Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Harriet Schultz, author of the novel LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS, and its short prologue, LUST AND HONOR, and welcome her to my blog.
Harriet Schultz is an award-winning journalist whose career began at TIME magazine. She loves to travel and is happiest when her passport is being used. She and her husband put 1,500 miles on their rental car during a recent road trip around the Scottish Highlands to check out some of the locations in her book.
Legacy of the Highlands is Harriet’s first novel. The novel’s prologue, Lust and Honor, has been at the top of Amazon’s short fiction bestseller list. She lives in New England and is at work on the sequel to Legacy of the Highlands.
Q: For how long have you been writing?
A: I was exposed to excellent writing as Pulitzer Prize-winner David Halberstam’s secretary at Harper’s magazine. From there I went to TIME magazine and was one of two reporter/researchers assigned to its Watergate coverage, which was very exciting. I wrote and edited a magazine, The Healing Arts, at Stanford University Medical Center and covered local government for a Maine newspaper. My work was recognized with an award from the New England Press Association.
Fiction, however, is new to me and I was quite shocked – pleasantly so — to discover that I have a vivid imagination!
Q: Do you have a writing program which works for you?
A: I’m not sure what you mean by a writing program, but I do try to write each day to keep the story’s plot fresh in my mind. I don’t work for a precise number of hours or stay seated until I produce a certain amount of copy. Sometimes I can only write one or two paragraphs and other times several pages. There are also days where I have no idea where the story is going and I just edit what I’ve already written.
Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?
A: My favorite used to be spy novels, but after a friend turned me on to Nora Roberts, I devoured her books and have been a romance addict since. I gravitate toward historicals and if there’s a Duke or a Highlander in a kilt on the cover, I’m there! I also enjoy time travel stories, especially those by Lynn Kurland, and light, contemporary romances. When I pick up a book, I want to become lost in the story.
Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?
A: My biggest influences are Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon — Nora for her storytelling and Diana for the way she seamlessly weaves fiction with history.
I set out to write a romance, but Legacy turned into a suspenseful thriller with romance, adventure, twists and turns, secrets, some hot sex and — of course — a delicious hero.
Q: Your books contain generous doses of romantic elements within them, but also feature international intrigue, crime, familial, and historical elements within their frameworks, and combine these elements in an entertaining way. While LUST AND HONOR deals with its subject from a more romantic viewpoint, LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS explores all of the above themes. From where does your interest in Scottish history originate, as displayed with great flair in LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS?
A: I’m not a big believer in fate, but many years ago when my husband and I visited Scotland for the first time, we ended up at the Culloden Battlefield on the anniversary of the 1745 defeat of the Scots by the English. Several kilted men, representing various clans, stood in silence as a bagpiper played. It was a simple ceremony, but very moving. I was reminded of that time when I read Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander,” since the novel’s hero, Jamie Fraser, fights in that war. The emotion of what I had witnessed stayed with me, and I suppose the germ of my own plot began to form.
Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or still on the air?
A: Downton Abbey is my current favorite, but I’m also following Revenge (season two is not nearly as good as the first) and a great show about Washington insiders called Scandal. I adore Castle, since it stars a crime writer. I am definitely not a fan of reality shows as I think most of them are exploitive. Although I never watched American Idol, I love The Voice.
Q: Do you have any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?
A: Is shopping a hobby? The personalized license plate on my car is KRE8TV, so I guess that sums up my hobbies. I love to work with color and paint abstracts because I’m good at design, but can’t draw. I also went through a phase of making quilts, but not ones with traditional patterns. I used unusual fabrics and shapes since I’m not great at following rules and I have trouble sewing a straight seam. I also love to read and Tetris is my favorite video game.
Q: Do you have any other writing projects that you would like to mention?
A: I expected Legacy to be a stand-alone book, but readers and reviewers have asked for a sequel. Fortunately, the characters agreed to hang around and get themselves into interesting situations so there will be a book two. It’s almost finished, but the plot’s very complicated and so it can’t be rushed. Fans of Legacy will be happy to know that Diego, Alex and Serge are in the new book, joined by Diego’s very hot and charming friend, Sebastián.
I am certain that you will join me in thanking Harriet today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her work in the future. If you wish to contact Harriet, she is available on:
-Harriet’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below: