Next week Monsoon Mists, the final instalment in my Kinross trilogy, is released in paperback and as always I’m chewing my nails wondering how it will be received and whether readers will like my hero. Because let’s face it, the hero is the most important part of a romantic novel and the ideal scenario is of course that readers will fall in love with him. It’s what you’d like for every hero you create, but this time there was added pressure – would he be able to match up to his father and brother who’d gone before him?
When I wrote Trade Winds I was totally in love with the hero, Killian Kinross, myself. As an author you have to be, otherwise why would anyone else feel the same? He’s handsome, with long auburn hair and intensely blue eyes (and yes, he was based on my favourite actor in the looks department) – what can I say, I’m shallow and I like my heroes to be good-looking! But I think what I liked most about him was his sense of humour and mischievousness. He didn’t take himself too seriously, was a bit of a ‘bad boy’ (okay, a lot of a ‘bad boy’!) as he’d never been in love until he met the heroine, and he just generally enjoyed life to the full, making the best of every situation and his skills. I was told readers liked him too, which was lovely but rather daunting when I came to write the second book in the trilogy, Highland Storms. This featured Killian’s eldest son, but how to create another gorgeous hero without making him a copy of his father?
I solved that problem by (a) making him take after his mother in looks, apart from the blue eyes, so although still handsome he’s totally different to Killian, and (b) giving him a personality that’s almost the opposite of his father’s. Brice had been in love with the same girl since his teens and would never have dreamed of cheating on her. He’s quiet and calm, and although he has a sense of humour and can sometimes be mischievous, he’s a lot steadier than his father ever was. Doing what’s right is important to him and he’d never go looking for adventure just for the sake of it. He has all the ‘big brother’ traits when it comes to his siblings and his clan – caring, protective and careful. Yet when it matters most, he shows himself to be every bit as strong as his father.
The third book, Monsoon Mists, features Brice’s younger brother Jamie. He had a lot to live up to and I must admit I found writing him very difficult at first! In the end, however, I let him show me his character himself. I started to write down his back story and somehow he evolved inside my head and little by little, I realised what he was like. I knew he was a ‘bad boy’, like his father, since he’d caused Brice a lot of grief in Highland Storms. In looks, he also took after Killian (apart from having his mother’s eyes) and to begin with, he was just as wild, if not worse. Poor Brice had his work cut out keeping his little brother out of trouble, while Jamie himself never had a care in the world until a scheming minx called Elisabet changed everything. That’s when his life is suddenly turned upside down and so is his character.
From having been a carefree young man, he becomes cynical, introverted and a staunch supporter of justice. A womanizer no longer, he mistrusts all females and it takes a very special lady to try and make him see that they’re not all like Elisabet. But has he really changed completely? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but we all know the past has a habit of catching up with us when we least expect it …
Sometimes the most precious things cannot be bought …
It’s 1759 and Jamie Kinross has travelled far to escape his troubled existence – from the pine forests of Sweden to the bustling streets of India.
Jamie starts a new life as a gem trader, but when his mentor’s family are kidnapped as part of a criminal plot, he vows to save them and embarks on a dangerous mission to the city of Surat, carrying the stolen talisman of an Indian Rajah.
There he encounters Zarmina Miller. She is rich and beautiful, but her infamous haughtiness has earned her a nickname: “The Ice Widow”. Jamie is instantly tempted by the challenge she presents.
When it becomes clear that Zarmina’s step-son is involved in the plot Jamie begins to see another side to her – a dark past to rival his own and a heart just waiting to be thawed. But is it too late?