Please make welcome the lovely and talented author, Anastasia Abboud! We're highlighting her phenomenal story, Tremors, which continues to haunt me in a wonderful way. I absolutely recommend this time-travel romance. The Tavern is serving champagne and chocolate shortbread, so get comfortable and let's hear what Anastasia has to say...
My Chat with Anastasia Abboud
Welcome, Anastasia! Delighted you could be here today! Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?
Hi, Mary. Thank you for having me. Frankly, I don’t have a typical writing day. I am a desperate writer with no writing schedule! I squeeze it in whenever I can. My best writing is done when I’m most rested, but even that’s not consistent. If I were to choose… No, I can’t choose because I wouldn’t change my life.
I love your response! Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress and when you hope to have it available for your readers?
I am working on All Shook Up, the sequel to Tremors. It’s a joy to write – I’m loving it. I hope to have it available to my readers this summer, 2021.
Yes! I'm so looking forward to the second book! What inspired you to write this book/series?
Several years ago, I fell in love with Julie Garwood’s historical romances. I think the first was The Bride, back in 2014. Her books introduced me to a new kind of romantic hero and, really, reinvigorated my interest in the romance genre. I was enthralled by Scottish romances, Viking romances, time travel romance… I thought it might be fun to try and write one myself, combining some of my favorite elements.
Julie Garwood's "A Knight in Shining Armor" remains one of my top favorite historical romances. The historical details in Tremors are outstanding. Describe the research that went into drafting this story.
Thank you. I appreciate that, especially coming from you, Mary! There was so much to learn before I could even begin. I have yet to make it to Scotland in person and so found it necessary to do everything I could to feel and visualize what my characters would feel, see, experience. As you can imagine (you can more than imagine), I had to become thoroughly familiar with the Scottish Highlands, both medieval and modern. That includes even the soil! For the medieval, I took some wonderful online courses from Sheila Currie and Cindy Vallar. I read a lot of books and did a lot of online research. I had to acquaint myself with the ancient clans, choose where my hero would come from, and then learn more about those specifics. I also had to research the Norse in Scotland. And then there were the languages – Scottish Gaelic, which would have certainly changed over a period of hundreds of years, and Norn, which is no longer spoken. For modern Scotland, I was all over the place, in touch with people living and working there, even with Scotland’s Forestry Commission. They were very nice and helpful. I examined maps and viewed countless travel websites, photos, and videos – just to get a feel of the places my characters would be familiar with. All the while, I realized --and I know you would be the first to tell me -- that nothing compares to being there. But I did all I could. I also had to do quite a bit of studying for the time travel – a little quantum physics here, a little seismology there… I also learned a surprising amount of information about offshore oil rigs! Even my research about North Carolina proved extensive because, for the series, I needed to know where, when, and how the Scots emigrated to the U.S., make choices for the series based on that information, and do further research from there. There were other, unexpected things I had to research, but you get the idea! Throughout the writing process, every time I thought I had my facts set, new questions popped up.
Yet even without you visiting, I felt the presence of Scotland within the pages of your story, Anastasia. So beautifully written as if you walked the land. What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?
My very favorite item is a three-section frame with photos of our little grands, Colette and Oliver. I have to add the close second – it’s a large desk organizer that my husband built for me.
Sounds lovely! You’ve been given a golden ticket to time-travel into the past. Whom would you meet and why?
This is a great question, but you know, even if I were to give a religious answer, I’m not sure I have one. Time is so fluid, and it’s irrelevant to our souls save that we use it as best and meaningfully as we can. I suppose that I would want to meet someone very kind, perhaps a saint, who could show me the way. Of course, if Magnar or one of the Fenian warriors were an option…
Now just for fun, Anastasia, do you prefer...
Champagne or Beer? Tough one! I’d say… champagne.
Southern drawl or Scottish burr? Most definitely a Scottish burr!
Kilt or Leather pants? Kilt, please!
First romance you read? I can’t remember the title, but I’m fairly certain it was something by Barbara Cartland when I was in junior high.
Print book or e-reader? For novels? E-reader! I LOVE my E-reader, and I also appreciate reading apps.
Thank you again for hosting me, Mar.! It’s been fun! (Psst, how did you guess my other nickname is 'Mar'? ;) )
A Norse farmer crashes into this century from fourteenth-century Scotland. How did it happen? Why did he escape the plague when the rest of his family died? He should have died with them. Three years later, Lachlann is no closer to the truth. His body has healed. He has a job and a place to lay his head at night. He has even learned a little modern English. If he could just figure out how to go back, he might be able to save his family, save his son. But he still can’t read, is still tormented by throbbing headaches and nightmares. Maybe he died after all. Maybe he’s in hell. But would there be an angel in hell? Deidre became a medieval history professor because of a treasured family heirloom, the medieval drawing of a farmer that she loved since childhood. Too bad she couldn’t have married him instead of the lying, vicious cheat who had almost ruined her life. Almost. With a new life in a new city, she has moved forward. She doesn’t need anyone, especially a man. But she can’t seem to ignore her new neighbor, a gorgeous giant with a strange accent, haunted eyes, and a shocking resemblance to her medieval ploughman. How can she erase the tormented look in his eyes? If only he would confide in her.
But is she prepared to do the same? To explain how she lost everything – her job, her family, her self-respect – because of her own, poor choices? And why does she have the feeling that she could lose it all again?
Available here: AMAZON
Sneak preview from Tremors
Scottish Highlands, 1351
Shrouded in mist, Loch Nis loomed, dark and foreboding, in the distance. Lachlann pulled the packhorse along swiftly, anxious to be home before nightfall. He needed to see his family, to hold his son. He checked his sporan. The wee leather ball and wooden horse figurine were there, safe. He could hardly wait to watch Iain’s little face light up when he gave him the toys.
Allasan should be pleased that he’d found everything on her list. He grinned. They had their differences, but if there was one thing about his wife, she knew what she wanted. She was the most stubborn Gael alive. Despite fever, nausea, and a sick three-year-old to care for, she’d almost pushed him out of the door.
“You have to go,” she’d urged, her brown eyes unnaturally bright. “I want the dye and you’ll find it in Inbhir Nis. You promised! I didn’t work day and night all summer to be disappointed because of a paltry ailment. I have my family and yours all around me if I need anything. Go! You’ll only be in my way here!”
He had to admit, she’d been right. The Lùnastal festival in Inbhir Nis was much larger than their local fairs, with a wide variety of merchants in attendance. Not only had he found her purple dye and wax candles, but all sorts of vegetable seeds as well, even Norse favorites such as horseradish and mustard.
Thanks to a bountiful harvest and the cloth that Allasan wove so skillfully, he’d had plenty with which to barter. He’d even been able to choose gifts – Iain’s toys, silk ribbons for his wife and sisters-in-law, and iron gall ink for the bard.
He only wished that Allasan and Iain had been able to go with him as planned. He’d worried about them the whole week.
What was wrong with the horse? He tugged lightly on the rope. The beast stalled, its ears flat back.
He tugged harder, then smelled it, the foul stench of smoke.
“Come on,” he urged the animal. “Someone’s just burning something.”
But burning what? As he drew closer to the village, he saw black smoke billowing from the mountain. His gut clenched. Something was wrong. He moved faster.
The packhorse resisted.
Damn it! He had to get home. When the animal continued to balk, he tied it to a tree and ran.
By the time he reached the outskirts of his village, his eyes were burning. Smoke was beginning to choke him.
He ran faster.
Someone grasped his arms, swinging him to a halt.
“You’re going the wrong way! You need to get out of here!”
Gaelic, but the accent was odd. Dimly, through the smoke, he saw a stranger standing before him, his face shrouded by a hood.
“I’m going to my family!”
“They’re gone. You need to turn around and head back to Inbhir Nis.”
“What do you mean, they’re gone?”
They must’ve moved away from the fire. He pushed forward. He’d be able to help.
The stranger stopped him again.
“You’re the farmer, aren’t you? The Norseman they call ‘Ox’?”
“I’m sorry, friend. Your family is gone. Your entire village was wiped out.”
“Explain yourself!” Lachlann roared, his heart suddenly pounding in his ears.
“They’re all dead. The plague… It took your whole village in less than a week. They’ve been burning everything – bodies, houses, clothing, bedding. There’s nothing left.”
Lachlann began to run.
Meet the Author
For me, playing is the best – playing outdoors in nature or in my garden, experimenting in the kitchen, spending time with those I love. I also enjoy disappearing into a good book, attempting crafts, learning, writing, exploring, discovering. I especially like to mix it up and have yet to perfect any of it; and I’ve come to realize that perfection’s not the point. It’s all wonderfully fun. That’s the point!
I prefer authentic and natural, be it food, lifestyle, people. I passionately enjoy both history and science and certainly sociology to a degree, and I am most truly a romantic.
My husband and I have been married for 39 years. We reside near Houston, Texas, and are thrilled that our dear children do, too. We have a blast with our little grandchildren.
I thank God for this wonderful life.
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