Wednesday, August 16, 2023


I am soooo ready for the Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida in February 2024! Folks, we have some awesome authors attending! One of those authors is USA Today Bestselling author Heather McCollum! And I’m so excited to be here with her today!

So grab a cup of coffee… or a glass of wine, and join us for a fun interview with this awesome bestselling author!

Scherry:  Hi Heather!  I was so excited to hear that you will be at the Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach in February as one of Coastal Magic’s Featured Authors. I have to tell you that I checked out your website prior to this interview and I am in awe! And yes, I subscribe to your newsletter and I was able to gain access to the Secret Staircase! What a fabulous website! Great recipe’s too!

Heather:  Thank you so much! I’ve had a lot of fun with the website. This is the best I can get to living in a real castle. LOL!

Scherry:  For those readers who have not yet had an opportunity to check out your webpage, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you so much for having me here today! This will be my first CMCon, and I’m very excited to come down and meet you all.

 I am Heather McCollum, USA Today Bestselling author of 16th and 17th century Scottish romances full of adventure and intrigue, sprinkled with humor, history, and spice. Brawny Highlanders and fiery heroines are my favorite characters to write! 

I’m also a mom of three kids, dog-mom of one rescued geriatric golden retriever, and wife of one 6 foot 4 inch Highlander. When I’m not trying to help my kids make it through the day, baking things I see on The Great British Baking Show, or writing, I’m usually educating women on ovarian cancer (I’m a 12-year survivor). I love kilted heroes, dragonflies, watching birds, chai tea lattes, dressing in vintage costumes, and eating buttered air-popped popcorn for dinner on Friday nights.

Scherry:  Sounds like you stay super busy! You and your "quite tall" husband make a lovely couple! And that dog! Ohmygosh, that's a great picture! 

I love Scottish Historical Romance!  Of all the books you have written, which is your favorite?

Favorite? That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child! Actually, they are all favorites for different reasons: scenes that make me laugh, endings that make me swoon, families that I want to join.

Of the families that have tugged at my heart the most, I must pick the Sinclairs (first book is Highland Conquest) because they are the most tortured. Their grief-stricken, warlord father raised his four sons as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Talk about messing with their heads! 

Scherry:  Okay, that series is definitely going on my TBR list!  You have a new release coming up on the 21st of this month. THE HIGHLANDER’S SECRET AVENGER will be Book #4 in your fabulous Brothers of Wolf Isle series. Can you tell us a little about it? Sort of a sneak peak?

Heather:  I love the brothers in that series too! Five Macquarie brothers who are trying to bring back their clan from the edge of extinction due to a curse placed on them a century ago. Five brothers trying to find five wives to get their clan growing once more. The idea for this series came from that wonderful old musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but there are no mass abduction scenes : )

Book #4, THE HIGHLANDER’S SECRET AVENGER, starts with a mysterious lass masquerading as a lad. She’s taken on the responsibility of a stray kitten, who makes her sneeze, and her secret plan is to doom the recovering Macquarie Clan. There is humor and mistakes and forbidden love in this book.

Scherry:  That book sounds so good! Yes, another series to add to my TBR list! I hope you have some of these on hand at Coastal Magic Convention. I would love to buy a signed copy!  How do you go about doing the research for your novels?

Heather:  I go down many rabbit holes on the internet! But usually, I start with a location or clan in Scotland and research the civic, religious, and social issues going on during its history. There is so much drama and conflict in human history that I can get wrapped up in the research. If I wasn’t a fiction writer, I think I’d be a historian.

I also have a library of reference books from all different time periods. And I travel to Scotland and England on research trips when I can. My last trip was in June 2022 and covered the eastern coast of Scotland around Aberdeen. Touching 16th century castle ruins and breathing in the fresh Highland air fills my creative well more than anything else.

That sounds exciting! Let me know if you ever need someone to tag along to hold your notes! LOL! 
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?
Heather: Queen Elizabeth I was gifted with gowns and gloves, which were very important to my book The Highlander and the Queen’s Sacrifice. She was rightfully worried that someone would line her clothes with poison to be either absorbed into her skin or somehow ingested (poison in the fingertips of gloves transferring to her mouth). Although her dresses were not poisoned, Catherine de Medici, the dowager-queen of France, may have sent “perfumed” gloves that were poisoned. Catherine had an official poisoner on her royal payroll.

Scherry:  Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Heather:  All the time! In fact, this past summer one of my friend’s dogs was sprayed by a skunk, and I’m trying to work that into one of my future books. There weren’t skunks in Scotland, but there were otters, which left a terrible musk. There truly is a bit of my life in each book I write.

Scherry:  I love that! Are you a plotter and know what’s going to happen or are you a pantser that lets your characters lead the way?

Heather:  I’m a total pantser. I try to plot with each book but end up going off the path almost immediately! The characters, and thus the plot, grow organically while I write, but I do try to have a plan, or something of a plan. Luckily my publisher has accepted after 20+ books that the synopsis I turn in for the contract doesn’t look like the book when it’s actually written.

Scherry:  What do you do when you’re not writing?  Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Heather:  I love to bake! My favorite show is The Great British Baking Show. I make meringue box cakes, French macrons with chocolate ganache filling, boiled puddings, scones, yeasted breads, pies, and cakes with Swiss meringue buttercream. Unfortunately, I also love to eat all of it!

I also collect tea accoutrements and host tea parties, watch ice hockey (Go Carolina Hurricanes!), make crafts, and decorate my A5 planner.  

Scherry:  I understand you’ve had a few real-life ghost experiences. Ohmygosh! Can you tell us about one of those experiences. I’m totally into that kind of stuff!

I attended high school in Northern Virginia and lived in a very old house built before the American Civil War. It was definitely haunted. Footsteps, shaking plates, doors opening and closing and so forth. I have a blog post about it on my website if you’d like to read about it. 

I also encountered the “Lady in Green” of Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland last June. I was dressed in my own green vintage costume while touring it and found a plaque about her in the castle brewery. I suddenly felt very cold and needed to leave. My friend snapped a picture as I was fleeing. When he looked at the picture later, a hazy orb sits right over my shoulder. I’m sure that was the Lady in Green.

Okay, let’s talk about costumes! You have some fabulous period costumes! Where do you get them?

Heather: I love period costumes! And I’m very fortunate that my mother sews and lives down the street from me. She makes most of my costumes: Tudor, Scottish, Regency. Victoria Vane has created two costumes for me: a 17th century English court gown and head piece, and a replica of one of Queen Elizabeth I’s ensembles. I have a video in the Bedroom of my website showing how my daughters helped to dress me in it.

Scherry: That's amazing! Looks like your entire family gets into it! I love it!

So Heather, say you got arrested.  What’s the most likely reason the cops are carting you off to jail?

Heather: LOL! Probably because I went over some rope that kept me from crawling through a 16th century castle! Those stone walls beckon me to touch them.

Scherry: Let’s get serious for a moment. I understand that you are a cancer survivor. I’m sure that had to be a very difficult time in your life. Can you tell us how you discovered you had ovarian cancer? And do you have any advice for women who may be facing this same thing?

Heather: I had just turned 40yo and thought I was gaining weight because my pants were tight. I also had some pain during intercourse, thought I might be getting a UTI because of pressure I was feeling on my bladder, and I had a pinchy pain on one side of my abdomen. When I got hit with a soccer ball while playing, we thought I broke my hand. I mentioned the bloating and pain to my PA while she was checking out my wrist. That mention (along with surgery and 15 months of chemo) saved my life.

My advice is to stay connected to your body – what feels “normal” and what feels “off”. And then speak up. You are too important to the people in your life to brush off whispers of warnings. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or if you want to discuss. I’m not a medical doctor. I’m just a middle-aged woman who faced the beast and knows how it can hide.

Scherry: That's excellent advice! I hope our readers listen. Women need to speak up. I'm so glad you did.

So Heather, what is next for you?  Other than Coastal Magic in February, do you have any other upcoming book signings, releases or works in progress?

Heather: The 5th and final book in my Sons of Sinclair series, HIGHLAND SURRENDER, releases October 24th! The first four books in the series are about 4 brothers raised as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Book 5 is about their sister, who is captured by a warrior descended from Vikings in order to control her brothers. But Hannah is no little mouse. She’s a warrior at heart and has learned from the best.

I’ve also started a new Highlander series called Brotherhood of Solway Moss about four sons from feuding clans on the Isle of Skye who are imprisoned together and form a brotherhood to survive. The first book will release next year.

Scherry: So much to look forward to! Heather, thank you so much for joining us here at The Novel Lady! 

If you would like to learn more about Bestselling Author Heather McCollum, here are a few places you can find her. 

I hope you've enjoyed this Coastal Magic Convention Featured Author Spotlight post. Heather McCollum will be one of the amazing authors we'll be hanging out with during the 12th annual reader weekend in Daytona Beach, FL, Feb 22-25,2024.

For a full list of Featured Authors, info about the weekend, and link to register to attend, visit And be sure to watch for more Featured Author spotlights coming up here each month!  #CMCon24


Patricia B. said...

I have been following Heather for years and enjoy her posts and books. I missed the post about her haunted house and can relate. I spent my high school years in an 1865 house with some odd happenings, but nothing serious. We are currently in an 1898 house and we definitely have ghostly residents who make themselves known on occasion. I look forward to reading all her books.

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