Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guest Post with Mageela Troche

Ten Reasons Highlanders captured me.
  1. Whether a kilt or a belted plaid, this garment proclaims their national identity.
These garments identify Scots in a way that no other country identity does. It was such an identifier that after Jacobite Rising of 1745, the British government outlawed the wearing of them. It is part of the national identity. Really, head to any Highland Games events and you will see plaid everywhere. I especially love when grooms don one and the bride has a sash of her own.
  1. Wild, ruggedness of the land and its people.
The highlands of Scotland are rough, rugged lands. Eking out a living in these mountainous lands filled with peaty bogs and wet, windy weather required a stubbornness and fight to call these lands. These lands have been subjected to inner turmoil from the numerous cultures. In my new novel, Claiming the Highlander. My hero, Caelen MacKenzie, is a mixture of the different cultures—Vikings and Celtic. His looks reflect his family line with long blond hair of his Viking genes. Oh he looks like he raided Skye. My heroine—Brenna is of French and Norman descent whose ancestors came to Scotland at the invitation of David I—she took reflects her own with dark looks of the Normans.
  1. The accent
This one applies to all of Scotland. Though, Glasweegians have a very thick accent and are difficult to understand but the Scottish accent stirs up a warmth in the listener. It seems when they speak it seems as if they curl their tongue around every word.
  1. Clans
Clann in Gaelic means children. For me, my family means more to me than my own life. So, naturally I was attracted to this ideal. Caelen MacKenzie returns homes when he learns his father is dying. Once back home, he has his wife who he hasn’t seen in years to deal with.
  1. Strong men need strong women.
Women are strong than history even present time acknowledge. Claiming the Highlander is set in the 13th century. During this time, women were property of their father, their husbands and then their sons. Women married to increase a family’s standing, connections while benefitted the bride’s family. These women had to be smart and display their power in different ways. Brenna MacKenzie does what she must to find the balance of power so that she can keep the life she knows.
  1. Independence
The Kings of England have been trying to get the Kings of Scotland to pledge a fealty to them for centuries. Alexander III, king during my novel’s time period, refused to give fealty to the King of England though he was married to his daughter. Of course, we know of the Wars of Independence after the death of Alexander III and the Maid of Norway, his granddaughter. Highlanders followed their own laws and ideals even James V or King James the First, tried to quell them. This sense of Independence has been a character of Scotland for centuries and even now with the Vote of Independence coming soon, it is even more important.
  1. Sense of Honor and Pride.
These men took great pride in their names and history. Besides that they honored their connections and oaths given because the importance these connections played in their lives and their survival. Clans had their own seanachie who would recite tales of past feuds and battles of the clan’s ancestors. Caelen has his own sense of honor haunting him and must regain it to be the chief of MacKenzie.
  1. Music
Music has played a part in their lives. Each chore had its own song. The clarsach is Scotland’s oldest musical instrument. It is similar to the Irish Harp. These instruments and their musicians were used for both entertainment and in battles. The harps fell out of favor with the Reformation and other instruments that were easier to play. Now, we have the bagpipes that can evoke that haunting emotion of battles lost or a high-pitched lively tune.

  1. The Games
In my book, I have both Caelen and Brenna participating in games. Caelen throws the hammer and Brenna shoots arrows. These games were able displays of feat whether accuracy, strength or skill. Much like knights would jousted, Highlanders had their ways too.

  1.  The Cattle
The Highland cow, or coos is identifiable with one glance at their long shaggy hair covering their faces and horns sticking out. Cattle had been stolen from the borders to the Sunderland. It stirred up feuds, raids and everything else. After Culloden, the Highland Clearances came about because the laird’s did not make enough money from the tenants’ rents and cleared the land for sheep that did.

Meet The Author

Mageela Troche lives in New York City. She writes in a corner of her cramped Big Apple apartment. Here she has three novels and is working on her fourth.

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