book excerpt from Highland Faith, Catherine Castle Wednesday Writers series, Highland Faith by Madelyn Hill, Highland Romance, historical romance, researching historical romance, sensual romance, Wild Thistle Trilogy by Madelyn Hill
Today Wednesday Writers welcomes historical author Madelyn Hill. Madelyn will be talking about researching for historical details, specifically related to how she researched for the second book in her Wild Thistle Trilogy, Highland Faith. Welcome, Madelyn!
Writing historicals can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when we are writing to the whim of a muse and we need to be able to accurately research historical details. Highland Faith is the second book in the Wild Thistle Trilogy to be released May 17th. My heroine is a strong and feisty lass, whom is also a huntress.
While the weapon of choice for Faith is a bow and arrow, my expertise in this realm was limited by my experiences from a decade ago. Using a bow and arrow, finding the right terms, feelings, and nuances can be tricky because you must go back in history and determine the right materials, language, and hunted beasties. You have to know the landscape and where an animal may lurk and how a huntress will have the advantage as she stalks her prey.
Early in the novel, the reader learns of Faith’s hunting experiences and how she perfected her skill. A skill which puts her at a level higher than any other clansmen. While men appreciate the fruits of her labor, they find it somewhat emasculating how she bests them on hunts. And the hero, our handsome Graeme, is skeptical of her skill until he witnesses her prowess first hand.
Since I only write historicals (for now), I am used to researching every detail. I often use my book, English Through The Ages, to see if word choices are appropriate or Google certain words to see their specific usage during the novel’s time period. This also means I have to research archery terms and techniques. I had used a bow and arrow before, however aiming toward a target is vastly different than aiming toward a moving animal. There are consequences when wielding such a weapon and the archer must be nimble, strong and accurate.
Since Faith had the freedom to traipse about the MacAlister territory to hunt game, I needed to know the landscape. For this, I used Google Earth. I’m a tech nerd, so if I can use technology to aid me in any way, I’ll use it. Google Earth allows you to “zoom” into a certain location and experience a “street view” of the location. This is incredibly helpful and even though my novel is set hundreds of years ago, I can still get the feel of the vegetation, geography, and perhaps stumble upon a cave or unique land feature to use in my story.
Thanks, Madelyn. I love to research using Google Earth, too. And now for an excerpt from Highland Faith.
By Madelyn Hill
’Twas her sister’s fault.
Hope had married Aidan MacKerry, leading the MacAlister Clan together, and now they were acting like lovesick cows. Aye, they’d recently had another bairn and ’twas why they were smiling like amadans. But Faith MacAlister had enough of the cooing and kissing.
She had to leave the Wild Thistle Keep or go mad.
Hunting was the only option.
The size of the MacAlister Clan dictated hunting trips each fortnight to keep the larder full. Faith grabbed her quiver and bow, left word with the guards at the palisade to inform the lairds Aidan and Hope her direction, and left to find sustenance and peace.
And now, three days later she continued stalking the elusive stag. She kenned her sister would be close to sending a group of men to look for her in a day or so. Luckily she’d managed an agreement with her sister whom was also her laird. An agreement between sisters proved hard to negotiate, but she’d won in the end. And she hunted without escort as long as she never left without telling the guards her direction.
A sun filled day, just cool enough not to need too much clothing that may hinder her movement, but warm enough she didn’t need to start a fire to warm herself. She stretched in the britches she’d stolen from one of the stable hands. Aye, she’d tried the tartan her sister Hope loved to wear, but found it too revealing as she moved and climbed to find her prey. And a gown, the devil take them, ’twould make it nigh impossible to hunt and secure meat for the clan.
She moved quietly through the woods. Each footfall, purposeful, silently brought her closer to her elusive prey.
Aye, there he stood. In the morning mist that hovered just above the low foliage, a proud, beautiful stag who’d avoided her arrow for too long. Huge, with several points on his rack and a cocksure stance stating, I’m king of the forest. She hated to take down the magnificent animal. But he’d provide for her clan and her duty dictated securing meat for those who depended on her.
She drew her bow, stretching the sinew, straining her arm muscles as she prepared to let the arrow fly. The feather fletching grazed her cheek as she held her breath waiting for the perfect moment to release. She’d traveled far for this chance, stalked her prey as her father had taught her so many years ago with her so wee she could barely hold a bow, much less draw and aim. And today, her size may well again thwart her hunting. ’Twould be problematic once the massive stag was felled. She’d have to dress him in the field and lug the meat back with her. No matter, she’d manage as always.
Two more steps forward. Stared down the length of the arrow past the head, ready to release.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?” a man said.
Interested in reading more about Faith and Graeme? Highland Faith, Book 2 in the Wild Thistle Trilogy will be released May 17th! You can find the book and pre-order link at Amazon
To my readers of sweet romance, please note that Highland Faith is a sensual romance.
About the Author:
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!
Connect with Madelyn at:
Madelyn Hill’s Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Madelyn-Hill/e/B00ELRG34U