It’s a Happy First Birthday to The Raided Heart today!
Except, it really isn’t. It’s actually Happy 23rd (ish) Birthday. When the book launched in November 2019, it was the culmination of over two decades of thinking time, two major overhauls, and many, many edits. Thankfully, every one of them was worth it.
The book started as The Royal Roses of Scotland, coming into being as I wandered around Carnasserie Castle, near Oban, as a teenager, overcome with far too many romantic thoughts, and no clue whatsoever that historical romance should probably try to stick to the facts…
Fast forward two decades, and we’re in 1470s Northumberland (I really did have to get Richard, Duke of Gloucester as he was, into the story), and the world of the border reivers. The reivers are a fascinating bunch, with fabulous tales about them and their doings, living in difficult surroundings, and it was great to get to know them better during the research for the book.
At least, with every rewrite and edit, I knew my writing was getting better, and could sense the improvements the book was enjoying. As an example, one draft had no dialogue, because I simply wasn’t good at it. For NaNoWriMo 2009, I decided to tackle this, and the result was perhaps too far the other way – too much talk, not enough action!
Still, we got there in the end, and here’s the final blurb, to tempt you in…
Meg Mathers, the headstrong youngest sibling of a reiving family on the English-Scottish border, is determined to remain at her childhood home, caring for the land and village she’s grown up with. When an accident brings her a broken ankle and six weeks in the resentful company of ambitious and angry young reiver Will Hetherington, attraction starts to build. Both begin to realise they might have met their match, and the love of their lives, but 15th century border living is not that simple, as Meg soon finds herself betrothed to the weakling son of a tyrannical neighbour, Alexander Gray. When tragedy strikes, can Meg and Will find their way back to each other, and can Will finally take his own personal revenge on Gray?
Finally seeing the book on the electronic shelves through Ocelot Press was wonderful, but even more thrilling has been the reaction from readers:
“If you love Historical Romances that are full of intrigue, touching moments, forbidden secretive romance and danger then The Raided Heart is the perfect read for you!”
“The Raided Heart is an outstanding story; the historical setting is vividly described and the characters are so well developed that they virtually jump out of the page.”
“The Raided Heart is a beautiful and emotional historical saga!”
Honestly, comments like that make the 23-year wait to publication worth every minute!
It was also awarded Bronze in the Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Award, for historical romance.
If you’ve read The Raided Heart, then I’d love to hear from you – don’t forget, it’s FREE to read via Kindle Unlimited, as well as being available as an ebook or paperback.
And, if you enjoyed The Raided Heart, don’t forget you can find out more about Judd, one of Meg’s older brothers, in Doorways to the Past, available now from Ocelot Press, bringing together almost 2,000 years of history in a collection of short stories and character interviews.