Please make welcome a sister Rose (The Wild Rose Press, Inc.), Jean M. Grant! This talented author and friend is talking about her new release, A Hundred Breaths. The Tavern is celebrating with a special honeyed mead and plum tarts. Get comfy and let's hear what Jean has to say...
Why the 13th century?
Admittedly, my first set of novels take place in the 12th century. Those three stories, though not published (practice novels) helped me hone my craft and were a great stepping stone into researching medieval Scotland. After putting those learning experiences and knowledge gatherings aside, I decided to jump ahead one century.
As luck would have it, I picked an eventful century to write my first novel (A Hundred Kisses), which is the middle book of a soon-to-be trilogy. 1296 was a year on the cusp of the great Scottish Wars of Independence. That story is entrenched in a volatile time period. For the prequel, A Hundred Breaths, I popped back 30 years and lo and behold…that year (1263) marked the famous Battle of Largs on the western coast of Scotland which pinned Norse against Scot (and spoiler…one side loses). For centuries, the Norse dominated many regions of the world as far east as Russia. In the 13th century their jarls still held land in the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland, as well as some of the coastline, though they had been greatly pushed back. They were long past their zenith (around 800-1000 A.D.). The Scots continued to fight back. Enter a clash of cultures and one last foray. What a pivotal time to set a story!
The Scottish middles ages are a time of tunics and hose, ganache, kirtle, gown, and overcoat. Blade and bow. Disease, hardship, political strife, and squabbling clans. No kilts here! Sadly. The people were robust, superstitious, resourceful, and growing a nation. Before a time of social media and cellphones and cars…lasses and lads fell in love and fought for causes they held dear. They fought to make it to the next day or to feed their families. It’s a romanticized time period of castle and loch, and continues to lure me in. How could I not write about it?
Oh, and for fun, I created an Ancient culture that harnesses the earth’s power of fire, water, and wind: Feelers, Healers, and Seers. I love the mystical and enjoyed writing this second installment in the “hundred” trilogy…with curses, supernatural powers, Norse pursuers, Scottish battles, vengeance, and redemption.
A Hundred Kisses (book 2 in the trilogy), also available: Amazon and other online retailers.
Backcover blurb for A Hundred Breaths ~
Healing his heart…with her last breath.
1263, Scotland Simon MacCoinneach’s vengeance runs deep. The blade is the only way to end the blood-thirsty Nordmen’s reign upon Scottish soil. His soul might be lost, but the mystical Healer he kidnaps from the isles could be the answer for his ailing mother…and his heart. Isles-born Gwyn reluctantly agrees to a marriage alliance with this heathen Scot in return for the sanctuary of her younger brother from her abusive Norse father. Her brother’s condition is beyond the scope of her Ancient power, for larger healings steal breaths of life from her own body. As Simon and Gwyn fight to outwit her madman father and a resentful Norse betrothed, Gwyn softens Simon’s heart with each merciful touch. Gwyn’s Seer sister foresees a bloody battle—and an end to the Nordmen—but Simon will also die. Will Gwyn save Simon on the battlefield even if it means losing her last breath?
A sneak preview from A Hundred Breaths ~
She breathed two deep life-giving breaths.
Pull breath from my body. Heal this man with my own breath.
A thermal life filled her fingertips as she clasped the Healer’s stone in her pocket. For something small, water was not necessary. However, if left unattended, it could and would kill.
The man faltered but didn’t move from her light grasp. Wind rustled her hair as Eir surrounded her. Unlike her mother, she never plaited it for healing. She liked to feel Eir’s fingers upon her and the fiery rush of healing as it flowed through her arms to the injured person, as the wind lifted her hair, announcing its presence.
“What the—?” He drew in a sharp breath.
She mouthed the rest of the chant, invoking the goddess’s power. She moved closer to him, their bodies an intimate—and stirring—distance apart. His nearness captured her breath, and not just from the healing.
“What are you doing?” His words said one thing while his body said another. He didn’t step away.
His breathing hitched and then steadied.
“It’s not the devil’s works,” she clipped.
“Then what in the devil are you saying? That’s not Norse.”
She ignored him. He placed a gentle, nearly sedated hand on her free arm in protest, but he did nothing. Her healing had a way of stunning and spellbinding her charges. It was working.
A long moment passed. She opened her eyes and stepped back, releasing her hold. He let go of her other arm and immediately reached to touch the wound. Her stomach twisted as she broke from the enchantment. This was her father’s enemy, a murderer. Finished with her prayer, she stepped away, hit with coldness.
Buy Links ~
Inspirational photos from Jean's travels ~
Meet the Author ~
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.
Social Media links:
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Jean-M.-Grant/e/B0728KFXP9/