Let me tell you, as someone who spends a bit of time in it, it sure is.
Huddled in the Boot Bar in Glencoe, last January, having had a bit of a run in with a mountain–a tree root broke my fall as I sort of contemplated the beauty of the gully a hundred feet below–the party of English climbers we got talking to, agreed re the landscape. Hadn’t they just shamefully spent the day at the Ice Climbing Centre instead, having been forced off an adjacent peak to the one we’d been on.
The landscape is also stunning. I mean it even makes my photos look ok. From the remote upland hills of the south, to the mountainous ranges in the north, the landscape is also as diverse as the rolling winds that sweep it. There’s the savage grandeur of wild, lonely places like Glencoe and the sunlit splendour of the low lying Lowlands. The Scottish character is forged in granite..and I’m not talking people here, I’m talking the landscape itself.
Setting out to write His Judas Bride, I wanted to capture that canvas because it’s not just the country, it’s the history, it’s the very particular breed of people who inhabit this land.
Glencoe must be one of my favourite places on earth. The Glencoe Massacre is quite a story. I liked the idea of an impregnable glen that all the other clans coveted…
It let me set up a Trojan Horse scenario, an enemy chief sending his daughter as a bride, only she’s not there to actually marry anyone—another wee Scottish tradition.
Why was Lochalpin a place no stranger had set foot on for five years though? Well, that’s down to Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf.
And, of course his Brotherhood of Wolves
The fearless band who chuck everyone out on sight….if you chance to live that long…who Callm formed in the wake of that afternoon. having first sold his soul to the devil.
You see another good reason to set a book in Scotland…never mind the gorgeous scenery, the rolling mists, the history, is the superstition, the myths and legends. Selling their souls? Scottish lords were aye doing that
Then there’s the fact you can forge your characters from all these things. Lochalpin is as much part of the Black Wolf as he is part of it. It wasn’t just enough that he HAD to be drop dead gorgeous for to remind Kara of anything, so she’s troubled even from that very first glimpse of him….
She is a woman who can well take care of herself. As the story unfolds she needs a reason to want to be involved with a man again, beyond her initial ruthless motives. And this one offers the kind of safety she’s never known.
All right time to stop the Call-fest.
Scotland isn’t just a great location for books, it’s a great location for movies. It’s purely hypothetical, in long ago Scotland there were no cinemas, but here’s ten set in some way in Scotland Kara and the Wolf might have enjoyed and why.
I’ll be back on Thursday this week with my Wolf Brotherhood quiz.
What’s not to like about this film that has Christopher Lambert playing a Highlander with a French accent –there was the Auld Alliance mind you –and Scotland’s very own Shirr Sean playing a Spaniard with a Scots accent? All this fighting stuff and tearing out throats with your teeth would be right up the Wolf’s street.
Okay, so the Dulux face paint isn’t exactly fetching when it comes to fashion statements, that hard strength in leather would appeal to Kara. The Wolf might find Murren’s murder a bit hard to take.
3 Rob Roy Well, the scenery is certainly bonnie. And that’s a fine broadsword Liam sports.
4 Local Hero
Local hero? Now that would have to be the Wolf.
5 Gregory’s Girl Hmmm. She’s a girl and she’s certainly different from any he’s ever known so this might appeal to the Wolf given Kara is much the same. Also it’s a coming of age scenario which neither got the chance to do.
Tommy and the gang get off an Intercity train to “get some fresh air” on a hike at Corrour railway station, which is located on Rannoch Moor, not far from Glancoe. Imagine what happens next when the Brotherhood of Wolves spot them…..
7 Shallow Grave
Bodies in secret graves in the woods might sound a bit more up my other heroines’ street, but I’m pretty sure Kara and the Wolf might exchange a few glances here about her father.
8 Greyfriar’s Bobby
Oh come on….I don’t know about Callm and Kara, but I can tell you now Dug would just love Bobby. She’d bat her doggy eyelashes no trouble at all.
Are you kidding? The above scene was shot in Glen Etive which is just around the back of Glencoe. Although I’m pretty sure that knowing every nook and cranny as he does, the Wolf would soon suss that the bulk of these ‘Highland’ scenes were shot down south. He’d be happy though that James Bond’s father was from Glencoe. Why did Ian Fleming decide on that? Cos he liked Shirr Sean’s portrayal of Bond.
10 The Thirty Nine Steps
Richard Hannay goes into hiding in Scotland. Okay somewhere in Galloway might not be anywhere near Glencoe, the Wolf still might be giving Kara a few prickling glares here about her sister’s bodyguard hiding out in Lochalpin. Then, of course there’s the sort of ‘bundling’ scene. Two people forced to spend the night together…..
Oh…all right…cue for a Kara, Callm extract.
“Don’t like bundling?” The pile of furs sank beneath his foot as he reached for a dry tunic from the rope-line that dangled above her head. “Damned right I don’t. So don’t you start giving me any maidenly grief that you’re here and so am I. Or how I shouldn’t have brought you. Do you understand?” He snatched the tunic from the line. “Because so far as I’m concerned for tonight, you’re here…bed. I’m over there…chair.”
“A cave. You live in a cave.” She didn’t mean to sound so forlorn about it but he did, didn’t he? An underground cavern, to be precise. How could he? And how could she be so stupid, when what she needed was to be amenable, nice.
He whistled and Dug sprung up. “And she’s there. In the middle.”
“Dug? Dug? Dug’s a—” Kara swallowed a gulp. Oh, the night was full of surprises wasn’t it? Horrible ones. And now if that glower was anything to go by, she had offended him further.
“Don’t you go telling me you never saw the damn cur’s minus more than a front paw. No one’s that stupid. Not someone here to be married. Not someone who’s got—”
“But you call her Dug.”
He tossed the tunic down. “Perhaps that’s because she doesn’t like being called bitch.”
To love, honor, and betray…
To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…
For five years Kara McGurkie has preferred to forget she’s a woman. So it’s no problem for her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back the son she lost. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?
To save his people, neither will he…
Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.
She has nothing left to fear except love itself…
Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.