"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
A Fine TIME ..... for Romance!
Melanie Jackson is a fourth generation Californian who lives in the Sierra foothills with her husband and a pet cat. She is a member of the Clan Gregor Society of Scotland, the McAdams Historical Society, and is the co-founder of CYBER CLAN, the Internet home for tech-inclined clanfolk. She is a connoisseur of poetic doggerel and an enthusiastic gardener.
An Interview with Melanie Jackson
PNR: Melanie, you have written several books in an ongoing historical romance series. Night Visitor is also a historical romance but with several paranormal elements. What influenced you to try your hand at fantasy and time travel?
Melanie J: Why stop with one historical era when you can have two-- or more <g>? Seriously, so much of the Celtic world I write about has at least one foot in the realm of ancient peoples and old magic. Night Visitor is merely an extension-- a deeper look-- at the world and culture where our ancestors lived.
PNR: Night Visitor, is set for the most part in seventeenth century Scotland. What is the appeal of this place and time?
Melanie J: This was an exciting time in both Scottish and English history. The world was changing. The people were trying on new religions, rule without a king, there were even the stirrings of feminism in the literature of the era. But all that aside, the time period chose itself because the real piper of Duntroon (the hero of Night Visitor) died in 1644, the Year Of Miracles.
PNR: Obviously one of the most appealing aspects is the hero, Malcolm MacIntyre. He was a real person. Tell us a bit about the martyred piper. What makes Malcolm so special?
Melanie J: Yes, the piper was a real person-- a very brave, very crafty soldier who gave his life for his chieftain and his clan. He knew full well that death would be visited upon him when he played out the warning on his pipes to the MacColla, but he truly epitomized the romantic belief of the era that a man should embrace death before dishonor.
PNR: Your story picks up where the true tale leaves off. It in essence changes the ending of it, correct? What difficulties arise with changing history?
Melanie J: My books are about what-ifs. I start with a premise grounded in historical fact and then turn my imagination-- and heart-- lose upon it.
My heart wanted Malcolm to survive. And since no one can say for certain what happened to the piper's ghost, I like to imagine that he finally found love and peace.
PNR: In an interesting twist, the heroine is also of a historical time period. She is a woman ahead of her time, right? Tell us a bit about Taffy Lytton.
Melanie J: Taffy was an early feminist. She embraced the notions of female equality-- indeed, human equality-- for anyone brave enough to reach out for their heart's desire. Once again though, the historical facts dictate the exact date of this story because the real piper's bones were discovered in 1888 during the renovation of Duntrune Castle.
PNR: How does Taffy first connect with the Malcolm? What do they have in common that precipitates their eventual meeting?
Melanie J: The two of them share "the cousin red". They are both MacLeods of the line that carries faerie blood. It is this blood tie that allows Malcolm's ghost to reach out to her even across time.
PNR: Taffy's time travel has a very deliberate goal? What kind of forces are at work to bring Malcolm and Taffy together?
Melanie J: It is the will of the still-folk, the faeries, that these two be joined.
The first step of their plan required that Malcolm be rescued before his execution. Taffy was the tool they chose for this task.
PNR: How does the traits that make her a misfit in her own time, aid her in her travails in the past?
Melanie J: Taffy had the great gift of being able to see herself as a person capable of thought and action, not merely as some man's appendage who must wait politely for rescue. Such strong will was considered unfeminine in the Victorian era, but was an invaluable character trait in a war situation. Malcolm needed a consort-- an equal-- to stand beside him in battle, not a delicate wallflower.
PNR: Malcolm and Taffy are pursued by his enemies. Aside from their wits and Taffy's modern gadgets, how do they manage to thwart their pursuers.
Melanie J: The faeries were aiding them throughout their adventure and their magic, though not as strong as in centuries past, was still a potent aid.
PNR: The still-folk have their own agenda. They brought Taffy and Malcolm together however, a happily ever after between Malcolm and Taffy is not necessarily a priority? What are the drawbacks of their involvement, for the humans?
Melanie J: The faeries did not love all mankind-- and with good reason-- but they were not warring upon them. The end result of Taffy and Malcolm's time together provided them with a tool for understanding the new age of man that was overtaking the planet. There was no place for the magical still-folk in the post-industrial world, and yet they wished to have a way to observe it-- and see the fate of their part human children.
PNR: What is next for Melanie Jackson? Do you anticipate another foray into paranormal romance in the future?
Melanie J: Yes, indeed! My next book due out in August is a historical set in Cornwall (Amarantha), but the current project keeping me up nights is another paranormal, this one with a reincarnation theme and a cast of supernatural beings, including Death himself. I should have it wrapped up before Nationals-- phew! Finishing will be an excellent reason to celebrate in New Orleans.
Featured in this Issue:
"Come to me"
NIGHT VISITOR - Beneath the crumbling turrets of Duntrune Castle, Tafaline heard the call. Many years before, the keep had been captured, betrayed. She had heard the tale; all self-respecting Scots knew of the massacre and of the brave piper who had given his life so that some of its defenders might live. But few saw his face in their sleep, his sad gray eyes touching their souls, his warm hands caressing them like a lover's. And Tafaline was willing to wager that none had heard his sweet voice. But he had been slain so long ago. How was it possible that he now haunted her dreams? Were they true, those fairy tales that claimed a woman of MacLeod blood could save a man from even death? Was it true, that when she had touched his bones, she'd bound herself to his soul? Yes, it was Malcolm "the piper" who called to her so insistently, across the winds of night and time...and looking into her heart, Taffy knew there was naught to do but go to him.
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