I have read several romances set in the Scottish Highlands recently, and I feel a kinship with these authors. They seem to share a love for this land that translates onto the page and transports the reader to a faraway place. I asked Suzan Tisdale, author of the popular Clan MacDougall Series, to share a little about what drew her to Scotland and why she decided to set her stories there.
The Enchantment of Scotland
Author Suzan Tisdale
I’ve been asked to write about the beauty of historical Scottish Culture. There are so many things, places, people, and ideals that draw me to this land, that fascinate me, that take my breath away in awe and wonder. I simply cannot pinpoint one thing, one person, one ideal, or one place.
When I conjure up images of this magnificent land and the medieval time where my stories take place, those images warm me from toe to head. My mental meanderings take me to a time and place where men were men and women were women and each were strong, honorable, and proud. They fought alongside one another for independence from tyranny, for the right to choose their own destinies; they fought for the inalienable right to be free.
Although I am a writer, I often find that I cannot explain fully what is in my heart when I think of Scotland and her rocky shores, her lochs, her valleys, her mountains. It could take hours, if not days, to express everything that is in there, in heart and mind, so I shall begin with just a few of them.
Scotland is kilts and plaids and arisaids. Scotland is rain, wind, fog and snow. Scotland is cobblestones, whiskey, and horses. Scotland is strong men and women, rocky terrain, mountains, forests, lochs, and castles. Scotland is proud clans, golf and people with heart.
Scotland is the Stone of Destiny, Eilean Donan Castle, and Aberdeen. Scotland is romance and song and poetry. Scotland is harps and bagpipes and music.
Scotland is speaking Scots, Gaelic, and sexy brogues. Scotland is heather and Highlands and oceans. Scotland is Hogmanay, first footers, and bon fires.
Scotland is Robert Burns and James MacPherson and Allan Ramsay. Scotland is broadswords, arrows, targes, and hauberks. Scotland is the Silkie of Sule Skerry, faeries and Daoine Shie.
Scotland is the fight for independence, the Jacobite uprising, and the fight for freedom. Scotland is hearty folk with bawdy senses of humor. It is beauty and wonder and strength. It is tradition. It is warmth. It is romance. It is unyielding pride.
Scotland is honorable men and women not afraid to protect those that they love.
Scotland is devotion, faith, family, and proud people.
Scotland is so many things.
This era we refer to as ‘medieval’ was filled with strong men and women. Some could argue that it was also a time when women were traded and bartered for like sacks of grain. What people miss is that it was the same for men! Many times neither party had any say in the matter, so both parties had to make the best of a sometimes less than perfect situation. Such is the way of a Scot.
There are so many things about Scotland and her culture --medieval and current --that I find beautiful and my list seems to grow on a daily basis.
I’ll end here with a few of my favorite Scottish sayings or proverbs:
12 Highlanders and a bagpiper make a rebellion.
Never marry for money, you can borrow it cheaper.
They speak of my drinking, but never my thirst.
Scottish by birth. British by Law. Highlander by the grace of God.
Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.
What about you? As a writer, is there a particular place/setting that inspires you? As a reader, are you drawn to books set in a particular country?