I thought this blog would be easy to write when I agreed to do it a month ago. I’d done the research. I’d written the books. But what I failed to remember was that I had done those things almost five years ago. AND I wasn’t as organized with my research back then as I am today. So it took me longer than I thought to remind myself of the facts. But here it is in all its glory (or not, lol).
When I started writing seven or eight years ago, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write contemporary or historical. My first attempt was contemporary. My second and third were historical. To be specific they were set in 17th and 18th Century Scotland, respectively. My plan at the time was to have a series set in various Scottish castles, the history of which I find fascinating.
In the mid-1600s, men were macho warriors. At least, the leaders were. It’s probably part of where “survival of the fittest” came in to being. He had to be fierce enough to keep his adversaries from daring to challenge him. And he had to be able to win if they did.
For the books that I wrote, I had to do a lot of research about tartans, clans, which clan liked which, and how weddings were performed. I became fascinated and spent many wonderful hours reading things I didn’t need to know.
Some things I learned about Scotland:
- Christmas was not observed, officially, for 400 years. Until the 1960s, Christmas Day was a regarded as a normal working day.
- Weavers in that time period were men, not women.
- Tartan designated a type of material, rather than a particular weave.
- Sending a young boy to a family member to be trained was typical.
- There were definite “lines drawn in the sand” when it came to clan feuds and alliances.
- The MacGregor name was banned in 1604 and wasn’t restored to the clan until 1774.
- Castles were built as fortification against the enemy.
I found so much of it fascinating that I forgot what I had originally been looking for. I most often got caught up in the history of the castles. Even rereading some of the information pulled me away from writing this post.
My first story was set in the mid 17th century at Erchless Castle. (http://erchless-castle.co.uk/) The original castle was built in the thirteenth century. Over the years, it underwent many changes and additions. Clan Chisholm took over the castle in the 16th century, and my story revolved around that clan—though all of my characters were completely fictional, I did pull a few tidbits from history. I also took a few liberties. The original castle was quite small and was added onto numerous times, so I used the footprint of the current structure, since I could find information about its actual size and configuration. Erchless Castle is privately owned and can be rented on a weekly basis. I tried to get my husband to agree to a trip to Scotland for “research.” He didn’t go for it. 😀
The second castle I used as a setting was Stirlling Castle (http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/). It has been in existence since before 1107. This date is when Alexander 1 financed a chapel. It changed hands a few times to the English and then back to the Scottish. Its history is long and varied. In the 1500s, it was the main residence of James V and Mary, Queen of Scots. Over the years, buildings and walls were added or remodeled until it stands as the castle we can visit today. One day I hope to go there.
Those two manuscripts have been sitting in my files, waiting for the right time to be published. I’ve learned so much about writing since producing the first one over five years ago that they both need a really good edit before I’d even consider letting anyone read them, but as I have been thinking about them a lot in the last few months, even before this blog, I hope to get to them sometime this year. I loved writing them. And I’d love to see them published.
I have been all over the place in this short blog, but there’s so much about Scottish history I find fascinating that I didn’t know where to start or where to end, so I incorporated as much as I could without overwhelming you. I hope.
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.
Being stood up on Valentine’s Day is not how Sarah Sawyer wanted the evening to go. It only gets worse when she discovers her boyfriend’s betrayal. Accepting a ride home from her attractive waiter goes against everything she’s been taught, but her choices are limited.
Michael Richmond can’t let his beautiful, yet heart-broken customer walk home, no matter how tired he is after working fourteen hour days all week.
It might be either the best decision of his life or the worst. Only time will tell if their broken hearts can become one, or if they will tear each other apart.
Broken Valentine is the second book in the Broken Holidays Series, but can be read as a stand-alone.
Buy here: Amazon