Author Jean Grant talks about her trilogy of historical novels laced with fantasy, that is, characters who are “gifted but afflicted.” Read on to find out more.
Tying a Trilogy Together
What seemed ages ago, but in the grand scheme of life, only about 6 or 7 years ago, I sat down to write another manuscript. With three “practice” novels written but shelved, I dug into a new story. I changed my time period from 12thto 13th century during the Scottish Wars of Independence, wove a mystical element into the story line, and on some invaluable advice of an agent, worked the heck out of that story to give it twists and turns to excite my reader. In 2017, A Hundred Kisses was born with the publishing house The Wild Rose Press.
The backstory of the heroine’s parents nagged at me. And guess what? When I looked at the history thirty years prior to the first book (which was 1296, and I looked back to 1263), lo and behold, it was a time rife with Norse-Scottish turmoil. The end of the Viking reign to boot. That story came forth in a flurry, and I found myself contemplating the third book in what was now becoming a trilogy. A Hundred Breaths (the prequel, and book one) released in 2019. Fast-forward to 1322, a time after the Scottish Wars of Independence, and A Hundred Lies was born, wrapping up my trilogy.
Each story is a standalone, but they can be read in or out of order. Each story tells a tale of a MacCoinneach family member “gifted but afflicted” with a mystical ability that comes at a cost: to heal but lose your own breaths in return, to feel auras/lifebloods but to feel others’ pain, and to see the future but to be unable to prevent the visions unless refraining from touch. Conquering Norse, Scottish lore, Ancient mystics, and invading English…the trilogy has a bit of everything. Can our mystical family hone their gifts for good, escape curses, discover mercy, find home, and find love?
A Thread of Elements
Water, fire, air, and earth…these elements have symbolic roots and importance in many cultures and communities from the ancient Greeks to current-day scientists. According to the Ancients in my trilogy, these elements are the essence of life. Each of my main characters in the trilogy has a supernatural ability linked to an element:
Water and healing.
Fire and feeling.
Air and seeing.
All are grounded in earth and woven together. In the words of one character, “Wind feeds fire. Water douses fire. Water nourishes earth. Wind churns water. Fire scorches earth. All are connected.”
Water symbolizes healing, purity, life, strength, and unconditional love, and is associated with autumn. Fire symbolizes vibrance, passion, and energy, and is associated with summertime. Air symbolizes perception, knowledge, and travel and is associated with spring. Earth ties them all together with the symbolism of order, security, nourishment, and grounding and is associated with winter. I admittedly, loved how the creative muse guided me in this thread throughout the “hundred” trilogy.
My Ancients are a mythical culture born of the western isles of Scotland, and they utilize the mysterious standing stones as part of their traditions. They pass on their history through written books and spoken word. But as their population diminishes because of wars and exploitation, will their stories and powers die with them? (You’ll need to read to find out). The origin of the Ancients is unknown…where did these people come from? At one point, they became mingled with the Norse people and their gods because of Viking expansion. They are a spiritual, mystical people open to the unknown…and I had such fun writing their journeys in the trilogy.
Because it would be no fun for readers if each gift resulted in an easy ride in life, each gift comes with a burden: to lose life with each healing, to feel too deeply that it debilitates you, or to see dark, bloody visions every time you touch a person. Not only does this trilogy explore the mystical realm, but it also highlights the deep-rooted beliefs of Christian/Norse/Ancient, the superstitions of the middle ages, the hunger to control and conquer, and the wars of independence from 1263-1322 A.D. Nothing like stirring a pot of history with mystic, aye? Oh yeah, each book has love and happy ever afters.
Norse invasions, Scottish fights for independence, and the plights of the mystical isles’ people come together in The Hundred Trilogy.
Short Blurb: Scotland, 1263-1322
The MacCoinneach family is gifted but afflicted. Deeply rooted powers of healing, feeling, and prophecy run in their bloodline. Descended from the Norse and mystical Ancients of the Isles, they must each face the curses associated with their ability…they must each find the path to love. Norse invasions, Scottish fights for independence, and the plights of the mystical isles’ people come together in The Hundred Trilogy.
Bonded by their mystical abilities, can the MacCoinneach family find true love…and at what cost?
Blurb for the Trilogy:
A Hundred Breaths, A Hundred Lies,
A Hundred Kisses
The MacCoinneach family is gifted but afflicted. Deeply rooted powers of healing, feeling, and prophecy run in their bloodline. Descended from the Norse and mystical Ancients of the Isles, they must each face the curses associated with their ability…they must each find the path to love.
A Hundred Breaths
Gwyn of Uist is a merciful Healer but loses breaths of her life with every healing charm. She barters an alliance with a Scot bent on revenge against her Norse kin, in the hopes to save her brother from their abusive father. But can she and Simon MacCoinneach outwit her betrothed and bring an end to the Norse-Scottish bloodshed when it will take all her breaths to save Simon on the battlefield?
A Hundred Kisses
Deirdre MacCoinneach feels the lifebloods of everyone around her…but vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Under the facade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A cruel baron hunts him, leaving little room for alliances with the lass he meets along the way. Amidst ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…
A Hundred Lies
Rosalie Threston’s fortune-telling lies have caught up with her and she’s on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. Rosalie finds refuge in the halls of Eilean Donan castle deep in the Highlands, and in the arms of the laird’s mysterious son, Domhnall Montgomerie. Terrible visions plague Domhnall and he avoids physical contact to temper them. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight. Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even if it means exposing her lies?
About the Author
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing after children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.
Buy the Trilogy at your favorite bookstore
With the encouragement of a few readers, I added supplemental material on my website to those interested: a genealogy/lineage chart of the family over three books, a glossary of people, places, and things, and medieval Scotland map. Check it out: https://www.jeanmgrant.com/extras
Top 10 Things to See in Scotland
What to see if you visit Scotland? Here is my list of must-sees, which might be biased because of my love for nature and history. I visited most of these places while on a trip to Scotland in a rainy September…
Crags & Glens
Now some details…
Abbeys are poetic, serene. We walked among ancient gray and rose ruins at Dryburgh and Melrose. It’s hard to not visit an isle while in Scotland. There are many: Lewis and Harris, Shetlands, or my beloved Uist. We visited Isle of Skye on a dreary day and could not even see the Black Cuillin in the torrential rain. Like isles, lochs, many glacial, are a must-see and hard to miss whether it is the deep blue Loch Ness, expansive Loch Lomond, or the inspiring Loch Awe. High and low crags abound…the Trossachs, Cairngorms, or the five sisters of Kintail are impressive mountains. With crags, come glens (valleys). Glencoe is not one to skip.
Standing stones are one of the few places we couldn’t visit on our trip as most are on the isles. Note to self for next time! Scots are pleasant people and we had a great time chatting with the locals. And yup, there are plenty of the other kind of locals: sheep! The lowlands often get overlooked, but they are green and lush with undulating hills. The Highlands are rich in clan history and natural beauty and oh so many hikes. Up for putting the stone, caber tossing, tug-o-war, music, and dancing…oh yes, and lots of kilts? Get thee to a Highland Game. We visited one in Pitlochry. Castles, last but not least! I visited over a dozen on my trip. My favorites: Eilean Donan (seat to Clan MacCoinneach in my books), Kilchurn (we kayaked to it), Threave (we took a rowboat across a river to it), and Borthwick (we stayed overnight in this 14th century tower house that is haunted). Scotland—be prepared for rain, be prepared for beauty of nature and people.