Thursday, June 4, 2009

Author Interview w/ Dawn Halliday & CONTEST!

Hello, and welcome to my first author interview (and contest). I hope you enjoy, and remember to enter the contest (winners will be announced no later than next Thursday, though hopefully before then!)

Now, this particular author is fairly new to the romance novel business, but by no means a newbie. She writes under two names: Jennifer Haymore and Dawn Halliday, and no matter which one of her books you pick up, I assure you, you won't regret it!

Jennifer has been nice enough to answer a few questions that I had for her, and hopefully you too will find her comments interesting. With such a busy schedule (Highland Obsession comes out August 4th ), she may not be able to stop by and answer every one's questions/comments, but know that if you leave a comment on this post, I'm sure she'll still read them!

So let's get started! I'm proud to introduce to you the amazing, very talented....Ms. Halliday!

TheBookQueen: It's a cliche question, I know, but what inspired you to write Highland Obsession?
Dawn Halliday:
When I started Highland Obsession, I’d just finished a story about a very intense love triangle for another publisher, and I had love triangles on the brain. I wanted to keep exploring the “torn between two lovers” theme. In historicals, that dynamic can be so intense because the ideals of marriage of the time were so stringent and divorce was essentially unheard of. So I thought, “What would happen to a woman who is torn between her old lover and her new husband…?”

Then Sorcha, the heroine of
Highland Obsession, came to life, and she had some different ideas about how the story should be played out. Her interpretations of honor and duty turned out to be far stronger than I expected. Ultimately the story ended up being less of a love triangle and more about how two strangers grow to trust and ultimately love each other against all odds

TBQ: Have you always wanted to write romance? And how did you decide what to write?

Dawn: I started off writing fantasy and historical fiction. Eventually I began to notice in books I was reading that I was most drawn to the relationships and how those relationships developed over time. I realized that romance books are not all fluff and froth and gratuitous sex, but the stories of people who struggle and grow over time and ultimately discover how to be happy. I love reading (and now writing) about people who find their way to true love and ultimate happiness.

TBQ: What, in your opinion, makes a great romance novel? Do you use any of these 'qualities' when writing your own novels, or do you just let the story flow?

Dawn: As with any book, I think it’s mostly compelling characters, a great writing voice, and an engaging plot! I certainly try for all three, but I’ve found my voice is my voice, and there isn’t much I can do to force it to change. As for characterization and plot, I constantly strive to make those the best they can be.

TBQ: How do you come up with the character names? I especially liked the name for the heroine in HO, Sorcha.
Dawn: I spent a lot of time browsing around in Scottish baby name dictionaries and other name references in historical texts. I was looking for names that were accessible to modern-day readers, didn’t have too much of an “English” sound to them, and that fit the characters. Sorcha means “bright” or “radiant,” and I thought the name fit her character perfectly.


**Possible Mini-Spoiler**

TBQ: I was a bit surprised while reading HO that Alan was willing to share Sorcha with Cam (at least for the one night), but I wasn't opposed to this turn in events. I knew that Sorcha and Alan loved each other, trusted each other, and it wasn't just a sex scene that could have just as easily been out of a porno movie. My question is, while writing the book, did you find it difficult to write the very erotic scenes while still keeping the same basic core to the novel (Sorcha's and Alan's love story)?

Dawn: The scene you mention above is a big turning point in the novel—it affects all three of the characters significantly and drives the story toward its climactic scene. That’s how I try to approach all love scenes in my books. They must enhance characters’ growth and development as well as be integral to the plot.

Along those lines, I feel that without the love scenes,
Highland Obsession would be missing part of its backbone, because each scene forces the characters to recognize something within themselves and moves them to a new level of development within the story. I’m a linear writer (I write chronologically from the beginning of the story to its end), so to me, writing the love scenes are like writing any other scene in the book—I’m working to develop the characters along an arc of growth within the novel as well as move the plot along.

TBQ: I've heard that your next novel, which isn't out until 2010, covers the story of Cam. Did you know, even before finishing HO, that Cam would need his own story? Can you tell us anything about Cam's story, or is it one of those 'If I told you, I'd have to kill you' moments? ;-)

Dawn: When I started Highland Obsession, I wasn’t positive what the second book would be about, but as the story progressed, it became clear to me that Cam needed his own story.
Highland Surrender deals with Cam’s continuing struggle for happiness. As an earl, he faces political expectations from his English peers, but he’s also rooted to the land and people of the Highlands. Highland Surrender starts off with Cam returning home after a six-month absence in England with his English fiancĂ©e and her uncle in tow. But when they are just a few miles from Cam’s castle, highwaymen attack and shoot Cam. None of their lives will ever be the same!

TBQ: Have there been any authors over the years that helped to inspire you, or helped you to realize what it was you wanted to do?
Dawn: There are many authors whose writing has inspired me. To name a few: Diana Gabaldon, Wilbur Smith, Sharon Kay Penman, Laura Kinsale, and Julie Garwood. I’ve also been inspired by writer friends (and brilliant writers) Christine Wells, Anna Campbell, Tessa Dare, and Maya Banks.
TBQ: Any plans for writing contemporaries or paranormal romances/erotica in the future, or do you prefer the historical?
Dawn: I’ve written a few short light paranormal and contemporary romances for Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing, and I enjoy writing them—I especially like the freedom of language after being mired in my “historical voice” for so long. I definitely intend to write more of both when time allows. Right now, though, I’m continuing to focus on my hot Highlanders!

Speed Round!

Question: Chocolate OR Vanilla ice cream? Dawn: Chocolate
Q: A day on a secluded island OR a day relaxing at the spa? Dawn: Relaxing at the spa

Q: Reading a steamy romance novel OR a suspense-filled mystery? Dawn: Steamy romance novel

Q: If you had a choice (before you married your husband, of course!) which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord? Dawn: Uhhh….both?

Q: Hot summer days OR cold winter nights? Dawn: Hot summer days

Q: Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness? Dawn: Nestled in the mountain

Q: If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be? Dawn: I’d love to have a glimpse into the future, maybe see where humanity is 1000 years from now!

Again, thank you Jennifer/Dawn for allowing me the pleasure of not only interviewing you here, but also for Highland Obsession (My review HERE). I loved it, and I can't wait to read your other books...written under both names!

Now, the part you've all been waiting for! Jennifer is offering up an ARC of Highland Obsession to one lucky reader.


And all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post.
One comment = One entry. You can always comment more than once, BUT YOU WILL ONLY BE ENTERED ONCE.

However, here are a few ways to gain extra entries:
Two Entries:
~If you are already Following my blog
~ If you help to spread the word about this contest/interview on your own blog, website, etc. You may post it in more than one spot, but you will only get the two entries.

One Entry:
~If you decide to start Following my blog now

Whether your comment is a simple hello, or a question for Jennifer, your name will be entered into the drawing (winners will be chosen using Please leave some way to contact you (a simple email address) or sign in before posting.
If you are already following me, state that in your comment (though I'm sure I can remember the 9 on my list). Same with the other ways to enter. If you post about this somewhere else, please link your post directly to this page, and when you comment on here, leave the link from YOUR post in the message. And if you are going to start Following me, please say so as well.
Simple enough, right? And if you win, you'll have your own (ARC) copy of Highland Obsession on your doorstop soon. I promise, you'll love it! It wouldn't hurt to post some sort of review of your own if you win, but it's not required.
You have until Saturday, June 6th at Midnight to enter. After that, the comments will be closed. I'll be out of town for the first part of the week, so I might not be able to draw the winner and post it on here until Thursday, but I promise I will do it ASAP. After I post the winner, that person will have one week to contact me with their information so that I may pass it on to Jennifer. After one week, if no one steps forward, the names will go back in, and I will draw a new name.
Enjoy, and be sure to check out Jennifer's books, along with her website, so you can stay up to date on all her upcoming releases and news.

Until Next Time,
The Book Queen


Lea said...

Hi The Book Queen and Dawn!

Wonderful interview! :) Awesome first contest.

Your new book sounds wonderful Dawn and I have also heard great things about your new Jennifer Halliday book as well.

I read your book "Twice the Night", Dawn and thoroughly enjoyed the read. Another love triangle. ;)

Please enter me TBQ. I follow your blog and am headed back to mine to spread the word.


Anna said...

Hi The Book Queen,

That was a great review. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Count me in the contest. I'm a follower of your blog and I posted your contest on my side bar.

annasbookblog @

The_Book_Queen said...

Lea--- Thank you! I really appreciate it. I swear, I'm not sure how you girls do so many contests and interviews on a (semi) regular basis-- just this one was a bit of a stress for me, probably since it was my first! But I'd love to do more in the future of course. Hopefully get better as well!
I've got you entered for all three items. Thanks for helping to spread the word! Good luck.

Anna-- Thanks! I assure you, you won't be disappointed! I loved it, absolutely loved it. I've got you entered for all three as well (that is, commenting, follower, and spreading the word). Good luck, and thanks for posting about the contest.


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Hi TBQ and Dawn! I'm dying to read this book - and I love the cover, btw! One of the better ones out there of a man in his plaid! I'm already a follower, thanks for the interview!

The_Book_Queen said...

Julie-- I know, the cover is sooo sexy. One of the main reason I'm going to buy a final copy when it comes out (since the ARC I received was just bound in a plain pale blue paper cover...). I love a good man in plaid, and I know you do as well! ;)


Blanche said...

Hi The Book Queen!

I just discovered your blog through Lea! I did just join your followers!

Hi Dawn!

Awesome interview! I have seen this cover and heard amazing things about the book for a while now!! :)

The_Book_Queen said...

Blanche--- Well, I'm glad that you stumbled upon my humble blog. ;) It's funny, it's because of one of Lea's posts a few weeks ago about a contest at YOUR blog that I found yours as well! LOL. Thanks for stopping by, and following me, I've got you entered. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Loved the interview. The book sounds great and I love the book cover.

Heather D said...

Hi! I found you through Lea. It seems that you picked a great author and book for your first contest!

Dawn-- I only recently heard about you, or should I say Jennifer with A Hint of Wicked blog tour. I am anxiously awaiting my copy. I received some lovely book marks from you that included Highland Obsession. I had no idea that you were one in the same. I often buy books for the covers and pray that I get a good book to go along with a Hot cover!! Highland Obsession is one that was going on my wish list for the cover alone, now that I know a little more about it, I will definitely be getting my grubby little paws on a copy!!

Great Interview you two!!

I put a heads up on my blog.
And now that I found another awesome blog, I will be following!!

The_Book_Queen said...

Kimmyl--- Thanks! ;) The cover is very yummy and eye catching!

HeatherD--- Thank you for following, and posting about it! I hope you enjoy "AHOW", I've yet to buy my copy and read it, but after reading "HO", I'm very anxious for it!


Eva S said...

Hi, great interview! I can't resit highlanders...This book will be on my wish list!
I found you through Lea and you have a great blog with very interesting books, I'll love to come back!

Amy C said...

Hi Dawn and TBQ!

Great interview and awesome giveaway. the cover of this book caught my eye several weeks ago. I can't resist a man in a plaid!

host said...

Hi The Book Queen,
I like your blog and that was a great review. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Please, count me in the contest.

I posted about your contest on my blog - right side bar:

Booklover1335 said...

Hi Book Queen and Jennifer,
I have been coveting Hint of Wicked for weeks, and now I have this to look forward to.
Highland romances are one of my fav genres (started with Diana Gabaldon...sigh), and love "love" triangles so Highland Obsession is exactly what I love to read! I hope I win.

I found you through Lea, and am a follower. Thanks for the interview and bringing this new book to my attention.


Unknown said...


Caught your contest over at Lea's! Looks great, so please enter me! I love those Highlanders!

I'm following now.

And gave your contest a shout on my blog @

Dottie :)

audball said...

Saw your review on Goodreads and was immediately intrigued. So please add me to the entry list.

Also read A Hint of Wicked this week and loved it!! Keep up the great work Mrs. Haymore!


The_Book_Queen said...

Eva S--- Really, can anyone resist a highlander? I didn't think so! LOL. Wow-- I'm really going to have to thank Lea some more, it seems like a lot of people have found my blog through her!

Amy C--- Thanks! A good plaid can definitely make a man irresistable! ;)

host--- Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed both of them. And thanks for posting on your blog!

booklover1335--- I've still got to read AHOW, so I know what you mean! Thanks for stopping by and following-- I've got you entered for both.

Dottie-- Really, are there any other kind of historical romances to read besides Highlander based ones? ;) Thanks for mentioning it on your blog and following.Good luck!

audball-- I'm glad that you enjoyed the review, and I promise you'll love the book even more! Much better than my mediocre writing skills. I'm jealous that you've already been able to read AHOW, I really need to pick my copy up when I go to town tomorrow... Good luck, and thanks for following!


Mari said...

Hi Dawn! I have just bought your book as Jennifer for my Sony Book Reader. I think it is one of their featured reads. I was hoping to win it but, alas...anyhow, please enter me in for this contest.
I just started reading Hint of, I am excited to see how it unfolds...

runningmatey at hotmail dot com

The_Book_Queen said...

Mari--- Hope you enjoy AHOW!


CrystalGB said...

Great interview. Highland Obsession sounds good. Love the cover.
I am now a follower.

Cathy M said...

Hi Dawn, well, I for one can't resist a sexy highlander, and this series sounds like my kind of read.

Just signed up today to follow this blog.


Estella said...

I enjoyed the interview.
I cannot wait to read this book.

Anonymous said...

Good interview! I found you thru Goodreads and have been following you on GoogleReader. Would love to be enterred since I have read 2 of the DH ebooks and have HINT OF WICKED on my TBR pile.

VampFanGirl said...

Good Luck with your first contest Book Queen!

Fabulous interview ladies. I've read 'Highland Obsession' (No need to enter me) and I can attest to the fact that it's a great read. One of my faves for 2009.

:) VFG

The_Book_Queen said...

Cathy M-- Thank you for following and stopping by!

Estella-- I'm glad you liked it. And "HO" is defintely a 'must read' book, believe me.

Seton--- Thanks! I hope you enjoyed the other two books of hers that you've read-- along with "AHOW", when you get to it.

VFG-- I hope it goes well too! So far, it's better than I had hoped, but unless I have a huge influx of people entering tonight and tomorrow...well, it's going to be a bit of a let down for Dawn when I say "Oh, yeah, here's the winner out of about 15 entries". Still, I really appreciate all the help from everyone, not only by entering but for helping to spread the word- it's helped!
I noticed that you'd already read "HO" around the time I did, and I was glad to see that our opinions on it seemed to match fairly well (both 5 stars, unless I'm mistaken). Dont worry, I didn't enter you, but I appreciate you stopping by nonetheless!


mindy said...

very nice review and the book sounds wonderful thanks

wendy wallach said...

hot man on the cover..yee ha!

madamerkf at aol dot com


great review- looks like a great read.

Anonymous said...

It looks sooooo good and I have a thing for Scottish men!


Anonymous said...

zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Howdi Book Queen! Well, I haven't had the pleasure of reading a new romance book for so long!, but this one sounds really great and I'm interested to see how the characters would resolve such a dilemma. I have to add that one of the most difficult realizations in REAL LIFE is when we first discover ourselves capable of loving/needing more than one person.

Dawn Halliday said...

Hi everyone! I came by last night to say hi, too, but my comment apparently never appeared! Sob! Oh well! I just wanted to thank you, TBQ, for having me! I really appreciate it! And I'm honored to be your first interview and giveaway, too! Thanks so much!

LittleEagle said...

Great interview and I am very interested in reading this book.

Unknown said...

Highland Obsession sounds great! Great interview!

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this.



Caffey said...

Hi Dawn! I'm so excited about this one! Love MIK :)))) And fun to read your interview too!! Congrats on all your books!!

I'm following you on your blog :)


Anonymous said...

I love your interview. I have been on a "highland" romance kick lately. Can't get enough right now. I would love to add this to my collection!

bsyb100 at gmail dot com

Sue A. said...

I'm waiting for my copy of A HINT of WICKED! And I hope it will tide me over until HIGHLAND OBSESSION releases.

I'm a follower!

Book Soulmates said...

I also wanted to mention that I also have 5 books up for grabs on my blog.

Please feel free to stop by and enter any contests that peek your interest =)

Nice to meet you!
Book Soulmates

Book Soulmates said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Book Soulmates said...

Hi Book Queen,

I read Jennifer Haymore's "Hint of Wicked" and absolutely loved it! This also sounds like it would be just as riveting.

Please enter me to win!
I am a new follower:)

scottsgal said...

I've been reading great reviews on several blogs - would love to be entered to win. congrats on your first giveaway

msboatgal at

Alicia said...

Would love to read this.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

The_Book_Queen said...

Wow. :) I leave the computer for a few hours, and come back to a TON of comments (and therefore entries!). I've managed to catch up, and I've got everyone down, including if you followed or not. If it wsan't so late at night, I would continue to write individual responses to everyone that's posted, but I'm getting tired. Maybe tomorrow. And if not, well, you know where I am now, so feel free to drop by and talk anytime, about anything. :) Thank you so much for not only coming over to my blog to enter, but stopping to look around as well. I appreciate it!

And Dawn-- I don't know why it wouldn't let you last night, I'm so sorry. But thank you so much, for everything (the ARC of "HO" that made all this possible, the interview, the contest, and finally for stoppng by, I know you've got a lot to do this summer, between both new books and everything else!).

Wow.. Up to about 30 or so entries now! This is going to be a tough one ladis, but thank goodness for! Still have another day for others to enter, so that number should go up. I'll try to get the winner choosen and picked by Sunday, but again I can't make any promises for sure. If not, then as soon as possible, no later than Thursday (Though I really hope to find time before then, but since I'll be out of town for most of the first part of the week, finding a reliable internet connection is sometimes tricky!).

Thanks everyone!


Unknown said...

I'm not sure my comment went through

I'm Debra Gaynor
with Review Your Book
I love highland romance
I would love to review your book
Please send me an ARC

lrhubble said...

wow great interview. Enjoyed both the interview and review. I will definitely have to check this book out. Love the cover. Yum. :-)


Erotic Horizon said...

Hey Book Queen..

Thank you for introducing me to Dawn..

Love the review and the Interview.. Looks so good. Love the cover..


The_Book_Queen said...

Thank you, everyone, for coming by! I'm going through the comments one more time to make sure I didn't miss anyone, and then I'm off to to enter the list and get a winner. I should have it posted by today, no problem, I have more time on my hands than I originally thought. ;)

Good luck, and please remember to pick up "Highland Obsession" and "A Hint of Wicked"-- I promise, you won't regret it!


D Q said...

The cover itself has me wanting to read this. Please enter my name into the draw.

Teddyree said...

What a wonderful interview, I would never have known it was your first one; both serious and fun, I really enjoyed it.
I found your blog via Lea's blog, isn't she a sweetie.
I'd love to be entered in your contest and I'm now a follower!

The_Book_Queen said...

Teddyree--- Thank you so much, you're too kind! I'll be honest, I was a bit nervous trying to think of some good questions to ask. Glad that you enjoyed the experience though!

I'm sorry to tell you that you are a few days too late to enter. It's my fault though-- I should have shut the comments option off this post Sunday, and I didn't. But I'm so very glad that you stopped by anyway, and you were willing to enter (and follow me!), I feel horrible! But if this sounds like the book for you, make sure to find it when it comes out in August!

Thanks again for stopping by, and I'm sorry that you missed the contest-- next time, right? And there will be a next time, though when, I'm not yet sure.