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Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view . . .
Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.
Amy, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers about Sylvie?
The protagonist in Highland Peril is Sylvie Carmichael, an Edinburgh transplant to the Scottish Highlands. She moved there with her husband Seamus and they both have a deep love for their adopted home.
Sylvie discovered a love of photography a few years ago and has made a career out of that passion. Since Seamus is a painter, their lives revolve around art. Together they own a shop in the Highlands that sells antique artwork and they also have a gallery where they sell both Sylvie’s photographs and Seamus’s paintings.
Sylvie is a fierce defender of her husband, though that doesn’t mean they always get along, and it doesn’t prevent her from becoming suspicious of him when his actions and his words don’t add up. She’s a loyal friend and a loving sister and proves herself to be one tough customer when it comes to getting to the bottom of the mysteries that plague her and Seamus.
How much do you and Sylvie have in common?
That’s a question that I’ve had to think about for a while. Sylvie tends to be pretty even-keeled, though she’s been known to fly off the handle once in a while. And as much as I wish I never flew off the handle, I’m afraid there’s a bit of me in that description. I also love the outdoors and I am a loyal devotee of the Scottish Highlands. I suppose we’re alike in those ways. But we’re different in some ways, too—Sylvie is the person I would want to be when danger strikes.
What if you met her in real life?
How would I feel if I met Sylvie? I think we would get along very well.
Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer is this: Sylvie and Seamus were not the main characters in the first book in my Malice series—Sylvie’s sister, Greer, was the main character. Anyone who knows Sylvie from the first book will notice that marriage and a career and a home in a ruggedly independent region of Scotland has matured Sylvie. She’s not as selfish as she used to be and she’s more appreciative of the people around her.
Sylvie and Seamus learn some important lessons in Highland Peril about trust. It costs them heartache and time, but they’re wiser for it in the end.
Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
You bet. Say, for example, someone made me cry in Belfast because he was the meanest man I’ve ever met. I might love to make him a villain/kill him off in a future book. This is just a hypothetical, you understand. I’m not bitter or anything.
Great hypothetical and totally made-up example! Speaking of making things up, how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
I tried to make my setting as realistic as possible, while taking liberties with certain things like village names. My goal is not to write a perfect representation of everything in the Scottish Highlands, but to give a perfectly accurate account of what it feels like to be there. Readers of my previous books have said they feel like they’re in the setting right along with the characters, and that’s how I want to portray the Highlands, too.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
Rose Leslie would play the role of Sylvie
and Brian Dykstra would be Seamus.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received as an author?
The best advice I’ve ever received was to start marketing early—as in, the day I decide to write a book, not the day I finish it. And the worst? It’s from anyone who suggests I write the book in their head.
About the Author
Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, and recovering attorney. But she also writes (how could she not write with that last name?) and is the author of The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross) and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.
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