Monday, 23 May 2016

An alternative #highland hero theme

#Monday Moments with Nairn and Aela... and a little excerpt.

My title for this post in full would be: An alternative #highland hero...for a lass who actually needs no rescuing in Take Me Now! But that's a bit long for a blogger title.

Since Take Me Now is one of the Scot Rom novels featured on the Crooked Cat Books page on Facebook for this week, I'm focusing a little on the book's construction.
What themes run through Take Me Now?

Some authors might have one main theme running throughout their novel and others many different themes. Some themes might be dealt with lightly; some might have interlinking threads identifying them as common to multiple characters. Some themes might be light hearted, others dark.

When I first conceived the idea for what became my Contemporary Romantic Mystery—Take Me Now—I consciously decided to mix themes and tones throughout the story. Before I started it, I’d never tried to inject humour on purpose in any of my writing since many of my previous topics were more serious historical interpretations. Constructing a contemporary novel seemed to me to be a good way of trying out something that was a lot more light-hearted but being a mystery, I found that it needed darker tones as well.  

The following are tackled to some degree, some more thoroughly and some less so. They appear below in no particular order. (Finding themes is quite a subjective activity and some readers might find other themes that I’ve not consciously inserted into the story, or have forgotten to mention below.)
Ø      From Scottish island castle ogre to healthy highland hero
Ø      Overcoming physical disabilities
Ø      Reliance on others when the natural thing would be to do things yourself
Ø      Trust…and the opposite as in lack of trust
Ø      Laughing at what life throws at you
Ø      Positive attitudes and not giving in to negative situations
Ø      Perseverance
Ø      Using initiative and putting varied skills to good use
Ø      Reactions to danger
Ø      Assumptions of loyalty
Ø      Jealousy and greed
Ø      Retribution
Ø      Payback for deeds done… or not done
Ø      Love
Some of those bullet point statements are almost the same and yet depending on the tone of the dialogue in the particular scenes they are treated differently. Aela Cameron is a lass who makes light of situations and finds humour where someone else might feel threatened. She might fear the dangerous situations she finds herself in but she isn’t panicky and can use really sound judgement, using skills she’s honed over the years and a natural instinct to find ways out of adverse circumstances. She was a fun character to create.

I also loved creating Nairn Malcolm, my battered highland hero. I wanted to show how a typical, more than a little arrogant, alpha type male would react when medical circumstances really weren’t in his favour. He’s survived a motor bike accident but hates the dependent situation that he’s in. Needing help to do even basic daily routines sticks in his craw and it takes Aela’s humour and tolerance to jolt him from his black moods. The grumpy ogre of the restored Scottish island castle gradually melts away under her positive influence. As the novel progresses he learns that dependence on others needn’t be a bad thing and, indeed, it can have many benefits. One of the really big things he learns is to laugh at himself.

Take Me Now is intended as a quick, no demand, and light-hearted read.

Here's a little excerpt from the novel to enjoy. This is from Chapter 10, days after the main humour of their first meeting.

“Still want to continue?”
Nairn felt nauseated, though it had nothing to do with his physical ailments. Bad conscience churned his gut as he stared at the beautiful woman he’d embroiled in his troubles.
Aela’s glare, he guessed, mirrored his own as she faced him down. “I don’t go back on my word, Nairn Malcolm - not ever.”
“Get the Range Rover. We’ll see how Prince Khalid’s order’s progressing.”
His bark might have been heard down in Mariskay and deafened even himself. It was a pathetic excuse, but he had to get out of the castle. Frustration mounted. He hated being inactive, hated being injured, and most of all hated he could do little to protect his new employee should even more incidents occur.
He forced a compromise. Going down to the boatyard might jog some memory of the previous Friday.
“How do I access the car?”  Aela got up and approached the door.
He watched her turn as she awaited his answer, her cool not ruffled in the slightest by the potential danger he put her in. Her professionalism had been exemplary. He ordered: she carried out. Hell! The woman had been his sounding board for hours, been supportive, her theories astute. Her soothing massage had kept him calm and rational. He enjoyed her presence and found he didn’t want anything to hurt her.
Wheeling out into the corridor, he barrelled along till just short of the mud room where he indicated a large watercolour on the wood panelled wall. Behind was a container storing numerous keys. “Top level, first left, there should be a spare key for this back door…” He reeled off the relevant keys, finishing with the garage and security gate remotes. Aela listened, selected the necessary keys and pocketed them. “The key for the boatshed is top row first right. You’re not likely to need it yet, but at least you’ll know where it is.” Having fired out the information, he wheeled out to the garage. “You can use any of the cars for personal use, though at present the only one I’m going to fold into just now is the Range Rover.”
As she towed behind him, she blithely remarked she didn’t expect she’d use either of the two high performance vehicles to travel a few miles to Mariskay, but she’d like to use them to explore the island…if she ever had time off.
Nairn ignored her jibe, in no mood to respond to her banter. He couldn’t quite ignore her, though, when she shunted the passenger seat back as far as it would go and reclined it.
“Your carriage awaits, sir. Fold yourself in while I fold this down,” she joked. The wheelchair was soon plopped into the boot. 

Take Me Now is reduced to 99p on Amazon till Friday 27th May 2016.  It's also available from Smashwords; B&N; Itunes; Kobo and other ebook retailers.


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