Shinty, Hurling and Kilts, Oh My
I've never been a big sports fan, though I come from a family of rabid
Chicago Bears fans. We "watched games as a family" every Sunday of my childhood when football was in season. I would have considered it dire punishment, were it not for the fact that Sunday was also the day that my grandmother, a rabid Bears fan AND a children's librarian, brought me an armload of books from her library. True, I had to sit in the living room with the Bears (think Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers) in the background while my little brother--garbed in his Bear's football helmet, jersey and shoulder pads-- yelled at the t.v. along with everyone else in the room. But I was in Narnia or The Secret Garden and no one suspected that I'd disappeared into whatever book I was reading.
It wasn't until this fall that I realized I could become a rabid sports fan, too--as long as the players were wearing kilts! I discovered the miniseries OUTLANDER, then read the books. ("Discovered?" you may ask. "Where have you been living, Kimberly? Under a rock?" Actually, I've been buried under mountains of research books since I first published in 1983 and have rarely poked my nose out to read anything for fun. Especially something as long and lauded as Diana Gabaldon's epic series.) Anyway, the scene with Jamie Fraser playing shinty is one of my favorites in the screen version because (well, aside from the obvious) it reminded me of one of my favorite scenes in a book I wrote in 1988. Nightwylde, now re-titled BLACK FALCON'S LADY, had a scene with hero Tade Kilcannon playing in a hurling match. Hurling is much like Shinty, with few rules, curved sticks and a hard leather ball flying through the air at dangerous speeds.
As a New Year's Gift, I've made BLACK FALCON'S LADY free to thank you, my wonderful readers, for an amazing end to 2015. Set in the Georgian era, it is the story of a dispossessed Irish prince who falls in love with the English daughter of his family's greatest enemy. Hope my Irish hero Tade Kilcannon and Maryssa Wylder, the brave beauty who wins his heart, will warm up your winter and give you something fun to read. Especially if your family is forcing you to watch football! Wishing you love and laughter and many unforgettable books in the New Year!