Today Collette joins me to talk about castles. I think you'll enjoy the post and do comment as Collette is giving away to one lucky commenter a copy of the eBook of Highlander's Hope.
The Allure of Castles by Collette Cameron
I’ve always been fascinated with castles, so it should come as no surprise that I chose a mythical castle, Craiglocky, as part of the setting for Highlander’s Hope. What is it about castles that are so appealing? I asked this question on Facebook and here are a few of the responses:
“Because they make us dream.” ~A. Barbin
“...the untold stories they hold.” ~T. Morrison
“They get my imagination all worked up.” ~T. Patton
“Because you were a princess in a past life?”~ S. Owens
I think it’s all of the first three, and maybe a bit of me wanting to have been a princess or at least a member of the gentry or nobility so I’d have access to a castle or two. I confess, my obsession extends to palaces and manor houses too. (Take a peek at my Castle, Palaces and Manor Houses Pinterest Board.)
Castles are inherently romantic...well, if you ignore the whole dungeon/torture aspect, that is. In my story, Adaira, the sister of the hero, Ewan, locks the Earl of Clarendon in Craiglocky’s dungeon, and the heroine, Yvette has several uncomfortable moments in the keep’s bowels, too.
In The Earl’s Enticement, Adaira and Roark will get their own story, (coming at the end of this month) and the intricacies of castles will be explored.
One of my friends commented that castles were cold and drafty. True, especially if you’re talking about a medieval castle. They weren’t built for luxurious comfort, but rather protection from invaders. Yvette finds Craiglocky charming, but a bit outdated. The great hall’s display of ancient weaponry and hunting trophies aren’t really to her taste, though she quite likes the library.
|Eilean Donan Castle|
But still, castles captivate. If I could time travel, I’d love to go back, invisible of course, and wander some castle corridors, hang out in a few great halls and watch a ball or two. I’ve been privileged to visit several castles while visiting England, France and Spain and touring as many as I can drag my hubby to when we go to Scotland in 2015 is at the top of my list.
|The London Tower|
Although I enjoyed the opulence and extraordinary lavishness displayed, I find myself drawn to the more rustic castles. That’s how I picture Craiglocky Castle in my mind. And don’t even get me started on Scottish castle ruins. Oh, the stories they could tell.
Common castle features include a mote, the raised flattened surface a castle was often constructed on. Sometimes there were natural features the builders used (think castles on cliffs) and other times, they constructed the mote from surrounding dirt, which left a ditch called a moat. Craiglocky is situated on a man-made mote atop a hill.
The bailey was a fortified enclosure surrounded by a high, thick curtain wall that typically sported battlements. The barracks, stables, blacksmith, and living quarters of those not privileged enough to live in the keep were within the bailey. The keep is the actual building the nobles lived in and the part of the castle that most fascinates me. The main access to the castle was generally only available through the gatehouse, a structure built with multiple defenses, including more battlements to keep unwanted visitors out.
If you’ve read Highlander’s Hope, you’ll remember there are also some secret entrances, which were not uncommon. Another defense was the moat, which could be either wet or dry. It was more typical to see a moat filled with water in low-lying areas.
Though I’d love to visit more castles and daydream about the former occupants, I don’t think I’d want to live in one. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to a nice long stay in a comfortably appointed chamber, as long as there was a bathroom nearby.
Have you ever visited any castle? Where? What fascinated you the most about them?
Read an Excerpt of Highlander's Hope (reviewed by Regan just below this post):
Yvette stepped back as Ewan pushed his way into the room, leaving the door ajar. His hair was damp, no doubt from bathing, and the stubble darkening his face earlier was gone. Feet bare, wearing only buckskin breeches and a shirt unbuttoned to the waist, he resembled a pirate—a dangerous, rakish, sinfully handsome pirate.
She sucked in her breath. He oughtn’t to be here, but he’d said he wanted to talk to her, and he had promised to behave.
Yvette’s gaze traveled the path of silky hair from his chest until it disappeared into his waistband. Her stomach flip-flopped. Sweet Lord above. She pressed her hands to her frolicking middle. Why doesn’t he say something?
A distraction, that’s what she needed.
She escaped to the lumpy bed where she’d flung her clothing before bathing. She folded, then packed the garments into her valise and set it on the floor beside her trunk. Bending to retrieve her towel, she peeked sideways at him from the corner of her eye. He hasn’t moved an inch. What’s he about?
Grabbing the towel, she glanced down and froze. The candles to her left bathed her in a stream of light. She could clearly see the outline of her legs. Her nightwear was almost translucent in the candlelight and gave him a shadowy view of— dear God—nearly everything.
No wonder he hadn’t moved, the lout.
Standing upright, she held the towel before her and faced him. “Enjoying the view, your lordship?” she snapped.
Ewan lounged against the doorframe, watching her. A slow smile tilted the corners of his mouth. “Immeasurably.”
Stay in touch with Collette on her Website, her blog, Blue Rose Romance, Twitter and Facebook, and/or subscribe to her newsletter. You can buy her book on Amazon here and Barnes& Noble here.