Donna Grant's Sources Of Inspiration

Author Donna Grant’s Dark Sword novels are fast-paced historical adventures and the series second, Forbidden Highlander, has been nominated for the Best Historical Fantasy/Parnormal in the 2010 RT Reviewers’ Choice awards. Now discover what modern and ancient sources Grant looked to when she was creating the latest medieval intrigue with these very special highlanders. 

There are many things that inspire me before - and during - a book. I can become inspired by something as simple as a lyric in a song or a line in a movie. Often times it’s the look of a character in a movie that will make me think of an upcoming hero or heroine in one of my books, and its like a light goes off in my head, an “ah ha!” moment. 

My first inspiration…Taylor Kitsch. There is just something about the actor Taylor Kitsch. I noticed him not from Friday Night Lights, but first in the movie The Covenant, then as Remy LeBeau/Gambit from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The overconfident, slightly wounded, and suspicious look Remy had was just what I was looking for to match my hero, the youngest MacLeod brother, Quinn. With Kitsch’s long hair and piercing eyes, he was a definite match for the bad boy of the MacLeods.

Music…it always inspires me. Usually there is one song or one album that will seem to fit whatever book I’m working on. For Wicked Highlander it was the soundtrack to King Arthur staring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly. The sweeping, haunting music always took me to Scotland, to a world filled with magic and mystery. As soon as I hear the first strings of that soundtrack, the words seemed to flow so much easier. 

I often find myself inspired by…research. With the villain and the heroines in the series being Druids, the lack of certain evidence to what the Druids really wore (healers and wise men, or people who sacrificed the innocents and called up evil) allowed me to craft my Druids into what I need – which was both the good and bad I had read about in the Druids. In Wicked Highlander, the heroine is a Druid who has the spell to once more bind the primeval gods inside the Warriors. But it’s buried deep in her mind. 

Another inspiration was the Celts. Their stunning knot work, their history, the legends and lore, all of it inspired me. The MacLeod brothers each wear an ancient Celtic torc around their necks, each with a special animal head that symbolizes them. For Quinn, his torc has the heads of a wolf which meant cunning and intelligence. Those are the characteristics which Quinn uses to his advantage throughout the series, but especially in his book. In my books, the MacLeods were steeped in their traditions, and the sons of the laird all wore torcs with animals chosen by their mother. Those torcs bound them to their clan – and to their past. It also inspired me to have them give the women who would capture their hearts something with their animal as well. For Quinn, he gives Marcail an arm cuff bearing a wolf’s head, and declaring to all she is his.

- Donna Grant

You can see all of these inspirations come to life in Wicked Highlander, available now!