Sunday, April 20, 2014

'The Winter Stone' Co-Authors Chat About Their Collaboration

by Joyce Lamb)

Photo: Oliver-Heber Books)

Glynnis Campbell, Tanya Anne Crosby and Laurin Wittig chat with HEA about their collaboration on their collection of three never-before-published novellas based on the Scottish legend of the Winter Stone.

Q: Welcome to HEA, Glynnis, Tanya and Laurin! What made you decide to collaborate on The Winter Stone?

GC: Port. A bottle of Port. These ladies got me drunk at a writer's conference.

LW: Well, there was that. But in part it was due to a recent boxed set collaboration I participated in that included Tanya and Glynnis. I found that incredibly fun.

TAC: Plus it made sense! Not only do I adore Glynnis and Laurin — both as people and as authors — but we share a love for all things Scottish. I love the idea of collaboration, but I truly believe that kind of collaboration can only be as good as the chemistry between the authors.

GC: And we did have instant chemistry, didn't we? I mean, Tanya is one of my all-time-favorite writers, and I love Laurin's storytelling. But I never realized our styles meshed so well. Even though our voices are uniquely our own, we were able to blend them in a kind of literary harmony.

LW: Yeah. It felt like a true collaboration from idea to finished product, and I got to work with two people I admire and respect as writers. It's been a truly wonderful, synergistic, exciting project.

Q: What was the concept for The Winter Stone?

TAC: The Winter Stone was born of a Scottish legend. I just loved the idea of an eternal Earth Mother who looks over us all. According to myth, the Mother of Winter is a blue-faced hag who guards the Scottish Highlands. She's reborn every All Hallows Eve and is guardian to animals throughout the winter, returning to the earth by turning to stone on Beltane. I read this story once that Kenneth MacAlpin brought together the last seven kings of the Pict nation and slew them under a banner of truce to secure his throne. So I thought, what if — the magic question — the Mother of Winter is so aggrieved by this that she weeps over their deaths and her tear becomes a magic crystal?

LW: We got pretty excited about how this legend could be used. I mean, once we'd decided we wanted to create a collection of brand new novellas, we needed a connecting element that could tie the three stories together. We were brainstorming, thinking of a theme or an object, and once Tanya told us about the myth of the Mother of Winter …

GC: I remember getting chills. The title just popped into someone's head — I don't remember whose now — and we all went, ooOOoo. It was exciting thinking about how the stone could thread through all of our novellas over the span of several centuries. And the cool thing was we all sort of leaned toward different time periods naturally —Tanya to the Dark Ages, Laurin to the Middle Ages, and me to the Renaissance.

LW: Right! And before the Port was gone, The Winter Stone was born.

Q: What was your biggest challenge?

LW: This was my first novella.

GC: Really? Wow! You can't tell.

LW: Thank you! Anyway, figuring out how to tell a story in about a third of the space I am used to took some adjustment, but once I figured that out, I had a blast writing it. Fortunately, the least challenging thing has been working with Tanya and Glynnis.

TAC: Yes, with two such amazing authors, that really was a joy.

GC: I kept waiting for some huge issue to crop up, like we'd all named our heroes "Duncan" or something. But nothing really did.

TAC: Really, this was a fun project, and if I had any challenges at all it was simply in the coordination of our stories.

GC: That's what I was going to say. Not only did these novellas have to link to one another, but they also had to connect to our individual series. That took some clever weaving.

LW: It did, but I would do another of these novella anthologies with you again in a heartbeat.

GC: The Summer Star? The Autumn Wind? I'll get the Port.

Q: Give me the pitch for your novella and tell me what series it connects to.

TAC: My novella in The Winter Stone, Once Upon a Highland Legend, is a prequel to The Guardians of the Stone series. My heroine, Annie McPherson, has gone through life a bit lost. Now she ends up misplaced in time as well. She has to take her place as a guardian and find a way to restore the faith of a powerful chieftain.

LW: Mine is a part of my Kilmartin Glen series. It's called MacAlister's Hope, and it's a spinoff of my very first novel, The Devil of Kilmartin. My hero, Kieron MacAlister, has always loved Wee Fia, whom he met years ago and who changed his life. But when he comes face-to-face with her as a grown woman, he wonders if he can convince her to change her life, too.

GC: My story, The Outcast, is a prequel to my Scottish Lasses series. My hero, Lachlan Mar, is a broken soldier who doesn't believe he can be mended until a beautiful nerd stumbles into his life and shows him the healing power of love.

Q: Why will readers love The Winter Stone?

LW: Three brand new novellas connected by a mystical stone, all set in Scotland, and written by three best-selling authors — what's not to love?

TAC: It's full of magic! And for my part, I tried something a bit new. My story centers around something I've never done before — time travel! It was such fun to try to imagine how a modern heroine would view a historic setting.

GC: Readers will definitely enjoy the book because, hello, it's Tanya Anne Crosby and Laurin Wittig! And I think they'll get a kick out of my story, because my scientific heroine actually doesn't believe in magic at all, no matter what the hero says. Oh, and there's also a big slobbery dog.

LW: I had a lot of fun returning to Kilmartin Castle and rediscovering my love of the place and the people who live there. I think my readers will enjoy seeing one of my most beloved characters, Wee Fia, all grown up and finding her own true love.

TAC: Readers will also love the discounted price! This week only, from today till April 27, The Winter Stone is on sale for just 99 cents.

GC: Hey, that means they'll have enough change left over to buy a bottle of their own Port!

Find out more about the authors and their books at, and

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