Monday, November 7, 2016

Anna Durand and Clothes make the Character

Anna Durand is my guest today and she's talking about the significance of her characters' clothes in DANGEROUS IN A KILT which releases December 16, 2016. Take it away, Anna!

A Kilt, A Secondhand Dress, and Two Wounded Hearts

Clothes really can make or break a character, especially in pivotal scenes within a book. I don't fret over what my people wear on every page, but when I first introduce a character I do spend time thinking about their outfits. After all, we writers need many tools at our disposal to craft wonderful stories. I'm not a clothes hound by any means, so please don't ask me about designers! I'll probably name the companies that make my puppies' winter jackets. :-)

I've yet to write a character who's obsessive about clothes, but who knows, I just may do that one day. When it comes to dressing my characters, my feelings about the topic are irrelevant; what matters is how they feel about it. In Dangerous in a Kilt, Erica's and Lachlan's attire helps define their personalities and their circumstances. The opening scene both introduces them to us and to each other, as they encounter each other in an underground club. Here's what they wear and why it matters:

Erica. She wears a cherry-red dress she bought at Goodwill and altered with safety pins to make it more low-cut and high-hemmed. Her shoes are stilettos, which she has never worn before. On this night, when she's on the hunt for one night of hot sex before she goes on trial for embezzlement, Erica needs to be alluring. She also wants to be anyone but herself, to become a wild woman with no cares. The fact she bought her dress at Goodwill reveals her financial crisis.

Lachlan. He dons a kilt, a skintight black T-shirt, and combat boots. Ever the proud Scotsman, he is wearing his family tartan to show off his heritage and because it's kilt night at the club. His black shirt signifies—though I never say this in the book—his dark mood following a traumatic period in his life. His boots are also a sign he feels vulnerable, and when manly men feel vulnerable they tend to put on an air of bravado. Lachlan does this with his clothes. Plus, he just looks hot in black.

Lachlan wears the kilt again in other important scenes in the book, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise by telling you which ones! Clothes may not be the cornerstone of my stories, but they do set the mood and aid in character development. Everything I say about a character needs to feed into their personality or the story in some way. I say, never waste space on carelessly chosen words when you could employ them for a purpose.

Blurb for Dangerous in a Kilt:

Good-girl Erica Teague is out on bail, charged with a crime her ex-lover committed. Her desperate bid to experience one wild night of sizzling sex, before her trial and certain conviction, lands her in the arms of Lachlan MacTaggart, a hot Scot with a secret past. She can't resist his offer to enjoy one month of sex and companionship with no strings. But when their hot fling gets personal, can their passion free their imprisoned hearts?

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I swigged my brandy. A flash of fruity sweetness raced over my tongue, chased by a tangy burn. Why was I waiting for a man who didn't have the courtesy to call and cancel? Enough of this. I leaped off the stool onto my five-inch heels and tottered, mirroring my stool's motion. What the hell had I been thinking, wearing stilettos for the first time in my life?

Strong hands grasped my upper arms. "Easy there."

I craned my neck to behold my would-be savior. My heart thudded.

A giant of a man peered down into my eyes, his body towering several inches above me. Whoa, mama. The heels elevated my five-four to five-ten, which must've made him well over six feet tall. Thick muscles in his impossibly broad shoulders flexed as he maintained his hold on me. The lights glistened on his short, dark hair, casting it in unearthly hues. The sensation of his fingers on my skin and the proximity of his body flooded me with heat and my mouth watered at the sight of acres of hard, defined muscles straining his skintight black T-shirt. His powerful thighs vanished under a kilt, its plaid woven in pastel shades of green and blue with orange lines threaded through them. The blue in the fabric echoed his pale eyes, which studied me with electrifying interest. Black combat boots covered his feet but somehow, combined with his angular features, they lent him a rugged appeal.

I raked my gaze over his body, drinking in every inch of him, until our gazes intersected.

Recognition lit his face. "It's you. Erica."

"And it's you." Who the hell was he? The guy seemed to know me but—Ohhhh. This must be Cliff. I shook off his hands, whipped out my phone, and tapped the clock on its screen, tipping it so he could see. "It's eight thirty-nine."

His full lips quirked. "Quite the timekeeper, eh?"

That deep voice, spiced with an enticing Scottish brogue, flowed over the words like warm molasses. Forget his yummy accent. You're a wild woman and wild women don't wait around for late-comers. I shook off his hands. "I've been here for thirty-nine minutes. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"

"Not really." His attentive gaze browsed over me. "Except your bum's oot the windae."

He was speaking gibberish. Great, I'd arranged a sex date with a lunatic.

"Buckled, are you?"

I spread my arms. "Do you see any buckles or belts on this dress?"

He chuckled—with no derision, simply amusement. "I meant are you drunk, lass?"

"Me?" I snorted, waving a dismissive hand. "No. Never."

Besides, I'd had just one sip of brandy.

He leaned in to stare straight into my eyes. His glacial blue irises sparkled in the light glinting off them. I caught a whiff of his rich, dark cologne and underneath, an earthy spice all his own. My senses came alive at the exotic scent of him, and the flecks of darker blue in those striking eyes mesmerized me. I swallowed. Hard.

Author Bio:

Anna Durand is an award-winning romance writer specializing in steamy romances populated with spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Her romances have to date won eight awards and Dangerous in a Kilt was chosen as a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews. When she's not writing, Anna runs a cataloging services business and plays with puppies as often as possible.

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  1. First impressions are everything and I have a great impression of Lachlan. Good luck with Dangerous in a Kilt, Anna.

  2. Thanks for being my guest today, Anna. I agree with Sandra. Lachlan makes a very good first impression!

    1. Thanks for hosting me, Jana! The concept was fun to play with.