Wednesday, May 05, 2010

HIGHLAND BLESSINGS - Jennifer Hudson Taylor - Free Book

Welcome, Jennifer. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

It depends on the book and the character. In Highland Blessings, Akira has my Scots-Irish temper, yet my compassion. She wants to help create peace between the MacPhearson and MacKenzie Clans, she only wants to go about it in a different way than Bryce, the hero.

In an unpublished novel, Beloved Liberty, the heroine is plagued with my allergies. But since it is 1810, she has to suffer through it. There are no allergy shots for her as I am able to receive each week.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I don’t know if it is the quirkiest or the most defiant, but my temper got the best of me when I was about eight or nine and I locked my mother out of the house to keep her from spanking me for something I had done. I can’t remember what I had done, but she wouldn’t make that promise. My mother never lied to me, and I knew if I could convince her to make that promise, I wouldn’t get my punishment. She told me she would wait outside for the rest of the afternoon until my dad came home with the key. Then I would get two spankings. After a while I finally let her in and faced my punishment.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was 12, I finished watching Gone With the Wind with my mom and decided I wanted to write the next great novel. I started handwriting my first manuscript in a spiral notebook. She was so supportive and patient, giving me advice and encouraging me. She read everything I wrote.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

My favorite novels are historical romance. I read Regencies, medieval, colonial, and Victorian. I also love the period between 1900 and 1950. Occasionally, I will read a contemporary and there are many I enjoy. I also like romantic suspense and mysteries. Other books are historical in nature where I enjoy learning about history and researching a specific time period, event or topic for my own writing.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

My devotions and prayer time with God and talking to my husband who always helps me see things more clearly and calmly. He’s such a blessing. I don’t know what I would do without him.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I like to research names and their meaning or origin. Sometimes and name will just come to me and I know it is the one.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I didn’t accomplish this on my own, but with God’s help and my husband’s, overcoming and learning to deal with my daughter’s delayed development once I realized she wouldn’t die from her seizure disorder. She would stop breathing and require CPR. I would panic, and I thank God that not one of those episodes ever happened when my husband wasn’t with us. I would simply fall apart and that isn’t like me. I’ve always been level-headed and in control, this was the only thing that could unravel me to pieces—every time it happened.

I’m working on a sequel, Highland Sanctuary, where the heroine has a seizure disorder. This character is modeled after my daughter, but instead of being born in 1997, my heroine was born in 1457 and I explore the difficulties people like my daughter faced back then.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Possibly a bird, because I would want to fly over the earth. I used to have dreams of flying when I was younger.

What is your favorite food?

Pasta, although I enjoy Mexican and Chinese quite well. The only the I don’t like is hot, spicy foods.

Tell us a little about your journey to publication.

I first wrote secular romance and started trying to get my work published at 25 in 1996. I flew to my first RWA Conference in Dallas, TX. I didn’t know a single soul and I didn’t care. I was determined. In 2003 some personal things happened in my life and I stopped writing, while God taught me a great deal to get through my circumstances. It wasn’t until 2006 that I took up writing again. This time I decided I would write Christian fiction. In 2007, two of my manuscripts placed in ACFW’s Genesis contest and I signed a contract with my literary agent, Terry Burns. On my birthday, October 30th, 2008, I got the call that Highland Blessings had sold to Abingdon Press. It was the best birthday gift God had ever given me.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Finding time to write, and I’m still trying to overcome it since I have a full-time job. I just squeeze in writing wherever and whenever I can. I don’t have a choice if I’m going to write. I still get frustrated, and I work on my attitude each day not to resent my need to work or to resent those that are able to stay home when I cannot. I’m happy to say that I’m doing much better with this.

What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?

Don’t give up. Persistence is the key to the publishing world. And pray, pray, pray.

Tell us about the featured book?

Highland Blessings is the story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise he made to his dying father. Bryce MacPhearson, a highland warrior, kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. While Akira s strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment when he forces her to wed him, hoping to end a half-century-old feud between their clans. While Akira begins to forgive, and Bryce learns to trust, a series of murders leaves a trail of unanswered questions, confusion, and a legacy of hate that once again rises between their families. Clearly, a traitor is in their midst. Now the one man Akira loves no longer trusts her, and her own life is in danger. Can Bryce look beyond his pain and seek the truth? Will Akira discover the threat against her before it s too late? How will God turn a simple promise into bountiful Highland blessings?

Please give us the first page of the book.

Scotland, 1463

Cedric MacPhearson knew he was going to die, but he glanced up at the low clouds brewing a new storm and raised a fist, determined he would last until one of his sons found him. The survival of his clan depended upon it. And as ornery and stubborn as he had been all his life, no one would believe he had agreed to a peaceful settlement with the MacKenzies if he died, least of all his sons.

Beads of sweat broke along his brow as he struggled to remain conscious, mentally listing every black deed he had ever committed and then muttering a whispered prayer for each one. As the MacPhearson Chieftain, Cedric’s word had been law and never questioned. He had always thought himself a fair man with a firm ruling hand. Now as he prepared to meet his Maker, he wasn’t so sure. It was imperative that he complete one last goodwill before he closed his eyes forever.

The restless wind twirled faster, rustling the scattered leaves around him. The cool air was a comfort, projecting a feeling of being lifted high and floating away as the pain in his chest faded to numbness. Lightning flashed silently in a series of quicksilver, highlighting a lone rider approaching at top speed.

Rumbling thunder echoed in Cedric’s ears, drowning out the sound of a winded destrier pulled short and his son’s voice calling to him. Cedric’s head was gently lifted into the lad’s lap and tenderly cradled in youthful hands, strong with promise. Bryce, his middle son peered down at him with intelligent, gray eyes full of concern.

“Da! What happened to ye?” He reached over and carefully lifted Cedric’s bloody tunic. Moisture gathered in his gray eyes at the sight of the large sword wound slightly below Cedric’s heart. “Likely, the villain got yer lungs.” His voice sounded like a man, but it shook with desperation. He looked deeply into Cedric’s eyes with painful certainty. “Who did this to ye?”

How can the readers find you on the Internet?

My website is:
My writing blog is:
My Celtic blog is:
I’m also on Facebook, Shoutlife, Goodreads, and Shelfari.

Lena, Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed on your blog!

Jennifer, I've really enjoyed our time together.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using this link when you order the book, you'll help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Merry said...

I loved the interview, you were a feisty little girl to lock your mom out of the house! Highland Blessings sounds terrific, please include me. Thanks!

Katrina said...

sounds like a really good read, I would love to win.

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

this book looks really good. I would love to enter this giveaway.
Ashley W.

Unknown said...

Please enter me:) I would love to win this book. Thanks!!


Lourdes said...

Ha I just love that you locked your mom out too funny. Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway.


Tammy Doherty said...

I've had the pleasure of critiquing some of Jennifer's work (sadly, not this one!) and her writing is wonderful. I can't wait to read "Highland Blessings" but I intend to purchase a copy. Let this free book go to someone who has yet to discover the joy of reading Jennifer's writing. They'll soon be looking for more books by her!

Jen, I love your Scots-Irish blog. Having a similar heritage, I can only hope my kids don't inherit my Scots temper. I know they've inherited their father's gift of Irish charm :D

Blessings to you both, Jennifer and Lena.

Unknown said...

I love this time period.
Thanks for offering the book.

Casey said...

I would love to read this, thank you!!

Unknown said...

I so enjoyed this interview!! I have heard about the book from another blog and I SO want to read it! :) Please enter me in the draw!
Thanks and God bless!

Jennifer Taylor said...

Merry, Yes, I was quite feisty. The Lord has had to curtail me a time or two! That was actually the 2nd time I locked her out. The first time I was a toddler and it was by accident. She said I kept banging on the door begging to get out. She stepped out with a basket of clothes and that's all the time it took for me to get into trouble!

Jennifer Taylor said...

Katrina, Ashley, Charity, and Lourdes, Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me share my story!

Jennifer Taylor said...

Hi, Tammy! I didn't have any critique partners with Highland Blessings. Thank you so much for your kind praise of my work. I'm looking forward to seeing your new works in print.

My Carolina Scots-Irish blog has suffered a bit, but I intend to resurrect it soon.

Jennifer Taylor said...

Wendy, Casey and Kim, Thank you for stopping by! Lena's interviews are fun as she asks some interesting questions.

grannyvon said...

I would love to win this book by Jennifer Hudson Taylor. The interview was very good.

Amber Holcomb said...

Please enter me for a chance to win this book! Thanks so much! :)


misskallie2000 said...

Great interview. You were a little bit wild and crazy (as Steve Martin would say) when you locked your mom out. LOL
Have read other great reviews so I would love to win this book.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Great interview, I love books set in the highlands! Please enter me!


Sherry Kuhn said...

This is one that is on my wish list. Please include me in the drawing.

runner10 said...

Sounds like a great book.

Terri said...

That book sound wonderful. I would love to win one!!!


Edna said...

Please enter me

I follow on google


Cindy W. said...

Sounds like a great read.

Cindy W.


Linda Kish said...

Count me in, please.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I have been watching the Monarch of the Glen on NetFlix and it is based in Scotland. lol Thanks,

apple blossom said...

I'd love to be included in this giveaway. Thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

debbie said...

I would love to read this book.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Love your picture in highland dress. :O)


kristen said...

Great interview! Thanks
Please enter me:)

MaureenT said...

I really enjoyed your interview. I also love to read historical fiction. Please add me to your drawing!

alekee02{at]yahoo[dot]com said...

I would love a good read!

dancealert at aol dot com

Trinity Rose said...

Super book and super interview.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Count me in.
Trinity Rose

wandaelaine at gmail dot com

Megan said...

I love that picture of Jennifer! And the book cover is great too.

Thanks for another great interview, Lena!

Carole said...

I appreciate these interviews because I get to know a little about the authors whose books I love to read. Jennifer, I'm very glad that you turned to writing Christian fiction and I love how you draw from your personal experience with your daughter in this series.

Thank you for the chance to win a copy of Highland Blessings.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

RoseMillsOhio said...

Always admired those like you who manage to pursue your dreams while holding down a full time job! Congratulations on being published again!

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

I've seen this book everywhere and I've been wanting to read it! Please enter me! :-)

XOXO~ Renee

Esther Wysong said...

I love books set in the highlands, and Highland Blessings sounds a really good one. I would Love a chance to read this book, as it is on my wish list. Thanks!


Marla said...

Sounds like an interesting story. Thank you for the entr


Sarah said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book. Please enter me in the drawing.