Monday, July 2, 2012

Life and Art - All Mixed Up!

Those of you who visit my website regularly or follow me on Facebook likely already know what a geek I am when it comes to research.  I ♥ it so much that sometimes I think research might be my favorite part of writing!  ☺

Well, what's true in my writing life is also true in my real life.  About 15 years ago, I got totally hooked on hunting my genealogy.  The more I found, the more I wanted to know.  The discovery that some of my lines led back to Scotland was what enticed me to go there.  And visiting there on vacation, sitting in the real-life Fairy Glen, is what encouraged me to write that first book in the Daughters of the Glen series - Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband.   

Now I've found an even deeper connection between the genealogy research and the writing research...

After eight books in the Daughters of the Glen series, we decided to begin a Spinoff series - The Warriors.  Characters from one move freely into the other as they all inhabit the same world of Medieval Highlanders.  The biggest difference?  The new "core" family is descended from Vikings who settled in Scotland.  [They're also descended from Norse gods.  And Faeries. But that shouldn't be a surprise if you've read any of my books.  ☺].  See the possibilities for hours upon hours consumed by my beloved research?  Yeah.  I was in heaven with the changes.  Still am.  Currently working on a character descended from the Picts.  Know how little information there is on the Pictish culture????  But I digress.  As usual.  ☺

So... where does the 'art' of my writing get mixed up with the 'life' part?

A few months ago I signed up for a DNA test through   It was the kind that traces where your people originate from, giving you a sense of where in the world your ancestors lived.  I fully expected to see the highest percentage [51%] of my ancestors having come from the British Isles -- my research points to Scotland, Ireland and England on BOTH sides of my family.   I had long teased my sons that they actually ARE the Highlanders I write about, so this finding made perfect sense to me. 

What I DIDN'T expect was the location of the second highest percentage [32%].  Scandinavian!!  Sweden, Denmark and Norway, to be precise.  I'd found NOTHING to support that finding... or had I???

The research I'd done for The Warriors series had already shown me how Vikings [from Norway and Denmark] had traveled all over the world, but, specifically, many of them settled on the Northwest coast of Scotland --  in the Highlands, as well as other parts of Scotland, England and Ireland.  

Now I get to tease my sons that not only are they the Highlanders I write about... they're also the Viking descendants I write about!

Life and art -- all mixed up!

What about you?  Are you an avid genealogy researcher?  Struggling to learn more about your ancestors?  Or are you simply an admirer of medieval Highlanders and Vikings [ who isn't???]   ☺  

By the way... if you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, this would be a good time to do it.  In the next month or so I'll be starting a contest to give away books and swag I've picked up at some of the conferences I've attended this summer.  My newsletter is the only place you'll find information on the contests.  You can go HERE to sign up now. 

Until later ~

~ Melissa