Friday 8 July 2011

Saskia Walker - 'The Harlot'

Hi folks!

It's lovely to be here at the British Romance Fiction blog. I thought I'd post about the novels I've written (and will be writing) set in Lowlands Scotland.

My interest in Lowland's history and folklore came about when we first visited Fife back in 2003. We stayed in a fisherman's cottage in the East Neuk of Fife and the plan was to kick off work on a historical set on the coast, while Mark (my Real Life Hero) went mountain biking in the area. Success on all fronts -- Mark covered many miles and I wrote while I was there. The cottage we stayed in was right on the seafront and I made notes and sketched out several scenes for a historical novel I'd had an idea for. While we were out and about in Fife I also began to learn about the history of witchcraft and persecution in the area, and that set its own wheels in motion. When I got home I continued to read and research around the subject and daydreamed about passionate wayward men and women with secret magical skills. My imagination was well and truly sparked and now, several stories in, I'm still enjoying exploring that world!

My fictional accounts have their foundation in pagan practice, the strong belief in nature and its power. My editor has said that was what was appealing about my stories is that the magic is covert, and its pagan origins led to convincing scenarios for a paranormal erotic world -- a world that secretly existed beneath the ongoing fear and turmoil in Scotland throughout times of religious and political upheaval, the battles and subsequent union with England.

The fictional characters began to multiply in my imagination, each with their own tale to tell. First up was RAMPANT, a story that is part contemporary and part historical, following the mystery surrounding the ghost of a persecuted witch. THE HARLOT, my most recent publication, is a bawdy erotic romance set wholly in the early 1700's. My heroine, Jessie Taskill, (along with her two siblings, Maisie and Lennox) witnessed their mother's execution for witchcraft when they were children. They were subsequently separated, but their inherited and learned powers thrived in secret, and as adults they each hope to seek each other out. Next up I will be writing THE LIBERTINE (Lennox Taskill's story) and THE JEZEBEL (Maisie Taskill's story) for publication in early 2013.

Here's the official cover copy for THE HARLOT:

It is a Dark Era, one when a lusty lass will do what she must to survive. Even if it means bartering flesh for a palmful of coins…

Forced to watch her mother burned at the stake and separated from her siblings in the aftermath, Jessie Taskill is similarly gifted, ripe with a powerful magic that must stay hidden. Until one night when she's accused by a rival, and Jessie finds herself behind prison walls with a roguish priest unlike any man of the cloth she has known.

In reality, Gregor Ramsay is as far from holy as the devil himself, but his promise of freedom in return for her services may be her salvation. Locked into a dubious agreement, Jessie resents his plan to have her seduce and ruin his lifelong enemy. But toying with Gregor’s lust for her is enjoyable, and she agrees to be his pawn while secretly intending to use him just as he is using her.

If you would like to read the opening scene, (please note, explicit adult content!) you'll find it here:

Saskia Walker


Lindsay Townsend said...

Welcome to the British Romance Fiction blog, Saskia! I love the gritty, lusty realism and feel of your 'The Harlot' and will be getting the rest of the series

Saskia Walker said...

Thank you, Lindsay! I'm so glad you enjoyed Jessie's story. I've only just started writing Lennox's story and I've fallen head over heals for him already. He's a bad boy and far too darkly seductive and wily for his own good. ;-) THE LIBERTINE is mostly set in St Andrews and Edinburgh - which is a great excuse for more research trips to Scotland. :-)

Barbara Elsborg said...

The witchcraft and persecution thing has always fascinated me too. I think ever since I read Arthur Miller's play. The fear of being accused of something with no way of proving your innocence - and knowing your fate - horrible!! Great fodder for a writer!

I just know blogger is going to make me do this as anon - so I'll sign here just in case- Barbara Elsborg

Barbara Elsborg said...

Oh - just to prove me wrong - it didn't. I'm intrigued now - will Blogger be kind again?

Barbara Elsborg said...

I'm obviously a witch!! woohooo!!

Saskia Walker said...

Ha, you have spellbound blogger, Barbara! :o)

Spot on, once you start thinking about it, there's so much going on around the times of the witch trials. I used it as a starting point and worked back from that point, thinking about how those who practiced white witchcraft might have to live in such a dangerous time. Intrigue, secrecy, danger, the struggle to stimulated fictional characters who have adventurous lives and wildly passionate, lusty romances. I'll be writing Scottish witches for at least the next ten months or so, but maybe more. Enjoying every moment!