Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Linda L. Picl’s character on October 20th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Isobelle Cate, the author of My Haven, My Midnight, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Colin Butler, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Isobelle in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Colin!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Colin. Please have a seat.
Character Colin Butler: Hello. Thank you for having me.
Marie: Of course. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Colin: All right.
Marie: What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Colin: I am the Dux of the Leeds Cynn Cruors. I am one of the best recons the Cynn Cruors have. Most of the time, my right hand, Craig Shaw and I are assigned to missions with the Manchester Cynn Cruors. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. Call it a symbiotic relationship. When I’m not busy fighting, I’m busy making money. I have a club and restos, and organize raves. Do I like it? Oh yeah, especially when I see so many pretty young things. Am I any good at it? It would appear so if we’re raking in hundreds of thousands a night just in one club, Le Club Cinq Mille.
Marie: Okay. Great!
So, what is your family like?
Colin: My family? Ahh, Marie, we are treading on deadly ground here. And I mean truly deadly. If it weren’t for the woman I love and Blake Strachan, a Cynn Cruor brother who said something to The Hamilton, I might not be here talking to you. That’s all I can say and it’s already a lot. I’d rather keep the rest to myself.
Marie: All right, I respect that. But, your response is intriguing, to say the least.
Let’s try something else, okay?
What did your childhood home look like?
Colin: Much better. It was beautiful, it still is. I have returned to where I was born to raise my family and raise my son as a future immortal warrior.
I have built a home close to Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. There are majestic mountains that buffer my house not from the cold because I don’t feel the cold, but it separates us from the outside world. It’s a haven for my wife and my son away from the life I left behind when I was banished.
We used to have a longhouse where my parents, Makenzie, my brother, and I lived. Da was often with the Hamilton fighting the Scatha as far as I can remember so oftentimes it was Mam, Mack, and I who tilled the lands and watched over cattle with the help of the people who lived with us. These people had been driven away from their homes by the Duke of Cumberland during the Highland Clearances. The longhouse is long gone, but I haven’t built my house over it. I have kept it as a memorial of my parent’s sacrifice.
Marie: All right, I can see it pains you to admit that…
Let’s try a different question.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Colin: Hobbies? The only hobby I had for the longest time was to decapitate as many Scatha Cruors I could find. (Grins.) Now that I have a family, I enjoy spending every moment with them. When my son is older, I will enjoy teaching him how to be a Cynn Cruor the way my father taught me and my brother.
Marie: All right. So, what is your greatest dream?
Colin: My greatest dream is to see my brother once again and the end to the Cruor wars.
Marie: Can’t blame you there…
Okay, so, what kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Colin: I wish I could be the best Dux for the Leed Cynn Cruors. What’s stopping me? Let’s not go there. I don’t want to talk about something that continues to be a dull thorn on my side.
Marie: No problem. I respect your privacy.
All right. I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Colin: The woman I married. Amaryllis Hart.
Marie: (Sighs.) I love romance…
All right. So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Colin: The loss of Mackenzie, my brother.
Marie: I’m really sorry to hear that. 😦
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Colin: To be a great Cynn Cruor warrior. With The Hamilton training me together with Craig and the rest of the Manchester Cynn Cruors, I fulfilled that dream. Sure, there is a lot of fighting, but that was what I was born to be.
Marie: All right.
So, tell us…who is your role model, Colin?
Colin: My Da. He gave up his life to save a family from the Scatha Cruors who fell on them when they were thrown out of their lands by the Crann Tara.
Marie: Wow…so sorry. I didn’t realize that’s how you lost one of your parents. How horrible for you, but I can understand why you’d respect the honor he exhibited at the time.
Let’s try something else. Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Colin: No. If I don’t like a person, I just won’t give him the time of day. So far, the only beings that fit that mold are the Scatha Cruor.
Save for one.
Marie: Okay. You have me curious now…
Tell us. What is your deepest desire?
Colin: My deepest desire is for the Cruor wars to end so that I can live in peace with Amaryllis and my son, Duncan.
Marie: That’s understandable.
Let’s try a different question…
What is your greatest fear?
Colin: That I die before my son comes of age. I have seen many Cynn Cruor children who have become orphans so early in their lives. I don’t want that for my son.
Marie: I can certainly understand that worry.
Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Colin. It was so interesting getting to know you!
Colin: It has been a pleasure, Marie.
(Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Marie: Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Isobelle Cate on the stage today. It’s so lovely to talk to you again, hon. I remember when we interviewed you on the Writing in the Modern Age blog back in March. Hi again, Isobelle!
Author Isobelle Cate: Hi Marie! Great to see you again. 🙂
Marie: Thanks! We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Colin. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Isobelle: Oh yes, he was difficult to write. Colin Butler is a crack shot and one of the best Cynn Cruor scouts. He and his team do the recon for many of Cynn Cruors’ missions. He often has a ribald sense of humor and loves women…a lot. But he has a secret that can lead to his and his team’s death. Literally.
Marie: I see…that’s quite intriguing, though.
So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Isobelle: He’s reliable, dependable, loyal to a fault, self-sacrificing.
Marie: Nothing wrong with that!
Now, let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are Colin’s greatest weaknesses?
Isobelle: His being loyal to a fault and self-sacrificing is both his weakness and his strength. It’s how he and Amaryllis, his mate, lost his life.
Marie: I see.
Let’s try something else…
What are some of his favorite foods?
Isobelle: Beef and spicy garlic sausages. Sure, he has the vampire DNA inside him, but he doesn’t get affected by garlic.
Marie: (Laughs.) That comes in handy! 😉
So…what’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Isobelle: Colin believes that he has to keep proving himself, to show his loyalty because of the secret he had kept hidden for so long.
Marie: I see.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Isobelle: Readers will definitely like Colin, maybe even love him for the sacrifices he has made through the centuries. He will stay with readers even after the last page of the story has been read.
Marie: Can’t go wrong with that description! I’m dying to learn more about the book.
Now that we have a real taste of Colin, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
Isobelle: Okie doke. Fire away!
Marie: What first gave you the idea for My Haven, My Midnight?
Isobelle: I was writing Midnight’s Fate and there was a battle scene. In that scene, Finn Qualtrough, the hero in Rapture at Midnight tears through a horde of Scatha Cruors and werewolves – the first time the Cynn Cruors fight the weres since the series began. Colin watches from his vantage point high up the Silver Cave and sees how his fellow Cynn Cruors viciously kill as many Scathas in the same way he does. It was at that moment that I thought, I needed to make Colin more interesting. He has always had this devil-may-care attitude when he battles the Scatha Cruors, he has an incredible zest for life, but he has a tendency to be suspicious. So while I was mulling over the scene, it suddenly hit me that Colin Butler has a reason why he was this way.
This is how My Haven, My Midnight was born.
So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Isobelle: I am more of a pantser than a plotter. I do try to plot, but am unable to write down just the plot. Later on, the dialogue will come to mind and I have to write that down lest I forget. I am trying my hand again at plotting. It’s a slow process for me.
Marie: All right.
Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing My Haven, My Midnight or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Isobelle: Yes. Writer’s Block. I thought I was immune. Wishful thinking! I had it for a while and I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to finish writing the manuscript by my self-imposed deadline. I had to push through that block – I actually imagine it as a moss-covered wall I have to climb to get to the other side. I kept reading the drafts and I was not satisfied until maybe after the 7th draft. When I felt that it was the best that I could make it, then I sent it to my publisher, Beau Coup Publishing. Luckily, they liked it as well.
If there was anything I could do differently? Oh, gosh, I wish I had the luxury of time to write so that I can fully concentrate on writing continuously. And maybe do more plotting that pantsing particularly because the series is getting more complicated.
And to aspiring authors – never give up. All of us now have an opportunity to become a fantastic writer. There are so many readers out there who want to read the stories you are inspired to write. Do not think that just because one reader may not like your writing, the rest will follow. For every disparaging reader, there will be four to five readers who love what you give them. If there are naysayers, separate the constructive criticism from the I-love-to-troll-your-books attacks. There will always be people who have nothing better to do except to put people down. These are the people you don’t need to listen to.
Finally, believe in yourself. If you do, your characters will too, and they will give you the inspiration to be the best storyteller you can be.
Marie: All of that is awesome advice!
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story My Haven, My Midnight appears to be.
Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Isobelle Cate, a very talented author! 🙂
Here is the blurb for My Haven, My Midnight:
Amaryllis Hart has lived a hard life. Falsely accused of theft, she decides to live the life thrown at her until one encounter tosses her into a world she does not believe exists and into the arms of the immortal who steals her heart.
Colin Butler, Dux of the Leeds Cynn Cruors and his second, Craig Shaw, return to Leeds abruptly after a secret Colin has been keeping for centuries, returns. In their attempts to keep it under wraps, another situation blows up in their faces, bringing Colin face to face with his past and his future—a violet eyed beauty who heals his soul.
As luck would have it, Colin’s secret is unearthed. To top it all, Dac Valerian and Herod D’Argyl are in Leeds and the Ancients’ enforcer arrives to pass judgement on the Dux of the Leeds Cynn Cruors.
Colin has to make the hardest decision of his life. Either he walks away from the past that will forever haunt him or make up for a past he had no control of and lose the woman he loves.
Isobelle is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!
“Where are you?” Colin moved away from the group even as he opened his telepathic link with his men. He left the security room and made a beeline for the alleyway.
Keep Seth and the rest occupied.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
There was an angry growl. “I’m not Mackenzie. I haven’t been for a very long time.”
“Then why call me brother?” Colin knew he was goading Mackenzie. He could not help it. The need to know if his brother was still inside that Scatha shell was overpowering. He was desperate. He wanted his brother back. He wanted his fellow Cynn Cruor returned. Mack had always been a bit short-tempered, ever since their parents died. Colin pushed the fire door and walked into the alley.
Colin’s hand rested on his hip and he looked up at the sky framed by the buildings’ rooftops. Yup, his brother was still there. A humorless smile crossed Colin’s mouth. “That’s quite a unique name you’ve given me.” When he heard a moan in the background, Colin lowered his head, his eyes narrowing at the brick wall in front of him. “Where are you, Mackenzie?”
“No matter what you think or do or say, you’re still bràthair to me.”
A painful moan.
“What the bloody hell did you do now?” Colin asked, his voice furious. He paced the alley.
“Always my fault, isn’t it?” Mackenzie accused. “I didn’t want to be a Scatha. You made it happen but it will always be my fault. Why can’t you get it through that thick skull of yours that you’re to blame?”
Colin’s chest tightened with the guilt that never left him since Mackenzie’s transformation. Now was not the time or place to dwell on it. “Where is she? I swear to God if you hurt her—”
“I’m the worse Scatha there is. I’ve got a fucking bloody conscience! I hate it!” His brother snapped before muttering, “I don’t know why the fuck I’m doing this.”
Colin kept quiet, his empty hand curling. “Where are you?” he repeated. “Let her go. Leave her in a place where we can pick her up. I won’t chase after you tonight.”
“No. I can’t do that.”
“Why the hell not?” Colin blazed, pacing the narrow alley. He bluffed. “We know where the Scatha lair is.”
“I’m sure you do, but I’m not there.”
“We’re just running in circles, Mackenzie.”
“I’m here. At the Faesten.”
“What?” Colin stopped dead. “Why?”
“Because I don’t want the Scathas to know about her.” He sighed, resigned. “She needs the Cynn Cruors’ protection.”
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B0106CTVCY
About Isobelle Cate
Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations: the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.