Name: Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Age: Early 50s. I’m a child of the 1960’s. Every decade is an adventure and I see myself blessed to have experienced each one so far.
Where are you from: Florida, but I’ve also lived in Texas. Most of my adult life was spent in Germany, so I feel most at home there. I’m currently in Florida (because of business), but will be returning to Germany. (Munich)
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: After college, I continued to study languages and achieved my dream, becoming an airline stewardess. I worked for the airlines for 23 years, flying international as (German) foreign language speaker on 747s. Through my airline career, I met and married my German husband, which is why I lived in Munich for so many years. I’ve been writing romantic fiction (Scottish medievals) since the release of my first book, Devil in a Kilt, in 2001. I also write Scottish time travel and ghost romances under my pen name, Allie Mackay.


Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Sue-Ellen: I’m delighted to have joined six writer friends to form a Scottish historical author group, Guardians of Cridhe. Our first collaboration releases in Nov. 2014 and is Highland Winds, Scrolls of Cridhe Vol. I, a collection of original Scottish historical novellas. I’m also working on more Scandalous Scots novels, a 4.5 Scottish medieval romance series that launched in Dec. 2013 with the e-novella, Once Upon A Highland Christmas, and continued with To Love A Highlander, April 2014. And I’m re-releasing older Allie Mackay titles, as well as writing new books under that name.




Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Sue-Ellen: I never wanted to be a writer and just fell into it in the late 90s when an author friend, the late Becky Lee Weyrich, encouraged me. My dream was always to be an airline stewardess and travel the world, which I did for many years. During that time, I’d send Becky letters about my adventures in far-flung corners of the globe. She said that reading them made her feel as if she was there with me.’ That’s why she urged me to write. She became my mentor, and my first book sold, probably surprising me more than anyone.




Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Sue-Ellen: At a Romance Writers of America conference in Washington shortly after selling, when I shared a taxi with super-star authors, Susan Wiggs and Joan Wolf. We were going to a posh restaurant for dinner with our editor and I felt like Cinderella on her way to the ball. I’d always admired Wiggs and Wolf, and the taxi ride across glittering, night-time DC felt surreal. I sat between those two great ladies in the backseat, totally awestruck. It was an incredible evening.




Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Sue-Ellen: I was walking around Eilean Donan on a chilly, mist-hung afternoon, and the story that became Devil in a Kilt popped into my mind. I wrote the story when I returned home, and it sold within two weeks of landing on my editor’s desk.




Devil in a Kilt did well, earning a 4 ½ Star Review, a Top Pick Award, and a K.I.S.S Hero Award, from Romantic Times Magazine. The book also won RT’s Best First Historical Romance Award that year. Devil in a Kilt went on to be translated into many languages and is still in print, remaining a reader favorite to this day.




Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Sue-Ellen: My style is influenced by my appreciation of a strong sense of place. I hope my love of Scotland also comes through. I’d say the same of my Allie Mackay voice, adding that those titles have more humor, being lighthearted reads.




Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Sue-Ellen: I didn’t. Almost all of my titles have been determined by my publisher’s marketing department. I’m required to give them a list of possible titles, but they generally use their own, rarely using a suggestion from my list.

Example, my working title for Devil in a Kilt was ‘Enchanted,’ because of how the story ‘flashed across my mind’ at Eilean Donan. The afternoon felt ‘enchanted,’ hence the title.

New York publishing looks at genres and decides what they believe best sells the books. In my genre that means titles with words like kilt, Highlander/Highlands, Laird, Chieftain, Devil, etc. Also ‘hot’ covers with half-naked kilted heroes, even though they are not historically accurate. What matters to NY is that the image resonates with the largest segment of readers who love the genre. Bare-chested kilties with big swords and ‘sexy’ titles sell the books.

Indie publishing gives writers the power to choose their own titles. I love that.




Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Sue-Ellen: My only wish when writing is to transport readers into the story world. Readers who enjoy my work love Scotland. My goal is to make them feel as if they are there. If I can do that, I’m happy.




Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Sue-Ellen: The settings certainly are. I’ve been visiting Scotland all my life, and I always use Scottish locations that I know and love. I like to return there in my heart and mind as I write. I also try to treat the time period, characters, mores and beliefs, etc, with respect and as much accuracy as possible. Medieval history is a lifelong passion, so I have a good working knowledge of the period. I loved the period (especially regarding Scotland) before writing and will still be studying and loving it long after I stop writing.




Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Sue-Ellen: Yes. Story comes from the writer’s life experiences and her psyche. Some will disagree, but that is true of my work. My characters have my likes and dislikes, my opinions and attitudes, my world views. Anyone who knows me, will see me behind the ink on the page.
My Allie Mackay books, especially, are largely based on my travels in Scotland. My great love of animals is also reflected in every book I write, and my fascination with the paranormal. Example, I spent years traveling around the UK, ghost-hunting with two like-minded friends. Those adventures, too, find their way into my Allie Mackay books.




Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Sue-Ellen: The gothics of Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, also Anya Seton. These classics gave me my great love of atmosphere.




Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Sue-Ellen: Becky Lee Weyrich. I loved her books and sent her a fan letter. We became friends and she then encouraged me to write. She mentored me, and many other young writers. She was a wonderful lady and an incredible writer. Her titles are now being re-released in digital and I’m enjoying them anew.




Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Sue-Ellen: I’m a huge fan of Anne Stuart and am currently re-reading all her books. Bliss! Just now I’m reading Nightfall, one of my Anne Stuart favorites. It’s amazing, as they all are.




Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Sue-Ellen: Wow, so many have hit the scene since the ebook revolution. They bring great energy and fresh, new voices, which is wonderful for readers. Lots of these new writers are friends, so I hesitate to note names and forget someone. So I am pulling diplomacy and will name five of authors in my new author group, Guardians of Cridhe. These ladies are super-talented, and, compared to dinosaur-writer me, they’re new: Lily Baldwin, Ceci Giltenan, Kate Robbins, Tarah Scott, and Suzan Tisdale.




I didn’t mention our sixth member, Kathryn Lynn Davis, because she’s been writing longer than I have, so she isn’t new. Her books are New York Times bestsellers and are classics in our genre.




Fiona: What are your current projects?

Sue-Ellen: NY-wise, more Scandalous Scots titles. Indie-wise, my novella for Highland Winds, Scrolls of Cridhe Vol. I. Also a new Allie Mackay trilogy, plus I’m re-vamping and re-releasing older Allie Mackay titles.




Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Sue-Ellen: Romance Writers of America. The organization is a wonderful starting point for writers interested in romantic fiction. It’s also a great place to make friends. Such relationships are tremendously important. No one gets a writer more than her writing pals.




Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Sue-Ellen: Yes. Writing is my full-time occupation and my only income.




Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Sue-Ellen: No. I love the story as it stands.




Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Sue-Ellen: I never wanted to be a writer. I just slid into it, urged by a friend, my own favorite author, Becky Lee Weyrich.

Like all writers, I was first a voracious reader. My mother read to me from birth, I could read and write before kindergarten, and have always loved reading. So a passion for books was always there.

I did won a writing competition in second grade. And I kept meticulous travel journals throughout my airline career. So I was always writing something. I just had no interest in being an author (of books), until Becky prodded me.




Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sue-Ellen: I’m too superstitious to talk about stories before they release. I can tell you that Roag is the hero of my next Scandalous Scots title, To Desire A Highlander. (Roag is a secondary character in To Love A Highlander). My Highland Winds novella is set in the world of my Mackenzie series, which should please long-time readers.




Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Sue-Ellen: Every day is a challenge: sitting down to face a blinking cursor and a screen to fill with words. Bringing the characters to life and making their world real is something I never take for granted, and it still feels like magic to me, even after all these years.




Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Sue-Ellen: Becky Lee Weyich, my dear friend and mentor. She crafted wonderful atmosphere, wrote stories about time travel, reincarnation, and ghosts, and her characters are so endearing, with much of her marvelous wit. I’d dare anyone to read her books and not smile and chuckle through them, believing that her story people are as real as you. She was an amazing writer.

Also Anya Seton. I loved all her books, but two stand out: Katherine, and Green Darkness. Katherine is my top favorite medieval romance, mainly because Seton paints such a vivid story world and also truly brought the star-crossed lovers to life. I loved Green Darkness for the atmosphere, and also because the book handles reincarnation and ghosts, topics that fascinate me, and reflect my own beliefs.




Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Sue-Ellen: For inspiration and research, yes. I’ve been visiting Scotland all my life and that helps me write books there. I need to know the land to write it. I only use settings that have inspired me, moving me to the soul. So travel is essential.

Stateside, I enjoy conferences and get-togethers with author friends. In April, two of my Guardian pals (Ceci Giltenan and Kate Robbins) and I met for dinner at a beachside pub on a tropical island. We had a great night and used Facebook to include our readers in the fun, with games, giveaways, and live pictures, as our night unfolded.

I also love meeting readers. Once, a Scottish reader drove from Edinburgh to near Inverness to spend a day with me. That was wonderful. More recently, I joined a Florida reader at an Irish pub to see a solo performance by Celtic Thunder’s George Donaldson. That was in December, so close to his untimely passing. We were so blessed to have such a wonderful evening with him.




Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Sue-Ellen: My NY-published titles are designed by my publisher’s art department and I have no say in those covers. I do send in an info sheet with hero/heroine descriptions. But there my influence ends.

Kimberly Killion of Hot Damn Designs did the cover for my first re-released Allie Mackay time travel romance, Highlander in Her Dreams. I am not sure who will be doing the covers for Highland Winds, Scrolls of Cridhe, Vol. I.




Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Sue-Ellen: Always, the business, never the creative writing, which I love. The business can be brutal and it is easy to lose heart. When that happens, it can be difficult to focus. Sometimes I need to block out the world and just write, and that isn’t always easy. So that’s the hardest part of each book, really.




Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Sue-Ellen: Two things. Mainly that it is really true: the closer I get to a deadline, the more my world goes nuts. In quick time, my life becomes a three-ring circus, a Greek tragedy, and a never-ending parade of demands and interruptions. All rolled into one big disaster.

The second thing I learned during the writing of To Love A Highlander was that clever street performers were visiting European cities, appearing to sit on floating magic carpets. I read about them in a German newspaper and was intrigued, so I used a medieval version of their trick in the story.




Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Sue-Ellen: Write what you love. Only then will the words come to life. Hot trends (currently kinky billionaire stories and New Adult ‘broken’ hero/heroine tales) are great if they excite you. If not, leave them alone. Let the writers who are into twisted rich men and broken teenies, write those stories. Yours will sound hollow if your heart isn’t in the writing. Passion is the lifeblood of any story. If you feel it, so will the reader.

Above all, keep at it. Focus on the characters and the story and ignore all the doubt. Write often, preferably daily, and just keep putting one word after the other until you reach the end.

I always tell this to young writers: We’ll never know how many beautiful books we’ll never read because someone somewhere gave up too soon.




Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Sue-Ellen: Just a tremendous thank you. Writing and reading is a shared magic. The author puts the words on the page and the reader absorbs them, the joint process bringing the story to life. One won’t work without the other. So I’d like my readers to know how much I love and appreciate them. They make the journey with me and I am so glad they’re there.




Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Sue-Ellen: Sadly, no. It could have been The Velveteen Rabbit, the heart-wrenching classic by Margery Williams. That was my favorite childhood story, but my mother read it to me. The first book I ever read myself was probably a Dr. Zeuss story.




Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Sue-Ellen: Before writing, I enjoyed watercolors. I carried my supplies with me on my travels and enjoyed capturing landscapes. I also love to cook and bake and to garden. Regrettably, writing leaves so little time for any of that. I cycle and walk the beach daily, but those activities are aimed at staying fit and because I love being out in nature. Not really hobbies.




Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Sue-Ellen: The Vikings. I am so hooked on that series!!! Go into withdrawal when the season ends. Hail Ragnar! Go Rollo!




Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Sue-Ellen: I’m a potato zealot and could live on tatties in any variation. Stovies is my idea of heaven. I also love haggis. Favorite sweet is butter pecan ice cream.

Blue is my favorite color. I see Scotland as a tapestry of so many shades of blue.

Classical music is my favorite. Especially Mendelssohn’s ‘The Hebrides’ aka ‘Fingal’s Cave.’ Also love Celtic/Scottish music, and New Age music. Favorite pipe tune is Flower of Scotland, followed by Highland Cathedral. Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia always makes me cry.




Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Sue-Ellen: I was blessed to enjoy my dream career for 23 years: airline stewardess. Other than that, I’d love to work actively in animal rescue. I did so years ago, before deadlines, and really miss the work. These days I’m even more extreme about animal rights and would love to be involved saving seals and whales, freeing laboratory animals, puppy mill dogs, helping stray and feral cats, etc. I’d love to be a really fierce and aggressive crusader for needy and mistreated creatures. As is, I do what I can through making people aware and with donations.

In 2009, was honored to donate a story to Lori Foster’s charity anthology, Tales of Love, which benefited a no-kill animal shelter. And I’m donating a portion of the royalties from To Love A Highlander to my favourite stray and feral cat rescue organization, Alley Cat Allies. (there is a feral kitten in the story ~ he is found and adopted by the heroine.)




Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
SEW’s Social Media:


Sue-Ellen Welfonder: Book News Only Blog:
Allie Mackay site:

Mailing List: Sign-Up Here

Sue-Ellen: Thank you so much for having me here today. You asked really good questions. Just wish I could have answered them in person rather than from here, the ‘wrong’ side of the Big Pond !





Official bio:

Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes Scottish medieval romances for Grand Central Publishing. As time allows, she also writes as Allie Mackay, penning contemporary paranormals, mostly set in the Scottish Highlands.

Her twenty-year airline career allowed her to see the world, but it was always to Scotland that she returned. She spent fifteen years living in Europe, using that time to explore as many castle ruins, medieval abbeys, and stone circles, as possible. Anything ancient, crumbling, or lichened caught her eye. She still visits Scotland when she can as such trips give her inspiration for new books.

Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies and never misses a chance to attend Highland Games. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, nature, and animals. She enjoys long walks and bicycling, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.
Unofficial Bio:

I’m proudly old-fashioned, listen to classical and New Age music as I write, I live, breath, and dream medieval Scotland, and enjoy living quietly. Shabby chic suits me better than glitz and glam. Hate shopping except bookstores and thrift shops. I believe in Highland magic and love whimsy. I’m also convinced some people are born out of time and place, and am sure I’m one of them.

If I wasn’t writing, I’d be out in the field fighting for animal rights, rescuing stray cats and dogs, saving whales and seals, hugging trees, and going ghost-hunting, always searching for a time portal to sweep me out of this world and back to medieval Scotland.


Book 1 of a 5-book series, Scandalous Scots, published by Grand Central Publishing.
(Series launched in Dec. 2013 with an e-novella, ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS)
4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK from RT!

As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer . . .


Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.


Excerpt from To Love A Highlander

Set-Up: Sorley and Mirabelle have met up in the castle chapel to discuss the finer points of the proposition she’s made him…
Mirabelle swallowed, unable to help herself. “You are a charmer.”
A slow smile curved Sorley’s lips. A darkly seductive smile, as unsettling as how he’d let his gaze slide oh-so-suggestively up and down her body. Yet his boldness made her pulse leap. It also warmed her in indecent places. She touched a hand to her breast, feeling both hot and dizzy despite the chill dampness of the chapel.
He stepped closer, giving her the distinct impression he’d pounce if she so much as blinked. “I am fond of women, aye.”
“So I have heard.” She kept her head raised, resisted the urge to wipe her palms against her cloak.
“Are you nervous?”
“I am relieved.” She spoke true, just not admitting she was indeed jittery. Her emotions were running higher than ever before.
She was also sharply aware of every ruggedly alluring inch of him. Including the oh-so-virile bulge she could see through the edges of his cloak. The glow of a wall sconce slanted right there, proving that he wasn’t just a tall, strapping man, powerfully-built and good-looking.
He was also just as well-lusted as the court ladies claimed.
Sorley the Hawk wanted her.
And he was already prepared to do exactly what she’d asked of him.

Mini-Excerpt (hot):

Set-Up ~ Sorley speaking to Mirabelle, shortly before their first love scene…

“If I cross this threshold, there’ll be no going back. No restraint.’ He gave her a final chance. ‘I will ravish you in there, as I have e’er dreamt of doing. Thoroughly, completely, and until we are both so replete, so sated, that we cannae move. Then we shall begin again.”


Of Note:

TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER has a kitten character named Little Heart. The book is dedicated to the real Little Heart, a stray kitten who was brutalized and died of his injuries several days later. He was named Little Heart for the heart stitched into his body bandaging. His story upset me so much that I decided to write him into this book, giving him the happy ending he should have received in real life.

A portion of the royalties will be donated to my favorite cat rescue organization, Alley Cat Allies.


Career Awards, etc..

DEVIL IN A KILT debuted with a 4 ½ Star Top Pick RT Review and also earned RT’s “Best First Historical Romance” Award.

Many of my other titles have received RT Top Picks and RT Award Nominations. I’ve also made the USA Today Bestseller List, and the Waldens Bestseller List (when it still existed).

All of my books (except DEVIL IN A KILT) have sold to major Book Clubs (Doubleday, Rhapsody, etc..)

All of my books have been translated into many languages.

Quite a few titles are also available as audio books.


My Writing:

I am now a ‘hybrid author,’ still contracted by NY (GCP), but very excited to be indie publishing my oop titles and writing new Allie Mackay series to put out on my own. So far, I have re-vamped and re-released my Allie Mackay Scottish time travel, HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS, and also have two e-novellas and boxed set indie-pubbed: FALLING IN TIME (Scottish time travel novella) and THE SEVENTH SISTER, a magical tale set in Ireland. I see the future in digital/indie publishing and am thrilled by the opportunities it offers to authors.


Guardians of the Cridhe
Scottish Romance Author Group

I am thrilled to be part of Guardians of the Cridhe, a 7-member author group. We all write Scottish romance and have great things planned for Scotland-loving readers. As our first project, we’re collaborating on Highland Winds, Scrolls of the Cridhe, Vol. I, a Scottish romance bundle. The stories are all new, fresh, and original work (Scottish historicals) and will release in Nov. This bundle is just the beginning. Other projects are in the pipeline.

Members are (in alphabetical order): Lily Baldwin, Kathryn Lynn Davis, Ceci Giltenan, Kate Robbins, Tarah Scott, Suzan Tisdale, and Sue-Ellen Welfonder.
SEW’s Social Media:


Allie Mackay site:


Mailing List: Sign-Up Here

Book News Only Blog:


Amazon Author Page (Welfonder):
Amazon Author Page (Allie Mackay):

Blog: Tartan Ink: All Things Celtic, Highland Magic, Kilties, & Other Neat Things


**Please note, my main website is currently stagnant and will be redesigned later this year. For now, up-to-date info and book news can be found at my book-news only site:




SEW’s Social Media:



Sue-Ellen Welfonder: Book News Only Blog:
Allie Mackay site:

Mailing List: Sign-Up Here
Amazon Author Page (Welfonder):
Amazon Author Page (Allie Mackay):

Blog: Tartan Ink: All Things Celtic, Highland Magic, Kilties, & Other Neat Things
**Please note, my main website is currently stagnant and will be redesigned later this year. For now, up-to-date info and book news can be found at my book-news only site:

Or my ‘emergency website’:

Last bits:

I am married (for nearly all my adult life) and live with my German husband in southwest Florida. Our home is shared by a wee (sadly aging) Jack Russell terrier male named Em. All things revolve around him.

Little known ‘quirk’ – German is the language spoken in home, not English. That’s because my German is better than my husband’s English. I’ve been speaking German as my main language so long now that I have a slight German accent and even think and dream in German.