Welcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her latest book, The Saint, is Allison Butler.
Allison Butler is an author of Scottish historical romance. She spent her early years in country NSW building pretend castles with hay bales and leaping white posts with her army of two older sisters and a younger brother. Many years later, with her mother’s influence, she discovered a passion for words and history, read her first historical romance and was inspired to write her own. She writes each morning and cares for the elderly in the afternoon. Her love of travel has given her the gift of many amazing sights but none more heart-stirring than the rugged beauty of Scotland. Allison lives in a small town in NSW, Australia, with her very own Scottish hero and a Jack Russell named Wallace. Their two beautiful daughters have left the nest and have begun their own adventures. Allison loves travelling, dancing like no-one’s watching, taking photos and seeing the sights from the back of her husband’s motorcycle.
Hello Allison. It is my pleasure to welcome to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews and thank you for joining me for Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. To set the mood for our tea infused interview, what is your preferred beverage, tea, coffee or other? And side accompaniment, scone, cake or other?
Hi Mrs B. I’m delighted to be here. I’d love an English breakfast tea please. Or a Scottish breakfast tea, if you have one, and some shortbread would be perfect.
Can you tell us what genres you write for and how many books you have had published?
I write Scottish historical romance and my recent release, The Saint is my fifth published book.
The Saint, your latest novel in the Highland Brides series will soon be released. Can you describe the book in just a sentence?
The Saint is Callum and Isla’s struggle to find their place in a world limited by circumstance and how finding each other gives them hope, new direction and a love they’ll risk everything for.
The Saint is Volume 3 in the Highland Brides series. Can this book be read as a standalone, or does it need to be read in series order?
The Saint can definitely be read as a standalone, but being part of a series, readers often like to start with the first book and continue in the order they were written.
How long did it take you to write The Saint?
It took me much longer to write The Saint than I’d hoped or intended. I’m just so pleased Callum and Isla found their Happily Ever After!
Did you need to undertake any research to bring The Saint to life? How did you incorporate this research into your book?
There was so much research to be done to bring The Saint to life. Searching for reference books to read so I could get a ‘feel’ for the medieval town of Aberdeen in Scotland, which is where the story begins. Hours spent on the internet looking up villages and towns, cathedrals, stone crosses and castles and many more hours working out distances between sites using Google maps UK. The best part about researching for The Saint was, thanks to my amazing Scottish husband, I got to go to Aberdeen, stand beside the Aberlemno Stones, explore Restenneth Priory and find The Causey Mounth, an ancient heritage path built by the Romans, the same pathway Callum and Isla travel in The Saint. Is it any wonder that I love research.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration for the evocative Scottish setting of your novel?
Have I mentioned my husband is Scottish? His deep passion for his homeland has rubbed off on me. I love Scotland’s turbulent history, the ruins that hint at how people lived, the rugged landscapes and rolling hills are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. All these things stir something within me and inspire me to know more and to share what I learn in the stories I write.
What ingredients do you feel are necessary to compose a successful historical romance based narrative?
Take two strong, likeable main characters, add several interesting others, a dash of conflict, a generous sprinkle of history, a pinch of hope, a cup of love, shake and pour.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Saint?
We all struggle in life at times and for different reasons and often think our choices are limited. My greatest wish for anyone who reads The Saint is to believe in themselves, never settle, never give up hope, dig deep and find the courage we all have within to go after their Happy Ever After.
Aside from writing, do you have any interesting hobbies?
I love travelling. One of my favourite ways of seeing the sights and hearing the sounds is from the back of my husband’s motorcycle. I feel closer to everything. I also love taking photos, but my photography skills still need a lot of work.
What is next on the horizon for Allison Butler? Do you have any writing projects you would like to share with us?
I’m currently doing research for my next Scottish historical romance. Sorcha was Isla’s only friend in The Saint. She’s caring and a little daring and deserves her own Happily Ever After.
Finally, wrapping up our tea themed interview, who would you most like to share a pot of tea with?
I’d love to share a pot of tea with Isobel Douglas, Countess of Mar; a woman of power in medieval Scotland. Her husband, Malcom Drummond was captured and starved to death in 1402. I have so many questions about her relationship with Malcolm and the next man, it is said she was forced to marry. Isobel will be making an appearance in the story I’m currently researching.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews for Tea with Mrs B Allison. Congratulations on the publication of The Saint!
Thank you so much for having me, Mrs B. It has been my absolute pleasure. Happy Reading xx
He has chosen a chaste life, but he’s never been tempted like this…
Callum has two childhood memories: a stone cross, and the wanton behaviour of his mother, memories that drive him to a take a vow of celibacy at the age of fourteen. Now twenty-four, Callum takes leave from his laird for a year to find the source of these memories and, hopefully, his origins. Weary of finding nothing but disappointment and sorrow at every Kirk and Spital he visits, and with his allotted time fast running out, Cal is compelled to escort a dying man’s daughter south to Restenneth Priory. But he never expects the dark-haired woman’s hope and determination to tempt him to recant his oath or to make him question everything he believes in.
At the tender age of six, Isla Beaton learned a hard lesson about never giving up despite the challenges and grief that might come her way. Now orphaned and alone at nineteen, she has discarded her girlhood dreams of a love-match in marriage, but neither will she accept the betrothal arrangement set up by her father years before. Instead, she must rely on Callum, a stranger her father sends to her door, to deliver her to the priory where she will dedicate the rest of her life to God. But as their destination draws closer, the time she spends with Callum and the one kiss they share has her wondering if maybe there is hope for the treasured dreams of a girl after all.
The Saint by Allison Butler was published on 20th January 2019. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Connect with Allison here: