Interview with NL Author Kate Robbins

Author Kate Robbins

Leave a comment below and enter to win the brooch pin featured on the cover of Bound to the Highlander.

Bound to the Highlander Cover Art
Bound to the Highlander Cover Art

Bound to the Highlander (BTTH) is the best selling, award-winning debut novel of Newfoundland author Kate Robbins. On the eve of publication BTTH won the 2013 Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA) award and since then, has cracked the top 100 on and is listed in the top ten on three of’s best seller lists.

BTTH is the kind of book you want to curl up with on a cold, stormy day. Nothing compliments a fuzzy blanket and blazing fire like a historical romance. It’s the story of Aileana Chattan who discovers she is betrothed to James MacIntosh, a man loyal to King James I of Scotland, the man responsible for her father’s death. (click here for a full synopsis and to read a sample of BTTH).

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Kate as part of a month-long blog tour celebrating the launch of her first novel.

Welcome Kate!

First, let’s chat about the cover art for BTTH. Talk about a departure from the traditional romance novel cover! That red tartan pops right off the page. How much input did you have into the design?

From my earliest vision of this series, I saw the book covers reflecting something about the chief the book centered around. So people never fit for me. Each book in the series will feature a clan crest brooch pin from that clan. My publisher, Tirgearr, were fabulous to work with on it. They understood my vision and did their very best to bring it to life. I’m thrilled with it. PLUS I’m giving away that brooch pin after today folks need to leave a comment! That’s how they can enter.

What is the significance of the brooch?

The brooch pin has been used for centuries on both the ancient plaid and modern kilt. Like any functioning piece of jewelry, the brooch pin would have varied depending on the wearer. I had envisioned the one on the cover when I wrote Bound to the Highlander. Can you imagine my surprise when I actually found one like it?

Are these clan brooches that exist outside your novel, or are they specific to your fictional characters?

You can buy these brooches at just about any pipe band or kilt supply shop. Mine came from Gaelic Themes Ltd in Scotland as distributed through License to Kilt. 🙂

BTTH is the first of three novels in your Highland Chiefs series, which has as its backdrop, the reign and subsequent assassination of King James Stewart I of Scotland. What inspired you to write about (a) Scotland and (b) this period in Scottish history?

I’ve always been fascinated with Scotland, right from my first historical romance when I was about 15. I’ve read Johanna Lindsay‘s A Gentle Feuding so many times over the years and I still love it. Once I knew I was writing a Scottish Historical, I set out to learn more about the political climate during the high middle ages. Once I learned about James Stewart I, I was hooked! From his imprisonment in England to his attempt to unify Scotland and subsequently restricting the noble’s power, James Stewart’s reign was volatile and fascinating.

I know you worked hard to maintain the linguistic integrity of this time in history (using the vernacular rather than modern colloquialisms).  How much of a challenge was that for you when writing BTTH? Why is it important to you, that the language in your novel reflect 15th century Scotland?

That was an interesting balance to strike. Had I chosen words only existing in the 15th century, modern readers would have unlikely taken a chance on it. When was the last time you read a book written in middle-English? You could say I really did choose my words carefully. I decided not to add dialect as well, since as a reader, I find that jarring. Where possible I changed words – aye instead of yes – but I stayed away from including how the words may have been pronounced. Again, this makes for ease of reading. Having said that, words like ‘ok’ would not be acceptable. Every historical fiction writer faces this, and each must find their balance. I couldn’t say the lady thinks the laird cool, that wouldn’t fly. 😉

Keeping with the issue of linguistics, how difficult (or easy!) was it to find the right language when describing the more intimate sex scenes? I mean, the spectrum of words used to describe body parts alone is incredibly broad – from proper, textbook names to street slang and everything in between. 

Writing good sex scenes is all about knowing your characters. If you know how they’d act in other situations, you know how they’d speak and act…and moan in sex scenes. LOL The secret to good sex scenes is the chemistry and anticipation leading up to it.

Tell me, how does it feel to be a best selling, award-winning debut author?

Lordy. Where did I put that wine glass? It’s a bit messed up actually. I had hoped it would do well, but never expected anything like this. I’m so grateful for all the amazing and supportive people I have around me. Our Scribe Wenches group contains some of the best writers I know and I see much more good news coming.

Thank you so much for having me here today Valerie! I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some of your work and can’t wait until we’re celebrating your debut release. 🙂

Author Kate Robbins
Author Kate Robbins

Kate Robbins writes historical romance novels out of pure escapism and a love for all things Scottish, not to mention a life-long enjoyment of reading romance. Her journey into storytelling began with a short screenplay she wrote, directed, and produced which was screened at the 2003 Nickel Film Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She has also written and directed several stage plays for youth.

Kate loves the research process and delving into secondary sources in order to give readers the most authentic historical romance possible. She has travelled to Scotland and has visited the sites described in her Highland Chiefs series.

Bound to the Highlander is the first of three books set during the early fifteenth century during the reign of James Stewart, first of his name.

Kate is the pen name of Debbie Robbins who lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada with her hubby, the man-beast, and her two awesome boys, the man-cubs.

Follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter!

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women