Friday, April 27, 2018

Open Book - A Hundred Kisses

Today we are opening the book pages of A Hundred Kisses by talented author,
Jean M. Grant. Jean is sharing the inside scoop on her historical contemporary romance, with an interesting mystery and supernatural twist. Between the pages of this spicy story you’ll find magic, a curse, and themes of Scottish, the Highlands, mystical, and medieval.

A Hundred Kisses was published in May 2017 by The Wild Rose Press. Jean wanted something unique and romantic for her story’s title. “Part of the plotting and revision process revolved around a curse of a hundred kisses,” Jean said. “The plot evolved from my original vision, but the curse remained and the title was perfect.”

Jean found the inspiration for her story from her love of Scotland. “Ever since a few romance authors took me on a reader’s journey there twenty years ago (thank you, Judy Garwood and Diana Gabaldon, of Outlander fame).” Once Jean finally visited the land of sweeping moors and craggy munros, she was besotted.
“Alas, not with the rainy weather,” she added. “Rolling hills, jagged mountains, deep blue lochs, winding roads, meadows of thistles, and haunted castles.” Jean has been writing for nearly twenty years, and has a few “practice” novels under her belt. For A Hundred Kisses, her first published novel, she upped her game. “I took into consideration feedback from agents and beta readers and added some new twists. Like many authors, the plot lines and characters hold inspiration from my own personal journey. Some stories are a slow simmer, some are quick burst. This was a slow simmer, and I tossed magic in the brew.”

The concept of the story follows the heroine, Deirdre, who has a special ability to sense the auras, or lifebloods of those around her. “She can sense their emotions and feelings, which can be both an asset and a nuisance,” Jean explained. “Her mother died when she was younger, so she yearns to understand this ability that embraces the power of fire. The answer may lie with a distant aunt who still lives on her mother’s home isle, Uist. She also believes she’s cursed, for she is widowed twice over…her husbands both dying the morning after their wedding.” Then, along comes Alasdair, a man with a tormented past, traveling under a secret identity to bring pivotal information to Uist for The Scottish Cause against the English crown. Does he stand a chance to break the curse and heal himself of his own emotional wounds? The story brings two unlikely people together, both seeking answers, hope, and redemption.

Jean like journey stories, so A Hundred Kisses begins at Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands, but the characters soon journey to the mystical western isle of Uist.

The setting is magical with the rugged backdrop of the Kintail mountains, a castle abutting a deep blue loch; and an eerie windswept machair of the isle of Uist. “A castle has everything one would need,” Jean said, and she personally visited Eilean Donan castle. “It’s a resplendent backdrop. Fields, gardens, protection from outsider invaders (loch on one side, mountains on the other). It gets a bit rainy; though when I was there I saw a rainbow and experienced sunshine.”

In A Hundred Kisses you’ll meet Deirdre MacCoinneach, a laird’s daughter with a special ability to sense the lifebloods of those around her. You’ll also get to know, Alasdair Montgomerie, a nobleman traveling under a false name, carrying important political information, whilst being hunted by a notorious baron wishing to squash The Scottish Cause. Deirdre seeks answers. Is she cursed, causing her husbands to die after they share her bed? And she wonders about the mystical power she possesses. Alasdair is on a mission to support The Scottish Cause…and to escape his haunting past.

Jean loves secondary characters. “They provide layers to the story and entrench us in the time period,” Jean said. “Crystoll is the dutiful soldier ordered to protect Deirdre, even if it means protecting her from the mysterious Alasdair. When Deirdre reaches her mother’s homeland of Uist, a desolate isle off the western coast, she befriends Lady Annella, a woman with her own secrets, but who becomes a quick friend. Likewise, Deirdre will finally connect with her long lost aunt…and unlock the mysteries beyond her power to feel lifebloods.”

There is also a ruthless baron who is hunting all supporters of The Scottish Cause. “The secret effort to restore a rightful heir to the Scottish crown,” Jean explained. “Alasdair included. The baron and Alasdair have a messy past.” Jean wouldn’t reveal further secrets.

Three key elements to A Hundred Kisses is the Ancient culture of the isles holding mystical abilities that use the gifts of water, fire, earth, and wind. Curses can be broken, and sometimes meetings are predestined.

Jean laces her stories with hope and dreams. “It’s probably why I write romance,” she said. “I love telling stories of characters with emotional wounds, conflicting goals or cultural differences, and obstacles to overcome. Beautiful landscapes, cruel villains, and journeys complete the mix.”

A Hundred Kisses is the first book written in a trilogy but it falls in the middle. “I’m currently completing a prequel about Deirdre’s parents, Gwyn and Simon, and outlining the third book (sequel) about Deirdre and Alasdair’s son,” Jean explained. “The first book will take readers to a time when the mystic and Norse Vikings ruled the western Scottish isles. It’s a story of clashing cultures, special abilities, and war. It revolves around the power of the Healer. The sequel focuses on the power of the Seer. Deirdre’s ability in A Hundred Kisses is a Feeler.”

To learn more about Jean and her books, visit:

Let’s get a closer look at A Hundred Kisses! 
A broken past, a broken heart…and a broken curse. 

1296 Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands. 

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound. 

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter. 

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…


Jean said...

Thanks for sharing!

Cat Dubie said...

Great blog post, Jean. I enjoyed hearing how you came to write this, and tidbits of history of Scotland, so interesting. [Books set in Scotland are always a favorite!] Best of luck with this intriguing story, and the two others you have planned!


Anna Taylor Sweringen said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Susan Coryell said...

What a fascinating setting for your book! I am finding "travel cozies" such a lovely genre for learning and vicarious traveling. Best wishes as you continue to write.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

I enjoyed your post. I've been to Scotland and it is a place mystic beauty and certainly an allure for writers with imagination. Your book sounds fascinating.

C.B. Clark said...

Very interesting to learn why your story setting is so important to you. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great read.

M. S. Spencer said...

Love anything about Scotland--and your heroine's abilities are a great hook.

Jean said...

Thanks for the kudos, all! I enjoyed writing this book (and have had great fun working on the prequel and plotting the sequel). Scotland was an adventurous place to visit indeed! One of my favorite places.

Kathy Otten said...

I'm coming in late here, but just wanted you to know I enjoyed your blog and excerpt.