Tuesday 22 February 2022

#HistoricalRomance author, Vanda Vadas, is talking about the #inspiration behind her fabulous novel - The Prodigal Laird @Vanda_Vadas

The Prodigal Laird

By Vanda Vadas 

Publication Date: 1st March 2019
Publisher: Escape Publishing 
Page Length: 285 Pages
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance

His marriage might cease decades of hostilities between two clans, but that doesn't mean he wants it-or his bold new wife who is keeping secrets of her own.

Roderick MacLeod arrives in his native Scottish Highlands to pay brief respects to his recently deceased father-the man Roderick blames for the death of his English mother. But before he can return to England, he is saddled with two responsibilities he never asked for: the title of Laird of Clan MacLeod and an unwanted marriage, by proxy, to the daughter of a rival laird.

Annabel MacDonald thought she had the perfect marriage; her husband's continued absence allowed her independence and the freedom to secretly hide and abet the escape of her fugitive clansmen. When the husband she'd never met shows up, she must convince him to return to England before he uncovers her many secrets, and perhaps her heart.

I think it fair to say that my first holiday in Scotland, back in the late 80’s, was the catalyst behind the inspiration for my soon-to-be-released Scottish Historical, The Prodigal Laird (March 2019).

A visit to Inverness and Drumossie Moor is not something one easily forgets. The place, its history, and my new-found knowledge of a battle fought there, was a profound and lasting memory. I revisited Scotland with my family a few years ago. Inverness and Culloden drew my return for research purposes, so too a visit to the Isle of Skye, in particular Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.

Dunvegan Castle

The Prodigal Laird is set in 1747 in the Scottish Highlands, and tells the story of Roderick MacLeod and Annabel MacDonald, married against their wishes, by proxy. The life and times they lived in were shaped by the aftermath of the battle of Culloden, fought near Inverness on 16th April, 1746.

In less than an hour, hundreds of Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite forces lost their lives on the battlefield (and beyond) against the Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland. The battle ended all hope of the Stuart dynasty regaining the throne.

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops were vastly outnumbered by Cumberland’s army. Aside from being hungry, cold and exhausted after marching all night from an abortive foray, they were ill-equipped, their artillery poor, and lacked military strategy. They were no match for Cumberland’s cannon and cavalry and the ground underfoot handicapped the Jacobites main tactic – the charge.

Bonnie Prince Charles.

Not all clans rallied to the Prince’s standard. Some clansmen fought only to avoid any repercussions on their families and homes had they not answered their chief’s call. Other clansmen, like the MacLeods, chose to fight despite their chief’s disapproval.

In the weeks that followed, those Jacobites who fought in and escaped the battle were hunted down and killed. Charles evaded capture for five months. With the help of Flora MacDonald, he eventually made good his escape disguised as a woman and fled to France and final exile.

Flora MacDonald.

The Jacobites devastating defeat affected the whole future of the Highlands. It fractured and dismantled the Scottish clans and led to the Scottish clearances.

On the two occasions I visited Drumossie Moor, I stood before individual stones which mark the very place where collective clan members fell during the battle. It’s easy to understand why one’s emotions stir when giving thought to hundreds of kilted men whose blood soaked the marshy soil. Their gallant courage has passed into legend.

Clan Headstone.
 Chief of MacGillivray.

The National Trust for Scotland preserves the battlefield for Culloden, a place of pilgrimage.

Memorial Cairn.

Memorial Plaque

Australia is home, although I was born in Papua New Guinea where I spent a memorable childhood.

At the age of eleven, an overseas holiday sparked my interest in the days of old. I remember being absolutely fascinated with Warwick Castle in England. My fingers trailed rough-hewn stone walls and I explored well-worn staircases in turrets that seemed to go on forever. Windsor Castle and the Tower of London were equally captivating.

I was intrigued by ruins dotting the countryside and woodlands littered with bluebells and daffodils. Strange sights, I thought, when I'd been accustomed to a landscape of tropical rainforest and where palm and coconut trees fringed the coast.

From England we visited Canada where I stood mesmerised watching a long parade of traditionally dressed native American Indians. To this day, one of my favourite movies is The Last of the Mohicans starring Daniel Day Lewis.

I've been fortunate enough to travel to many countries around the globe. Always I'm drawn to the events and people of the past be they Vikings, Medieval Knights or Caribbean Pirates.

The same can be said of Scotland and the Isle of Skye in learning about Highland history, Culloden and the Jacobites.

Apart from having read Jane Austen's novels in high school, I didn't read my first romance until I was twenty-four. I read the book in one day and wondered why it had taken me so long to discover the world of Historical Romance.

It wasn't until years later, when my children were settled in school, that I reacquainted myself with the romance genre. I would read on the train while commuting to work and that, you might say, was the catalyst in my dream to become a published author.

Research for THE PIRATE LORD and visits to the United Kingdom and Caribbean Islands inspired the creation of fictitious characters and dramas set against authentic historical and geographical backdrops.

THE PIRATE LORD was an Amazon Australia #1 Best Seller in Historical romance and is available for purchase. Read reviews here.

TREASURED LOVE is a collection of award-winning, heart-stirring romantic reads about new and life-long love. It is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, available for purchase here.

My latest release is a Scottish Historical set in 1747, one year after The Battle of Culloden. THE PRODIGAL LAIRD debuted in the Top 100 Bestsellers list on Amazon (AU), iBooks (AU) and Kobo (AU). Available for purchase.

I began my career as a teacher in Primary, Secondary and Adult Education and have since worked as a PA in the Banking sector, and as a Recruitment Consultant.

My two children, of whom I'm so immensely proud, have flown the coop and are successfully making their own way in the world.

I'm blessed with a husband who is my real-life hero and it's from our marriage that I draw inspiration to write about romance.

Connect with Vanda: Website • Facebook • Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about the inspiration behind the story. Thank you for sharing!


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