Book Nerd Interview
Harriet Schultz is an award-winning journalist whose career began at TIME where she was involved with the magazine’s Watergate coverage. She loves to travel and has visited all of the locations in her debut contemporary romantic suspense novel, Legacy of the Highlands. She and her husband, Edward, logged 1500 miles on their most receipt road trip through the Scottish Highlands. She lives in New England and is at work on a sequel to Legacy of the Highlands.
Tell us your latest news.
First, thank you for inviting me to meet your followers. It’s always fun to connect with readers.
I recently published a very short story that’s a prequel to my novel, Legacy of the Highlands. It was a kick to get inside the hero’s head and write from his point of view. The story’s called Lust and Honor and it’s free on Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/167836). Amazon won’t allow a price of less than $0.99, but if enough people ask, they may match Smashwords. Lust and Honor introduces the novel’s three main characters and I hope that readers will like it enough to want to read more.
Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
There are so many people and life experiences that have influenced me in ways that are hard to define. My first job was as assistant to a Pulitzer Prize winner (David Halberstam), so his work (and loathing of commas!) was a definite inspiration. And my years at TIME magazine gave me great research and interviewing skills. I fell I love with Scotland’s dramatic beauty and history while putting 1500 miles on a rental car driving around the Highlands. That trip planted the seed that grew into the idea for the book.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Unlike many novelists who say they've been making up stories since they were five or six years old, my career has been in journalism and I never tried to write fiction until a few years ago. As for how old I was when this happened, let's just say that I was starting to have hot flashes, and not just from writing sexy scenes!
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel, Legacy of the Highlands, how would you introduce it?
The novel combines love, sex, murder, intrigue, friendship, and the twists and turns of a mystery into a contemporary romantic suspense tale that readers – I’m happy to say—often describe as a page turner that they can’t put down. It’s a great beach read.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I originally thought that Legacy would be a stand alone book, but readers and reviewers have told me they want more of these characters. Since I'm in love with my male hero, Diego Navarro, I'm very happy to spend more time with him! So this will be a two-book series. A lot of the next story will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so I hope readers will be willing to visit another country.
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
Yes. I actually have two. One is by E.L. Doctorow; the other, John Steinbeck.
“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Doctorow
“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.” Steinbeck.
Did you learn anything from writing Alexandra and what was it?
She exemplifies the ability of humans to be adaptable and to find joy again after tragedy. She doesn't exemplify the traditional romance novel notion that we have one great love. This woman bravely opens her heart a second time with amazing results.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Hmmm. Interesting question. Maybe I’d introduce Diego to Roarke from the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). I think Diego needs a new best friend and he and Roarke share a lot of traits. They’re both strong, confident, handsome men who are passionately in love with their women.
What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My favorite, and one I re-read from time to time, is definitely “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. I’m not referring to the entire Outlander series; just the first book. This book inspired my interest in Scottish history and ultimately led to the strong desire to write a book that had a connection to Scotland. I love the way she portrayed her hero, including the words she put into his mouth. Most readers fall in love with Jamie Fraser and I’m definitely among them. I’m flattered when people tell me they feel the same about my book’s hero, the yummy Diego Navarro.
I still love reading Ian Fleming’s James Bond books. Spies are very sexy. Speaking of sex, Pierce Brosnan is my favorite James Bond.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I'm honest about my age, but do not ask any woman how much she weights!
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Most often I write in the morning…after coffee, and occasionally at night, after 10pm. I write on my aging MacBook in my home office. I need silence, privacy and no interruptions so the door is closed and I don’t answer the phone.
If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?
Athena from Homer’s Odyssey.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Telemarketing at a call center for various products advertised on radio and television. One of them was a “male enhancement” supplement and it seemed like callers were really looking for phone sex! I didn’t last long there!
What is your favorite Holiday and why?
I love Halloween for the fantasy element. You can be whoever you want to be and no one bats an eye.
Where can readers stalk you?
Stalk? I love to hear from readers! They can find me on Facebook, Twitter (@HarrietSchultz), Goodreads, and on my not-very-active blog (http://harrietschultz.blogspot.com).
This contemporary romantic suspense novel connects a murder in present-day Boston to a vow made by the victim's Scottish ancestor in 1320.
When Will Cameron's body is discovered in a Boston alley, the only clue to the thirty-four-year-old's murder is a pristine Scottish sgian dubh dagger left beside it. His devastated widow, Alexandra, flees Boston to find refuge in the Miami villa of Will's best friend, Diego Navarro, who has the means, power and temperament to solve the puzzle and to avenge the senseless killing.
Diego, a handsome and wealthy Argentine, is equally determined to win the grieving widow's heart. They find it increasingly difficult to resist a growing attraction to each other as they follow leads that take them from Miami to Buenos Aires and Scotland unraveling the Cameron family's secrets and the Legacy of the Highlands.
Harriet Schultz’s Legacy of the Highlands is one of those books that grabs your interest from the beginning and continues to raise the level as the story progresses. It delivers many heart-stopping scenes with plenty of twists and turns to keep the story unpredictable. This book will not disappoint those who enjoy fast-paced mystery with a hint of sexy romance.
Harriet’s writing style is flawless and the perfect fit for this amazing plot. The setting takes readers to Scotland highlands where so many secrets reside. As readers finally to begin to understand what is going on, Harriet methodically reveals secrets throughout the story and surprises readers each time.
The character Alex is simply adorable. She bravely goes back to Scotland to gather information about what happened to her husband. Although she is highly vulnerable, she gives the very handsome, Diego, a chance.
Readers will be intrigued with its compelling storyline. The world-building is amazing and the characters feel real. The richness of the story is only possible with Harriet’s elegant writing etiquette. Legacy of the Highlands is 100% exciting with several heart-pounding moments. Give it one page and the rest will be devoured rather quickly. Harriet is a talented storyteller. I am certain that her next project(s) will be just the same…AMAZING!
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