Name: Tarah Scott
Age: Lord, I’m old!
Where are you from? I currently live in New York, but grew up in Texas
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect.
Tarah: While I lived mostly in Texas, I traveled extensively in the US. My college years were short and sweet, as I was forced to work, instead. I’m a single mother of a teenage daughter—trying to survive! When I’m not writing, I drive a car-for-hire to the NY airports.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Tarah: My latest news is the release of the second book in my Highland Lords series, My Highland Lord. This story is set at the start of the Victorian era and continues the MacGregor saga.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Tarah: Oh boy. I was pushing forty when I began writing. I got the bug to write in my early thirties, but figured I was too old.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Tarah: When asked if he was a writer, the wonderful teacher and writer Peter Selgin said “When I write.” I read that about seven years ago and agreed.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Tarah: My first book was inspired by a combination of things. In researching Scottish history, I was struck by the atrocities that took place as a result of the Highland Clearances. The clearances became a big part of my political backdrop. From there, the book took on its own life.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Tarah: I believe I do, though I’m still discovering what that is! I’ll keep you posted.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Tarah: The inspiration for the title of my first book, which is the first in the Highland Lords series, is a result of the heroine’s American heritage, while the hero is a Highlander. The title, My Highland Love, is from her perspective. The next in the series is titled My Highland Lord. This story continues the family saga with the son of our first book’s hero, Kiernan MacGregor. Kiernan is a modern marquess, which definitely makes him the heroine’s Highland lord!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Tarah: In the first book, My Highland Love, I wanted to write about a hero who knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to go for it. I like writing about decisive men. There are a few of them around.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Tarah: In My Highland Lord, the political background and history is solid history. I think the story is realistic, after all, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a lady will be kidnapped by a rich, gorgeous marquess, who falls madly in love with her. Right?
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Tarah: Oh, if I told you that, I would have to kill you.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Tarah: A Tale of Two Cities, The Green Mile, Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind, to name a few.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tarah: I have a real life mentor, author and teacher, Kimberly Comeau. I would love to have Charles Dickens as a mentor, but I have yet to be able to conjure him. I’m still working on that.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Tarah: Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Tarah: Oh yes! Susan Ee and Natasha Blackthorne are two new authors I really like.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Tarah: I’m currently working on two books. The first is a Scottish medieval entitled Death Comes for a Knight. Our honorable knight comes face to face with death in the beautiful banshee sent to sing of his impending death. The second book is a Scottish historical currently titled To Tame a Highland Earl. Well…the title speaks for itself!
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Tarah: My critique partner Evan Trevane has given me more support than he can ever know.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Tarah: I most certainly do!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Tarah: No! Thankfully. I never publish a book until I’m certain it’s exactly what I want it to be. (Which isn’t to say it’s all that perfect.) While I hope that I get better with each book, and each story delivers something new, books I’ve already written are their own stories. I wouldn’t change them.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Tarah: I certainly do. The first stirrings appeared in my early thirties. I was certain the idea was stupid and put it off and put it off until I was nearly forty. That first story literally kept me up at night, so I gave in and wrote a scene simply to quiet the voices. ROFL. Sadly, the person I chose as my first sounding board loved that raw and very badly written scene. No one was more shocked than me!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Tarah: Fiona, since I love you so much, I will break my cardinal rule and share an unedited excerpt from To Tame a Highland Earl. Remember, this is unedited, so be kind!
To Tame a Highland Earl
If ever a woman deserved to be shot it was Miss Crenshaw. But dawn appointments weren’t meant for the weaker sex. Weaker sex. She was anything but weak, which is why he would settle for throttling her to within an inch of her life.
“You understand the need for discretion.” Erroll laid a coin in the innkeeper’s palm.
“Indeed, my lord,” the man replied. “It wouldn’t do for folks to know the Viscount of Devon spent time alone with his betrothed in her room, especially in the dead of night.”
Erroll kept a bland expression on his face. So news of his impending nuptials had sped from Coventry to Manchester even quicker than he had—which likely meant London society had also heard the news. Which of the gossipmongers had he to thank for that?
“A beautiful woman is hard to resist,” the innkeeper added.
“Indeed,” Erroll murmured, and turned toward the stairs.
He climbed to the second floor, made a left down the hall, then counted three doors on the left and stopped. Erroll had endured his father’s hour long diatribe before breaking away to discover his accuser had fled Coventry. The hard five hour ride to catch her before she reached her father’s estate—she knew full well she would be well out of Erroll’s reach for the three days it would take to obtain the special license—would have been in vain if not for the fact a wheel on her carriage broke twenty miles distance from her destination in Manchester.
He quietly unlocked the door, slipped into the darkened room, then eased the door shut and slipped the key back into his pocket as he turned. Faint moonlight filtered in through the window and outlined the sleeping figure in the bed. Erroll crept to the bed. He braced a knee against the side of the mattress, then placed a hand on each side of her and brought his face to within an inch of hers. She shifted in her sleep and lush breasts came in contact with his chest. Erroll wondered how long it would be before she became aware a man was in her bed, then concluded that since she hadn’t awoken with a shriek she must be accustomed to having a man in her bed. He should ravish her as she’d said he had just for good measure. The thought froze at the feel of a pistol in his abdomen.
“I am a crack shot.” The feminine voice was steady—as was the hand holding the gun. “But even the worst shot in Great Britain couldn’t miss.” The gun dug deeper into his belly. “Move away.”
Erroll considered. Her calm response to his presence in her room almost made him think she’d expected him. “If I’m to be shot, I should at least commit the crime.” The click of the hammer being pulled back on the pistol was his answer. “I see you don’t agree.” He straightened off the bed.
“Step back,” she ordered.
He took two steps back.
He retreated another two paces.
“I promise you, sir, my aim is as true at such short a distance as it was when you were an inch from my face. Back against the door.”
Erroll complied. A light click indicated she had released the hammer back into place and he couldn’t escape the conclusion that a woman who could release a hammer without firing the pistol was far more dangerous than a woman who simply pointed the weapon at him.
She rose, a small figure in the shadows, and picked up something from the night table. The scrape of a match on wood sounded, then light flared and he got his first look at the woman who claimed he had ravished away her innocence. Dark brown eyes pinned him with a hard stare. Honey-brown hair barely reached her shoulders and the top of her head was no higher than his chest.
She lifted the glass from the lamp and the gun remained pointed at him as her attention shifted to the lamp. She bent slightly and her full breasts strained against the nightgown as she lit the wick. His cock jerked and he couldn’t deny his good luck in not having met her at Lady Baldwin’s soirée as she said he had. He would have had a devil of a time denying her accusations had he laid eyes on her then.
She blew out the match and tossed it onto the metal tray, then took a step toward him. The lamplight illuminated the outline of her body beneath the nightgown. The curves he discerned were fuller than were fashionable and the kind he’d sought without success in London. His cock began to lift. He might end up shot after all.
“You are no common housebreaker,” she said. “Who are you?”
Erroll’s mind snapped to attention. The chit didn’t recognize him. Fury doused his lust. He gave a mocking smile and bowed. “Lord Devon at your service.”
Shock registered on her face, then an answering fire appeared in her eyes. “I see we shall have to break you of the habit of entering a lady’s room uninvited.”
“You use the term lady too loosely.”
“That is the pot calling the kettle black.”
The unexpected retort nearly made him laugh.
“One would think a prospective groom could keep his cock in his pants with his wedding but two days hence,” she said.
“Three days,” Erroll corrected. “Pray tell, what lady carries a gun?” He didn’t ask what lady used the word cock as easily as the word crumpet?—that was perhaps too obvious.
“The sort who knows what to expect of a man,” she said.
“The very sort who understands a man might object to being forced into marriage?” he said.
She gave a derisive laugh. “You are a rake, sir, and you are finally caught.”
His jaw tightened. “I never denied being a rake, madam, but I am no liar.”
She wasn’t what he’d expected. This was her first season in London, but she was no girl just out of the schoolroom. She had seen at least two seasons in the country before coming to the city and, given the way she unabashedly stood before him in her nightclothes, he would wager she was no virgin.
“Surely, you’re a little old for this game?” he drawled.
Her brow knit in thought, but he detected no shame. She was too collected. But a level head—along with a liberal dose of nerve—is exactly what it would take to accuse a complete stranger of compromising her.
“Did you really think you could get away with it?”
The unexpected question startled him.
“Now who is the pot calling the kettle black?” he said. She shifted and Erroll could have sworn he discerned a dark patch between her legs. “A shame we’ve met under these circumstances,” he said. “We could have been friends.”
Her mouth thinned. “By God, I really should shoot you.”
“Tut tut, sweet, not until the vows are said and I claim what is left of your virtue.”
She drew in a sharp breath.
“Your righteous anger is completely undone by fact that you’re nearly naked.”
Her mouth twisted upward in a derisive smile. “Forgive me, my lord. Had I known you were coming, I would have dressed for the occasion.”
“You are impeccably dressed for the occasion,” he drawled. Did she have any idea how visible the contours of her body were with the lamplight behind her…or how her nipples pressed against her nightgown?
She shifted, widening her stance slightly and his cock jerked harder. Oh yes, the witch knew.
“I should send you to hell this instant,” she said.
He lifted a brow. “The marriage vows will take care of that—had I any intentions of marrying.”
“Your father will ensure that you do not escape this time.”
“That sounds as though you think I’m getting what I deserve.”
“You do not deserve such a good and innocent wife.”
Erroll laughed. “Innocent? A woman who puts herself in such a position is no innocent.”
“How dare you?” she hissed.
“How dare I?” he demanded. “I understand there were several suitors for the honorable Miss Crenshaw’s private attentions at Lady Baldwin’s ball. I assume none of them were as good a prospect as I, so you gambled no one would notice if I was included on that list?”
He didn’t miss the way her fingers tightened on the gun.
“Everything I’ve heard about you is true,” she said. “You have no conscience.”
“In that we are two peas in a pod. So you will understand when I tell that should my father succeed in coercing me into marriage I will make the worst sort of husband you can imagine. I will not return to Scotland to sire an heir as he expects. However, I have no compunctions about installing a wife there while I go about my pleasures in London as I always have.”
“So the choice is desertion or ruination?”
“Be honest, the ruination was done long before you concocted this plan.”
“Plan?” she repeated. “I feel certain I can convince the magistrate of self defense. After all, you broke into my room.”
“Think again, my girl.” Erroll reached for the key.
“Careful,” she said.
He slowly pulled the key from his pocket and showed it to her. “The innkeeper was very obliging. He feels nothing should get in the way of true love.”
She frowned, then comprehension cleared her expression. “I should have guessed.” Her mouth thinned. “You think you can browbeat me into helping you avoid the marriage vows. You, sir, are the worst sort of knave.”
“So we do understand one another.”
“You’re a fool,” she muttered.
He’d had enough. “You’re the fool if you believe I’ll marry you.”
“Marry me? What—”
Erroll started toward her.
She took a faltering step backwards. He saw his advantage and lunged. She gave a startled cry. He seized the hand holding the gun and shoved it upward in their tumble backwards. They landed on the bed, him on top of her. Her lush body yielded beneath his hard planes—his stiffening cock in particular. To his surprise, she didn’t struggle, but released the pistol. The weapon bounced off the mattress and landed on the carpet with a thud.
“Is this how you described my having ravished you?” he demanded.
Shock registered on her face. He blew out a frustrated breath. He’d come ready to do battle with the vixen and she was already crumbling. Moisture appeared in her eyes. Ah, there it was. She was simply moving onto the next phase.
“Lies, pistols, tears, and…” he moved suggestively against her breasts and felt the rigid nipples beneath his shirt. “Your arsenal of weapons is impressive, madam.”
“I tell you, mamma, I heard a scream.”
Erroll jerked his head in the direction of the muted voice as the door on the right wall was shoved open. Two women stood in the doorway, one young—in her first season, he supposed—the other, the mamma the girl had addressed.
Erroll looked at the woman lying beneath him. “I thought that was a closet.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Tarah: Particularly challenging? HA!! Everything.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Tarah: My all time favorite author is Charles Dickens, with A Tale of Two Cities as my favorite book. I have several close seconds but, really, Charles Dickens speaks for himself.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Tarah: Sadly, no. I have traveled extensively in the US, but I haven’t yet made it to Scotland. That will come!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Tarah: The covers for the Highland Lords series were designed by Melissa Alvarez.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Tarah: I would say first draft is the hardest part. While the muse can run wild in that first draft and completely ignore craft, no matter how creative one is, the blank page is always an uncertainty.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Tarah: I’m a tad bit smarter than I first thought. (But only a tad bit.)
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Tarah: My advice to writers is always the same: write—a lot. Read. Write more. Seek feedback from a few people you trust, then rewrite—a lot.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Tarah: I love you all!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Tarah: That’s a tough question. I can’t imagine being anything but a writer. However, being a writer, I have the ability to step outside of myself (I had better have that ability!) and look at things from a different perspective. Chances are I would go into some element of the writing business, publicist perhaps. I love planning and managing events.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?