Welcome Blythe Gifford to the convertible today! Blythe will give away a copy of HIS BORDER BRIDE to one lucky commenter. And don’t forget, all week your comments count toward the big anniversary prize giveaway!
Face-to-beak with the past
First of all, I want to thank you for picking up a hitchhiker. It’s a treat to share the journey with a few of my favorite writers.
When I tell people I write medieval romance, the first comment is usually “oh, you have to do so much research.” True, but most of it can be done from the comfort of my computer.
However, for HIS BORDER BRIDE, I stepped outside my comfort zone and come face-to-face, or face-to-beak, with the real thing.
Let me explain.
My heroine practices falconry. Her relationship with the birds is integral to her character and carries the theme of the book. I read books, of course, but I’d never even owned a parakeet. I needed to do more than read. I needed to see what my heroine saw.
Still, I could do a lot sitting at my computer: even watch baby chicks being born.
Peregrine falcons, like those in my story, are enjoying a resurgence. They nest on high cliffs, so city skyscrapers offer a perfect perch and several cities now offer “falcon cams.”
In the spring, (like now) you may be able to watch the eggs hatch and see the chicks get their first exposure to the world. (Check out the San Jose nest cam, for example, at http://bit.ly/bDaTR6) If you miss the event live, YouTube offers reruns.
But wonderful as it was to watch virtual birds, I needed to get a little closer, so when I visited Charleston I toured the South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey.
The photo is of the hooded falcon at the Center’s demonstration. (No, that’s not me holding her.) The hood, a design in use since the middle ages, keeps the bird from being frightened while going to and from the hunt.
Stephen Schabel, education director at the Center, took time to answer dozens of questions from a writer who had virtually no knowledge of the birds or the sport. I hope I did justice to the time he spent with me.
The team at the Center is now on standby, expecting to be called in to help treat birds affecting by the Gulf Coast oil spill, a problem my 14th century heroine could never have envisioned. For more on their work, visit facebook.com/BlytheGifford, where I have them in my “favorite pages.”
Now, your turn: Do you have a favorite bird or animal that’s been part of your life? I’ll give a signed copy of HIS BORDER BRIDE to a random commenter.
And thanks again for having me.
BLYTHE GIFFORD is the author of five medieval romances from Harlequin Historical. She specializes in characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. With HIS BORDER BRIDE, she crosses the border and sets a story in Scotland for the first time, where the rules of chivalry don’t always apply. Her 2009 release, IN THE MASTER’S BED, has just finaled in the Readers Crown contest. Blythe loves to have visitors at www.blythegifford.com or www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford.
Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ®and ™ are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2010 ■ Author photo by Jennifer Girard