THE JAMES GANG
October James Gang
Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or in their books. My October James Gang interviewee is Grand Central Publishing author Sue-Ellen Welfonder, who has a sexy Highlander perfect for the James Gang.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James? [E.g., Why did you pick James Cameron as the name of a character in the "Highland Warriors" trilogy that starts with Sins of a Highland Devil?]
I wanted to honor the hero of an earlier book. He was also a James, but went by Jamie. He was a Macpherson, and his book was Bride For A Knight, which released in 2007. For him, I chose James/Jamie because I like the name. And because it’s Scottish. I always use names that existed in the period and there isn’t a great variety. Some are too difficult to pronounce. James or Jamie is always good and sympathetic.
I was very fond of Jamie Macpherson, so made the first Highland Warriors hero another James. Cameron was chosen because I needed three clans with a history. I also like the sound of "James Cameron."
2. Tell us about your latest release, Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel.
Kendrew Mackintosh, the hero of Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel, is the wild man of Highland Warriors. He’s a real rogue and can be outrageous at times. He’s hot-blooded, my fiercest fighter, and man who makes his own rules. One is that, while he loves women, he wants nothing to do with ladies. His heroine, Isobel Cameron, has other plans. Watching her win Kendrew’s heart, despite his stubborn stance, was lots of fun.
Here’s the blurb (and deets):
Temptation Of A Highland Scoundrel
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Scottish Medieval Romance
The second book in the Highland Warriors trilogy…
Three proud warriors locked in a struggle for victory.
Three beguiling women united in their vow to restore peace.
Despite an official peace, old conflicts smolder in the Glen of Many Legends. Kendrew Mackintosh, Chieftain of his clan, is famed as both a bold and hot-blooded warrior and a sensual lover. He has no intention of settling down . . . until he kisses a forbidden beauty whose passion matches his own.
Highborn and gently raised, Lady Isobel Cameron has long harbored a secret fascination for the fearless, charismatic Mackintosh—even though her brother is his sworn enemy. When destiny draws them together for one night, she can’t resist him. But what begins as a flirtation soon becomes a fight for survival. A deadly new threat has come to the glen, and Kendrew and Isobel must learn to trust and protect one another—or pay the ultimate price.
Note from Marcia: The third in the Highland Warriors trilogy is Seduction of a Highland Warrior.
3. Tell us about your upcoming release(s).
Next is out Jan. 1st and is an Allie Mackay [Sue-Ellen's other pen name] title, Haunted Warrior. It’s a Scottish-set paranormal, as are all these books.
Here’s the blurb:
When Danger Rises, Passion Ignites…
Kendra Chase earns her livng as a ghost whisperer. Her work is often emotionally draining, so she’s looking forward to a vacation in Edinburgh. But it turns into a working holiday when an assignment sends her to Scotland’s rugged north coast. The tiny fishing village of Pennard is being excavated for a historical restoration project, and the locals aren’t the only ones upset by the plans: Supernatural uprisings have been reported.
No one knows better than Graeme MacGrath that his village is a hot-bed for psychic trouble. Bound by a centuries-old legacy, Graeme is the fiercest opponent to the development project. The renovation work has disrupted the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. And though he doesn’t have time for dallying with a fetching American, desire – and love – flares between them. Soon Graeme will depend on Kendra for more than her paranormal abilities as they work to save Pennard from the brink of unspeakable evil.
Must add, I’m delighted share the re-issue of Tails of Love with you on Dec. 6th.
Note from Marcia: Sue-Ellen and I are two of the ten authors who donated stories to Tails of Love, a fun romance anthology featuring animals who act as matchmakers. All the authors' advances and royalties are being donated to the Animal Adoption Foundation (http://www.aafpets.com/), a no-kill animal shelter.
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
Redemption is often a theme. A "core message" might be that what matters most in life is not riches and glory, but the goodness of one’s soul. My characters inevitably see the word that way, as do I.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
No. I love them all. I am very fond of Devorgilla and Sir M. Devorgilla is a meddlesome crone who first appeared in my second book and went on to have a role in all of them. She’s fun and even helps run my blog, Tartan Ink (http://tartaninkblog.wordpress.com/), that I share with fellow author and friend, Karen Ranney.
Sir M is scarred, English, and truly an unlikely hero. Yet he’s one of the most heroic and sympathetic heroes I’ve ever written. He’s the best friend and sidekick of Duncan MacKenzie, hero of my first book, Devil In A Kilt. Like Devorgilla, Sir M has appeared in almost all my books. I’ll be doing a series about his children in the not too distant future.
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Spending my work hours in medieval Scotland. It’s a privilege to make a living by combining everything I’m passionate about: Scotland, medieval history, Celtic myth and magic, and dogs. (sometimes other animals, too)
I am also grateful to work at home. I spent 23 years working for the airlines, traveling constantly. I love being a homebody now.
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?
I’ve won some awards and enjoyed nominations as well. I don’t enter contests, so these were awards like the RT [RT Book Reviews magazine] Awards where the nomination or win comes as a lovely surprise.
Devil In A Kilt won RT’s Best First Historical Romance Award, which was a great honor. Other titles have been RT Award nominees. Many have been RT Top Picks or received starred reviews from Booklist. I’ve been blessed with many lovey reviews over the years and have appreciated them all. (I don’t read the bad ones.)
Some of my books made the Waldens Bestseller list when it still existed. And I’ve also hit the USA Today list.
All my titles except Devil In A Kilt have been picked up by the Book Clubs. And there are many foreign editions of all my Welfonder titles. My newer ones are also available as audiobooks, which I think is really neat.
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
My publishers -- GCP [Grand Central Publishing] and NAL [New American Library] -- assign a publicist to me for each release. That person works with the marketing department to promote my titles. In recent years, I’ve been sent on blog tours. I am not sure how effective these are for authors. GCP runs an ad in RT. These ads are for several titles, not just mine. GCP and NAL also send ARCs [Advance Reader Copies] to reviewers.
On my own, I’ve always done a few guest blogs at release time. Beginning this year, I am also on Twitter, which I love. Best of all is Tartan Ink, my joint blog with my friend and fellow author, Karen Ranney. We have a wonderful community of readers and friends there and enjoy lively exchanges every day. I also have a mailing list and do monthly newsletters. I keep my website updated and offer bookmarks and book plates to readers.
My brand? I’d say I’m all about Scotand. My personal "tagline" is on my website and promo material (such as book plates, etc). It is: “Where Scotland’s past lives on…” That says it all to me. When a reader picks up one of my books (including my Allie Mackay titles), I want her to feel as if she’s been transported to medieval Scotland when she slips into the pages.
9. What is your next project?
A four-book series that’s a spin-off on Highland Warriors. And more light and humorous Allie Mackay titles. Can’t say more because I’m too superstitious to talk details of books not yet on the shelves.
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?
Wisdom: The old standby to keep at it. We’ll never know how many wonderful books we’ll never be able to read because someone, somewhere gave up too soon.
Quote: “The dogs may bark, but the caravan rolls on.” ~ an ancient Saracen proverb.
I have this quote taped to my monitor. It applies to icky reviews and other unpleasantries that can hit writers. Whenever I get blindsided, I think, “Be a caravan, baby…” and that makes the sun shine again.
Thanks so much for having me as your James Gang guest of October. I’m delighted to be be here, honored, and so pleased because October is my favorite month. I love autumn.
Thank you, Sue-Ellen! It was great to interview a wonderful author, who's also a friend. ;-) My November James Gang interviewee will be Wings Press/Enspiren Press/Echelon Press author Chris Redding!
Brandi Quick Interview
Elle St. James Interview
Jennifer Haymore Interview
Dorothy St. James Interview
Judith James Interview
Tawny Weber Interview
Jaime Samms Interview
N.J. Walters Interview
Silver James Interview
Jimmy Thomas Interview
Jamie Lee Coulter Interview
Jamieson Wolf Interview
Christina James Interview
Cara Lynn James Interview
Syrie James Interview
Jessica James Interview
Julie James Interview
Lori James Interview
Jamie Hill Interview
Jeanne St. James Interview
Kelly Jamieson Interview
Jaime Rush Interview
Jami Davenport Interview
Lorelei James Interview
Dina James Interview
Lyric James Interview
Ava James Interview
Sandy James Interview
Tiffany James Interview
Angela James Interview
Kate St. James Interview
Jamie Leigh Hansen Interview
Jeannie James Interview
Jamie Denton Interview
Elle James Interview
Liza James Interview
Raina James Interview
Allyson James Interview
Marianna Jameson Interview
Sherry James Interview
Maddie James Interview
Marcia James Interview