Saturday, 18 May 2013

Suzanne de Montigny -The Shadow of the Unicorn

I’m delighted to welcome to my garden, children’s writer, and fellow MuseItUp author, 

Suzanne de Montigny

During Children’s Book Week 13th– 19th May, Suzanne is offering her novel free, via Mother, Daughter and Sons Book Review.  

Cover Designer: Marion Sipe

The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy 

 Click here for Free Download  

Now Suzanne, allow us a peak inside an author’s imagination.

What is the most interesting thing about you that has helped you grow as a writer?

I guess it’s that I’m perseverant. When I get bitten by something, I simply can’t let it go until I’ve got it right. To give you an idea, I learned to play the violin with my children when they began Suzuki. This soon turned to fiddling. Because I have a big music background and advanced quickly, I also got nasty tendonitis in two places. Didn’t stop me. I carried on right through the tendonitis – until I injured my shoulder sleeping on small European beds. Have I stopped? No, but I’m going on for physio twice a week.

If a reader you know could enter your books and become one of the  characters, which one do you think that would most likely be? 

I think it depends on who they are. A girl might like to be one of the unicorn twins Jemmi or Cassi. A boy might prefer Azaria since he’s the hero. I can’t imagine that anyone would be Darius because he suffers so much and has to face difficult destiny of terrible loneliness. But what is more likely to happen is that a person enters my story out of the blue. I’ll be sitting around writing, then there they are, talking and doing things without ever being invited in. They totally take over. It can be anyone from one of the neighbours, to one of my husband’s employees, to someone I hated while growing up

Why is your book unique.

Haha! I had a review a couple of months back that said The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy was one of the strangest books they’d ever read, but that they liked it. I mean, what can possibly be stranger than unicorns, dinosaurs, and humans all at the same time, plus an asteroid? But it works and quite well. So far all my reviews have been 4s and 5s.

With no limitations at all – a blank page

a)     Where would you live for the duration of writing your next novel.  Why?

Ew, I love this question! I oftentimes dream of this very thing. Hmm, let’s see. Okay, New York – right across from Central Park. I went to New York a couple of years ago and fell in love with the place. It had changed dramatically since I had been nearly 30 years earlier. And now that I’ve seen The Great Gatsby, I’m even more in love with it. I can just see myself stepping out for lunch in one of those Kosher restaurants, eating matza balls, that sort of thing. But I’m not sure I could stay out of the museums…oh, and did I mention Carnegie Hall? Oh dear, I feel a story coming on.

b)    What hazardous situation would you place yourself in for the sake of researching your story? 

Well, you’ll probably think I’m a sissy, but I’m not sure I’d put myself in any hazardous situation. But I’d like to spend time in Cape Breton, in Canada because I have a novel screaming to get out that takes place there, plus everyone I know who’s from Cape Breton longs for ‘down home’, so it must be a great place. I just love my country, Canada. There’s so much natural beauty here and cool air.

c)     Who would you have as your most challenging villain

I think Ishmael in The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy is as nasty as it gets. He’s totally possessed with that little hard substance called gold and will get it no matter what, but at the same time, you understand his thinking because we all have a bit of Ishmael in us since we live in a materialistic society. Fortunately, people are more aware now of animal rights today and aren’t ready to knock off an animal as easily as fifty years ago just for its horn.

 If you could live any time in history, which one would you chose to be the writer you really want to be. Would this era be much different from your writing experience now?

Definitely the 1800s, but it would be tough on me since I’m used to social media and word processors. When I was going to university, no one had computers yet. I wrote everything out by hand. I’d have my rough draft, my first good draft, then my second good draft. It definitely limits me not having technology. People say that writing by hand frees up your mind. Not so with me. Since I play piano, I can type almost as fast as I think. Writing by hand is difficult for me because it really slows me down, not to mention my hand writing is really awful. I can’t begin to tell you how many teachers couldn’t make out a note I sent to them.

 Who is your target audience?

My target audience is kids 9 – 12, but I have a fairly big audience with adults too because of the nature of the book. It’s a book that teaches. I do school visits. I had one last week, and three this week. They’re fun to do since I was a teacher for over 20 years and am very comfortable with kids. Afterward, I post the pictures on my FB page and my website so the kids can see themselves the minute they get home from school.

Thank you Suzanne, I wish you much success with your enchanting Middle Graders novel.

            Thanks, Wendy. It was a pleasure.

Watch the book trailer video of The Legend of the Unicorn: Legacy.

If you miss out on the free book,

The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy

is available from

Half of all Suzanne's proceeds goes to the

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Billy the Bonsai Bull

Leave a comment for a chance to win this  little chapter e-book .

MuseItUp Cover Designer: Kaytalin Platt

Bonsai Billy needs a miracle or this sad, lonely, little white bull will die.

 Billy the Bonsai Bull is an Australian true story told from the little bull's point of view.
  Billy is a stubborn, orphaned calf who is losing the battle to survive. Hope revives in an unexpected way, through the milk bottle he detests, and brings him a sense of belonging.  However, it takes more than a place in the pecking order for this little white bull to thrive. It takes a miracle.

This is the real Billy, the stubborn, adorable little bull with the farmer's wife and the three children in the story.


Although I wrote Billy's story to touch adults who understand cows and their behaviour, and for those who have an affinity with animals, the issues of loneliness, bullying and depression could resonate with children.

The calf padded forward. He looked into his mother’s face and mooed softly. Her glazed, weepy eyes no longer focused on his. He nibbled on her ear. She didn’t stir.

The farmer’s wife sighed and reached forward to pat his head. “Come on, little bull. I’ll get you a nice warm drink. What do you think of that?” His hair bristled. Without his mother’s protection, he didn’t feel comfortable with these people. He darted away to the safety of a gum tree.

“This calf will be harder for you to rear than mothering a newborn,” the farmer warned his wife. “This one’s had the real thing for three weeks.”

“Maybe, but you’ll have to help me get a collar and lead on it. After that, how hard can it be? Besides, I must succeed. I promised Misty.”

The little bull waited till they walked up the hill and out of sight. He ventured out from behind the tree trunk and settled on a patch of dirt inside the hawthorn bush a short distance from where his mother lay. In his cave-like shelter he dozed, until a sudden, terrifying pressure on his ribs woke him.

The farmer’s knee pinned him to the ground. He squirmed and wriggled to his feet, kicking defiantly with his hind legs, but the farmer held him fast. The wife approached with a thin orange strap and secured the collar around his little neck. She picked up a bottle filled with a strange white liquid and pushed its rubber teat into his mouth. The teat smelled like the black boots on her feet. He eased it out with his tongue. She tried again. With her free hand she continually scratched his throat. He had to swallow. Then he gagged and struggled and spat and stamped on the woman’s foot.

She laughed and hugged him. “In spite of your tiny body and cute little face, you’re such a stubborn beast. You behave like a goat. A Billy goat! That’s what I’ll name you.” She stood and tugged on the lead. “Come on Billy, it’s me or nothing.”
More pictures of the real Billy


Lunch time!


Rating: 5
I didn't expect to have so much fun finding myself in the head of a young bull. Seeing the world (and the farmer family) through Bill's eyes, is entertaining and enlightening. He refuses the icky smelling milk bottle, longing for his mother's rough tongue to lick his fur. When he settles for the stroke of the brush of the farmer's wife, an important first step is made. Fun not only for the young.

Rating: 5

Billy's story will captivate young and old alike. This heart warming tale brings to life the struggles of a little calf as he faces the world alone. Wendy Laharnar writes with an authenticity possible only from her experience raising cattle in the Australian bush. Billy's stubborn nature could keep him from learning valuable, life preserving lessons. Readers discover an insight into farm life from Billy's perspective. From the first pages this beautifully crafted story hooks the reader. Billy's plight is poignant and written with passion. Put simply I found this to be a beautiful, rich, and heart warming story.  Congratulations, Wendy Laharnar. Another MUST READ.
Francene (London. U.K)
Rating: 5
 This review is from: Billy the Bonsai Bull (Kindle Edition)

This beautifully written story follows the life a new-born bull through the unspeakable loss of his mother. He shuns all attempts made by a woman to feed him, which don't substitute his mother's warmth. With courage and determination, Billy must find a reason to carry on when bigger cattle shun him. Set in the wonderful surroundings of Australia, the young reader discovers the abundant wildlife along with Billy as he learns what makes life worthwhile. The story will bring warmth to any heart.

Loraine (America)
Rating: 5
This review is from: Billy the Bonsai Bull (Kindle Edition)

I very much liked the story of Billy. The author made Billy's blight and adventures come to life. Would very much like to read more from Wendy and look forward to future releases.


I hope you and your children come to love Billy as much as I do.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Kid Lit Blog Hop #16

Welcome to the 16th Kid Lit Blog Hop. The Kid Lit Blog Hop takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. We have managed to create a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read. So, you are more than welcome to link in and take some time to make some new friends. Before we get on with the Hop I want to make sure that you are all aware of the on-going Kid Lit Giveaway Hop, co-hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews. The Kid Lit Giveaway Hop is taking place to honor Children's Book Week (May 13 to 19, 2013). For the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop, children's book or teen literature bloggers, authors, publishers, or publicists are sharing copies of fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes. What better way to celebrate Children's Book Week? Click on the poster below to go to the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop. kidlit book giveaway hop  

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop
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Kid Lit Blog Hop Rules *NEW*:

1. *NEW* We ask that you kindly follow your hostesses and co-hostesses. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we've added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick "follow" or "like" that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks! :-)
2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one *
* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*
3. *NEW* Please visit the two links directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you! 4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you're linking up. If you'd prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links! 5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!
Interested in co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop? Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.
Happy Hopping!

Something for Kids and their Mums

Anne Brear


Historical Romance Author
Discover which books in her childhood influenced this successful writer whose  powerful and uplifting novels, set in England and Australia, are the perfect escape for busy mums. 

Nikolai Petrov (1868-1945)

Welcome to my garden, Anne.  

As a child did you have a favourite book or author you loved above all others?

As a child my favourite author was Enid Blyton. The Wishing Chair and The Faraway Tree were my favourite stories of hers. They stirred my imagination like no other.

Enid Blyton was my favourite too. I loved these books, and the Secret Seven and Famous Five series. I read them to my kids.

 When you moved into your teens, what books held you captive?

 I enjoyed the Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell and Black Beauty as well

So, you loved horses. 

As a mother did you read to your children?

I read to my children from as young as two years old and all the way through until they started reading themselves when they were about 10 years old or so. My children loved being read to at bedtime and two of my children are still avid readers now they are adults.

That's a wonderful influence for mothers to have on their children. So satisfying to know we have enriched their lives.

What were their favourites.?

My eldest son enjoyed the Harry Potter series and grew up with those books before moving on as a teenager to enjoy the Anthony Horowitz , Alex Rider series.  My daughter read the Twilight series as a teenager and still enjoys reading a lot of fan fiction, but also authors like James Patterson .

Young people today have more matured reading tastes, or at least they are different from mine. Although, we did have comics with paranormal characters like The Phantom and the super heroes, which I loved.

 Anne, do a have a particular kid's book you like to read to your nieces and nephews.

 I think the classic books like, Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter are always favourites.

Oh yes, wonderful books. I see so many random quotes from Winnie the Pooh in the social media, it's clear this book has carried over into adult life.

What influence do you think your early reading had on you? 

 My mother owned a bookstore when I was young so I had an enormous amount of variety to choose from and this gave me a wonderful appreciation for reading books that triggered my imagination.

Oh wow, a bookstore. That's even better than a lolly shop. No wonder you write such beautiful books now.  Your original stories and the historical backgrounds are filled with adventure and characters so easy to fall in love with.

I know the mum's will be thrilled to visit Anne Brear's Amazon Page to find her historical romances they will delight in reading for their own pleasure.

As an author, Anne, have you been tempted to write historical romances to suit the YA audience?

No, I haven’t, simply because I feel you need to be the kind of writer that has the passion and knowledge to do justice to that genre. I know how much my daughter enjoys YA books and I don’t think I could manage to write something that would be suitable. 

Well, I'm convinced, when older teens discover your romances, they will devour them with as much relish as I have. Women of all ages can identify with your heroines.

Thank you for giving us your time today, Anne. It's been a joy to talk to you.

Mums might like to see more of Anne and her blog   

Friday, 10 May 2013

Fun with Rosalie Skinner - Sci Fi Fantasy Author.

Delighted and excited to have the Mistress of Sci-Fi Fantasy visit my garden today. Welcome

Rosalie Skinner

Hey Rosalie, since you have the dragon, Merkaat with you, today,  we should not risk setting  the trees on fire. Come and sit by the lagoon.   Share a cup of nectar with us.

Now, knowing what a fertile imagination you have, I've chosen some questions with the express purpose to catch you out. So here goes. 
1.     What recipe would you love to try if ever you could find it?

Great to be here, Wendy. So you plan to catch me out, do you? okay...
A recipe? Hmm

The recipe for success.

If I could find the right mix I would patent it. So far I am experimenting with…

2 cups inspiration

2 cups passion

500gm perspiration

300gms determination

60 ml blood

120ml sweat

1 ½ cup tears

250gm grated rhino skin

1 ½ litres of self confidence

Mix thoroughly and apply generous amounts daily.

Obviously I am lacking the key ingredient.

Any suggestions?   How about a pinch of patience :)

Very good answer. I had  a 'cake' in mind.  Okay, that's one to you.


2.     What occupation would you love to try?

You mean there is something out there more inspiring and fulfilling than being a starving artist? Wow… let me think.

I would love to sail on a tall ship and study migrating whales. So I guess a seafaring marine biologist on a tall ship replica or a vessel as seaworthy as the Young Endeavour.

 I couldn't top that one. Being 'all at sea' most of the time would suit me, too.

3.     Who would you particularly like to meet. Now or in the past?

Douglas Adams. I loved his sense of humour and find his outlook on life inspiring. Not only for his famous series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and his character Dirk Gently but for his insight and humour in Last Chance to See.

 Ah ha, trick question. I didn't specify 'author'. Nevertheless, since you evoke happy memories, because I once owned a Ford Prefect, I'll give you that one.

4.     Would you like to meet someone in the future  who hasn’t been born yet? Give this some special thought.

           Interesting concept. You really ask the curly questions, Wendy.

       Okay, recently I read about a one way trip to Mars, scheduled for
       2022 for forty adventurous souls. The idea is to start a colony on
       the red planet. I guess I would like to meet the first human born on
       an off-world colony.

ah ha...

      What would their life be like growing up? Would they want to return 
      to  Earth? What visions or regrets would they have? I wonder if Earth
      would still be habitable by the time they reached maturity or would
      our self-destructive tendencies make the colony man’s last stand?

Wait a second. Who's asking the questions, here?
Besides the best answer for my question would  simply be, "No." :)

      I can feel a science fiction novel brewing.

 So can I, and you have the best imagination and world building skills to write it. Can't wait to see how you do that.

5.     In an Ideal World where would you live, in the mountains or by the sea?

         Easy. By the sea. I am drawn to the coast. My passion is to sit and
        watch the pounding surf, the endless rolling waves, and ocean denizens
        appearing for precious moments while they seem uninterested in my
        existence. Living close to the harbour and being able to get ‘up close
        and personal’ to migrating humpbacks thrills me to the core. Dolphins
        playing, turtles and stingrays, birds, sharks, even jellyfish going about
        their own business fascinate me. No question, I love living by the sea.
        The mountains are a nice place to visit but in my Ideal World a house
        on a cliff overlooking the ocean would be the perfect place for me.

     Agreed, whole heartedly. I knew you'd get that one right.

6.     Given the means, you have one year to explore. Where would you go? Into deep space or to the depths of the sea? What do you hope to find there?

Deep space. Although, being cooped up on a space ship doesn’t appeal. Can we travel through wormholes so we don’t need extended time in a tin can? 

Certainly. Instantaneous travel through space-time is the way to go.

Claustrophobia spoils my urge to explore the deep sea regions. So it’s off into space.

My search would be for intelligent life. Surely there is a race out there who could teach us how to master our aptitude for violence, teach us how to curb our destructive ways and perhaps share renewable forms of energy, healing powers and (hey, let’s go the whole hog…) teach us how to use magic! All in one year. We need to learn fast.

         Another nice answer. I'm running out of ideas to stump you.

7.     Imagine you and your family live on a magical island with all your needs catered for. What is the one special feature keeps you here?

Goodness, why would you want to leave? One feature…as long as my family are loving living there and there is good internet access, I would never want to leave. Imagine having such an ideal location for writing. Ahh… all needs catered for. I am there!!!
Haha. 'Good Internet access.' ROFL. Okay, humour saves you, here.

 8.     You can have one pet, real or from your imagination. What would it be? What is its name?

On the magical island? I would love to have a sentient dragon. Merkaat… from the Chronicles would be an awesome companion. I don’t think she would like to be called a ‘pet’.

To share the knowledge and history of the species; to take the occasional flight around the island; to keep intruders at bay and to add a certain fantastic element when attending mandatory book signings on the mainland.

 Merkaat could even fly you to the mainland for those book signing and draw the crowds in, if you could get her to sit quietly in the corner for the duration.

9.  'The main character "Caleath" is awesome, a total badass who is often also the slightly reluctant good-guy.' FIVE STAR Review Amazon

So, you encounter two of the characters from your Chronicles of Caleath series, apart from Caleath?

How would you react to them in their natural environment?

a) One which is warm and friendly.

        Goodness, most of the characters have agendas and don’t want to
        waste time chatting to a stranger. Luckily I have a source of coins and
        Gwilt has a thirst. I catch up to him on an autumn afternoon in the
        Boar’s Head Inn in Orinth. His ready smile suggests confidence and
        with a mug in hand I approach. Around us the locals pause to watch as
        Gwilt accepts the proffered drink and gestures for me to take a seat at
        his table. His shoulders lower, his green eyes glint and his long legs
        stretch under the table.

A lanky wolf settles at his feet.   Clearing my throat and banishing my nerves, I introduce myself and rush my first question. Gwilt’s grin spreads. He sips his ale, tilts his head and proceeds to answer. His voice is deeper than I imagined and I am mesmerised by his words.  
Obviously both Gwilt and the wolf are less wary of strangers than most. I try to speak and Gwilt leans forward as though offering encouragement.

 He'd be my choice too. Gwilt is one of my favourite characters in your books.

b) A character which is cold and scary.

        Right, cold and scary. You mean Merkaat? Meeting the dragon
        outside of my magical island paradise…I am shaking in my shoes. 
       Hiding, as you do, from all-seeing dragons. Pointless, maybe, but can 
       you see the steam gushing from those huge nostrils? 

Okay, I did mean cold in attitude so Merkaat will suffice. She sure is scary.

      She’s not even annoyed yet. Her scales gleam iridescent as the
      late afternoon sunlight bathes her. Shhh. Don’t move, don’t make a  
      sound. Her blue eyes blink and she’s turning toward my niche. Right…
      so she knows I am here. How brave do I feel now? Hmm. Would
     ‘not at all’ fit?  Did you feel the ground shake as she moved? I hope
      she’s in a good mood. The smell of her breath is quite rank. Perhaps 
      she’s eaten recently and I may survive this encounter.

      Dragons aren’t supposed to harm humans… So if I make my exit
      now, as rapidly as possible, I should be okay? Right.

      Can’t talk now, running!

 Wait for me! This way! We should be safe here, behind the waterfall.

 10. If you had one magic spell you could use, what would you choose?

      Having thought about ‘what recipe’ I would like to have access to,
      I think if I could wave a magic wand, once, I would choose a spell of 
     “knowing how to”. Imagine life ‘knowing how to’ do the things that
      have previously been beyond your skill levels!

 I like that. 'Knowing how to' escape from Merkaat, for starters. You should patent it.


Well, Rosalie, it's pretty obvious, when it comes to imagination, your muse is firing on all cylinders, just like Merkaat, so I give you...10/10.

     Thanks for having me here today, Wendy. It’s been great fun. I hope
     Merkaat hasn’t damaged the garden beyond repair. She means well.
     Well, no, maybe she doesn’t care, but I don’t think the charred fence,
     burning shrubbery and the flattened herb garden were destroyed

     Perhaps I should use my one magic spell to return your yard to good

Don't worry Rosalie, it was worth it. I've enjoyed your visit immensely. Save your magic spell. Besides, Merkaat's fire damage makes my garden look like a beautiful sunset,  see...

Visit Rosalie at her blog Lady Rosalie Skinner

Her books are available at

MuseItUp Bookstore*


and most online bookstore.

**Exiled: Autumns Peril, Book One in this exciting science fiction series  On Special  for only 99cents...from today for ten days only.   
Grab your copy!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Shadows in Scotland

Canadian author Melanie Robertson-King


draws on more than her imagination for her paranormal novel, the Victorian romance,
A Shadow in the Past.

Melanie draws on her strong family connection with this beautiful land.
  Welcome Melanie, I'm delighted to have you visit here today.  You have a novel is set in Scotland. Why were you drawn to Scotland, rather than Canada where you live?

 My father was born in Scotland and came to Canada as a Home Child and for as long as I can remember he always talked about his native country and how one day he would take my mum and me there. Sadly, it never happened. He passed away in 1969 when I was twelve.  
 While I never got there with my father, I did go to Scotland for the first time in 1993. Until that trip, I had never travelled that far – alone! I’d never flown before. And I rented a car for part of the time I was there.  I’m surprised I didn’t come home with a bruised chin from my jaw constantly hitting the ground. I swear my mouth gaped open almost the entire trip, I was in such awe of the beauty of the country and its history.

 What a wonderful adventure that must have been for you. What did you love the most?

It’s so hard to say what I love the most about the country. On that first trip, I visited and stayed in the orphanage where my father was raised and in the village where he was born.
Broadfield Home – the cottage where my father was raised

Since that first trip, I’ve been back in 1997; 1999 (I met Princess Anne on this trip); 2000 – my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows in the church at the orphanage where my father was raised;

Mt Zion Church, Quarriers Village
2001 (for the opening of a museum exhibit in Glasgow on Home Children) and lastly in 2005 when we visited primarily England and Wales, although I did get my feet on Scottish soil once. We stayed in a B&B with a Scotland mailing address which was just south of the border – so we walked to Scotland, and we drove up to Dumfries for a bit of shopping.

Sarah’s Stone Circle in A Shadow in the Past.
I love the history, the castles (especially the ruined ones), the standing stones and stone circles and the rugged beauty and broodiness of the land. The people are warm and friendly. What isn’t there to love about it?


You've had some wonderful experiences in your father's homeland, well worth the visits, but your novel is set in 19th century Scotland. That must have required some research.
I chose the 19th century because of my interest in genealogy. I hadn’t been able to get further back than that but had obtained a wealth of information on my father’s family (mostly on his father’s side). As my information accumulated and I was able to visit the places where my ancestors lived, the creative juices started to flow.  
Wardhouse – aka Weetshill in A Shadow in the Past.

 fell in love with this “old heap” when I saw it for the first time in 1993. Isn’t it just begging to have a story spun around it?
           Yes, definitely!


As the author who created the paranormal aspect in the historical romance, ‘A Shadow in the Past’, which character would you least like to confront?
I wouldn’t want to confront Hamish MacMillan – Weetshill’s groom. He fancies his chances with the ladies and can be mean and abusive when he doesn’t get his way. Maybe he wouldn’t be angry with me for writing his character that way although he might since I didn’t let him have his chance with a certain lady. 

You invite yourself, the author, to a fictional Ball you create in a lovely old mansion. Would the characters in your novel greet you warmly?

 I’d like to think that my characters would greet me warmly but it’s difficult to say. I think Sarah would since we’re from the same time. The others would be wary (downright frightened) of my appearance... and heaven help me when I spoke and didn’t have a Scottish accent. I would be a Sassenach for sure.

Would you stun the other guests by wearing a gown designed by a 21st century designer or would you blend in, in Victorian costume?


I would try to blend in. I’d love to wear a burgundy, velvet gown that has cap sleeves just off the shoulders and a plunging (but not too) neckline, fitted bodice and huge skirt with or without a bustle. It would be heavy because of the weight of velvet and the amount of fabric in it, but I see that as the quintessential ball gown.

Something like this one with shorter sleeves?
Yes, like that.
If given the chance, are there any characters you would apologize to for placing them in certain situations and/or for giving them certain character traits.

I’d apologize to Sarah. I put her through some terrible situations in the present and after she ended up in the past. I think she’d admire the character traits (well some) that I gave her – headstrong (okay, it gets her into trouble but it also gets her out).

Do you have a talent or two relating to Scottish culture and did these talents find their way into this novel or any of you fiction?

Talent? Surely you jest... I know, don’t call you Shirley. Let’s see, I used to take Highland Dancing lessons and competed. I learned to play the bagpipes and have my own set. I love haggis. The only thing that made it into this novel is the bagpipes. Angus Cameron, the ghillie, plays the pipes and he does so in a couple of scenes in the book.

Having lived inside your novel for so long, what advice can you give the reader who finds herself captured by this book?

Sarah does stand up for herself and her outspokenness causes her problems, so I  hope the reader will root for her, but get angry with her, too, and think 'why on earth did you do that?' And while they think she and Robert will make a lovely couple, in the back of their mind they should be saying 'don't do it, Robert! It will only end in tears'. And possibly most importantly, I'd tell the reader to 'enjoy the stone circle but beware of the magic it holds because you, too, might become A Shadow in the Past.'

 Log Line.
When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…


At the narrow stone bridge, Sarah stopped and rested. As she stood there trying to catch her breath, the bridge began to vibrate and black smoke filled the air. A shrill whistle pierced the silence, drowning out the ringing in her ears. Sarah wheeled around and gasped. Off in the distance she saw the tiny speck of a headlight. It grew larger and brighter as the train drew closer and thundered beneath the bridge. Sarah watched the disappearing train and tried to understand what she had seen. There was no railway line near her house, only a flat dirt trail leading to the village.

Soon the smell of freshly cut hay, manure, and farm animals replaced the lingering aroma of the train’s oily coal smoke. If the barn was this close, she was almost home. Drawing closer, she heard the sounds of hooves pawing at stall floors and horses snorting. Her parents did not own horses. Beef cattle, sheep, and a few barn cats were the only livestock on their farm.

Confused, Sarah stumbled away from the barn and turned to face a sprawling three-storey building. It looked like Weetshill but it couldn’t be. The Weetshill mansion Sarah knew had no roof, and trees grew within the confines of its crumbling walls. The slate roof of this building shone in the moonlight as if it had been installed yesterday, and glass sparkled in enormous windows that should have been gaping, dark holes.

Sarah touched the heavy oak door and jerked her hand back as though she’d burnt it. She reached for a thick cord hanging from a bell by the door...

Sarah has her own blog here

A Shadow in the Past book trailer.

Learn more about Melanie and read her bio on her blog at
 Celtic Connexions

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Melanie's Twitter handle is @RobertsoKing
A Shadow in the Past is available in paperback from:

I've really enjoyed our time together, Melanie. Thank you for sharing your special connection with Scotland.