As far as I know, I am not Scottish or Irish—I am completely un-Celtic except if you go back about 1,000 years. Like our president, I’m a mutt. My mother was from Austria. Her father’s parents were Italian but he was born in Hungary. Cue the gypsy violins. My maternal grandmother was a Viennese girl. We’re waltzing now. My father’s family was almost entirely from England—and traced themselves back to the Mayflower, of course—except for his maternal grandfather Anthony Miller whose family came from Germany. It was considered such a blot on the family escutcheon (perhaps because of two world wars)that this Germanic connection was always hushed up. No oom-pah music, please.
However, I get to be an honoray Scotswoman. Bring on the bagpipes! My husband’s family emigrated to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia from somewhere in Scotland in the 1800s. Eventually they wandered down to Maine, changing their name from Robertson to Robinson to ditch their Canadian roots. When we visited Scotland we came home with a bolt of the Robertson plaid which serves as our Christmas tree skirt. It was originally intended for pants, but John decided the wool was too itchy. 🙂 Even though he’s got great legs, a kilt was never considered.
When I go back to work on Andrew and Gemma’s Scotland-set book, I will listen to Celtic music and look at gorgeous pictures. The location of the book plays more of a role in the plot than anything I’ve ever written, although the proposal for Any Wicked Thing comes close. I’m having a ton of fun researching castles and medieval life. Sometimes I find it hard to get back to the 21st century.
Have you ever visited a castle/Scotland? Do your characters sometimes seem more real to you than the people you work with? Do you wish you could ditch your Real Life roots and stick to fiction? Where is your family from?