“Seeking the Source of Seeker in the Mortar & Pestle Series”
by Jean M. Grant
How my latest book came about…
In early 2022, a group of seven authors got together through Zoom to talk shop, one thing led to another . . . and a magical Mortar & Pestle Series was born! Each story has a bit of magic and can be read as a standalone, taking the reader on an adventure with Vikings, Highlanders, pirates, treasure hunters, vampires, healers, and artists. My book, Seeker, is the second in this series.
I already had a series (The Hundred Trilogy) set in medieval Scotland, so I dipped into that world and came up with an adventure that revolves around a yearly clan tournament. I chose two secondary characters (one being the sister of the protagonist-hero) from my third book in that collection. I wondered: “Wouldn’t Aileana and Brodie’s story be fun to write?”
The back cover blurb . . .
Nock, draw, release. Her bow is always ready, and if her arrow hits its mark, she will secure her destined soulmate.
Aileana Montgomerie’s bloodline holds valuable gifts of foresight and healing, but with each honor comes a curse. Even though she is descended from the mystical isles’ folk, she lacks the ability of the Scottish Ancients and wonders if she belongs in a magical family. Aileana just wants a purpose. What good is her bow and arrow if she is denied the right to fight for her clan?
Brodie MacDougall is ordained to be the next war chieftain of his clan. The title is a privilege as long as his brother, the future laird, doesn’t expect him to lift a sword and charge into battle. Chronic pain and nervous vapors force him to spend his days alone. Can his strategic skills keep him one step ahead of his conspiring brother?
Through a magical Mortar & Pestle, Brodie finds his heart’s desire – yet there’s a catch. The seat on his brother’s council is no longer dependent upon his health . . . but on Aileana’s strength. With rumblings of unrest among their clans, will their love foster an alliance or be a step toward war?
Finding my Muse in Scotland…
Over a decade ago for our anniversary, my husband and I traveled to my bucket-list destination: Scotland. Lone sheep wandered down the middle of a meandering country road. Windswept moors, heather fields, wet and cloudy skies, the occasional sunshine, rocky trails, impressive mountains, green rolling hills, deep lochs, and a gazillion castles greeted us . . . it was an amazing trip! Visiting the land of my daydreams stirred the muse within me to write about medieval Scotland. From that inspiration sprung my trilogy and now my spin-off book (it can be read as a standalone), Seeker (in the Mortar & Pestle series with six other authors).
Here is my Scotland Top 10:
A Thread of Elements…
Water, fire, air, and earth…these elements have symbolic roots and importance in many cultures and communities from the ancient Greeks to current-day scientists. According to the Ancients in my trilogy (and in Seeker), these elements are the essence of life. Each of my main characters in the trilogy has a supernatural ability linked to an element:
Fire and feeling.
Air and seeing.
Earth . . . for? Find out in Seeker.
All the elements are grounded in earth and woven together. Water symbolizes healing, purity, life, strength, and unconditional love, and is associated with autumn. Fire symbolizes vibrance, passion, and energy, and is associated with summertime. Air symbolizes perception, knowledge, and travel and is associated with spring. Earth ties them all together with the symbolism of order, security, nourishment, and grounding and is associated with winter.
Admittedly, I loved how the creative muse guided me in this thread throughout the Hundred trilogy and how it wove itself right into Seeker, where Aileana thinks she lacks these gifts, but the reader soon finds out that is not true. My Ancients, a mythical culture born of the western isles of Scotland, utilize the mysterious standing stones as part of their traditions. They pass on their history through written books and spoken word. But as their population diminishes because of wars and exploitation, will their stories and powers die with them? You’ll need to read to find out.
The origin of the Ancients is unknown . . . where did these people come from? At one point, they became mingled with the Norse people and their gods because of Viking expansion. As a result, a magical Mortar & Pestle, passed down from Norse ancestors, shows up to spin its magic in Seeker. The Ancients are a spiritual, mystical people open to the unknown, a world view that may clash with some of the Scottish clans’ and Christian beliefs.
Because it would be no fun for readers if each gift resulted in an easy ride in life, each gift comes with a burden: to lessen your life force with each healing; to feel too deeply debilitating you; or to see dark, bloody visions every time you touch a person. Not only does this trilogy explore the mystical realm, but it also highlights the deep-rooted beliefs of Christian/Norse/Ancient, the superstitions of the Middle Ages, the insatiable hunger to control and conquer, and the Scottish wars of 1263 to 1322 A.D. Nothing like stirring a pot of history with mystic, aye?
Jean M. Grant is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and articles for family-oriented travel magazines. Her original background is in science, and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and family for inspiration. When not writing, Jean enjoys gardening, hiking, and exploring the outdoors. Her email address is: www.jeanmgrant.com
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All images except “Four Elements” from Jean Grant’s collection. Used by permission.
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