Men In Kilts, Anyone? + Giveaway!

by Cathryn Parry, author of Secret Garden (Harlequin Superromance)

It all started when I was seven years old and the doctor, concerned that my curved spine might be heading for scoliosis, suggested to my mother that she sign me up for ballet classes.

I was terrified of those classes. Completely ungraceful. Lived in fear of my fierce, birdlike ballet teacher and her insistence that all students perform on stage at her end-of-year dance recital.

But by a quirk of fate, that ballet teacher—Mrs. Clay—was also an aficionado of Scottish dance. For the grand finale of her recital, all students were called back on stage for a rousing Highland Fling, followed by the traditional Sword Dance.

I’d never heard such music in my young life—bagpipes so deep and yearning that it stirred something in my soul. This, I could do! I happily picked up the leaping, turning steps and felt the joy of the performance.

In preparation for the big day, my father escorted me upstairs to my grandmother’s attic, and there we found a kilt ensemble, including sword, from a Scottish ancestor. An ancient sword? So romantic!

It also turned out that I had four clan tartans to choose from, due to all the family lines that had originated in Scotland. I chose a true woolen kilt costume with all the extras—blouse, cap, socks, flashes, pin—in the McLeod tartan, from my nana’s maiden name.

I was ecstatic. And as it turned out, all of this cultural immersion into the music, dance and clothing led to a lifelong passion for all things Scottish.

Castles. Romantic stories. Ewan McGregor. Outlander.

When I was ready for a new set of proposals to the Harlequin Superromance line, I crossed my fingers and sent my editor a story idea set in Scotland, hoping she would accept it. To my utter joy, she did!

Now, I love writing and reading romance mainly because of the characters. I’m inspired by flawed people who are basically noble, who heal each other through falling in love.

But place—setting—is also important to me. When I read—and write—I want to be transported on a romantic adventure. Scotland seemed the perfect place to set some big, lush, emotional story ideas.

So that is the background for a Harlequin Superromance series set in Scotland!

And now, my question: Exotic location, ranch, castle or cosmopolitan city—which setting do you prefer to read about?

Please answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of The Sweetest Hours and Scotland for Christmas.

Giveaway! Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. Giveaway closes August 27, at 11:59 p.m. ET.  One (1) winner will be selected from all eligible comments and announced here on or around August 28. For full official rules, click here.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Update this contest is now closed.

About Secret Garden:

0815-9780373609222-bigwHidden from the world…

A reclusive artist in the Scottish Highlands, Rhiannon MacDowall is an enigma. Few people know about her carefully structured life, or why she hides within the protection of her family’s estate. Until an errant golf ball changes everything…

Colin Walker was once Rhiannon’s best friend. Now he’s a pro golfer on the verge of ruin who’s returned to Scotland on family business. But as much as Rhiannon tries to keep Colin out, their connection remains—and turns into something both exhilarating and terrifying. Something that threatens the foundations of Rhiannon’s safe little world.

Cathryn Parry writes for Harlequin Superromance from her home in Massachusetts. For an email reminder the week a new book releases, please subscribe to her reader newsletter at Connect with her on Facebook at

Related Posts
Comments ( 36 )
  1. Kristina Knight
    August 19, 2015 at 10:15 am

    What a great experience you had! Your new series sounds absolutely fabulous – I love all things Scottish and Irish! – so I can’t wait to read them!

  2. Claire McEwen
    August 19, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I love Scotland! I was lucky enough to travel and live there when I was young and hope to visit there soon. Your book sounds so intriguing. Just from reading the description I want to know Rhiannon’s story – especially why she is so reclusive! Can’t wait to read it. Congratulations on the series and on the release of Secret Garden!

  3. Lynn Brooks
    August 19, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I enjoy them all! 🙂

  4. Colleen C.
    August 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Oh I enjoy them all… so many different places to visit within books!!! 🙂

  5. Beth Elder
    August 19, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I like beachy. Also Civil War era.

  6. Cindi brumpton
    August 19, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    i am a sucker for a castle. Welßh ruins. Scottish ones too. I love history,me specially medieval and Russian history. Sigh.

  7. Laney4
    August 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I can’t get enough of sheikhs in foreign lands.

  8. Cathryn Parry
    August 20, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for the comments, everyone–I’m enjoying reading them! Scotland, Ireland, beachy, Civil War, castles, sheikhs…wow, we have a wide variety of settings.

  9. Tina Laws
    August 20, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I love to read about all of the locations but if I had to pick my favorite it would be castles.

  10. jcp
    August 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm


  11. Dianne Duff
    August 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I love Scotland, have visited there many times. My own ancestors came from the Glasgow area. I think a castle setting fits the best but the glens and the lochs can’t be ignored so why not a castle near by a loch in a glen. Am I asking for too much in this setting. Scotland never fails, every turn in the road is picture postcard worthy. Congratulations on your new series whatever settings you choose.

  12. bn100
    August 20, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    any setting

  13. Angel Smits
    August 21, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Scotland has such magic and romance already so as a setting it just makes for a great foundation. And your love for it really shows in your stories. Thanks for letting us join you. Can’t wait to read the rest!

  14. Bookwormerz
    August 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    exotic location/castle/cosmopolitan city

  15. Barbara
    August 21, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Scotland and Castles sound very dreamy!

  16. Barbara Stuber
    August 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Castles, contemporary or historical!

  17. Julie-ann Ford
    August 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Castles anyway I can get them

  18. Joanne Driggers
    August 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I like ranch stories but there’s just something way more romantic about castles! !!!

  19. Carole Blake
    August 21, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Today it could be ranch in the 1800’s in the west but a castle in Scotland sounds good too….

  20. Kimberly Anderson
    August 21, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I love all the different locations because it is like I step out into the setting. I call it my virtual vacation. My top two are castles and ranches because they are so different from my normal life.

Leave a reply