“A gothic novel in the romantic suspense tradition of Daphne du Maurier & Mary Stewart.”
When ghostwriter Jenny Ryan is summoned to the Scottish Highlands by Sholto MacNab – retired adventurer and Laird of Cauldstane Castle – she’s prepared for travellers’ tales, but not the MacNabs’ violent and tragic history.
Lust, betrayal and murder have blighted family fortunes for generations, together with an ancient curse. As members of the family confide their sins and their secrets, Jenny learns why Cauldstane’s uncertain future divides father and sons.
But someone resents Jenny’s presence. Someone thinks she’s getting too close to Alec MacNab – swordsmith, widower and heir to Cauldstane. Someone will stop at nothing until Jenny has been driven away. Or driven mad.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Especially a dead woman.
Stephanie: Hello, Linda! Thank you for chatting with me today about your book, Cauldstane and congratulations on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. This book sounds absolutely brilliant and I love a good gothic suspense. I’ve got your book on my Kindle and will be reading it very soon.
Linda: Hi Stephanie! It’s good to talk to you again.
Stephanie: Lets talk about Jenny Ryan first. As a ghost writer, does she travel and how is her work known by Sholto MacNab?
Linda: Jenny travels a lot in the course of her work. Sholto contacted the Society of Authors (a real organisation in the UK) with a request for a suitable ghost writer for his memoirs. They sent him a list of candidates, of which Jenny was one.
Stephanie: What are her strengths and weaknesses?
Linda: Jenny is quite fearful in her private life, but courageous when it comes to righting wrongs. She’s 42, single by choice, warm-hearted, loyal and soon befriends every member of the MacNab family. With Jenny’s encouragement, they begin to fight back against the ancient MacNab curse and the resident ghost.
But Jenny has a history of mental frailty which means when she starts to see and hear strange things, she doubts herself and wonders if she’s cracking up again. She’s both vulnerable and heroic. I think that combination makes her appealing to readers – and to the hero, Alec MacNab.
Stephanie: Why did you chose the Scottish Highlands for the setting of your story and what fascinates you the most about this setting?
Linda: Cauldstane is based on several real Scottish castles: Cawdor, Crathes and Craigievar. These are all in the Highlands and there are many more in the area. There’s a tourist “castle trail” visitors can follow. I love castles and the stories attached to them. Many are haunted. I’ve written two books about Scottish castles. The other, UNTYING THE KNOT was also awarded an indieBRAG Medallion.
Most of my books are set in the Highlands and islands. I’ve used these settings because I know them well (I’ve lived in the Highlands since 2000 and I’ve spent seven years living on islands) and because they combine 2 things I like to write about: beautiful landscapes and geographical isolation.
Stephanie: Could you give me an example of an adventure that Sholto MacNab has had?
Linda: He once set up camp in Antarctica and woke in the night to hear the sound of ice cracking. His campsite was breaking away from the main body of ice and he was about to be set adrift on an ice floe! He tells Jenny, “The ice was breaking up beneath us and it was a mad scramble to get our tent and supplies off the detached floe and back on to terra firma. Fortunately when I was at Eton, I excelled at the long jump. But it was a close run thing. I don’t mind admitting, I thought my number was up.”
Stephanie: What is his relationship like with Alec MacNab?
Linda: Strained. Alec thinks they should sell up, but Sholto wants Alec to inherit and become the next laird of Cauldstane. They love and respect each other but they aren’t close, mainly because Alec is not being straight about his reasons for wanting to leave. He knows the family is in danger.
Stephanie: Describe Cauldstane Castle for me.
Linda: This is how I describe it in the book: “Cauldstane stood, heroic, long-suffering, defying all that the centuries had thrown at it. I saw an ivy-clad tower, much taller than it was wide, with more windows than I could easily count, the whole topped by conical-roofed turrets and looking, from a distance, like a child’s toy.
As the Land Rover bounced up the tree-lined, pot-holed drive, I noted that the lower half of the castle looked as bleak and four-square as a prison, but as the eye travelled upwards, ornamentation became apparent. Richly carved gargoyles and canon water spouts carried rain-water well away from the walls. Heraldic beasts emerged from the creamy-pink harling that clothed the granite walls. A deep belt of decorative brickwork, known as corbelling, ran all the way around the castle, supporting turrets and spacious upper storeys.”
Stephanie: What was your inspiration for this story?
Linda: A visit to Cawdor Castle, which is still family-owned and inhabited.
Stephanie: And will there be other gothic like tales from you?
Linda: I don’t have any planned, but CAULDSTANE was my second ghost story. The first was THE GLASS GUARDIAN, a contemporary love story in which the hero is a ghost.
Stephanie: Who designed your book cover?
Linda: Nicola Coffield, a brilliant graphic designer in Glasgow. She’s designed all my indie books. We work together closely and I’ve found it one of the most satisfying aspects of being an indie author.
Stephanie: Would you mind telling your readers the message you would like them to grasp while reading your story?
Linda: “If you live in fear, you fear to live.” CAULDSTANE was my fictional response to the experience of breast cancer, but the book isn’t about cancer, it’s about living with fear and overcoming it.
I wrote a piece about this for my website – “CAULDSTANE: A book born of life-threatening illness.”
Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?
Linda: Fellow author and IndieBRAG Medallion winner, Pauline Barclay nominated UNTYING THE KNOT.
Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?
Linda: It’s available as an ebook and a paperback from Amazon.
Link to my Amazon Page
You can also buy the book from Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.
Linda Gillard lives in the Scottish Highlands and has been an actress, journalist and teacher. She is the author of seven novels, including STAR GAZING, short-listed in 2009 for Romantic Novel of the Year and HOUSE OF SILENCE, which became a Kindle bestseller and was selected by Amazon UK as one of their Top Ten “Best of 2011” in the Indie Author category. Her 5th novel, UNTYING THE KNOT was awarded an IndieBRAG Medallion.
A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Linda Gillard, who is the author of, Cauldstane, one of our medallion honorees at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Cauldstane, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.