In Highland Healer, I took advantage of the dearth of recorded history of the 16th century Scottish highlands to imagine what might happen to the clans devastated by the deaths of their lairds and King James IV at Flodden Fields in 1513. That got me to thinking about imagination in general and how we use it to create our stories - and our world.
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
― Albert Einstein
The very idea of imagination fascinates me. Why does it exist? When did it start? How did we develop the ability to extrapolate from what we observe to what might be? Do we have a cave-dwelling ancestor who imagined a better mastodon-trap so that his/her tribe survived on mastodon meat when others starved?
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”
― Gloria Steinem
As authors, we rely on imagination to dream up our stories, to come up with the plot twist that no one sees coming, to envision the surroundings our characters are in, to get into their thoughts, and to share their emotions. Logic may give us our plot’s cause and effect. But imagination lets us ask “what if?” to come up with more than one answer.
“My imagination...gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
This couldn’t be more true for authors. We spend hours at our desks, traveling the world, journeying through time, and exploring the universe. We delve deeply into our characters’ lives and meet the people they meet. But we do it alone (unless we write with a partner in the same room) and crave the fellowship of others like us, which is why we join writers’ associations, critique groups, and social media.
“It is ... through the world of the imagination which takes us beyond the restrictions of provable fact, that we touch the hem of truth.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
Imagination (along with research) gives us the ability to create on the page an experience for our readers that we’ve never experienced ourselves. We’re not limited, like the Fair Witness in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, to attest to only that which we can see, feel, taste, smell or hear. Never to assume or suppose. We can extend our senses through our imagination to experiences we’ve never had - and would never want to have - in real life. It’s ironic that romance authors often get asked if their sex lives inform their writing. No one asks authors how many villains they’ve shot and killed, what it feels like to fight for their life with a sword, or whether they get a lot of vitamin D from the sunshine on Mars.
What is now proved was once imagined.
― William Blake
Imagination allows some of us to predict the future. Ideas that were once science fiction now orbit the earth and provide everything from television to GPS. There are human bootprints on the moon, rovers on Mars, nanotechnology, even computers and the internet. What will we imagine next? Authors are responsible for some of the greatest ideas the world has ever known, not just in science and technology, but philosophy, culture and humanities.
Did we all start as dreamers, staring out a classroom window, making up stories in our heads? Probably not. But we share the gift of imagination with each other, and with every other author, great or obscure, who ever lived or will live.
HE NEEDS HER FOR HIS CLAN.
HE WANTS HER FOR HIMSELF.
CAN HE HAVE BOTH?
Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileana Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot resist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?
Aileana Shaw has a healing touch – and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she’s kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?
While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileana. And Aileana must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.
Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.
“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.
His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.
His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.
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