We are happy to have Karen Hawkins with us today, to celebrate her latest release, The Taming of the Scottish Princess.
The opening scene of this book (The Taming of a Scottish Princess) did such an amazing job of setting up both our story, and perfectly showing us Jane and Michael on the cusp of a new romance. Between her practical gown that was unsuitable for the occasion and his whistling at her so she didn’t have to wonder where he was – I was hooked from the start. What was your inspiration for these characters?
One of my favorite movies is MY FAIR LADY. I just love brilliant, curmudgeonly Henry Higgins and how he slowly comes to realize that the woman for him has been right under his nose from the very beginning. I borrowed that character, tossed in a dash of Indiana Jones for fun, and made my Liza Dolittle far more educated and capable, and voila!, we have THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS!
I have read your contemporary romances, but this was my first time reading one of your historical novels. It read as a stand-alone beautifully so I’m wondering about the other Hurst Amulet books in the series and how this book ties into the big picture. Can you tell us a bit about this series?
The Hurst Amulet Series features four books. In the very first book (ONE NIGHT IN SCOTLAND), Michael’s youngest sister Mary has received a letter stating that he’s been captured and is being held for ransom for a specific artifact – an ancient onyx box – that is currently in the possession of the dark and reclusive Earl of Erroll at New Slains Castle on the coast of Scotland. Mary doesn’t hesitate, but rides off posthaste to fetch the artifact only to discover that the Earl of Erroll doesn’t believe her story about Michael’s capture, and instead believes she’s an impostor come to steal it.
I won’t tell you more, but ONE NIGHT IN SCOTLAND is the beginning of the Hurst Amulet Series. The Hurst family soon learns that there is more than one onyx box and, since they don’t know which one will win Michael’s release, they set off to find them all. This sets up the next two stories as Michael’s brothers, first William (SCANDAL IN SCOTLAND) and then Robert (A MOST DANGEROUS PROFESSION), go in search of the other boxes and – unexpectedly – find love along the way.
When THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS opens, the necessary artifact has been delivered, Michael is free, and we discover the true importance of the mysterious onyx boxes.
(And if you want to know more about the Hurst Amulet, you can read about it in the prequel, MUCH ADO ABOUT MARRIAGE.)
Do we see Michael and Jane in the previous books in the series? A mention is made about them being rescued – is that a part of a previous novel?
Michael and Jane never appear in the previous books, but readers get glimpses of them in the bits of various letters that appear at the beginning of each chapter. You get a very clear picture of them both, though you never actually meet them.
Jane and Michael had me hooked from the beginning, and I always looked forward to their next round of verbal sparring. My favorite scene though had to be right at the start when Michael is thinking about Jane and realizing a) she’s a woman and b) other men find her quite attractive and have been making passes at her. I wonder- what is your favorite scene or moment in this book?
Hmmm. My favorite scene. Wow, that’s a difficult question. Let me think . . . it’s probably the scene at the inn in Oban where Michael is quizzing their innkeeper about the missing Hurst princess while Jane desperately tries to make him stop. He realizes right away who Jane is, even as she realizes that she can’t keep the truth about her past from him. It was fun writing the scene as there are so many emotions in that scene, plus it was fun to watch them try to out-maneuver each other.
You have written quite a few books – do you have a favorite character?
I have several! I have a favorite male secondary character (Robert in MUCH ADO ABOUT MARRIAGE), a favorite female secondary character (Lady Birlington in THE ABDUCTION OF JULIA and A BELATED BRIDE), a favorite butler (Herberts in CONFESSIONS OF A SCOUNDREL), and — well, the list is endless. Perhaps the truth is that I love all of the characters, but for different reasons.
I think I’ll stick with that. :)
As someone who has a definite groove and certain rituals when doing my own creative work I’m always curious about the habits of authors. If you’d indulge me and share a few things:
I move around and write. Sometimes I write while sitting on the couch. Sometimes out on the lanai. Sometimes while standing at the kitchen counter. Sometimes I’ll dictate while on the treadmill. Sometimes I’ll write while at my favorite coffee shop … the list of where I’ve written is endless.
I think moving around keeps things fresh for me. If I had to sit in the same chair all day, it would drive me batty.
Do you have a preferred time of day to write?
Afternoons, though I’m thinking of trying mornings. Variety is the spice of creative writing!
What is your beverage and/or food of choice when writing?
Diet Coke = Creative Juice.
Do you like to listen to music when you write? If so, what and does it depend on the book/scene you’re writing?
Not usually. I’m so inside my own head when I write that I don’t really hear anything.
Finally, can you share with us what we can look forward to next from you?
Starting in September, my new series, The Duchess Diaries, will begin with TO CAPTURE A COUNTESS. It features a very determined matchmaking duchess and her favorite grand nephew. It’s a very fun, playful story and I had a blast writing it! :)
Also, check out this POST where we are giving away five copies of this book (which ends tonight). Make sure you click the link and enter on the other post.
Maria D. says
Good interview! Can’t wait to read this book.
Karen Hawkins says
Thanks, Maria! I hope you enjoy it. :)
Karen, I can’t wait for the next series. Any chance you’ll come back to the MacLean’s or Hurst’s series again? As a reader, it’s hard to say goodbye. Great interview!
Karen Hawkins says
Thank you, Janice! I might indeed. I’m writing three books for The Duchess Diaries series and then I would like to visit the MacLeans again. I’m not 100% sure, because that is three books from now, but that’s what I’m leaning toward.
Thanks for the lovely interview ladies, I really enjoyed it very much! I have read and loved all of your books and am very glad that I received The Taming of a Scottish Princess today! Looking forward to reading it.
Question: is there a new book on the horizon in your contemporary series? I would love to read some more.
Karen Hawkins says
Aurian, I hope you enjoy it! I’m going to write more for the contemporary series soon. Keep an eye on my newsletter and website for more information. :)