Fifty Shades of Plaid – or why Lizzie loves a kilted hero
I’ve always loved romantic heroes, be they highwaymen, pirates, Regency bucks or men in kilts.
I think the element of ‘costume’ removes the hero from the real world and transports both him and the reader into the realm of fantasy. The costumed hero is, generally, aristocratic – and while he does not have to work to earn his daily crust, he often has emotional scars which only the heroine can heal. And, in the case of men in kilts, there is the additional tease of whether or not they’ve gone ‘commando’ , in true Scottish fashion. So, while I loved the Wicked Lady, Frenchman’s Creek and the Scarlet Pimpernel, my favourite books and movies are Scottish-themed.
My interest began as a child in Scotland, reared (courtesy of Saturday morning cinema) on the exploits of highlanders featured in such movies as Rob Roy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Ghost Goes West (one of my favourites) and -sob- Grey Friar’s Bobby. After the movie (or fil-um, as we pronounced it) the children in my street would re-enact Rob Roy’s leap and subsequent escape through the waterfall, and the scene from Kidnapped, where Davie Balfour is almost murdered by his evil uncle. Our dogs were dragooned into being “Bobby”, loyally guarding his master’s grave on Grey Friar’s kirk. But they never quite ‘got’ what was required of them and were always wandering off, much to our annoyance.
The girls, of course, loved to act out Flora Macdonald helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape over the sea to Skye.
In June we visited Scotland, travelling as far as Skye to see the Fairy Pools and Flora MacDonald’s grave, amongst other things I wanted to research/double check before publishing for my forthcoming novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS.
The written word had its place, too; we knew Young Lochinvar off by heart and would declaim:
“He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone . . .
He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late.”
I frequently found myself in trouble because I wanted to be Lochinvar, and wouldn’t take my turn as ‘the Fair Ellen.’ Nothing much changed there, then.
Those images and the tales of brave Covenanters and Jacobites stayed with me as I grew up and read more Scottish themed novels . . . The Jacobite Trilogy by D.K. Broster (falling in love with Ewen Cameron), The Lymond Chronicles (who could resist Francis Crawford?) and, more recently, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon featuring uber-hero Jamie Fraser. For me, he is the ultimate kilted hero and has it in spades – looks, sense of honour, loyalty, is sex-on-legs and can speak Gaelic. If you’d like to see images of Jamie Fraser, check out my Pinterest board and you’ll see what I mean. I’ll even admit to subscribing to Amazon Prime so I could watch the TV Series: OUTLANDER. For me, a hero wearing a suit, carrying duct tape, rope and plastic ties just doesn’t cut it. Give me an exiled, Jacobite laird every time.
Which brings me full circle to my novels. In Tall, Dark and Kilted my hero is sexy laird Ruairi (Roo-ary) Urquhart who has to fight to safeguard his land and inheritance.
In Scotch on the Rocks I give you kilt-wearing, gorgeous Brodie – an American with auburn hair, who arrives on Eilean na Sgairbh on the back of a storm wind and turns my heroine’s life upside down.
Share with us your favourite ‘hero’, whether in book or film.
now available –
Posted on June 29, 2015, in Lizzie Lanb, Romantic Reads, Uncategorized and tagged book launch, childhood, Diane Gabaldon, favourite book, Frenchman's Creek, Grey Friar's Bobby, heroes, humour, Jamie Fraser, Outlander, romance, Saturday cinema, Scotch on the Rocks, Scotland, The Flight of the Heron, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.
Reblogged this on Lizzie Lamb and commented:
Very excited as my paperbacks should arrive today and I am on countdown until the book launch on Monday 6th July.
Lovely post, Lizzie!
Your great love of Scotland – country, history and culture – shines out from all your writing. Am so looking forward to Scotch on the Rocks.
(My own fave heroes tend to be tall ebony-eyed loners, riding wild horses across high mesas under purple skies!)
Oh, I could go for an ebony-eyed loner, now that you mention it 😋
Looking forward to reading it very soon Lizzie. I was watching Poldark last night (just started here) and swooning – you’re right about no need for plastic ties and rope there 🙂
Oh yes Poldark was pretty great too. I remember it first time round. Looks like we’re both launching books more or less at the same time. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you other then reading and reviewing yours (that goes without saying).
You’ve picked a great selection of adventure stories,Lizzie to show 50 shades of tartan. Came over all nostalgic remembering those fiil’ums. I guess when I was young Sir Percy Blakeney set the tone for my ideal hero, but as I got older I became enamoured of the more anti-hero type as long as they’re well fit, and certainly loners like my PJ Wood. The challenge is all. Looking forward to Scotch on the Rocks.
Hi Mags thanks for popping by. They were great films when they fall of derring-do and heroines stood up for themselves. They could also fall in love with the hero without losing their sense of self. That’s what I aspire to in my writing, even if I don’t achieve it. I thought PJ Wood was a great character in Twins of a Gazelle. And it was you who gave me the idea for ‘touch not the cat’ in my novel after we discussed the Macintosh clan!
Great blog Lizzie, really waved the tartan flag for me. I am a total sucker for a hero, I love a swashbuckler – particularly one who can swash up a staircase and buckle while clinging to a chandelier; am easily pilfered by a pirate, and like June, could ride out with many an ebony-eyed lone cowboy! Sigh. But there again, give me Fred Astaire in top hat and tails, Pierce Brosnan in a dinner jacket or Bryan Ferry in a white tuxedo …and yep, gone again. So totally take your point about costume …it sets a hero apart, gives him a certain style, says he’s a man who won’t be messed with, take him on his own terms. Looking forward to Scotch on the Rocks, Brodie sounds divine!
Thanks Adrienne lovely comments. I think you’ve just written your next blog post. I don’t mind the odd antihero thrown into the mix but an angst ridden bloke Who thinks more of himself than the heroine, would really get on my nerves. As writers we have to be in love with our hero otherwise it doesn’t work. Does it?
Reblogged this on Adrienne Vaughan.