Special guest post with author Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Today, I have a special guest on my blog – gifted author Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Many of you may recognize her name from her book Highland Blessings.

Jennifer is here today to talk about her latest book Highland Sanctuary, which releases next month and is already available for preorder and promises to be an excellent read. 

So…here’s a warm welcome to Jennifer!

My Photo

Caithness, Scotland – The Setting of Highland Sanctuary

When I decided to write Highland Sanctuary, I wanted a setting that wasn’t as well known in Scotland. I had heard and read many novels set in Galloway, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. When I discovered Caithness, while researching historic castles, I found my ideal setting. 

Caithness, is a now a county in the far northern tip of Scotland, nestled against the sea. Formerly part of the shire of Inverness, it gained independence in 1455 when the Earl of Caithness gained a grant of the justiciary or sheriffdom. 

It’s beautiful–and different from the rest of the country. For instance, the land is open and flat, lacking trees and forest, known as moorland and covered in peat moss. A few hills are scattered about, but not the kind of mountains often associated in photos of the highlands. Caithness contains plenty of lochs and bog areas. 

In Highland Sanctuary, I created the fictional town of Braighwick and the wee Village of Braigh, referred to many as the Village of Outcasts in my novel. This gave me the freedom to create the people and layout of the town, as needed for the purposes of my story. Braigh Castle was based on the ruins of Brough Castle.  (http://www.caithness.org/caithness/castles/brough)

While my characters spoke the same English with a slight Scottish brogue as in my debut novel, Highland Blessings, it’s worth noting the language variations in historic Caithness. The area was first inhabited by the Picts, whose language is unknown. By 800 AD the Norse occupied Caithness, and later the Gaelic speakers colonized the area from Scandinavia before the English arrived. Therefore, variations of Norse, Gaelic and English was spoken in different areas of Caithness. 

Another important development in Caithness that affected my story in Highland Sanctuary, was the established religion. By 1477, when my novel takes place, The Church of Scotland, a Catholic denomination, was well established in Caithness and throughout the country. Civil administration parishes were the same as the Church. The Cathedral in my novel is also a product of my imagination after I read about the history of Dornoch Cathedral and Halkirk Highland. The Scottish Reformation of 1560 introduced Protestant theology and in 1689 established the Presbyterian form of church government. 

Highland Sanctuary Blurb

Highland Sanctuary

Gavin MacKenzie is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh. He discovers a hidden village of outcasts that have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass who captures Gavin’s heart. The villagers have an intriguing secret, while Serena harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.

 Author Bio

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading. Jennifer’s fiction is represented by Literary Agent, Terry Burns with Hartline Literary Agency.

Website/blog: www.jenniferhudsontaylor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferHudsonTaylor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jt4novels

Interview/Giveaway with Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor and a winner has been chosen!

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend. A winner has been chosen at random for Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s book Highland Blessings. That winner is Kelly! Congratulations, Kelly!  I will be emailing you shortly with the details.

Thank you to everyone who entered. Be sure to enter to win Laura Hilton’s book and watch for the giveaway of Author Joanne Troppello’s book this Thursday!

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I am excited to have Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor as my guest this week. Jennifer is also graciously giving away a copy of her wonderful novel Highland Blessings to one lucky commenter. Please leave an encouraging comment for Jennifer by Thursday, April 21 for a chance to win! Subscribe to this blog and receive two entries!
 
And now, without further ado, please welcome Jennifer Hudson Taylor…
Hello, Jennifer! Thank you for being here today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. I write historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas. I’m also a mom and wife who works another full-time job outside the home. I love traveling, history and coffee!
Image of "Jennifer Hudson Taylor" 

Please tell us about your current book, Highland Blessings. Scotland (1473) – Highland warrior Bryce MacPhearson kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. When he forces Akira to wed him, hoping to end a half-century feud between their clans, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment. . .Yet her strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce. But there is a traitor in their midst . . . and murder is the ultimate weapon.

Highland Blessings

Sounds awesome! What was your inspiration behind your book and what do you hope readers will take away from it after they finish reading it? I’ve always loved historical romances set in Scotland. The highlands have always fascinated me and since so many of my ancestors were Scots-Irish, I wanted to write about that setting. We have lots of redheads in my family. My Scottish surnames are Gregory (MacGregor), Frazier, and Galloway. My husband’s Scottish surnames are Henderson, Grant, and Campbell. On a spiritual level, I want people to realize through Highland Blessings that it doesn’t matter how old the feud, regardless of the circumstances, there is love and forgiveness through Christ who really does restore relationships. 
 
Do you have a favorite Bible verse? During my 14 years of trying to get published and through all the rejections, I clung to “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
 
Where do you see yourself in five years? In otherwords, what are your hopes, dreams, and goals? My hopes are that my writing will be successful enough to support my family or at least allow me to reduce my “other job” to part-time. My dream is to take my family to Scotland. These are also my goals. 
 
If you were given a million dollars to start a charity, what type of charity would you start and why? I’d like to do something for teen moms even though there are already several programs out there. My mother was 16 when I was born, and she was a wonderful mother in spite of her young age. She taught me my faith in God. My dad was 19 and they are both still married to this day after 41 years in spite of being high school drop outs. I want teens who may be pregnant to understand that their life isn’t over because they have this new responsibility. Their lives are just beginning, and even though life took a detour they didn’t expect, God could shower them with multiple blessings through their child. I grew up to be a Christian fiction author. I bet no one ever thought that would happen when they saw my mom holding my hand in the local Dept of Social Services office to get foodstamps. It wasn’t easy for my parents. They swallowed their pride, did what they had to do, and started drilling college into me from the moment I could walk. I’m one of those college students who received my B.A. in Journalism through multiple sources of a government grants, student loans, scholarships, and a work-study program. I received my 4-yr degree in only 3 years. There is no limit to what teen parents can accomplish through Christ.
 
Wow, Jennifer! Your last statement is so true. I love your heart for teen mothers! So…what’s next on your writing agenda? My next novel, Highland Sanctuary, will release in Oct 2011. Here’s a short blurb:
Caithness, Scotland (1477) Gavin MacKenzie is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh. He discovers a hidden village of outcasts that have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass who captures Gavin’s heart. The villagers have an intriguing secret, while Serena harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.
 
Where can readers connect with you? (website, blog, twitter, FB, etc.)
 
Thank you, Jennifer, for being a guest on my blog. God’s blessings to you and your family.

Thank you for having me!

Highland Blessings is available everywhere books are sold including Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Blessings-Jennifer-Hudson-Taylor/dp/1426702264/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302730948&sr=1-1