Undone Week: Michelle Willingham Hits The Harlequin Title JackpotMonday, November 3, 2008 10:00
Readers, ever lament that they don’t publish medieval romances like they used to? Are you like me and ever wondered why Ireland isn’t used as a setting for historical romances more? Well have no fear, because Michelle Willingham is busy killing two birds with one stone! And with her latest novella for the Harlequin Historical Undone line, she’s hit the jackpot with a title that would make any Harlequin Presents author weep with jealousy. In honor of it’s release, Michelle stopped by the pond to give us the scoop behind her story’s inspiration.
Upon a trip to Dublin two years ago, I had visited the archaeological museum in order to research medieval artifacts. But while inside, I found an amazing display of Viking lore. With further reading, I learned that a Norse King, Magnus the Barefoot, attempted to take over Dublin in 1101. Such a daring move made him a fascinating historical figure, and as I plotted my Viking story, I imagined that such a king might indeed be a ruthless and an interesting foe for a Viking warrior.
One of the more tragic stories that I learned about was the massacre at Dunmore Cave, in Kilkenny. During a Viking raid, over 1000 of the Irish were killed, including women and children. The tribesmen and women fled to the cave, where they were caught and killed. It led me to understand the fear that the Irish held for these raids, and how a young woman might feel if a Viking warrior took her.
The Viking’s Forbidden Love-Slave tells the story of Tharand Hardrata, a member of the Norse warrior class who steals an Irish noblewoman from her clan. He intends to trade Aisling Ó Brannon for his sister’s life, after she was taken by King Magnus. If Aisling succeeds in pleasing the king with her body, Tharand believes Magnus will let his sister go. But the Irish captive enslaves him with a pleasure he’d never before known.
Fortunately for my heroine Aisling, Tharand is a man of honor, and with each forbidden moment they share, she learns how very different he is from the stories she heard of Viking warriors, long ago. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be carried off by an amazingly hot Viking, then I hope you’ll enjoy this fantasy story!
At the end, Aisling asks Tharand to help her discover what happened to her brothers during the Norse raid. Readers can learn about both brothers in Her Warrior Slave, the story of Kieran Ó Brannon, which is on sale now from Harlequin Historicals.
Readers, for more behind-the-scenes details, be sure to visit Michelle’s fabulous website.