Hopping on a plane and jetting halfway across the globe is not really an option these days, but that doesn't mean you can't still get your fill of Scotland.
Appin author Allison Butler's second book has just hit shelves, and it will take care of all your Scottish wanderlust. The Thief, her second book in the Borderland Brides anthology after The Healer, is an historical romance, published by Harper Collins' Mira Books.
"The Thief is a story about a promise, belonging and falling in love," Butler told the Advertiser. "It's set on the Scottish side of the England/Scotland border in 1402.
"It's about Laird Lachlan Eliot, who is a man of his word and takes his responsibility seriously. He's promised his dying father that he will marry and sire an heir, but due to a family secret, he's determined that the marriage will be one of convenience only.
"Meanwhile, Kenzie Irvine is the second daughter of a man of power, a man who was desperate for a son. She's been overlooked and classed as a disappointment to some. But she's feisty and she's strong-willed and she's forged a life for herself. The last thing she needs is to be caught stealing from Lachlan Elliot, another man of power, who gives her the choice to either marry him or hang."
Butler said the book took her about two years to put together, in between her work in aged care in Camden and time spent with the grandkids. She said an awful lot of research went into crafting a book that was as accurate as possible - something that's made easier by having a Scottish husband.
"Accuracy is really important," she said.
"It's difficult sometimes because a lot of history was lost during battles and wars.
"I have the internet and books, and I was lucky enough to have travelled to Scotland a couple of times.
"Just getting a feel of the place, even thought it's hundreds of years later, is still exciting and helps the research.
"I love Scotland - their history is huge, and it's very turbulent.
"My husband is great with helping provide a man's point of view, which is very different from mine. He's great to bounce ideas off."
Butler said she had always been drawn to history, and historical romance as a genre. She's been inspired by a host of other writers including Virginia Henley, Catherine Anderson, Marsha Canham and more.
"Anna Campbell was my mentor through Romance Writers of Australia, which is a great organisation that has lots of support for writers," Butler said. "Alissa Callen is my critique partner. There are so many authors that I look up to and follow their work, and I'm very lucky to know quite a few of them."
Butler has written a further three novels, which currently exist as e-books, and she hopes they can also be printed one day. She said a minor character from her last book, The Saint, is ready for her own adventure.
"She's been tapping me on the shoulder saying 'where's my story'," Butler said.
"I've started this one, so now I just need to knuckle down and get it finished."
She encouraged anyone looking for a Scottish escape to give The Thief a go.
"At the moment we can't travel anywhere, and any book you pick up is an adventure, an escape, a journey," she said. "If you fancy Scotland, I suggest you pick this one up. It's got to do with the daily life as well, and the history of Scotland. There's a good amount of romance, lots of witty banter and they're great characters."
The Thief is out now in stores and online.
Thanks to our friends at Harper Collins, Australian Community Media has six copies of The Thief by Allison Butler to give away.
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