Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Enchantment of Scotland ~ Meet Author Suzan Tisdale

I am always fascinated by where authors set their stories. What draws them to a place and makes them want to live and breathe a setting through their characters. The setting of my Seal Island Trilogy is very special to me. The real-life island that inspired my stories spoke to me in a way that no other place ever has. I feel so blessed to return to those enchanted Irish shores every day.

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.
 
 
You can find out more about Suzan Tisdale on her Blog and the first two stories of her Clan MacDougall Series are available at Amazon.
 
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?

21 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for having me here Sophie! ;o) I have decided to give away a copy of one of my books...we'll pick a winner from those who stop in to say hello! ;o) And I'll let them pick which book they want -- Laiden's Daughter or Findley's Lass. Paperback version, signed if they want. ;o)

    Suzan

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    1. What a wonderful surprise! Thanks, Suzan. It's a pleasure having you here. :)

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  2. This is a post close to my heart for I, too, love Scotland and it is the setting in my books. I write about Clan Macpherson.

    I loved the poem you left and and copying it down. Congratulations on the books. I know I have found a new author to read!

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  3. Sorry, I probably should have left my email address.

    sarah-hoss@hotmail.com

    Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Sarah! I mean, what isn't there to love about Scotland? ;o) I hope you enjoy my books.

      Suzan

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  4. I adore anything celtic! When you live amongst local myths and legends it can't fail but inspire you. I live in the oldest market town in Wales and it's told that Merlin is still here...enclosed in a hill, which I can actually see from my house! Just give me castles, beaches and craggy hills and I'm good.
    We went to Edinburgh, Scotland, a couple of years ago, and it's probably one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. The Highlands are on my 'to visit' list...
    Lovely interview!

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    1. Ah, Lisa! I'm so jealous! I can't wait to visit Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland! We're planning a trip in a couple of years -- building new kitchen first! lol

      I would love to see that hill!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Suzan

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    2. The highland are on my to-visit list too! I can't wait to go. :) I had no idea you lived in the oldest market town in Wales! How cool is that? Say hi to Merlin for me. :)

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  5. What a great opportunity Sophie! I would love to go there someday. Happy New Year to you!

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  6. You have described Scotland perfectly - at least in my head! I hope to make it there some day, since I was in Ireland in November. Will have to buy Ms. Tisdale's work next! Thanks!

    To answer your question, there is this quaint little town near me that I'm using as the basis for a novel - to the point that I know which houses the characters live in, the businesses they frequent, etc.! On days when I'm feeling down or I'm looking for inspiration, I head over there and walk around - and I always feel better afterwards. Like, "Oh, look at Rachel's blooming hydrangea bush - she's going to win the prize for best hydrangeas this year!" Yeah, I'm crazy like that. ;)

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    1. I'm such a sucker for small town stories. I don't think you're crazy at all! :)

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  7. Jennifer Brouillard: I don't think you're crazy! I look forward to hearing what you think of my novels. Have you published yours yet? :o) I'm always up for finding new authors.

    Have a great night!

    Suzan

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  8. I can relate with you on not being able to touch the deepest essence of what you feel about Scotland. To me, it's a deep inner ache, a longing for something I can't describe but that's there and real. Almost a "knowing" which in my opinion is a recognition from my soul. Oh, to be able to find that time portal.....

    leahweller@bellsouth.net

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Leah! I think I need to plan a trip. It sounds like such an amazing place. :)

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    2. I agree Leah! If time travel were possible...;o)

      Suzan

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  9. I love reading anything Scotland! I have some Scottish roots in my family tree, and have always been fascinated by the country and its peoples and beautiful places. I'd love to read these stories and I hope to someday be able to travel to Scotland with my husband and 3 boys. 8-)
    my email is bisybees5@gmail.com
    Thank you!
    Sarah

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    1. It is a fascinating place to write about! ;o) I hope you make that trip. If you do, take lots of pictures! ;o)

      Suzan

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  10. Sophie and Suzan - Thanks so much for sharing your love of Scotland with us. I too love Scotland. My husband's family is Scottish and he spent much of his childhood there. We took a wonderful driving trip through Scotland and I have beautiful photos of Loch Lomond, Eilean Donan Castle, Glengarry, Inverness, the Loch Ness and other places in the Scottish highlands. I'd love ot go back sometime.
    My e-mail is Rebecca (at) Fyfe (dot) net

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    1. I have a long list of places in Scotland and Ireland that I want to see. I think I'd need to spend at least six months there to do all that I want to do! ;o)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Suzan

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