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Margaret Mallory | Inspirations For A Highlander Romance:  A Song, Gerard Butler, and Castle Legends

Gerard Butler, a traditional song, and castle ghosts all provided inspiration that helped me in writing THE WARRIOR, the latest book in my Return of the Highlanders series.

Gerard Butler, no doubt, has inspired many romance authors, but how many can say it was watching him sing that did it for them?

My hero, Duncan MacDonald, is a fearsome warrior with a commanding presence. He has always had to prove himself. Through constant training, determination, and natural talent, he has earned a place of respect in his clan as captain of his chieftain's guard.

Duncan is such a tough hero that I decided he needed an unexpected trait that would help me reveal his heart. And so, I made my hardened warrior musical and gave him a harp and a whistle.

I never planned to have Duncan sing until I happened to listen to the words to Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair, a beautiful traditional song in which a man is filling with such longing for his lost love that you bleed for him. Once I heard it, I knew Duncan had to sing this song to the heroine. I listened to it countless times, weeping over my laptop while I wrote what I hope are heart-wrenching scenes. J

So where does Gerard Butler fit in? Visions of 1950's musicals filled my head, making me uneasy about having my hero sing—until I watched a clip of Gerard Butler singing Galway Girl from the movie P.S. I Love You. Yes, I know that Galway is in Ireland and that our handsome Scot was playing a present-day Irishman. All I can tell you is that watching and listening to Gerard Butler sing made it very easy to envision a Scottish alpha-warrior who is even sexier and more manly when he sings.

I always find castles inspiring, and most castles in Scotland seem to have at least one ghost haunting them. In researching the history of Duntulm Castle (I call it Trotternish Castle in THE WARRIOR), I came across legends about two ghosts with intriguing stories that turned out to be useful.

The first was Hugh, a close relative of the MacDonald chieftain, who was caught planning to murder the chieftain. Instead of taking his chieftian's place, as he had hoped, Hugh was locked in the dungeon, where he was fed only salted meat and given nothing to drink. According to legend, he went raving mad as he slowly died of thirst. Though I did not actually kill anyone in the book using this method, it did inspire part of a scene.

The other ghost said to haunt my castle was a nursemaid who accidently dropped a MacDonald chieftain's baby out the window. Since the castle sits high on the edge of a sea cliff, this was a fatal mistake--- for the babe and the nursemaid. As punishment, the lass was cast adrift in a boat at sea. I used her ghost story a bit in THE WARRIOR, and readers will see more of it in THE CHIEFTAIN (2-26-2013).

I'd love to respond to questions or comments! What kind of music inspires you? Or does Gerard Butler? Do you enjoy old castles and the legends about them?  I'll give away a signed copy of THE WARRIOR to one of the commenters.

 

 

Comments

66 comments posted.

Re: Margaret Mallory | Inspirations For A Highlander Romance:  A Song, Gerard Butler, and Castle Legends

GERARD BUTLER INSPIRES MY HE'S HANDSOME AND A NICE GUY. I LOVE OLD CASTLES AND THE LEGENDS THAT COMES WITH THEM. MY DREAM IS SOMEDAY I WOULD LIVE IN A LOVELY BEAUTIFUL CASTLE IF THERE MIGHT BE A GHOST LIVING THERE.
(Shelly Caggiano 12:16pm November 1, 2012)

Gerard Butler inspires a great many things within me - He also starred and sang in the movie version of Phantom of the Opera (as the Phantom). He is so enticing and I can see why he would be the inspiration for a Scottish Hero.
Being the result of Disney and HEA stories, I do love castles, legends, ghosts. Reminds me of that Gordon Lightfoot song - If you Could Read My Mind.
(Carla Carlson 12:23pm November 1, 2012)

I would love to read & win! LOVE those men in kilts!!!
PICK ME!! PICK ME!!
(Pamela Faye Howell 1:08pm November 1, 2012)

If you want to see photos I took of the castle on my trip to Scotland click on
the slideshow below my book cover above. After you open it, be sire to
click on "show info" to read my captions tying the pics to The Warrior.

Thx for the comments!
(Margaret Mallory 1:09pm November 1, 2012)

Oh I always wanted to go visit an old castle..Just think who lived there... what their lives were like... thanks for sharing!
(Colleen Conklin 1:12pm November 1, 2012)

I have always wanted to stay in an old castle just to get the feeling of how people use to live in them.
(Cynthia St. Germain 1:20pm November 1, 2012)

Right now... The Chieftains and Ewan MacGregor.
(Roxana Perez 1:48pm November 1, 2012)

I love Gerald Butler and castles too! I have read several of your other books and I have loved them all! Thanks so much for the giveaway!
(Christine Mead 1:51pm November 1, 2012)

Yum (sigh)(sigh), Gerald Butler. Love the strong chiseled jaw, every part below and above.
(P Noda 1:52pm November 1, 2012)

I also love Gerald Butler and also castles. Love reading and seeing pictures of the various castles.
(Shirley Younger 2:00pm November 1, 2012)

Christmas songs like White Christmas inspire me. I love old castles and the legends about them as well as your books.
(Cathy Phillips 2:01pm November 1, 2012)

THANKS FOR THE CHANCE , love christmas and castles
(Debbi Shaw 2:05pm November 1, 2012)

Yes, I love old castles! There is something about them that is so magical.
(Chelsea Knestrick 2:17pm November 1, 2012)

I love to read about people who live in castles, but I don't want to actually live in one. They might have been the tops in residences in the years past, but I like my air conditioner and central heating.
(Anna Speed 2:25pm November 1, 2012)

I love old castles and love to read about them. It is so interesting to think about the people who have lived there.
(Rita Wray 2:26pm November 1, 2012)

I have actually been to some old castles in Germany and
France and just love the feeling of history and untold
stories (or maybe that's just my over-active imagination!)
that radiate from the very walls.

There is something very emotional about a man who sings from
his heart, and to have a man sing with a Scots accent -
woooo!
(Marguerite Guinn 2:51pm November 1, 2012)

I love all types of music. Growing up my mom listened to records: Dean Martin, Edie Arnold and especially the Clancy Brothers. I didn't really listen to anything else til jr high school. In 1966-67 my mom and brothers moved to Ireland (Carrick-0n-Shannon) while my dad was in Viet Nam. I was only 8 (would have appreciated it far more at an older age) and loved it. We visited Blarney Castle to kiss the stone...I couldn't do it (scared of heights) so my Mom kissed it twice and had me kiss her!

I love castle and the stories about them...the age and history, secrets they hold in the very mortar.

I think Gerard Butler - oh lordy the things he can inspire. Love his accent!
(Kimberley Coover 3:14pm November 1, 2012)

I derive inspiration just as you do. I'm not big into music
although I love the hero-type actors who sing. Quite a few
do and it always surprises me & thrills, sigh...I haven't
had the opportunity to visit castles but I tour ruins of all
sorts of places when I get the opportunity. I imagine the
people who were there and how the place looks in it's prime.
I visited Fort Stephens on the Oregon Coast and that was
quite an adventure! Did you know it was shot at by the
Japanese? I love reading about highlanders ~ keep it up!
(Lenna Hendershott 3:20pm November 1, 2012)

I always dreamed of castles...until I got old enough to
realize they are actually cold and drafty places to live.
Congrats on the book and thanks for the chance to win.
(Mary Hay 4:23pm November 1, 2012)

It is the history and grandeur of castles--ruined or restored--coupled with stories of their previous inhabitants which stirs the imagination. I once was most fortunate to spend a night in the famous Alhambra parador poised atop fabled Granada, Spain.....and I've never forgotten that exquisite opportunity! Further, those who have been raised in families privileged to inherit castles and great houses inspire my appreciation for their care and investment in preserving their trust for the admiration of the rest of us! Additionally, heritage music sung softly to all manner of stringed instruments suits these retrospective properties and any attendant musings.....especially music of the British isles, for those who sing often are great romantics!
(Carla Schuller 4:29pm November 1, 2012)

Like the Highland stories. Thank you for this opportunity.
(Holly Vanderhule 4:31pm November 1, 2012)

I am loving reading about your inspirations. I can see a lot of you like --&
GB. :) Thx for all your comments.
(Margaret Mallory 4:42pm November 1, 2012)

Oops, I am having trouble typing with my phone! I meant castles & GB. :)
(Margaret Mallory 4:45pm November 1, 2012)

I find old castles and their histories absolutely fascinating. I have visited some castles in England, and now I want to go to Scotland and Ireland.

Margaret, I am really enjoying your Return of the Highlanders series. The first 2 books are on my keeper shelf, and I am looking forward to The Warrior.
(Cheryl Castings 4:54pm November 1, 2012)

I love Andy Williams and the hymns that I grew up with.
Historical novels are my favorites,especially Highlanders with my Scottish ancestry.
Blessings,
Marjorie
(Marjorie Carmony 5:57pm November 1, 2012)

I love old castles, reading anything about them (legends), and viewing pictures of them in books or on TV, and even portrayed in movies. Gerard Butler is one of my favorite actors (love listening to him talk). I admire him even more for his great acting and for taking on the role he did in the true-life story in the movie, "Machine Gun Preacher". It's a heartbreaking great movie in which he did an amazingly stupendous job! Everyone should see it; you won't be dry-eyed through it. I love the cover of your book, and look forward to reading it!
(Linda Luinstra 6:33pm November 1, 2012)

I think that most little girls want to be princesses that live in a castle with a
prince. Castles are beautiful, but I don't know how practical they would be
today, but the were built to protect and that they did. Thanks for the chance
to win what is sure to be a good read.
(Ann Sheiring 6:33pm November 1, 2012)

I'm inspired by listening to Southern Gospel and music from the 40's and 50's. Enjoyed your blog and book sounds like a great read.
(Sheila True 6:49pm November 1, 2012)

all music inspires me . I couldn't live life without music
(Danielle McDonald 7:10pm November 1, 2012)

Castles, legends and men who wear kilts all are worth looking at and I enjoy stories with a Scottish or Irish flair. The accents are fun to figure out, too.
(Alyson Widen 7:11pm November 1, 2012)

I'd love to read this book!!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 8:34pm November 1, 2012)

it will be interesting to see how the nurse maid accidentally dropped the baby
out the window. I love your books and look forward to seeing what comes next.
(Leanne Jacobson 8:34pm November 1, 2012)

i love story with castles and would love to read this book
(Kimberly Hoefs 8:45pm November 1, 2012)

As a professional musician, all kinds of music inspire me, but mostly chamber music. I love to both play it and listen to it, especially that of Mendelssohn and Brahms.

I also find the castles of Scotland particularly beautiful, especially those in the Highlands and Western Isles. Throw in some beautiful music, and I'm a goner!!

As for Gerard Butler, what needs to be said?

Later,

Lynn
(Lynn Rettig 8:58pm November 1, 2012)

I have diverse music tatse but I do love Linkin Park when I need something to get me moving forward! And, Gerard Butler is always a plus!
(Jennifer Beyer 9:01pm November 1, 2012)

The kind of music that inspires me are soft rock music like One Republic, Lionel Richies and so many others. I do love Gerard Bulter. He does get to the point and doesn't evade the questions. I love old castles and the legends that comes from them. It's the mystic around old castles that fascinates me.
(Kai Wong 9:02pm November 1, 2012)

I love the book cover! Castles are beautiful as well as historic. I would love to be able to spend some time living in one, it would be a dream come true.
Linda
(Linda Fast 9:10pm November 1, 2012)

I love old castles, and if there is a story attached, it makes it all the better!! I've only been to one castle that was in my area. It was built by an Author, and when I found out about it, I had to see it in person!! This might sound a little odd, but when I went inside, I put my hand on the walls, and I could feel the strangest vibrations coming from them!! I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the castle, and would love to look at one overseas, if ever given the chance. They're truly pieces of art!! Your book sounds like it would be a great read, and I would love to read it as well. I can tell just by reading today's posting, just how much detail you put into your book!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:28pm November 1, 2012)

A few years ago, I went to see a castle that was built by an Author, out in my area. My Husband took me to see it when we were on vacation. It took my breath away!! The odd thing was that once I went inside, I put my palm on the wall, and could pick up the strangest vibrations!! It was a chance of a lifetime, and I can only imagine what the castles overseas look like in comparison. After reading your posting, I can see how much attention to detail you've put into your book, and I would love to read it!! The cover is stunning!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:33pm November 1, 2012)

My parents had a fondness for broadway musicals and classical music which they passed on to all of their children. I've been listening to Camelot, Lea Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.
(Mary C 9:57pm November 1, 2012)

Love the cover. It's very appealing.
(Catherine Lee 10:46pm November 1, 2012)

When I need to be energized, I listen to rock music. When I need to relax I listen to Enya or other new age music.

Gerard Butler is a decent actor, but I think he's a bit too much of a playboy for me to be inspired by him. But who knows, he may meet his true love one day and be a reformed playboy.
(Monica Vargo 10:55pm November 1, 2012)

I like old castles but haven't visited one yet.
(Jan D 10:56pm November 1, 2012)

I agree with the first post - love Gerard Butler. Also adore Hugh Jackman!
(Molly Wilsbacher 11:06pm November 1, 2012)

I really would love to win this book!!
(Charlotte Zimmerman 11:23pm November 1, 2012)

We are on a road trip. After riding in the car all day, it was such a treat to plug in my laptop & read all your messages. (By the way, I do love those old musicals.)

Thanks!
Margaret
(Margaret Mallory 11:52pm November 1, 2012)

Margaret,
I found your research fascinating and truly enjoyable. It is fun to know the history of things and how they came to be (especially books!). Thank you for sharing and giving the opportunity to win a new book. I look forward to reading your tale and seeing some history (however fantasized) come to life!
(Lynsey Peterson 12:10pm November 2, 2012)

I can certainly see Gerard Butler in a kilt. There is something about men in kilts, castles, and the sound of bagpipes that is all generally inspiring to me. On my travels, visiting the Isle of Skye was a dream fulfilled.I know a lot of people hate the sound of bagpipes, but the sound makes me very emotional in a good way.
(Ann Quin 2:54am November 2, 2012)

I love castles and legends. My mother was born in Sterling castle, Scotland - during the war. It is now a University.
(Barbara Hanson 5:49am November 2, 2012)

Steve Earle sings Galway Girl... he loves Ireland and visits here often. My brother has attended I think every concert he has given here over the years.
My husband is Scottish but he says he doesn't have a good singing voice; he likes some of the ballads though.
(Clare O'Beara 7:28am November 2, 2012)

I love classical music - throw in Gerard Butler & a castle &
I'd be very happy.
(Mary Preston 8:54am November 2, 2012)

I just love Enya - and men in kilts!!
would love to win & read
(Pamela Faye Howell 10:54am November 2, 2012)

I have a thing for Gerarad Butler... The clean version and not the scuffy version though!
(May Pau 11:18am November 2, 2012)

Rock music inspired me. I LOVE learning the history behind castles, and I REALLY love highlanders!
[email protected]
(Brooklynn Gibbs 5:13pm November 2, 2012)

i love castle ...alway wanted to see one and stay also..great to win
(Kimberly Hoefs 5:59pm November 2, 2012)

I could definitely see Gerard Butler inspiring a Scottish romance. Yum.
(Larena Hubble 6:44pm November 2, 2012)

The book sounds interesting. I am definitely interested in Scots and history
and old stories.
(Penny Mettert 3:11am November 3, 2012)

About the only music that doesn't inspire me is rap... it's goes by so fast, I can't get the message.. I'm a huge fan of the American musicals, early jazz, classical; so it's a good thing I live near a university that has an excellent school of music!! So much great stuff and free!!!
(Cate Sparks 5:33am November 3, 2012)

I like old castles and foggy heaths.
(Sandy Giden 11:51am November 3, 2012)

Hi Margaret! Thanks so much for such an interesting post! I love your books and would love to win THE WARRIOR. Yes, Gerard Butler inspires me. I also enjoy the old love songs from the 50's-70's. Of course, White Christmas and Merry Christmas Darling always gets to me. I love reading about Highlanders and old castles and the legends behind them. I do have a question for you. Where do you get your ideas about stories from?
(Cathy Phillips 12:51pm November 3, 2012)

Different types of music inspire me in different ways. I find bagpipe music and romantic ballads particularly inspirational. Certainly, I'm inspired by Gerard Butler! I do enjoy old castles and find the legends interesting.
(Janie McGaugh 5:07pm November 3, 2012)

I like all different types of music but I do need music with a fast beat for walking on the treadmill.
(Maureen Emmons 5:31am November 4, 2012)

Think I might like to read and review this one and pass on to my one daughter. I've not read any of your books. Enter me please.
(Jane Squires 8:06am November 4, 2012)

ACDC's song Back in Black inspires my wild side ;) Also I love castles and
all kinds of legends. I think Chris Hensworth (Thor) is inspiration especially
in that movie. Love these sort of questions-they also inspire ;)
(Lori Harvey 10:30am November 4, 2012)

I am inspired by lots of Scotsmen, Gerard Butler, Craig
Ferguson, and the ones in fiction!
(Charlene Fraley 10:57pm November 4, 2012)

Your slide show inspired me... warriors and wolfhounds, what a pair. And the green hills and blue waters are amazing and truly awe inspiring. That must have been a wonderful trip.

I'll have to come back and look and your pics again while I'm reading THE WARRIOR. Thanks for the opportunity to win.
(Sonja Warmath 9:01am November 5, 2012)

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