If possible, I am more excited about the upcoming release of Highland Courage than I was about Highland Solution. Highland Solution was my first foray into fiction. It was a story that I had imagined for so long that I never believed that I would create another story that I loved more. I think I have with Highland Courage.
So with the release of Highland Courage just five weeks away, the theme for my upcoming blog posts will be “Courage” in its many forms. I hope to have some guest bloggers share stories of courage. I plan to share some interesting tidbits and excerpts from Highland Courage along the way. Perhaps we will even have a few character interviews.
I am going to start by sharing how I came up with the title “Highland Courage.” Initially, my working title was “MacKenzie’s Mouse” because the heroine, Mairead MacKenzie was called that. This excerpt from the first chapter explains why. Mairead has just learned that her parents are seeking a betrothal for her. She is upset and one of her brothers, Quinn, is trying to understand why.
“Ye changed seven years ago. Tell me what happened.” The urgent note in his voice was unmistakable as he crossed the room and crouched in front of her.
“I don’t know what ye are talking about. I didn’t change.” She slammed her fists against the arm of her chair in frustration.
“Ye did. I’m sure there are cloistered nuns who are more outgoing than ye are, Mairead.”
“And ye know a lot of cloistered nuns?”
“That’s not the point.”
“Nay, but it’s all nonsense anyway. I have always been…timid. MacKenzie’s Mouse, remember? I just like being at home.”
She hated the nickname “MacKenzie’s Mouse” and no one within the family used it. However, many people outside the family and clan did, although it was her appearance and not her temperament that initially gave rise to the name. Da’s children by his first wife were tall and blonde with crystal blue eyes. Although her mother was petite, all Mama’s children from her first marriage were also tall—frankly, Peadar and Rowan were huge—and they all had Mother’s dark hair and dark brown eyes. Remarkably attractive, all eight of her older siblings turned heads. Even at four and ten, Flan was a head taller than most lads his age and already showed signs of having the dark good looks of Mama’s family but with Da’s bright blue eyes. More like her mother, Mairead was smaller than her siblings, with light brown hair and pale grey eyes. She felt mousey in comparison. However, Quinn was right. She would never admit it to him, but something had changed seven years ago.
I didn’t love the title “MacKenzies Mouse” and I struggled to find one that would capture the major theme of the novel. Then I read this quote by Mary Ann Radmacher:
“Courage does not always roar, sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
The story is very much about Mairead’s journey to discover her own strength and self-confidence, and the man who makes the journey with her. Courage, in its many forms, is so very prominent in the novel that the title, Highland Courage, suddenly seemed obvious.
Before I close today, I would like to issue an open invitation for any reader, or author who has thoughts or a story to share about “courage” to let me know in a brief comment. I will contact you and if you wish, feature your story on my blog this month.