Today I am thrilled to welcome back author Kendra Leigh Castle!
Kendra’s latest is the fabulous Wild Highland Magic…
Here’s a blurb:
As soon as she laid eyes on him, her animal instincts took over.
For generations, the MacInnes werewolves have been guarding the portal between Earth and the Drakkyn realm. Bastian and his sister came through the portal from Drakkyn, seeking sanctuary in the beautiful Scottish Highlands and relief from the curse that haunts him. Solitary and despairing, Bastian must find a way to break the curse or it will kill him.
A family squabble 25 years ago drove a rift between the MacInnes alpha and his brother, and Catrionna MacInnes has never met her MacInnes relatives nor had any guidance in how to be a werewolf. When her father brings his family to Scotland seeking reconciliation, Cat lays eyes on Bastian, and her most basic animal instincts kick in. Bastian tries to resist Cat – no good can come of their attraction – but she won’t take no for an answer. She knows that all she wants – what she must have – is to mark him as her own.
And now here’s Kendra…
Dreaming Up the Drakkyn
Thanks so much to the amazing Jennifer for having me back to blog! It’s always great to come over and play J Today she asked me to talk about my world-building, and I’m happy to oblige. My new book, Wild Highland Magic, is the third and final book in my MacInnes Werewolves trilogy, and the otherworld of Coracin that I introduced way back in Call of the Highland Moon has grown and developed in ways I never imagined at the beginning.
So you may be asking, what on Earth is a Coracin and a Drakkyn? Well, Coracin, to start, is a “where.” When I began this series, I decided to use the famous Stone of Destiny, a Scottish relic upon which the earliest kings were crowned and whose origins have been mythologized, as the gateway into another world. The Stone is guarded by a pack of Highland shapeshifters, the MacInneses, who were charged to guard it by Saint Columba hundreds of years ago. That particular use of the Stone has been lost in the sands of time when we first meet the pack, though, and the discovery of the magical doorway to Coracin is a major piece of the story of Gideon MacInnes and Carly Silver, Call of the Highland Moon.
So that was the original building block, the idea of Coracin (from the Latin coracinus, which means “raven black”) as a dark otherworld that used the Stone of Destiny as a gateway. How did I come up with that? Umm…that would be a mystery for the ages. I stumbled across a Scottish history webpage, a few random synapses fired, and Bam! Pow! Zap! There you have it. Magic J Building Coracin, however, was another matter entirely.
First off, I never realized that I was going to have to take notes to remind myself of things like names of people, places, geography…but after a dozen or so times digging through my book for info I had forgotten, I figured it out. I suppose I was heavily influenced by Tolkien in that I wanted my otherworld to have distinct races with varying magical ability, along with some people, more like Earth people, who have none. That was how I came up with the Orinn, who are the non-magical peoples of Coracin and who go about their lives much like medieval humans (except, it must be said, not as dirty or smelly, because ew). Then there are the tribes of the Drakkyn, each descended from a god or goddess who long ago walked that land and who have since vanished back into what they call the Higher Kingdoms. These tribes are incredibly diverse, some revered, some feared. One, of course, had been the ancestors of the MacInnes pack, who fled through the Stone to Earth after being enslaved by the power-hungry dragons. The others, I created to suit my tastes in fantastic beings. There are the shapeshifting dragons, dark and warlike, who aren’t necessarily evil but aren’t the good guys either. It sort of depends on which of the noble families, or houses, is in power. There are the daemon, foul and light-fearing, but incredibly powerful, who live in the wasted sands of the Blighted Kingdom and eat the flesh of their victims. And there are the Dyadd Morgaine, a nomadic tribe of blood-drinking sorceresses who neither marry nor recognize the fathers of their children (and who, up until the birth of Bastian an Morgaine, did not give birth to boys). That particular tribe is a favorite of mine, full of elemental female power and a sense of sisterhood I think most women will appreciate. The heroine of Dark Highland Fire, Rowan, is the leader, the Dyana, of the Dyadd. I was thinking, when I made them, of a bunch of legendarily beautiful gypsy witches, and I definitely think I got there!
There are other tribes in Coracin as well, but these are the largest and most powerful of them. One other, the ice mages called the Athin, had been very influential, but was wiped from the face of the world by a terrible daemon curse. Legend has it that these mages, who lived in a frozen and isolated kingdom far in the North, had such incredible abilities as world-jumping, flipping from realm to realm at will. But none of them are left to say. Well…actually, one is.
So this is Coracin, my dark kingdom, which has vast forests and frozen plains, jagged mountains, endless oceans, and foreboding deserts. Each of the Drakkyn tribes has a home in one of them, and in many ways they match their surroundings, full of corresponding elemental power. I don’t think it’s quite as awe-inspiring as, say, Middle Earth, but it is a place I’m proud of creating, a world that pulses with dark and sensual magic, and one I’d like to visit. I hope, if my descriptions have caught your eye, that you’ll want to visit as well.
My new release is called Wild Highland Magic, and is the third in a trilogy that entwines the Drakkyn tribes with the now-Earthly MacInnes pack of werewolves. What happens when a beautiful, untrained werewolf on vacation in Scotland meets the cursed last son of the Athin? Well…it involves a couple of meddling half-witch sisters, a sexy but ornery dragon, and an entire pack of protective werewolves. Sound interesting? It was quite a ride for me! Hope you’ll check it out.
I’ll be here to chat all day, so please pop in and say hello! And as added incentive to keep me company, I’m giving away a copy of Wild Highland Magic to one lucky commenter…just check back in the comments section tomorrow where I’ll announce the winner. So tell me: what’s the best fantasy world you’ve visited? Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!
Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of the MacInnes Werewolves trilogy, as well as the upcoming series The Fallen, coming from Harlequin Nocturne. She lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, and menagerie of pets, and loves to be visited online at www.kendraleighcastle.com
Readers, be sure to check out Kendra’s fabulous books and her website to learn more.
And as she mentioned, leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Wild Highland Magic. She’ll announce the winner in the comments section so be sure to check back tomorrow.