Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Author Nancy Badger + Giveaway

by Nancy Lee Badger

When I started to write my Scottish time travel series, I knew I wanted to include a Scottish castle; one that sat high on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. I made the decision to use a fictional castle and based my Castle Ruadh on one of Scotland’s oldest castles.

The Castle of Old Wick was probably built by an earl of Caithness in the 1100s. This makes it one of the oldest castles in Scotland. The simple four-story tower was built when the area was ruled by the kings of Norway who held sway over Caithness and Sutherland, and were also referred to as the Norse Earls of Orkney. The remains of further ranges is found along the promontory, high above. Since my hero’s clan claims they have descended from Vikings, this was a perfect castle to emulate. The ruins are dramatically located on top of steep cliffs overlooking the North Sea which connects to the ocean through the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north. This is exactly what I pictured!

According to my research, the castle has belonged to various owners; the Cheynes and the Sutherland Lord Duffus in the 14th century, and the Oliphants in the 15th century. Besieged and captured by John Sinclair, Master of Caithness, in 1569 , the Sinclairs later bought it then sold it to the Campbells of Glenorchy in the 1670s. They in turn sold it to the Dunbars of Hemprigg who held it until 1910. For my story, I called it simply the red castle. ‘Ruadh’ is Gaelic for red, and I settled the Keith clan inside. I mention the castle when my heroine, Haven MacKay, finds herself in unusual circumstances:
Spying Reid, Haven asked him to accompany her to the stream. The young boy’s face lit up as if she’d offered him the world on a platter. Before he followed, he grabbed a short sword from the weapons pile. Haven smirked.

These actors sure take their parts to heart.

After relieving herself behind a tree, she washed her face and hands in the stream’s icy water. Haven followed Reid back to camp and asked about his injury. He’d shrugged it off as a nuisance.

“I promised my laird I would be hale and hearty by the time we reach Castle Ruadh.”

“If I recall my Gaelic, this means the red castle?”

“Aye. ‘Twas built of red sandstone. A tower, bailey, stables, and village. It overlooks the sea.”

When the boy neglected to explain further, she chalked it up to part of the act.
Get the picture? I did some further research and found that the area near the North Sea is comprised of red sandstone, so…why not a red castle? Here is another instance where I refer to the mighty castle:
“As long as Kirkwall Gunn lives, my uncle vows to follow the course. He has need of strong warriors offering allegiance.”

“Is this true?” Mackenzie asked Fia Keith, turning to face her.

“We are not a wealthy clan, but we do have the finest warriors this side of the Sutherland border,” Kirk explained, “and we pledged to protect the Keith holdings and to leave warriors here to guard Castle Ruadh. Such a deal meant no more war between us. Then I came to my senses.”
Sounds to me that owning a castle does not mean you can defend it. Many clans hired mercenaries. Others, like in my book, formed betrothal contracts where one clan’s leader, or laird, wed a woman from the castle’s people. This contract formed the basis for my story. Here is my heroine’s opinion of her surroundings once they reach the castle:
Shaggy, orange Highland cows mooed as a mud-spattered boy led them toward a field of high grass. The youngster brandished a stick like a pro. Several dozen sheep munched bright green ferns beside a dirt road. Another road led to the craggy top of a cliff, so she walked toward the sound of the sea.

The keep known as Castle Ruadh stood on a rocky hilltop above the North Sea, not far from the River Wick.
I used a little bit of leeway about the river, but the cliffs are actual monuments that give Wick a brutal existence where several castles loom. Most are barely piles of weathered stone, but one can feel the history.


Bumbling present day herbalist, Haven MacKay, gets more than she bargains for when her love spell goes awry, is cast back in time, and meets her true love -- Laird Kirkwall Gunn.

Kirk’s plans go slightly off course when he falls in love with a woman wandering through the Scottish Highlands. After all, he has pledged to marry another, from an enemy clan, in order to end a century-old feud.

Book #1 of the Highland Games Through Time Series
Author: Nancy Lee Badger
Genre: Scottish Time Travel
Ebook Price: $4.99 (coming soon in PRINT)
Amazon: http://amzn.to/Knot6H
Print: http://amzn.to/T3eAlP
E Book ISBN 9781476417400

Find out more about Nancy Lee Badger here:

Website http://nancyleebadger.com
Blog http://nancyleebadger.blogpsot.com
Twitter @NLBadger
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/nancy.l.badger

CONTEST: Leave a comment and one winner will be chosen to win an e-copy of My Honorable Highlander!


  1. Thanks for having me today. Can't wait to give away my ebook. MY HONORABLE HIGHLANDER is NOW available in PRINT!

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading "My Honorable Highlander!" Haunts and Kilted Kisses!!!

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I'm curious if you were able to get a floor plan for the Old Wick castle to help you along? And if so, where do you get that sort of thing from?
    Thanks. This was a really interesting post.

    1. No, I really went by a description I read about red sandstone in the area, and by photos of the remains of castles in the Wick area such as the one on my blog. Check it out!

  4. Hey Nancy, Enjoyed your castle post. Love your book cover!

  5. My dream home is a house/castle on a cliff. i didn't know about this one, so thanks for sharing this. I 'll have to see what else I can find on it. YOur excerpt offers tantalizing glimpses into this history.

  6. I read all types of books but my favorite by far is Historical romances, especially Highlanders. Thanks for the interview I think I have found a new author to read. Debbie

  7. Nancy, Scottish castles and Viking ties are my favorite historical reading! I also love your heroine's penchant for bumbling. Thank you for posting this good information.

    1. Bumbling over her own feet? Wait until you read MY BANISHED HIGHLANDER!

  8. Just finished reading My Honorable Highlander and loved the excitement and suspense. Haven and Kirkwall were made for each other.

    1. Thanks...they were a hard act to follow, but the hero and 'shero' in my next book heat up the pages, too!

  9. isn't wick Castle haunted?

  10. Nancy,

    It must be fun, doing the research to write your Scottish books. Was it very hard to find the Castle History? I know I love doing research here for the states, but I wonder how do you go about finding the information for a person or object in another country?

    I wish you many sells and success with the new book.

    Teresa K.

  11. Interesting post. I enjoy castles so much.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  12. The covers look interesting, can't wait to read them.

  13. I love how you researched and incorporated your Scottish castle into your story! How do you keep from getting caught up in the research?

  14. I just got back from Scotland and still have the feel and sight of those castles in mind. Love how you've done research and designed your fictional castle. Good luck with your sales.