01 Sep 2013

NEW RELEASE: “The Last MacKlenna (The Ruby Brooch)” by Katherine Lowry Logan

3 Comments Book Reviews

The Last MacKlenna (The Ruby Brooch)

18397298

My review:

In “The Last MacKlenna” by Katherine Lowry Logan, the second in her Ruby Brooch series, the focus is on Meredith Montgomery, a breast cancer surviving widow who runs a winery in Napa Valley. Over Christmas she goes on a Christmas time research trip to Scotland to find out about her family’s genealogy, where she meets Elliot Fraser, a rich horse breeder.

Despite her lack of bodily confidence due to her scars, the two of them have some sparks flying between them. However, fate intervenes when one of Elliot’s prize winning horses dies and might have been murdered, demanding his immediate attention elsewhere and leaving Meredith in doubt about his feelings and her own.

The romance between the characters is done really well, understated and realistic, thanks to some greatly set up and developed main characters. None of them is drawn either as a drama queen or too flaccid – both characteristics are pet hates of mine in the genre and the author has done a great job at keeping the story line believable and fresh.

Meredith at the time of her trip has yet another health scare. She finds another lump in her breast just before she sets out on the trip, which brings a more serious note to the romance. This, too, is handled in an understated and delicate manner, which lends the book more depth and makes the story all the more touching.

The book has also a lot of very memorable and colourful characters around Elliot, such as his ‘sister-in-law’ Lou, the owner of the B&B where our lovers meet. This makes the story much more entertaining than you would expect a book with such a serious theme to be and I guess it will prove very compelling reading for anyone who has experience with the big C.

The plot has many surprises and turns which I will not mention. There is a minor paranormal element in the story and a link to the past.The slow build-up of the characters and the story was excellent but it picks up in time

to keep us engaged in the story. This is very well written.

Logan balances the various elements of the story really well and also handles the more serious issues without letting them take over the story completely.

Given the character depth, some excellently placede symbolism and the seriousness of the issues I wonder if this should really be passed as romance writing and not as literary novel.

 

5806657

Interview with Katherine Lowry Logan

Tell us a little about yourself, as a person and as an author.

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, during the 1960s. Sit-in’s, the sexual revolution, pot, campus unrest, and the Vietnam War were brought vividly to life by Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News. While the rest of the world seemed to spin out of control, I spun stories in my head.

College, marriage, and two daughters kept the muse simmering on the back burner. I worked as a real estate and tax paralegal in central Kentucky, and was actively involved in my community. It wasn’t until the nest was empty that I sat down to write full-time. Then, life brought a screeching halt to my writing when my husband died unexpectedly. Healing was a slow process, but two weddings and five grandchildren have a way of putting life into perspective. Following the birth of my second grandchild, I found my writer’s voice again.

I am a marathoner and an avid reader, and I live in Lexington, Kentucky.

Why did you choose this particular period for your novel and the settings?

I’ve been interested in time-travel since childhood. “The Time Machine”, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” and my all-time favorite “Somewhere in Time” Also, I fell in love with historicals reading Hawaii, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring and other words by James Michener. Also, I grew up watching all the old westerns on TV along with Perry Mason.

I knew three things when I sat down to write a story: 1. It would be a time travel, 2. It would be a romance, and 3. The story would take place in the west in the mid-nineteenth-century. Other than that, I had no idea would the story would be. 

How did the idea for this novel come to you?

I set out to write a time travel that took place in the American west in the mid-1800s. The story evolved as I wrote by “the seat of my pants.” Something I read triggered the idea of the Oregon Trail. Then, using the map as I guide, I planned and plotted a story based on what happened to folks who travelled to California and Oregon from 1849-1860.

Why the brooch as time travel device?

When I realized I needed a time travel method, I decided to use a ruby brooch based on a bracelet I have. The bracelet has an interesting past. It was an original design made for a woman in the 1970s.  In the 1980s, she paid her CPA’s bill with the bracelet. In the early 1990s, the CPA’s widow paid her legal bill with the bracelet. After the death of my husband (the lawyer whose legal bill was paid), I ended up with the bracelet.  The bracelet is now memorialized by the book.

How did you choose the characters for the story? Who did you have in mind when you wrote the characters? Who would play them in a film?

I think many of the characters have traits of friends and family members. And I can certainly identify with Kit’s grief and trauma. My husband died five days after I wrote THE END. During the many rewrites over the years, I was able to pull from my own experiences and add depth to Kit’s grief and recovery.

Elliott Fraser is a Mark Harman. Cullen Montgomery is Ben Affleck or Hugh Jackson. Braham is Brad Pitt. Meredith could easily be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kit by Nicole Kidman or Kate Winslet.

 Who is your favourite character and why?

Elliott Fraser is Kit MacKlenna’s godfather. In the beginning, he was a groom on the horse farm, but he developed into a 50-year-old veterinarian/bachelor from Scotland.  By the end of the book, I knew I had to write his story next.  Although he has significant physical and emotional scars, he can be tender and passionate. You can’t help but love him.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

Kit is a strong, determined survivor who wanted to quit but didn’t. In that regard, we are alike. But I can’t ride a horse, sing, play the guitar, or stitch someone up. She was created from my imagination

 How did you research for the book?

I read countless Oregon Trail journals to get a feeling for the life and challenges the travelers experienced.

I joined the California-Oregon Trail Association and had dozens of conversations with experts about life on the trail.

I talked to people all around the world about carbon dating, Thoroughbred racing, guns, clothing, food, snakes, and the list goes on.

I travelled the trail from Independence, Missouri to Portland, Oregon, and in many places followed the actual wagon ruts. The round trip from Lexington, Kentucky to Portland took nineteen days. It was an incredible adventure.

What was the most fascinating aspect in the research and the writing for you?

A few years ago, during the Christmas holidays, I was working on the stampede scene and I needed gun information. So I went to a local store. My first visit ever! The store was crowded with holiday shoppers. I stood at the door not knowing what to do. The cashier asked if he could help me. I said, “I need a gun that will kill as many cows as possible in the shortest amount of time.” The store went completely silent. The men stared at me. I had a lot of explaining to do. After they discovered I was a writer, everyone wanted to give me gun advice.

Did you have any say in the cover art and what was that process?

I worked with a cover artist on the design. We used an antique brooch I found on Ruby Lane, an online antique, art, and vintage collectibles site. I was very pleased with the final result.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

The plot and subplots evolved while writing the first draft. Then, over the years they were tweaked significantly.

Is this part of a series? What are your next projects?

I just completed THE LAST MACKLENNA, which is a standalone book, but it does pick up where THE RUBY BROOCH ends. There are two other brooch stories. The next one is THE SAPPHIRE BROOCH which takes place during the Civil War, and next is THE EMERALD BROOCH which takes place several years later.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

I lived in a happy writer’s world prior to publication, writing and talking with other writers. I wasn’t concerned with marketing because I had nothing to market. I have since learned that an author needs a platform in place long before there’s a book to promote. Now I split my time between writing and marketing. Like many others, I find social networking a challenge. There are many days when I think Twitter and Facebook control me, not the other way around.

What do you do when you don’t write?

When I get away from the computer and relax, I read, and I read in a variety of genres—fantasy, mystery, suspense, and of course, romance. When the weather is nice, I enjoy evenings on patios at local restaurants sharing dinner and a glass of wine with family and friends. But probably most of all, I relax or de-stress by running. It has become a passion late in life, and I love it because I don’t ponder or worry or plan. I just run because it feels good.

 Who are your biggest influences? Which are your favourite books and authors?

  • James A. Michener: Michener is the author of sweeping sagas. I fell in love with historical novels reading HAWAII, THE SOURCE, CENTENNIAL, and others
  • Elizabeth Lowell: I love her voice, her settings, her characters, and the incredible amount of research she puts into her books.
  • Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: They co-author fast-paced, mind-blowing stories, and I love their character FBI Agent Pendergast

Which indie writers can you recommend?

Clive Eaton, M.A. Granovsky, Michael E. Gunter, Ceri London  

What would you take to an isolated island?

My Kindle and a solar charger!

If you could chose anybody, who would you like to meet?

Hillary Clinton

Here are relevant links to connect with Katherine and her books:

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5806657.Katherine_Lowry_Logan

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13579358-the-ruby-brooch

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18397298-the-last-macklenna

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/The-Ruby-Brooch-ebook/dp/B007QMSONK

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-MacKlenna-ebook/dp/B00EWOFL6I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378004632&sr=1-1

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ruby-Brooch-ebook/dp/B007QMSONK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378004713&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Last-MacKlenna-ebook/dp/B00EWOFL6I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378004570&sr=1-1

Website http://www.katherinellogan.com

Blog http://www.katherinelowrylogan.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/katherine.l.logan

Twitter https://twitter.com/KathyLLogan

LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/katherine-logan/10/62/752

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/kllogan50/

Shelfari http://www.shelfari.com/o1518085100

Google+ https://plus.google.com/109100035748879115211/posts

 

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written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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3 Responses to “NEW RELEASE: “The Last MacKlenna (The Ruby Brooch)” by Katherine Lowry Logan”

  1. Lucy Pireel says:

    Great review and interview Chris. I have The Ruby Brooch on my TBR list, but must put this one on it too.

  2. Katherine Lowry Logan says:

    Thanks for having me on your blog, Chris!

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