Hi Lynsay and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Highland Treasure!
To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:
Officially out on January 26th, it’s about Rory Buchanan and a lass named Elysande de Valance who’s on the run from a horde of English soldiers. Though they’re determined to catch her, Rory’s even more determined to keep her. With his help, along with his brothers and even an entire town, Elysande might just make it out of England alive.
Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:
“Well, I was just thinking . . . Truly, the murder of my mother, father and all of our soldiers was the most unfortunate event of my life. But encountering our new Scottish friends was, I think, the most fortunate. And both happened one behind the other.”
“The best and worst of life all rolled into one incident,” Mildrede said sadly. “Life never seems to be able to give you one without the other.”
What inspired this book?
Honestly there has been so much bad happening to everyone this past year that I think that was reflected in my story. Elysande had so many horrible things happen to her (the deaths of her family, friends and all her men, beaten to a point that it was a miracle she even survived, and then pursued by an army of Englishmen bent on killing her across England), and still she remained hopeful and determined to complete the mission of getting a letter to the king to warn him of an impending assassination attempt.
How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?
My characters always surprise me! LOL But that’s a part of the fun of writing for me because if I knew what was going to happen all the time then I’d be bored to tears.
Even though Rory has been around for most of the Highland Brides series, I ended up throwing his character into different situations so we could get to know him as something other than a great healer. Later, it’s revealed that even he has trouble seeing himself as something more than a healer.
Rory gaped at the man, his mind in an uproar. He’d wanted to make Elysande a liniment for her pains. It was his one skill, healing. Or at least the one skill he was known and valued for. Any man could wield a sword. Hell, every man at Buchanan did. But healing was the one thing about him that was special.
And though I knew Elysande would be brave, courageous and determined, I was a little surprised after everything she’d been through, that she still had such faith and trust in strangers. We find out later that it wasn’t just faith, but also wit (she picked up on clues showing the other’s motivations), and cunning (to ensure their safety should the English show up). As the men said, Elysande would have made a great warrior.
What was your favorite scene to write?
This was one of my favorite scenes because of the interaction between Rory and Elysande and their men. It was fun to witness two warring factions get over their differences enough to work together in pursuit of a common goal. And then to see them get on so well in the end is priceless.
“Another night in bloody England,” Conn growled suddenly, as if reading his thoughts.
Rory smiled faintly and shook his head. “It could be worse.”
“What could be worse than having to stay in England?” Inan asked morosely.
“Death,” he answered promptly, and they all laughed.
All except for Elysande and her soldiers, Rory noted, and realizing he was insulting their country, he cleared his throat before saying, “Do no’ mind us. ’Tis been a long day.”
“Nay. ’Tis fine,” she said quietly. “I do not blame you for disliking England if our countrymen all treat you as the alewife and her husband did.”
Tom scowled toward the door to the kitchens where the alewife was hopefully collecting their dinner. “The husband threw out insults like he thought you were too deaf or dumb to understand them, and the wife overcharged you shamefully for our pitiful lodging. Made me embarrassed to be English.”
Simon grunted in agreement, and Rory relaxed somewhat but said, “Aye, well, there are many in Scotland who are just as rude to the English.”
The moment the words were out of his mouth, he realized how true they were. Once they crossed the border, Elysande and her men might encounter the same rude treatment he and the others had experienced the last several weeks in England. The idea was a troubling one.
And apparently not only to himself, he thought when Conn shifted suddenly and said, “The last time I was here there was a draper’s shop a street over that carried the occasional lengths of plaid cloth. If he’s still there and open tomorrow we might see what he has and get some for our English friends here.”
Inan nodded. “’Twould make them less noticeable once we reach Scotland if they were dressed like us.”
“Oh, nay!” Tom said with horror. “I’m not running around with naked knees! ’Tis indecent.”
“Aye,” Simon agreed. “And in this weather we’d freeze our bollocks off in those skirts of yours. Sorry, m’lady,” he added as he apparently realized what he’d just said.
Rory couldn’t see Elysande’s expression, but was guessing she was blushing under her veil. She did emit a slightly choked sound as she waved away the apology. “’Tis fine.”
Clearing her throat then, she said, “But it may be a good idea for us to dress more like Scots. If de Buci did catch wind that we traveled this way, he will be looking for a group that includes an Englishwoman and two English soldiers. Dressing like Scots might help keep him and his men off our trail.”
Tom and Simon stared at her blankly for a minute and then looked at each other before Tom grimaced at his comrade and reluctantly pointed out, “She’s right about that.”
“Aye,” Simon agreed on a sigh, and then lowered his head and muttered, “There go our bollocks.”
What was the most difficult scene to write?
The biggest dilemma I had was figuring out how to get them out of the English town without being caught or seen by the English soldiers that had arrived. It was only doable with the town’s help so I needed to figure out a reason why the townsfolk would bother helping the Scotsmen. In the end it was Elysande who got the town to rally together to help them.
Elysande noted the way Rory glanced to Conn, who frowned briefly before admitting, “I’ve ne’er heard o’ such a gate.”
“Well, ’tis hardly information we bandy about,” Mildrede said dryly. “And we’d certainly not be telling Scots, when ’tis there for the women and children to slip out through should the Scots invade. In fact, Robbie and the others were reluctant to let you know about it now, but I convinced them ’twas for the greater good if it saved the king. And I assured him that Lady Elysande would not let you reveal it to anyone else,” she added, and then clutching Elysande’s hand she asked anxiously, “You’ll make sure they don’t tell anyone, won’t you?”
Before Elysande could respond, Rory said, “We vow on our lives that none o’ us here today will reveal the presence of a back gate to Carlisle.”
When Mildrede nodded, but still looked anxious, Elysande suggested, “If ’twould make you more comfortable, we could always have Rory and his men go out the front while Robbie leads Tom, Simon and I out the back. De Buci’s men should not be interested in a group of Scots on their own. ’Tis me they are looking for,” she pointed out. “And once outside the wall we could wait for them in the woods and go from there.”
“Oh.” Mildrede brightened at the suggestion. “That would be perfect.”
“Nay,” Rory said at once, scowling at Elysande for the suggestion. “How can I guard ye if I’m no’ with ye?”
Elysande scowled right back, but did say, “Fine, then the others can leave Carlisle through the front gate, and you can come with us. Blindfolded.”
Rory’s mouth opened, closed, and then he growled, “I canno’ guard ye blind either.”
Elysande nodded easily, but asked, “Are there hidden gates or secret passages into Buchanan castle?”
Rory stiffened, his chin jerking up and mouth compressing.
“See,” she said when his mouth stayed tightly closed. “You will not even admit to having one. How can you expect these people to happily show you theirs?”
“She’s got a point,” Alick said with amusement.
“Fine,” Rory growled. “Then Conn, Inan and I will go through the back gate blindfolded and with Tom, Simon and Elysande leading us. Alick, you take Fearghas and Donnghail out the front gate. Wait for us just inside the woods to the north.”
Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?
Action packed chaos, sprinkled with some mystery, drama and a lot of humour… sounds like mine! LOL
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want my readers to enjoy reading it enough that it allows them to take a breather away from their everyday stressors and turmoil. I also hope it makes them chuckle and maybe even laugh.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
As for what I’m working on…
I just finished the next Highland Brides book. Before you ask, I do have plans for Alick in the future but I think he needs a little seasoning first. So, in the meantime we’re going back to the first book and a relative of Ross and Annabel’s whom we haven’t heard about in quite a while, Bryson MacDonald.
And I just handed in the edits for Jet and Quinn’s called Mile High Vampire. This is book #33 in the Argeneau series and starts with a deadly plane crash that leaves Jet stranded miles from anywhere with Quinn and five seriously injured immortals. Anyone want to guess what happens when an entourage of immortals wake up after being severely injured, and you’re the only blood source within miles? Good luck Jet!
As for what’s coming out…
The reissue of Book #2 in the MacNachton anthology, My Immortal Highlander, is coming out February 23rd.
Book # 32 in my Argeneau series, Meant To Be Immortal, is set to come out April 27th. This is about Mac and C.J., two new characters to the scene.
Mac Argeneau, one of Katricia’s brothers, is new to town. No one knows him so it’s strange that someone setting his house on fire would be the first thing to happen to him.
CJ is a no nonsense CSIS agent who’s there to investigate a list of complaints against a local officer. Due to a shortage of local manpower, C.J.’s been asked to help out with the recent arson case. They’ve been thrown together and Mac discovers he can’t read her.
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Excerpt from Highland Treasure:
“I do no’ like this,” Conn muttered suddenly.
“Aye,” Rory agreed grimly. “I feel helpless as a babe without me sight. How much farther is it?”
“Not far.” Elizabeth answered the question with a quick glance over her shoulder at them, and Elysande was grateful for the response. Partly because she hadn’t known the answer to the question, but also because she wasn’t caring for this herself. The muscles in her back and arms, already painful before this, were now screaming from the strain that directing the men was putting on her muscles. She would be glad to reach the gate.
“How are we going to ride blindfolded?” Conn asked suddenly.
“You will all just have to sit on your horses and let Tom, Simon and I take the reins of a horse apiece to lead you out,” Elysande said, her jaw a little tight as she fought the pain.
“Are ye all right, lass?” Rory asked. “Yer back’s paining ye, is no’ it?”
Elysande glanced at him with surprise that he’d picked up on that, but then sighed and admitted, “You are both showing a distressing tendency to weave about like a pair of drunken fools without your sight, and ’tis a bit of a strain on my back and arms.”
“Oh.” Rory hesitated, and then asked, “Would it help if we held yer hand instead of ye trying to steer us by our arms? That way, ye could just squeeze our fingers and move our hands in the direction ye wanted us to go. It may be less o’ a strain fer ye.”
“That’s what I thought the plan was to begin with,” Conn commented, obviously having heard Rory’s suggestion.
“Aye, it was, and it may help,” Elysande agreed, and released first Rory’s arm to clasp his hand instead, and then did the same with Conn. Both men had huge hands, she noted as her fingers stretched almost painfully wide to slide between theirs. But it actually was a little easier that way, it certainly hurt her back and arms less, she acknowledged as Robbie turned left and led them along the front of the church.
“Better?” Rory asked after several minutes.
“Aye. Thank you,” she murmured, and then smiled with amusement and said, “Although I fancy it looks odd to anyone watching to see a woman walking down the street holding hands with two men.”
“And the blindfolds do no’ look odd?” he asked dryly, and then still in that dry tone added, “But then most people ken why we’re blindfolded.”
Elysande grimaced at the comment. She’d known he’d be irritated by Elizabeth’s words about most people knowing what was happening. But she was just glad there were so many people willing to help. She only hoped everyone who knew was on their side and there wasn’t a Judas among them who might approach the English soldiers to exchange the knowledge for coin. Elysande wasn’t a fool and knew that was a possibility with so many holding the knowledge. But she also knew there was nothing she could do about it if it happened, so tried not to think about it. Her life was in God’s hands at the moment.
“Is anyone following us?” Rory asked suddenly.
“Nay, I am sure— Oh,” Elysande said with surprise when she looked over her shoulder. Actually, there were several people following them, and several more joining every moment. Mildrede had mentioned to her that Carlisle had a population of two thousand people. It looked to her like half of them were now following them to the gate. They seemed to be coming from everywhere and filling the road behind them, trailing them past the church. The street was full of children and adults both . . . and every single one smiled and nodded reassuringly when they saw her looking.
“What is it?” Rory asked tensely, his hand jerking in hers as if he would pull off his blindfold.
“Nothing.” Elysande tightened her hold on his hand and flashed the crowd a smile before facing forward again. She was quite sure he wouldn’t be happy knowing they had what looked to be almost half the city following them this last stretch to the gates. She wasn’t sure she was either actually. Who was distracting the soldiers searching for her if half the city was following them to the gate? The other half of the city, she hoped.
Robbie turned right next, leading them down a slightly angled street with perhaps ten dwellings on the left and eleven on the right. Much to her relief she could see the city wall now at the other end, running at a slight angle to the street they were on. She thought the gate couldn’t be far now.
“I ken ye only told Mildrede and Elizabeth about de Buci here and that they then spread the news far and wide, but once we’re in Scotland, I suggest ye no’ be so free with the tale o’ de Buci, lass.”
“Oh, nay, I will not be,” she assured him firmly, glancing over her shoulder to see the crowd still following. When they all smiled and nodded, some waving, she smiled again before facing forward once more and adding, “I will not be telling anyone in Scotland. Not a single person.”
“Good,” he said, sounding relieved. “Then I’ll say no more about it.”
Elysande murmured agreeably to that, but her wide eyes were taking note of the people now coming out of the dwellings they were passing to watch them parade by.
“Why are ye no’ going to tell anyone in Scotland?” Conn asked suddenly, curiosity filling his voice.
“Well, they are Scots, and I suspect most Scots would be pleased to see the English king die, or at least would not care if he lived, so would not be likely to help,” she pointed out, and then added under her breath, “Besides, it appears information spreads like seeds on the wind.”
“Oh, aye, it does,” Rory assured her. “Just look at how many here know about de Buci already.”
“Oh, I am,” she muttered, glancing over her shoulder again.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A Buchanan brother finds a love to treasure in this scintillating historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…
After escaping from the English soldiers who attacked her home and imprisoned her in a dungeon, Lady Elysande de Valance is grateful for the rugged Scots who are escorting her to safety in the Highlands. Even with danger dogging their every step, she hadn’t expected to welcome the strong comforting embrace of their leader, Rory Buchanan. They say he’s a healer, but she finds the heat of his touch does so much more…
Let his brothers get married—Rory is too busy tending to the sick to be bothered with wooing a bride. But when he is tasked with accompanying a family friend’s “treasure” to the Highlands, he is surprised to learn the treasure is a beautiful woman on the run—and even more surprised to discover bruises hidden by her veil. Rory makes it his mission to tend to her injuries and protect her, but the thought of losing her makes him realize that perhaps it is his heart that is most in need of healing…
Meet the Author:
My name is Lynsay Sands and I’m the author of the Argeneau series and many hysterical historicals (as my readers tend to call them). I have written over sixty books and twelve anthologies, which probably tells you I really enjoy writing. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to make a career out of it.
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