Whence Came a Prince, Lowlands of Scotland Series #3Whence Came a Prince, Lowlands of Scotland Series #3
Liz Curtis Higgs
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Travel back to eighteenth-century Scotland for Jamie's long-awaited return to his ancestral home--a harrowing journey that tests the depth of his courage, the strength of his sword, and the tenacity of his vow to honor the Almighty at any cost.

Jamie faces a perilous journey of the heart as well, for the two women he loves, Leana and Rose, each stake a tender claim on his affections.
     


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Our interview with Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs

Psalms 16:11 - "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

What is the name of the Series?

Ah! The truth is, I didn’t know it would be a series when I began writing! I thought Thorn in My Heart, which transported Leah’s story from Genesis 29 to 18th-century Scotland, would be a single novel. Halfway through the writing process, I realized I also wanted to tell Rachel’s story from Genesis 30, and so began outlining Fair Is the Rose. Of course, halfway through writing the second book, I knew it was going to take a third one to really bring this story—and my Jacob character, Jamie—all the way home. Whence Came a Prince, which covers the material from Genesis 31-33 and 35, is truly the finale—I promise!

Though this trilogy has no true series name, I call it, “A journey of the heart across the Lowlands of Scotland.”

What are some of the challenges you face being an author?

I have to be careful, or my novels take over my life! I find myself talking about the characters at the dinner table, dreaming about them at night, brooding over them like a mother hen. I spend long hours at the computer writing, plus I take good of my readers, sending personal notes or emails. And I accept about 20 invitations a year to speak at Christian conferences around the country. Balancing family and career is ever a challenge at the Higgs house!

How long did Whence Came a Prince take you to complete?

I began my research ten years ago, and then started writing the first novel in 2002. Each book has taken me one full year to write. Whence Came a Prince is the longest of the three novels, and so required an extra two months to finish. My publisher was exceedingly patient!

How much research did Whence Came a Prince take?

Because these novels are based on biblical characters, I felt compelled to learn everything I could about Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel. Ninety commentaries and fourteen translations later, I began to fully grasp the complexities of this highly dysfunctional family. Then, because my novels are set in 18th-century Galloway, I had to research both the location—the Scottish Lowlands—and the time period of 1788-1790. I have collected an embarrassing number of reference books on Scotland and its history—750 at last count—and have visited Scotland to do on-site research seven times so far.

How do you think up your characters?

Since Jamie, Leana, and Rose are loosely based on Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, I fleshed out their personalities from the words and actions of their biblical counterparts as recorded in Genesis. I believe their very human flaws ring true in any century. Jamie’s uncle, Lachlan—akin to Laban in Scripture—is a sly trickster, and so made a fascinating character study, even though he’s a perfectly hateful man.

Do you have a favorite character? Why?

Definitely Leana—and judging by reader letters, I am not alone! She is a grace-filled, gentle-spirited woman who loves God with all her heart and lives out her beliefs sacrificially. Quiet and steady in nature—especially compared to Rose, her vivacious younger sister—Leana often suffers in silence. Though her faith is sorely tested, and we fear for her happiness, God did not forget the Leah of the Bible, and I have not forgotten Leana in Whence Came a Prince.

How did you choose the setting?

My husband and I visited Scotland in 1996 to celebrate our 10th anniversary. As soon as we crossed the border from England into the southwest corner of Scotland, I knew I was “home” (and burst into tears!). Though I’ve visited many other areas of Scotland since then, Galloway is still my favorite. The verdant, rolling hills, the quaint villages, the fertile countryside—och, ’tis bonny!

How personal are your novels?

Very! Only people who know me well can pick out those scenes that echo my own experiences, but they certainly are there, however unintentionally. Goethe said, “Every author, in some degree, portrays himself in his works even be it against his will.”

Do you prefer to write contemporary novels or historical novels?

Although I had a ball writing my first two novels, which were light-hearted contemporaries set in modern Virginia Mixed Signals and Pennsylvania Bookends, writing historical novels truly makes my heart sing.

Are there any new projects on the horizon?

Grace in Thine Eyes is next (March 2006), another Scottish historical novel set in 1808 and based on the story of Dinah from Genesis 34. Though that novel will stand alone, it is indeed the next generation of the McKie family.

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

Francine Rivers. Her novels are not only skillfully written and incredibly moving, they are infused with biblical truth and genuine emotion. When I read The Mark of the Lion series a decade ago, I realized how powerfully a novel could communicate God’s Word. With fear and trembling I began praying that God might open a door for me to write fiction someday. Francine was the first author I interviewed in my quest to learn more about Christian fiction. She was so gracious to me, so welcoming. I am ever indebted to Francine for lighting my path with her exceptional example.

What advice would you give to a person trying to become a fiction writer?

Immerse yourself in Scripture. Read the very best novels by both classic authors and contemporary writers. Study the craft of storytelling. Write every day. Listen for God’s direction.

What message would you like your readers to take away from this book?

God is faithful, even when we fail him. In Genesis 28:15 we find God’s steadfast promise to Jacob: “ I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” (NIV)

What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?

Every book I’ve ever written has grace at the heart of it. My goal is to demonstrate the fallibility of man and the infallibility of God. Without his mercy, we would all be lost. I especially long for readers who do not know God’s love to find their way home.

Will you be speaking at any conferences this year? Where? When?

Every weekend this spring, from late January through early June, I’ll be speaking at Christian women’s conferences in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas…and Johannesburg, South Africa! It’s a blessing to encourage my Christian sisters, face to face and heart to heart.

 Lowlands of Scotland Series

Fair Is the Rose, Lowlands of Scotland Series #2
Fair Is the Rose, Lowlands of Scotland Series #2

Thorn in My Heart, Lowlands of Scotland Series #1
Thorn in My Heart, Lowlands of Scotland Series #1

More Titles by Liz Curtis Higgs
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