Monday, 17 October 2011

Highland Storms & Deerhounds

Thank you for having me as your guest in the lovely Plotting Shed again, it’s great to be back!

Last time I was here I think I talked about dogs, because of Grumpy and the fact that my first novel featured two little dogs just like my own. I hope you won’t mind if I do it again? As you’ve probably gathered, I love dogs (well, all animals really, as long as they have no more than four legs!), so I guess it won’t be a surprise to hear that I decided to include a dog in Highland Storms as well – a deerhound called Liath.

This time, however, I gave him more of a starring role. Perhaps because a deerhound is so much bigger than the small, fluffy pooches I wrote about before, I was able to include him in the plot to a greater extent. And being an intelligent hound, he’s also a whole lot more obedient than the ones I live with in real life – trust me, you couldn’t get less obedient if you tried! Anyway, Liath is the heroine’s constant companion, friend and guard, and boy does she need him! He saves the day at least once and does his best to help out in every way, and that, to me, is what a proper guard dog should do.
The best thing of all, however, is that Liath likes the hero and decides not to guard the heroine against him, which annoys her no end at first! To me, this just showed that Liath was clever and knew a good person when he saw one, but it takes a while for the heroine to reach the same conclusion. I had great fun writing those scenes!

Different breeds have different characteristics, of course, and I tried to incorporate those of a deerhound into Liath. The lovely features and the fact that although they’re big, they are gentle and docile if treated right. The more I read about them, the more I wanted one, but sadly I don’t think my current dogs would accept another one into their pack. One day maybe …

I enjoyed all aspects of researching this novel, because I love Scotland and all things Scottish. It was a great excuse for visiting the Highlands and taking my daughter to see Loch Ness, where she hadn’t been before. Urquhart Castle, Eilean Donan and all the other sights we saw were breathtaking. We also enjoyed getting to know a small herd of Highland cattle (which are also mentioned in the story), owned by a friend of mine. The calves were adorable and some of the bigger animals allowed us to go near and even comb them! (I was a bit wary of those horns though.)

But enough about animals, I think. Instead, here is a short synopsis of Highland Storms:-

Who can you trust?

Betrayed by his brother and his childhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start. So he welcomes the opportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the family estate.

But there’s trouble afoot at Rosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate is in ruin and money is disappearing. He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, the beautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her?

Marsaili is determined to build a good life. She works hard at being housekeeper and harder still at avoiding men who want to take advantage of her. But she’s irresistibly drawn to the new clan chief, even though he’s made it plain he doesn’t want to be shackled to anyone.

And the young laird has more than romance on his mind. His investigations are stirring up an enemy. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants – including Marsaili – even if that means destroying Brice’s life forever …


To win a signed copy of this novel, please tell us which breed of dog you like best and why?

15 comments:

Amanda said...

Highland Storms sounds great!

My favourite dog is a poodle - I wouldn't dare say otherwise as my Molly (a poodle obviously) may hear!

liz fenwick said...

Pia Highland Storms sounds wonderful and so does the Laith!

lx

Dizzy C said...

I am looking forward to getting stuck into Highland Storms.

Laith looks the part :)

carol

Janice Horton said...

Highland Storms looks and sounds like a fantastic read - and as I'm in Scotland I SO love the cover pic - while my two westie doggies Polly & Ruby are both eyeing up Laith!

Christina Courtenay said...

Liath is gorgeous, isn't he? Really wish I could have a deerhound, but my Tibetan spaniels would object very strongly! Thanks for your kind comments!

Marianne said...

Liath (and that's really a very beautiful name!) sounds like he actually ought to be the one-and-only hero of this story, which sounds like another page-turner to me! Scotland being very similar to 'my' Norway I know I just hàve to put this book on my wishing list for Santa ! That and a puppy as I dearly miss clever & gentle Misty, an Irish Setter who was the sweetest dog you could ever imagine! Thank you both (Deborah for inviting you an) and for a glimpse of a captivating story!

Marianne

Deni said...

I love the idea of your novel and hope I'm your winner.

My favorite breed is not one, however -- I'm a mutt lover. They are so lovable, and each different. I tend toward smallish Large dogs - the size of a Labrador - for my own, but I adore truly huge dogs and love to meet them on walks. I just don't have the room to run a Deerhound or a Great Dane.

Thanks for the great post! Deni

Tara said...

Fascinating post!!! Liath was my favorite character! My favorite dog, however, is the Pekingese because My Lola is a Peke. She's sassy, loyal, and playful. I just can't tell the other two!! I think my pug comes a very close second though because she's my hearing dog. I never trained her to be one, but somehow she became one. I'm deaf and she knows it. Every time someone knocks on the front door, the over timer beeps, the microwave finishes cooking, my pug, Pudgy makes sure that I know about it. She is also very protective of me. I never have to worry when she is around.

I have read this book, but I am trying to win a copy for my mother who is also a fan. :)

Talli Roland said...

Highland Storms sounds fantastic!

I love Border Collies because they're energetic and clever.

Tara said...

I just found out my mother won a copy so please don't consider my post as an entry. Wonderful book tho! I will be buying it for some of my friends around the holidays.

Flowerpot said...

I interviewed Jill Murphy who has two deerhounds and they are lovely animals - both tried to sit on my lap! But I would have to say I love jack russells because of Mollie!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Lovely excerpt, Pia, and an appealing sounding novel to this Scot! I love little west highland terriers - Scotty dogs - as they're so cute, to look at anyway!

Christina Courtenay said...

Thank you for all these lovely comments! All dogs are wonderful really and whichever one we choose becomes special. Wish I could have one of every breed!
Tara - I think it's wonderful that your Pudgy helps you out instinctively!
And having a deerhound on your lap? Hmm, might be tricky and a bit heavy :D

Kath said...

Thanks for telling us more about Liath, who is a wonderful character. It's so great to see a dog play such a key role in a novel. They do in real life, after all! I have a cat and, as you know, a squirrel - well, several! - so we can't have a dog at the moment but my parents used to have a Westie who was a real personality. I've always liked bigger dogs though, dalmatians or red setters are my faves. Maybe one day...

Debs Carr said...

Thanks for all the fab comments. I loved this book and would love to meet Liath and probably end up wanting to take him home. I doubt Grumps would be impressed though.