Hi, Dawn, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about your current release:
Sea Panther is a Scottish inspired paranormal romance with a Highlander vampire shifter hero, a modern damsel in distress, adventure, suspense, and romance. And a wee bit of time travel—just for fun. It’s the first book in the new Crimson Storm series, a Night Owl Reviews top pick, and was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist for Best Paranormal Romance.
Can love mend a fractured soul?
After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.
Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain’s crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She’s lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly’s blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther’s heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.
What inspired this story?
It all started with wanting to write a vampire pirate story. Since I write Scottish inspired romance I spent time searching for a Scottish / pirate connection. In the meantime, I began writing to get a feel for the characters. Robert, the hero of the story, balked at being a pirate, but I pressed on. While doing research, I stumbled across The Republic of Pirates—Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard. And within the pages, I found the wee piece of history needed to set the stage for Sea Panther.
In August of 1714, Queen Anne of England died, childless. The crown would have passed to her half-brother, James Stuart, if not for a law passed in 1701 declaring no Catholic could sit upon the thrown of England. Instead, George Ludwig, a second cousin of Anne’s and a Protestant from Germany was brought to England and crowned King George I. Many were displeased having a German who didn’t care to learn the language as king. The Scots were especially unhappy having lost their independence in 1707, but at least they had had a Stewart (the legitimate royal family of Scotland) on the thrown. Now, they had a king hostile to their cause. The noble families of Scotland, along with many Englishmen, became determined to place James Stuart on the thrown. Thus was born the Jacobite movement.
Lord Archibald Hamilton, Governor of Jamaica, was a Jacobite. Although he later denied it, it is believed he gathered together and commissioned a fleet of private warships in Port Royal intended as a Jacobite navy. Lucky for Robert, he got out of being a pirate in Sea Panther and joined the ranks of privateers commissioned by Lord Hamilton. Though many would call them pirates.
Of course, at that point in the writing, neither Robert nor I knew he’d be cursed and become a shape shifting vampire. While driving in Southern Florida, a sign on the road—panther crossing next 7 miles—changed everything. The story morphed into a vampire shifter romance novel with a new premise and set of paranormal rules.
The story has been described by reviewers as a refreshingly different vampire story.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I’m working on the third book in the Highland Gardens series, Scottish historical time travel romance w/ faeries, Just Wait For Me, tentatively scheduled for release late fall 2014.
Do you have any good news you’d like to share?
I’m a featured author at the 2014 Authors After Dark Convention in Charlotte, NC August 6 – 10th. I’ve never gone, but hear it’s a blast and a great place to meet and interact with readers. If anyone is going, please find me and introduce yourself. I’ll have swag and prizes to give away. And I’ll be signing Sea Panther, Just Beyond the Garden Gate (Highland Gardens Book 1), and Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon (Highland Gardens Book 2), which releases in print later this week. If you’re interested in joining the fun visit: http://www.authorsafterdark.org/
What are your writing goals for this year?
I hope to finish and publish Just Wait for Me, Highland Gardens, Book 3, and write a holiday novella for the series.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
Usually with an idea or concept, like with Sea Panther, a pirate vampire romance. Then characters jump into my head, wanting their story told. Research parallels with writing and, as with Sea Panther, the story sometimes morphs into something totally different. I do very little plotting, except for using a story board. A board with a square for each chapter. I use stickies of different colors—a different color for each character or plot thread and move them around on the board as the story evolves.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
I write during the day while the house is quiet. I try to spend quality time with my husband in the evenings and on weekends, but sometimes promotional activities invade.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
Yes. Whatever hero and heroine I’m currently working with. J I love all my characters.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
The scene where Robert and Kimberly make love behind a waterfall in Jamaica. Very sensual.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
The Blue Ridge Mountains. I enjoy camping and hiking with my husband at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. And I really like the area around Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, where the Highland Gardens novels begin.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
Salmon (actually most fish) is a favorite food, but I enjoy cooking Mexican and Italian food.
What do you like to read?
I read mostly paranormal romance, Scottish historical romance, and regency romance, but do occasionally stray. Right now, I’m enamored with the Night Prowler series by J.T. Geissinger and the Highland wolves by Terry Spear.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My mother, and I thank her dearly for the gift.
What don’t most people know about you but you would like to share?
I drive a Mustang, which will be filled with books, swag, and goodies when I drive to the Authors After Dark convention in August.
These are few of my favorite things:
2. Red Wine
3. Belgian chocolate
4. Peridot gemstones
A Giveaway! If you could shape shift into any creature—real or mythical—what would it be? One commenter who answers the question and leaves an email address will receive an e-copy (Kindle or Nook format) of Sea Panther.
He needed to be wary of this dangerous woman. He couldn’t hire her—have her near him, night after night, for the entire duration of a cruise. Too great would be temptation.
Robert studied her tall, slim form. She appeared elegant even though casually dressed. Soft chocolate eyes peered from a sculpted ivory face framed by shoulder-length curly brown hair. His gaze fed on lush lips that begged for passionate kisses.
When a pink tongue darted out and moistened those lips, every muscle in his body clenched. Fire raced through his veins. He was lost.
He couldn’t allow it. He strengthened his resolve. “Please, have a seat,” he reluctantly offered.
Her eyes glimmered with recognition, and she smiled. “Captain MacLachlan?”
“Aye.” Robert waved toward a chair. “Sit.”
He clenched his jaw. Was it his voice that sounded so gruff? Just as well, he didn’t want to give encouragement.
She dropped into the chair. A perplexed expression played on perfect features.
“What is your name?” he asked.
“I…I’m sorry.” She jumped up and reached out a hand. “Kimberly Scot.”
“Robert MacLachlan, Captain of Sea Panther.”
He hesitated before shaking her hand. Would her touch produce the same effect as on their last meeting? He tightened control on the vampire and the panther, and grasped the slender hand.
Her eyes widened.
He yanked his arm away and extinguished the unwanted flame of lust hardening his loins. This woman meant trouble.
“Sit,” he barked.
Though her hands trembled, she did as directed.
He trembled too. Needing time to rein in the chaotic emotions, he poured wine into two goblets from the bottle on the wet bar. He handed her one, careful not to make physical contact again. “I own this establishment. The wine is excellent.”
“Thank you,” she said and accepted the glass.
He grunted. God, he was being rude.
He paced a few feet away. Far enough not to reach for her. The lingering sensation from their brief handshake made him edgy. The pulse at her neck called to the vampire. The panther, demanding his mate, fought against bonds to which Robert tethered the animal. Robert forced control. “You want to crew on Sea Panther?”
Uncertainty flickered in her eyes. Was she afraid?
Aye. He smelled trepidation. Although it was best she fear him, the thought didn’t sit well. A strong need to protect his mate blasted his frontal lobe. Damn panther.
She held his stare. Finally, she answered, “Yes.”
“Why do you want to crew for me?”
“I need a job.”
Dark brows rose in a graceful arch. “Do you?”
“What experience do you have?”
“I sailed with my father when I was a teenager.”
Robert ignored the pinch in his chest and slid his gaze over her too-slim form. He lingered on the curve of her breasts before gradually directing his gaze higher, satisfied when she blushed. “Not to be insulting, but you haven’t been a teenager for a long time.”
The angry tilt of her chin exposed the sweet, soft, tempting length of her throat. His fangs punched through his gums, and he labored to concentrate.
“My father was Jimmy Scot. I’m sure you’ve heard of him.”
Indeed. Fast Jimmy had won more international yacht races than any of his contemporaries. Why did his daughter seek a job on Sea Panther? Although the lass wore quality garments, Colin believed she struggled without resources.
“When was the last time you sailed?”
“Before my father died.” She pinned him with an irritated look. “Listen, I need a job, and I’m a good sailor.”
Sea Panther needed another hand. No one else had applied. Robert sighed, feeling cornered. Hadn’t she heard the rumors about him? Didn’t she believe the stories as all the others did? The lass must be in a dire situation if there was no one to turn to other than him.
She held his gaze and waited for a response. Her imploring brown eyes slashed his defenses. Robert didn’t want to give in. He should send her away.
He retreated to the other side of the room and sat on the red leather sofa. With one leg crossed over the other knee, he tried to appear unaffected by her presence. He observed her while morosely pretending to sip from the goblet of wine, wishing the crystal glass contained her blood.
You can buy Sea Panther at:
Bio: Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.
You can find Dawn at: