Romantic Novelists' Association

Lara Temple – Writing Is A Solitary Business

8 May 2019


I’m delighted to welcome Lara Temple to the blog today to tell us about her new book, Unlaced by the Highland Duke. This is part of the Mills and Boon series, The Lochmore Legacy that we will be following.

Lara, could you tell us some more about how the book and the series came about? 

I admit, my first reaction when my editor asked me if I wanted to write part of a four author series set in the Highlands was – flee!!!

Writing is a solitary business. I don’t quite write in an attic, but close enough – I write when there’s no one at home (other than our dog, Oscar, but sometimes I even have to escape his presence) and in the end I know it’s all on me. So my first thought was – what if I mess up? What if my book drags down the whole series? Then I heard that the three other authors were friends of mine – we are part of the same Facebook group of authors (The Unlaced Historical Romance Group) and we’ve met several times at conferences and publisher events. That should have freaked me out even more but actually it had the opposite effect – these are women I’ve already shared doubts and hopes with; they know me and I know them. I knew that if I ran into trouble, writer’s block, or ego collapse while writing, they would have my back. So I went out on a limb and said – I’m in!

I’m so glad I did!

Writing Unlaced by the Highland Duke was (surprisingly) one of the most enjoyable writing experiences I’ve had since becoming a published author with Harlequin M&B three years ago and I hope it shows in the end product.

I fell in love with Benneit and Jo (and Benneit’s son Jamie) and entered their world so deeply I still feel as if I was physically inside Lochmore Castle and could direct tours there! Lochmore Castle became another character for the four of us – we discussed the ballroom, the tunnels, how we reach the beaches from the sea gates, what the crypts and the effigies looked like… Every one of us added elements to this shared world based on what we needed for our stories. For example, I needed one calm, sheltered, beach where my hero’s young son could go beachcombing (and something called the Devil’s Seat for a little scene I planned), and another beach that was treacherous where my heroine would nearly drown trying to save him. Whenever each of us needed to add something to our little world we exchanged messages, put it out there, and saw how it worked for everyone else.

Janice Preston and I had to work especially closely together since my heroine has a significant role in her book, His Convenient Highland Wedding. So while I was actually writing who my heroine was, discovering her nature, I had to also contemplate what she would be like in thirty years’ time! That definitely was a challenge but it also added depth to her as a character.

In the end what I worried would be a disaster was an amazing experience and reinforced my conviction that one of the best things about writing romance is the women! Ever since I was first published in March 2016 I’ve met so many amazing women – authors, readers, and editors. This latest experience of working with three amazing women is just another stage on this amazing journey. I do hope you enjoy Unlaced by the Highland Duke (if you choose to read it), I certainly loved writing it and the next time I get a call from my editor asking me if I’m ready to do another series my first reaction will be a resounding yes!!!

 Thank you, Lara, it does sound fascinating. I love the idea that you have characters crossing over but with a significant time difference. 

This is such an exciting series with four M&B authors collaborating to bring it together. What inspired you to write your story?

I can’t claim credit for the ideas – every year or so the editors at Harlequin Mills&Boon come up with a great idea for a series or four inter-related books and ask four authors to work together. This is my first time taking part and I struck the jackpot because I loved the concept (two Highland families traced back through time) and even more importantly, the three other authors are good friends of mine. The minute I heard it was a chance to work with Janice Preston, Elisabeth Hobbes, and Nicole Locke I signed up!

How do you go about researching a new story? What research did you need to do to write Unlaced by the Highland Duke?

Usually I don’t start with research but with an idea that becomes a scene. The research fills the gaps in the story as it evolves. I knew I would be basing my sense of Scotland on a hiking trip I did in the Highlands (and especially on the beautiful Isle of Skye), but then I had to research things like – how long would it take to reach Lochmore from London, where would they stop, what would life at the castle be like, etc.

 How did you find collaborating with three other authors to make this successful?

 I was really worried about working with other authors. Usually writing is sucha  solitary activity and I was mostly afraid fo disappointing the other authors. But I loved working with them! We wanted to make sure our world building was consistent between the stories so we did a lot of research together – sharing facts and pictures of castles, the local economy, the clothes, and particularly the details of the castle – where the tunnels led, what the beaches looked like – because Lochmore Castle is a central element of the Lochmore Legacy.

 Can you give us a glimpse of what you are working on next?

I’m just finishing revisions on the last in another series of mine (The Sinful Sinclairs). The Sinclairs – Lucas, Chase, and Sam (Samantha) – are three siblings from a scandalous family that have had a very unconventional upbringing (between England, Venice, and Egypt) and are used to existing on the outskirts of society. Each one of them faces a particular challenge in their tale that drags them out of their comfort zone but luckily also leads to a well-earned Happily Ever After. I’ve loved living in their unsettled world and I’m going to miss them so much I’ve decided to write the story of the hero’s brother in Sinclair #3.

Thank you again for joining us today. The book and the series sound fabulous, and I’m sure it will be hugely successful. We will be catching up with more about the Lochmore Legacy books in the coming weeks.

About the Author:

Lara Temple writes strong and sensual Regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. She lives with her husband, two children, and one very fluffy dog and they are all very understanding about her taking over the kitchen table so she can look out over the garden as she writes and dreams up her Happy Ever Afters.




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About the Interviewer:

Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.