Happy Friday! We’re thrilled to introduce one of our newest Embracing Romance members, the talented, Sue-Ellen Welfonder (also writing as Allie MacKay). She’s pretty much lived out our dreams, kicking around Scotland and all those other ancient places we dream of visiting. Please help welcome her to the family.
What inspired you to become a writer?
My own favorite author urged me to write. She was Becky Lee Weyrich, the Time Travel Romance Queen of the 80s and early 90s. We were friends and I’d send her letters about my travel adventures in far-flung corners of the globe. She claimed they ‘swept her into my adventures’ and so she started nudging me to write. I wasn’t interested. My dream was always to be an airline stewardess and see the world – which I did and was doing at the time. Then, on a trip to Scotland, a story popped into my mind at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. I wrote the book as a fluke, mainly to get Becky to stop bugging me about writing. To my amazement (and horror, to a degree) the book sold and was published as DEVIL IN A KILT. So I just sort of slid into writing.
Are you a plotter or panster?
Panster. I dislike outlines and feel constricted by them. I love organic writing, driven by the characters as they come to life on the page. Before I start I know the premise, main characters, how the story opens and ends. I see the road the hero and heroine will follow to their HEA. But I don’t guide them. I follow along behind, transcribing what then unfolds.
What is the most romantic place you’ve ever been?
Anywhere in Scotland. (Big city-wise, Paris)
Name your favorite real-life or fictional hero… How have they influenced your life?
Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. I’ve idolized him since childhood and have made pilgrimages to pretty much every place in Scotland that held significance to him. He took the torch for Scotland’s freedom from William Wallace and went on to inspire so many men, fighting on and on to forge the Scottish nation. That his light burns so brightly still, after so many centuries, is testament to his greatness. His fierce devotion to his land and people influences how I write my heroes.
Name your three favorite books.
You’re kidding, right? I love so many books. My most beloved reads are ‘door-stopper’ books. Stories meant to be read slow, every word savored. Three all-time faves are: The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye, Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.
What’s your astrological sign? Do you fit the characteristics associated with it? How?
Capricorn. Yes, I think the description fits. I’m ambitious – but only because security is everything to me. Glitz and glam, fame and limelight don’t interest me. I’ll work very, very hard, but my goal is to attain peace of mind and stability. If like the sign’s mountain goat, I should ‘climb to the top.’ In keeping with an earth sign, I’m grounded and balanced. Quiet and steady is my speed, and I’m probably exceedingly boring at a party.
What story or series you’ve written stands out the most to you? Why? Share an excerpt or tell us about the hero/heroine and why you adore them so much.
I favor my Ravenscraig Legacy series, written as Allie Mackay. I love these books because much of what happens in them was inspired by my own adventures in Scotland. So these books are tremendously fun to write. All four titles are currently on sale in a .99 bundle or read free with Kindle Unlimited: THE RAVENSCRAIG LEGACY COLLECTION: A WORLD OF MAGICAL HIGHLAND ROMANCE. http://amzn.to/1GAykKl
I am also very much in love with the hero and heroine of my latest Scottish medieval romance, WINTER FIRE. I adore the hero and heroine because they are not typical. She is not a lady, nor a virgin. He is fiercely loyal and made of honor, as are all my heroes, yet he is very different in his goals, what he wants from life. Here is a mini-peek at them…
Mini-Excerpt ~ Winter Fire
(Free with KU, or $.99) http://amzn.to/1kO5EDL
He turned to her, his expression unreadable. “Do you believe all you hear?”
“Nae.” She didn’t. “But I know the way of things well enough to know that a laird’s son is ever a laird’s son.”
“Do not speak of that which you know naught.”
“All the land speaks of you.”
“So they may until the end of days.” He gripped her chin and leaned close. “I walk my own path. That’s why I’m here, to prove it to you.”
Most important lesson you’d share with inspiring writers?
Just put your pen on the page. Write one word, then another and another. That’s how it’s done. It all comes down to that. Also stay true to yourself, trust your gut, and guard your voice – it is sacred, the greatest treasure a writer has.
Most important message to your readers?
Thank you for sharing the journey with me. I’m grateful for the readers who’ve been around since DEVIL IN A KILT released 15 years ago, and I love seeing new readers discover my books.
“The dogs may bark, but the caravan rolls on.” ~ An ancient Saracen proverb. I love this as writing can be a brutal business. An editor can chew you up and spit you out, NY stomping on your dreams, or you can get scalded by reviewers. Ego or peer envy can ruin friendships. Or you’ll be disappointed by contest scores, low sales, whatever. When all isn’t rosy, I think of this quote. It helps me ‘keep on keeping on.’ No matter what comes at you, stand tall, and soldier on. All things pass – eventually. And the sun will rise on a new day.
Dogs or cats? Why?
I love dogs and cats equally, and could not be without either. I am currently dog-less because I lost my beloved Jack Russell terrier male, Em, in summer of 2014 and am still mourning him too deeply to adopt a new dog – yet. So I am presently owned by Snuggles, my ex-feral gray tabby cat who decided he was mine one day when I was out walking my now-late dog. Snuggles was crying in the bushes. He was thread thin, starving, and scared. I bent down to look at him and he leapt onto my shoulder and clung to my neck, purring a storm. That was it. He went home with us and became my dog’s best buddy until we lost him. I love my cat beyond words. And I will someday again welcome a needy JRT into my heart – maybe in 2016.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Actor/Actress: Tie between Alan Rickman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan / Meryl Streep
Favorite Movie: Love Actually
Favorite century and why?: 14th century Scotland because of Robert Bruce and the Scottish Wars of Independence. It was a raw and turbulent time of great grief and violence, but also incredible bravery, honor, valor, and a fierce love of land – the making of today’s Scotland.
Favorite Food: Potato anything. (also Greek and Thai)
Least favorite vegetable: Fennel
Describe yourself in 5 words: Steadfast, soft-hearted, quiet, and animal lover.
Her latest releases…
For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of The Ravenscraig Legacy Collection, please leave a comment. Sue-Ellen will pick a lucky winner by the end of the day.
For more information on Sue-Ellen Welfonder, check out her author website or her Embracing Romance author page.