Released from the captivity of the Fae, Murdoch Seton wants nothing more than to forget his lost years. Undertaking a quest to recover treasure stolen from his family seems the perfect solution – but Murdoch is not counting upon a curious maiden who holds both the secret to the theft and his sole redemption.
Isabella is outraged to find her brother’s keep besieged by a renegade knight – especially one who is too handsome for his own good or hers. After a single encounter, she becomes convinced that his cause is just and decides to unveil the true thief, never imagining that their single shared kiss has launched a battle for Murdoch’s very soul.
As the treacherous Fae move to claim Murdoch forever, Isabella seeks to heal the knight who has stolen her heart. But will Murdoch allow her to take a risk and endanger herself? Or will he sacrifice himself to ensure Isabella’s future?
Fairy tales were some of the first stories I ever read, and I continue to read them now. They are my favorite kind of story, which is why I have almost a whole bookcase filled with books that contain fairy tales. Some volumes of fairy tales have been collected by country of origin; others are gathered by theme; still others show an international collection of variations of a given story. I also collect collections of folk tales and stories that people told to each other. Finally, I have books that discuss fairy tales, their themes, and their importance. There are quite a few books of this type written by the scholar Jack Zipes on my shelves, for example.
What do I like about fairy tales? I like that people told them to each other, maybe before the hearth, and I like that the story could change, depending upon who was telling the story. Originally, fairy tales were not written down: a storyteller remembered them and recounted them whenever someone wanted to hear the story. A given storyteller might modify the story quite a bit, or maybe just a little, or maybe tweak it a bit to suit his or her audience better. That seems a lot like what I do, and in fact, twisting a familiar story around in a new way is one of my favorite things to do when writing a book.
I like the blend of elements in fairy tales, as well. They tend to have a bit of humor in them, and it can be quite earthy humor. They can star princes or paupers, or maybe even both. Often in a fairy tale, goodness is rewarded, independent of the character’s financial status or appearance. Fairy tales can feature riddles, and clever characters who solve them. Finally, fairy tales invariably include a magical or fantasy element. That works for me in a big way.
My favorite fairy tale of all time is Beauty and the Beast, and the frame of this story is one that I revisit again and again. I like to play with it and twist it around, maybe include a few surprises, but still have the fundamental structure — because it works so well. The idea that a beautiful young woman could fall in love with a man who hid his scars from her just because of his character is a beguiling one. That her love could shatter the curse that holds him captive is just about as romantic as it gets. The HEA in this story is one that is so well-earned, and both characters have to contribute to ensure they get the future they want with all their hearts. That’s why it’s my favorite.
My new medieval romance THE RENEGADE’S HEART (http://www.delacroix.net/trhX.html) might be called a paranormal medieval romance or even a medieval fantasy romance, but really it’s a fairy tale. If I tell you a bit about it, you’ll easily see which fairy tale is echoed in the story. Our hero Murdoch has been cursed by none other than the Fae Queen. She wants him for herself, but has promised to grant him one wish. Murdoch wishes to leave the realm of the Fae where he has spent years in captivity and return home. Murdoch knows enough of the Fae to understand that they like to play jokes, preferably at the expense of a mortal. No one is more surprised than Murdoch when it appears that his wish has been granted – and no one could be more disappointed to discover that he’s been deceived. Murdoch, like the best heroes, decides to make his time in the mortal realm count for something. He’ll defend his family’s honor, independent of the price to himself. That sets him on the course to Kinfairlie, where a curious maiden named Isabella is so intrigued by Murdoch that he can’t frighten her away – not even for her own safety. Of course, those of us who read fairy tales know that’s because Isabella is the one who can save him with her love, if only Murdoch can trust her enough to surrender his heart.
I loved writing this book. I was just as crazy for Murdoch as Isabella, plus I admired Isabella’s determination and curiosity nearly as much as Murdoch did. The Fae Queen, though, is not one to be easily denied her desire. (Okay, I liked that part, too.)
The other thing that was fun about writing THE RENEGADE’S HEART was revisiting the family at Kinfairlie who were introduced in my previous trilogy, “The Jewels of Kinfairlie”. I like checking in with characters and catching up with their news, and that’s what I got to do in this book.
Just because we all love fairy tales and happy endings here, I have two presents for you. (Maybe one is silver and one is gold.) The first book in the Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy, THE BEAUTY BRIDE, is free right now at most portals. (Amazon keeps changing their mind as to whether it’s free there, but you can get a Kindle edition at Smashwords or All Romance eBooks for free.) So, please get yourself a copy and enjoy! http://www.delacroix.net/tbbX.html
Secondly, I’ll send a signed trade paperback copy of THE RENEGADE’S HEART to one person who comments on this blog post. Fatin will pick the winner, and the contest is open internationally. Just tell me your favorite fairy tale, and why you love that one so much.
Thanks for inviting me to visit, Fatin, and happy reading everyone!