Find An Author Friday: Lane McFarland
Hello! Thank you for having me as your guest. I am thrilled to join you today.
Hi Lane, you work in the technical, data oriented word of IT and software programs. What made you decide to write fiction, and specifically, romance?
My background is in accounting and operation systems management. I worked as a financial systems analyst for a large corporation for many years, but left that life to sell financial software. During the day, I travel around the country giving presentations and demonstrations of my company’s solution, but at night in my hotel room, sitting on the airplane, or while waiting for my team at Starbucks you’ll find me writing.
Kathleen Woodiwiss introduced me to historical romance when I was a young teenager. I have been hooked ever since. The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove, and Ashes in the Wind will always hold a special place in my heart.
Why did I choose romance? Because I love it! Stories run rampant through my head. I’m constantly pulling out my phone to jot down ideas for books, characters, or scenes. What a wonderful stress reliever to escape into worlds of intrigue with timeless love and happily-ever-after endings.
You are an active member of the Romance Writers of America. How has your membership influenced your writing career? Are you a member of other writing organizations?
Six years ago, I dipped my toe in the writing world with Romance Writers of America. Through that membership, I joined romance writers’ organizations Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart. I served as Treasurer of Hearts Through History for a couple years and became actively involved in the chapter. It was during that time when I joined the critique group. I met some amazing authors who have become good friends. They have helped me tremendously! I wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for their wonderful support and encouragement.
How did you decide to write about Medieval Scotland rather than another romance era/genre?
I like most any kind of romance novel, but my heart has always been drawn to the medieval period, particularly in Scotland, Ireland, and England. That said, I plan to write stories spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While my books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. All my stories revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.
You’ll find my books follow different series. I love to read stories that continue through secondary characters. As a matter of fact, the books I’m currently plotting branch off from my first series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall. Throughout Cameron, Heather, Lindsey, and Elsbeth, you will meet colorful individuals whose stories beg to be told. After I complete Elsbeth, the legacy will continue throughout generations to come.
Escaping into a world of brawny Highland warriors and feisty lasses as they fight for independence, stories of daring pirates, raiding Vikings, and valiant knights, transports me to an era filled with strife and hardships only to be overcome by everlasting love.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Throwing my imagination into years gone by, researching dark periods of strife and violence, justice and quests for freedom, and dreaming of what it might have been like to live and survive during these hostile periods have been the most fascinating aspects of writing historical romance.
My Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series begins in May 1297, a time of unrest between Scotland and England. It has been such fun to research this period and imagine living amongst the clans.
Readers love your strong female heroines. Tell us a bit about their personalities.
I have always admired strong women who can take care of themselves, fight for what they believe in, and who don’t give a whit about social norms. But women’s femininity and their softer side are equally important. My female heroines have a mixture of both. They are independent, but their hearts are complete with their beloved heroes.
Tell us about your medieval series. Your next book is Elsbeth. What can you tell us about her and her three sisters?
The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series is set in the late thirteenth century Scotland. Each book tells a story of one of Laird Alastair MacDougall’s four daughters. As compensation for his indiscretions, the laird promised his wife he would grant his daughters the rare privilege to live their lives as they desired. Each daughter has a unique personality and a strong desire to hold their father to his word.
The series starts with Cameron. The daughters came of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. The Graham and the MacDougall clans were no exception. Their disagreements fueled a life-long fight between them. Cameron had devoted her life to the healing arts and rebelled against her father’s feuding ways. Robert Graham, determined to band Scots together against English tyranny, sealed a truce with her father. But after MacDougall broke that truce in a treacherous attack on Robert’s young brother, Robert kidnapped Cameron in an act of revenge. She expected the anger she felt, but not the simmering attraction to the powerful warrior, or the love she developed for his clan.
On her mother’s death bed, Heather promised she would help her senile father manage the clan. With miscreants swarming to overtake MacDougall’s land, Heather secretly leads her clansmen on missions for the rebellion. She fights to keep secret her father’s mental illness, while resisting the lure of Alec Campbell, the handsome young laird who challenges her defenses. Alec has secrets of his own. He failed his aging father, and he vowed never again to disappoint his clan or lose his heart, but Heather is a temptation he cannot resist.
Lindsey is a tomboy. She dresses in lad’s clothing and manages her father’s stables, caring for, breeding, and selling horses. She prides herself on her riding abilities and uses her skill to secretly deliver missives to Scottish warriors behind enemy lines. During one of her escapades, Lindsey learns the English captured her friend, Logan, who is to be transported and tried in King Edward’s court. The story starts with Lindsey’s rescue attempt, but rescuing Logan’s heart became her biggest challenge.
Elsbeth recoils at the violent Scottish rebellion and the bleak plight of orphans. After losing her betrothed in the conflict, she sets her course to become a nun, sheltering innocent victims from the cruelties of war. But when Brandon arrives at the abbey, he shakes her convictions and stirs provoking emotions she buried long ago.
After English soldiers murder his family, Brandon seeks revenge and leads numerous clans in Scotland’s fight for freedom. Bent on the annihilation of English oppression, he is resolved to a life of solitude, vowing never to marry and chance the pain of losing loved ones again. Elsbeth realizes not only children are affected by war, but stalwart warriors are also hurt and abandoned. She longs to heal Brandon’s spirit, help him live again, and prays she can reach him before the damage already done has set in stone.
Give us an excerpt from one of your books.
Lindsey MacDougall descended into the dark pit of hell. The stench of excrement and death struck her, but she resisted the urge to gag on the wretched fumes of brutality. Fearful tremors racked her body. She had made it thus far and prayed she could continue.
She glanced over her shoulder at the enemy soldiers standing guard on either side of the door she had just passed through. Swords strapped to their sides, they watched her every move with steely eyes. Few outsiders were allowed in Collins’s dungeon. The men would not hesitate to sound the alarm if they grew suspicious of her and the reason for her visit.
Howls of anguish and despair drifted from below, and she envisioned Satan himself wielding instruments of torture. She gripped the worn stair railing with one hand, her large healer’s basket in the other, and eased her foot onto the next step, then the next. Cold air swirled up from the dark cavernous hole. Flames sputtered from torches secured in brackets lining the dank dungeon, monstrous shadows dancing up from the black abyss.
Nerves stretched taut, sweat dribbled down her temples. She prayed the moisture didn’t cause the ash-paste that disguised her face to slide onto the bodice of her scratchy woolen gown. However uncomfortable, she wanted the soldiers to be put off by her ungainly appearance.
She peered over the railing and let her eyes adjust to the dim light at the bottom of the stairs. Ominous looking corridors ran in four directions like spokes of a wheel with three English soldiers positioned in the center, huddled around a wooden crate.
One guard threw down several cards on the makeshift table and roared while slapping the soldier next to him on the back.
Another tossed his cards on the discarded pile. “I’m out.”
A high-pitched scream followed by agonized moans sent chills slithering down her spine. What evils did the darkened corridors hold? An urge to run back up the stairs and escape the nightmarish scene nearly overcame her.
Instead, she inhaled a fortifying breath and took another step down.
Where can readers find you?
Here are my Author Links:
Where can readers find your books?