Tag Archive | Mackinnon’s Rangers

An Interview with Pamela Clare

EMERY:  Thank you so very much, Pamela, for joining us to talk about your new release, DEFIANT, book #3 in the MacKinnon Rangers. I am such a huge fan of this series and think all our followers will soon be too!

PAMELA: I am thrilled that you enjoyed the story! That totally makes my day! Thanks for letting me know. It’s very hard to write any period other than Regency and make it writing historicals. I’ve tried to carve a niche for myself in Colonial America, but the action element ‹ the violence ‹ is hard for readers who are used to witty banter and ballrooms. But these are the stories I have to tell, and that’s just how it is. 🙂 Thanks! I’ll get to your questions now…

1)There’s obviously a lot of research that goes into your historicals. I like how you¹ve incorporated some interesting facts into the story – a female as a chief of the Shawnee; Jonathan Edwards preaching to Joseph¹s tribe and the ritual plucking of hair from the body. How much time do you spend in research before you start the story. And, is it ongoing as you write? Is most of your research done online? 

PAMELA: I have a degree in archaeology and am an unrepentent history geek. The research is part of the fun for me. Before I started this series (or even my first three historicals), I did 2.5 years of pretty intensive research on the 18th century. I updated that research when I switched from my Kenleigh-Blakewell trilogy to MacKinnon’s Rangers and focused on the French & Indian War.


I used to go to the library and check out enormous stacks of books looking especially for primary sources (like diaries, songs, collections of letters, etc.) and reading through them to find the vocabulary, idiomatic expressions and routines of daily life that you can’t get out of a history book. I did a lot of interlibrary loan, and I kept (and still have) index cards. So that’s the baseline. I refresh my research for every book, tweaking it to focus on the year in which the story is set. And I DO researching on the fly. If I find, for example, that I just don’t know the word for the little thingy on the end of a bayonet that enables it to fit over the end of a musket ‹ which happened while I was writing DEFIANT ‹ I end up researching that. The Internet is enormously helpful in that regard, but it’s not the only source.

During the course of working on the MacKinnon’s Rangers series, I met the archaeologist who excavated the rangers encampment at Fort Edward; the woman who ran the Rogers Island (Ranger Island) Visitor Center; the curator of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum; and two of the foremost experts in the country on the Rangers. I’m friends with them on Facebook, have their emails and so on, so when I have a question, I can always email them. They’ve always been able to help. I think of research as the soil from which my characters grow, so it has to be rich and well-tilled to produce a rich novel. I want to be able to stand in my characters’ and have a 360 view of their world. If I don’t, I do more research. 🙂

2)The sexual tension between Connor and Sarah was nearly off the charts. The love scenes were both beautiful and sensual. How difficult is it to come up with new scenarios? 

PAMELA: The language that describes sex is tough from book to book and getting tougher. If I use a term to describe an orgasm in one book, I feel it’s burnt. I can’t reuse it, at least not in the same way. But the scenes themselves ‹ i.e., how and when they “do it” ‹ is based on the characters, so that never gets difficult. Each character is unique, and each couple is unique. How they approach sex is going to be unique.

3)You write both historicals and romantic suspense. How does it differ for you as an author writing historicals as compared to romantic suspense? 

PAMELA:  Romantic suspense books are all based on things I’ve investigated as a reporter. Some of them involve years of in-depth reporting and a lot of facts and events that were real; others are just drawn loosely from a topic I covered. So there’s a cathartic element to writing romantic suspense. Some of the things I’ve seen and done as a journalist were not good things, and it’s been good for me to get it out of my system.

It was my agent’s idea that I write romantic suspense. I was chatting with her one evening about my second novel, which I was in the midst of writing, and told her about some threats I’d gotten at work. She was very quiet for a moment and then said, “You know, you really ought to write romantic suspense, because you live it.” And I said, “Yeah, except for the ‘romantic’ part.” There’s a fair amount of research involved, but it’s pretty simple research compared to work on a historical. The language I can use while writing a contemporary novel is very broad. I don’t have to look up a word to see if it existed in 2012, for example. That’s fun. Historicals are where I started, and they’re what I loved to read most. Everything about the language is harder, but the plot and character challenges are constant no matter what genre I write. A person is a person. Creating a fully fleshed person isn’t easy, whether he exists now or 300 years ago. For me, there’s more romance in a historical than in romantic suspense. I love the feeling of being lost in another time.

4)To my mind Joseph is also a MacKinnon brother. So I hope that Joseph will get his story. Is that a possibility and if so when? 

PAMELA: Joseph is absolutely a MacKinnon. He and the brothers are, well, brothers. He WILL get his own book, but I can’t say when. I’m not sure what I’ll be writing next. But his book will come. I have a concept for it now, which came to me after a conversation with the former director of the Rogers Island Visitor Center ‹ just a comment she made that stuck in my head. (She has read the books, by the way, including DEFIANT.)

5) In Defiant we also saw a real change in William Wentworth. I heard that he may also get his own story. Can you please confirm? 

PAMELA: This last question is kind of a spoiler. I’d answer No. 5, but I really want people thinking the worst. I’m mean that way. 🙂   Pamela

EMERY: My personal theory is that she won’t kill off such a fabulous multi-dimensional villain. For Wentworth is the kind we all love to hate. (Personally, this Georgian era lover thought he was incredibly hot!) But I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see, won’t we? Lol!

DEFIANT by Pamela Clare

Penguin (Berkley) 3 July 2012


Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as arrogant and contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself. 

Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier—or for the attraction she feels toward Connor as he guides her first through the consummation of their forced union and then through the dangers of the wilderness. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him. But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny. As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.


Historical Romance

Colonial America, 1760

Heat Rating: 3

REVIEW RATING: 5 stars (Emery and Jill)

REMARKS by Emery Lee

As many of you already know, the very purpose of this review blog and the associated Goodreads group that I founded two and a half years ago, is to bring to the forefront books that exemplify the very best combination of history and romance.

DEFIANT by Pamela Clare is precisely this kind of book.

Powerful and gripping in its unfurling, DEFIANT is a beautifully written and emotionally compelling love story set within an impeccably drawn historical setting. It truly epitomizes the best of romantic historical fiction.  Brava, Ms. Clare!


Passionate, rich in historical detail, a riveting adventure and sensual love story….

So young and fragile she seemed, and yet also defiant.

In 1755, Connor MacKinnon and his brothers Iain and Morgan, were falsely accused of murder. The charges against them were dropped on the condition they form and lead a unit of Rangers against the French and their allies. First, eldest brother Iain led the Rangers, then Morgan and now five years on and it’s youngest brother, twenty-eight year-old Connor’s turn.

Lady Sarah Woodville, niece of Lord William Wentworth, the MacKinnon brothers’ accuser, has been kidnapped by Shawnee Indians. Desperate for the safe return of his beloved niece, Wentworth sends Connor and Joseph,the MacKinnons’ Indian blood-brother, to rescue her.

Very few authors write historical romances set in this era, 1750-60s Colonial America. This setting during the French and Indian War is rich in history and Pamela Clare has made use of this in a story filled with action, adventure and romance. As befitting the time, this is not always a gentle read. Connor is forced to fight to win Sarah from the Shawnee intent on making Sarah his wife, and their journey to safety is perilous.

The MacKinnons are passionate, protective, honorable men. Born in Scotland, immigrants to the colonies when children, these men still retain some of their Scottish brogue and all of their Highlander spirit. Sarah, at eighteen is a stranger in this new land. Having disgraced her family in England she has been sent to the colonies. Her strict father, her pious mother are keen to see her wed to a man she doesn’t want. Unmoved by her pleas she seeks help from her uncle, William Wentworth but on her way to Albany is taken by Indians.

As in the previous books William Wentworth plays a pivotal role. He is one of the most interesting and intriguing secondary characters in this series. His despicable acts are countered by some surprising, redeeming qualities. As a nemesis to the MacKinnon brothers, he is all that a villain should be, yet he is not a caricature. His morally ambiguous decisions make him an unpredictable and realistic character.

Ms Clare has incorporated some interesting facts into the story – a female as a chief of the Shawnee; Jonathan Edwards preaching to Joseph’s tribe and the ritual plucking of hair from the body by the Shawnee. This story is imbued with these types of interesting historical details, fleshing out the story, giving it depth and substance and more than just a historical romance. There are quite a number of scenes with Iain and Morgan, and their wives and children. Joseph, who has fought beside the MacKinnons for five years, gets his story in an upcoming book.

If you’re keen on detailed history in a different setting to the usual (Colonial America in 1760) that’s balanced perfectly with romance, then Defiant is a story you cannot pass up. Along with the previous books Surrender and Untamed, this series is an outstanding example of romantic historical fiction.

A gifted writer, Pamela Clare’s research and attention to detail, combined with a riveting story and an unforgettable romance makes Defiant a highly recommended read.