual historical romance.  I always loved reading science fiction and fantasy, especially if the stories included psi talents.  So now, traces of psi talents have a way of  showing up in most of the stories I write, whether the story setting is past, present or future.  Add to that my fascination with how relationships develop, and I think you’ll find my books are captivating, sexy and satisfying to read.

EXCERPT:

Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.

“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.

His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.

His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.

Thank you all so much for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to check in with Kathryn KnightChris ReddingMageela Troche and Bess McBride next week on December 10th for their “Next Big Thing.”

6 comments on “The Next Big Thing: Willa Blair’s Blog Stop

  1. lisarayns says:

    Absolutely fabulous!

  2. Bess McBride says:

    Who doesn’t love Highlander stories!!! I wish I had the guts, or knowledge, to write one!!! Love the excerpt!!

  3. Linda Trout says:

    Love the excerpt!

  4. Rebecca York says:

    I envy you that you “saw” the first scene like a movie. I can never “see” a scene I’m writing. I tell it to myself like a story.

  5. I loved reading your answers to the questions. I can’t believe your first draft took a decade! Way to persevere. Great excerpt also.

  6. Toby Devens says:

    I especially love the fantasy element in your book. I write contemporary mainstream women’s fiction and recognize it takes a special skill to write fantasy–I know I can’t do it! The combination of historical, romance and fantasy is carried off brilliantly in Highland Healer. I really enjoyed the book, Willa.

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