Character Interviews: Gwenna via Marian Thorpe

All this week  I'm interviewing potential new recruits for my imaginary company. I've invited several authors to send along some sui...

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Character Interviews: Gwenna via Marian Thorpe

All this week  I'm interviewing potential new recruits for my imaginary company. I've invited several authors to send along some suitable candidates, chosen from among their fictional characters.

Today's interviewee is Gwenna, from the Empire's Legacy Series, nominated by Marian Thorpe:


AW: Firstly, I'd like you, please, by way of introduction, to bring an object for Show and Tell, let us know what the item is and why it is special/important. 

Hello, everyone. I’m Gwenna. I have a book to show you, but please be careful with it. It’s my mother’s most treasured possession. It’s a history of our country, begun by my great-uncle Colm, and added to by my mother over these last twenty years. Colm was my father’s uncle, but he gave the book to my mother long before she met my father; long before my grandfather, the Emperor Callan, even knew he had a son. I can’t tell you the whole story. It’s far too complex, but it is written down, if you wish to know. Everything gets written down in my family, either by my father or mother or Sorley, or me, now. 

AW: [Might be a useful person to have in the archive office?] Secondly, I'm going to place four items in front of you. Could you please rank them in order of usefulness/value, with a few words about your evaluation?

These items are: a leather-bound notebook, a horse, a bag of coins, a sharp pointy weapon. 

G: How do I judge these? I’ve carried a knife since I was a child, and, yes, I have killed with it, in self-defence. A horse is necessary to travel around the country, as I must, for my work as a trade envoy. A notebook I use almost daily, recording taxes and tariffs paid, and discrepancies in mine records, and all the details of trade for which I am responsible. Coins are of the least use to me day to day – my expenses are paid by the administrators of Ésparias – but for my country, for its prosperity, they’re important. If I answer as just me, Gwenna, then I will say the knife: it has kept me safe. But if I answer as Gwenna, Heir to Ésparias, one day in the far future its Principe…I choose the notebook, for the same reason my mother’s book is so important. A country – and its leader – must know its history. We were here before the Eastern Empire came, and we will be here after they leave us once more to our own defences. 

AW: [Aha, there is more to this young woman that first meets the eye...] I have several vacancies in my global corporation. Would you be best suited to the role of CEO, Finance Officer, Head of Human Resources, or Chief Medical Officer? Why?

G: I am best suited to the position of Finance Officer: I understand balance sheets, profits, taxes, and investment; it’s what I was trained to do. You might ask why not CEO, if I’m destined to be the leader of my country? Not yet. I’m too young. I need to learn so much more. (May I suggest that if you have another vacancy for Chief Medical Officer in the future, you might consider my brother?)

AW: [Excellent answer. And offering me another interview candidate too! Let's find out some more general stuff.] You're going on a first date. Who has chosen the venue - you, or your date? How are you feeling - nervous, tongue-tied, or have you totally got this? Who's your 'wingman'? 

G: Well. That will depend on where we are. If we’re at Wall’s End, or the Eastern Fort, then likely we’re going to the junior commons to throw dice and drink. In one of the villages, we’re more likely to go riding, or sailing. I like riding, so I’d suggest that. Am I nervous? Not usually. Diplomatic training has its uses, and usually it’s my date who has trouble forgetting who I am. My ‘wingman’, inevitably, is my bodyguard. Being a princess is awkward in these situations.

AW: [I'm impressed. How does she handle frustration though?] You've been building something - a Lego model, a battleship made of matchsticks, a ship in a bottle, or something similar. Someone you don't get on with smashes it deliberately. How do you react?

G: My father taught me anger is a tool to be used judiciously. So I am not likely to let my anger show, because that’s likely what this person wants – to make me lose my temper. There are far more subtle ways of exacting retribution: a withheld position, an unsent invitation, or an assignment to the worst job they are appropriate for. Not immediately, of course. I would wait, and make sure the person is aware I have begun again, not discouraged by their actions. Let them believe there will be no repercussions, even that I dislike confrontation – and then act. 

AW: [Not one to get on the wrong side of, but definite potential. Could be running the whole company in a year or two...] Thank you Gwenna, we'll let you know...

~~~~~~~~~~


Marian Thorpe's books are historical fiction of an imagined world, one that is close to Britain, Northern Europe, and Rome, but isn't any of them. A world where a society evolved differently after the Eastern Empire left, where one young fisherwoman answers her leader's call to defend her country, beginning a journey into uncharted territory, in an Empire on the edge of history.

After two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian decided it was time to do what she'd always really wanted, and be a writer. As well as her novels, she's published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history provided the inspiration for her books, while her other interests in landscape archaeology and birding provide background. Right now, she's researching for the 7th book of her world, Empress & Soldier. 

Find all her links here: https://linktr.ee/marianlthorpe

Monday, 18 October 2021

Character Interview: Robin Lewis via Karen Heenan

All this week  I'm interviewing potential new recruits for my imaginary company. I've invited several authors to send along some suitable candidates, chosen from among their fictional characters.

Today's interviewee is Robin Lewis, of Songbird and A Wider World, nominated by author Karen Heenan:


AW: Firstly, I'd like you, please, by way of introduction, to bring an object for Show and Tell, let us know what the item is and why it is special/important.

RL: The small book I have here was given to me by Cardinal Wolsey when I was a boy and came to London to sing in his choir. He caught me several times in his library, and when I went from his choir to the king’s Chapel Royal, he gave me this book so I could write down all the things I remembered from my monastic education – an education discontinued because I worked for the greatest man in the land.

It looks like nothing, but at the time, it meant hope to me. Hope that someday I would finish my education, and perhaps, like the cardinal, have a great library of my own. I did these things, and have outlived both king and cardinal, and their libraries.

AW: [Handy chap to have in the office, I think.] Secondly, I'm going to place four items in front of you. Could you please rank them in order of usefulness/value, with a few words about your evaluation?

These items are: a leather-bound notebook, a horse, a bag of coins, a sharp pointy weapon.

RL: It’s difficult not to put the leather-bound notebook first, but I would have to say the bag of coins, because with that I could purchase any number of leather-bound notebooks, horses, or sharp pointy weapons (the latter three items in order of importance, you will note). Money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy books, and quiet places in which to read them, and that is very nearly enough.

AW: [Pretty sure this is the sort of quiet, clever, conscientious person who might do well] I have several vacancies in my global corporation. Would you be best suited to the role of CEO, Finance Officer, Head of Human Resources, or Chief Medical Officer? Why?

RL: What a terrible prospect. Finance is not my strong suit; I am squeamish about medical matters; and anyone who knows me would assure you that human resources would be the last place I would fit. I do generally have good judgment about people – whether or not I like them – so I will take your CEO position, employ a stable of trustworthy surrogates, and retire to a quiet place to spend your money on good books and wine.

AW: [He wants to retire already? Hmm, on to some general stuff...] You're going on a first date. Who has chosen the venue - you, or your date? How are you feeling - nervous, tongue-tied, or have you totally got this? Who's your 'wingman'?

RL: I am fortunate to have a choice of ‘wingmen’ as you so quaintly term it. Depending on my ‘date’ – these terrible modern words – I would either bring Edward Pickering, my dearest friend, or Sebastian Black, my servant (and dearer to me by far than Ned, although I would appreciate if you would not share that information). Both are always there to support me, albeit in different ways. As I said, the identity of my date would determine my choice of companion for the evening.

As for the venue, it would be my suggestion, because there are few enough places where I am comfortable; adding an unfamiliar location to a meeting with an unfamiliar person (with whom I am hoping, I assume, to make a connection?) would be entirely too much to bear.  

AW: [Diligent, but perhaps not a giggle at the Christmas party? Still, I find him captivating...] You've been building something - a Lego model, a battleship made of matchsticks, a ship in a bottle, or something similar. Someone you don't get on with smashes it deliberately. How do you react?

RL: A reaction is what they want, and so they will not have one from me. I will calmly sweep up the debris, and bide my time, no matter how my innards boil with fury. Violence is rarely the answer. Retribution can be achieved with more long-lasting effect if one takes the time to quiet one’s anger and make an appropriate plan. I am all about the plan.

AW: [Calm, loyal, capable... but would take some getting to know, I feel. Interesting...] Thank you Mr Lewis, we'll be in touch.

~~~~~~~~~~

As an only child, Karen Heenan learned early that boredom was the enemy. Shortly after she discovered perpetual motion, and has rarely been seen holding still since.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where she grows much of her own food and makes her own clothes. She is accompanied on her quest for self-sufficiency by a very patient husband and an ever-changing number of cats.

One constant: she is always writing her next book.

Website: karenheenan.com

Facebook: facebook.com/karenheenanwriter

Twitter: twitter.com/karen_heenan

Instagram: instagram.com/karen.heenan


Sunday, 17 October 2021

Character Interview: Niall O'Coneill via Cryssa Bazos

All this week  I'm interviewing potential new recruits for my imaginary company. I've invited several authors to send along some suitable candidates, chosen from among their fictional characters.

Today's interviewee is Niall O'Coneill, from Rebel's Knot, nominated by Cryssa Bazos:


AW: Firstly, I'd like you, please, by way of introduction, to bring an object for Show and Tell, let us know what the item is and why it is special/important. 

NO'C: I thank you for inviting me to your home, Annie. It’s a grand place, is it not? I’ve been living rough on the ground these past years, and I never turn down a seat by a crackling fire. I’ve brought for you this day not an object, but a companion. Meet my wolfhound, Fionn. Don’t be fooled by his pretty manners, for he has the instincts of a hunter. A warning to you, though, if you feed him that biscuit, he might never leave. He’s a loyal soul, but his stomach overrules his head. I’m blessed to have him. Wolfhounds are kingly hounds and well-prized in Ireland. I named him after the great legend warrior, Fionn mac Cumhaill, for he deserved no less a glorious name. He’s even done his namesake proud by defending me and my Áine when the need arose.

AW: [checks company policy regarding animals in the workplace.] Secondly, I'm going to place four items on the table in front of you. Could you please rank them in order of usefulness/value, with a few words about your evaluation?

These items are: a leather-bound notebook, a horse, a bag of coins, a sharp pointy weapon. 

NO'C: I have no use for a notebook, and you may keep that if you will. It’s not that I am unable to read, I can well enough, but I prefer to hear stories than to read them in a book. And there’s no time to write anything down. As a matter of survival, we have to keep one step ahead of the English (present company excepted).

While I’d welcome a bag of coins, I’d have few opportunities to spend them, being holed up in the fastness of our hidden camp in Glengarra Woods as we are, and I don’t much relishing losing them to my companion Ruadhri, who has a passion for wagering. But a horse and a sharp, pointy weapon, as you so eloquently call it, would be the difference between life and death. Which one would I choose first? 

We use strike and run tactics to harass and attack the English, and it may be necessary to slip into a bog or melt into the forest. At those times, we may be forced to leave our horses behind, which is a great shame to leave them for the enemy. 

So I’ll take that sharp pointy weapon, if you don’t mind, for that might be the only thing that keeps me alive. 

AW: [Maybe keep him away from the customers.] I have several vacancies in my global corporation. Would you be best suited to the role of CEO, Finance Officer, Head of Human Resources, or Chief Medical Officer? Why?

NO'C: You can keep CEO. I see how difficult it is for our commander, Edmund O’Dwyer, to manage a brigade of warriors and keep them in check, myself included. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but I am grateful he’s at the helm. As for Chief Chirurgeon, I’m usually the one inflicting injuries on the insolent enemy, and I don’t think I could stomach binding their injuries. Official Exchequer holds no interest for me either, but I could make a difference as Head of Human Resources. To keep a fighting force of men ready to defend their country, you need to know them, live with them, understand what’s in their heart. I count the men I lead as my friends and family. I ask no man to bleed for our cause when I’m not prepared to open a vein.

AW: [Handy chap to send on team-building weekends, I think. Well, onto more general stuff...] You're going on a first date. Who has chosen the venue - you, or your date? How are you feeling - nervous, tongue-tied, or have you totally got this? Who's your 'wingman'? 

I’ll tell you, if I were to take my girl, Áine, out on a date, I’ll not be inviting a ‘wingman’, as you put it, although Cormac would insist on being one. He’s a fine friend and a good fighting companion, but he does carry on and his ribald songs would be tiresome when trying to woo a woman. If I want to hear his stories, I’ll not venture beyond the campfire.

As to where we’d go, I would have to admit to making that decision alone. It’s a matter of practicality. Áine isn’t as familiar with Glengarra Woods and the little glades where a couple can have some privacy. Would I be tongue-tied? A man would not admit that to another man, but since it’s a kind woman, such as yourself, who’s asking, I’ll admit to this: If I were still in Galway and the war had not touched me, I would be tongued-tied. Áine has a way of seeing through a man, and she makes me catch my breath. But this bloody war, where any day may be your last, changes sensibilities. Best to seize the moment when you can.

AW: [it would be handy to have him in difficult meetings, with that carpe diem attitude.] You've been building something - a Lego model, a battleship made of matchsticks, a ship in a bottle, or something similar. Someone you don't get on with smashes it deliberately. How do you react?

NO'C: I punch his lights out. Next question? No, I’m not normally a violent man or a hot-head, and I will not hold it against another for causing an accident or making an honest mistake. But when it is willfully done, they won’t be allowed to walk away from that. There are consequences, and I’ll defend what is mine.  

AW: [Hmm, clever, quick-thinking. But might feel confined in an office environment. Probably a good negotiator though...] Thank you, Mr O'Coneill, we'll let you know.

~~~~~~~~~~


Cryssa Bazos is a historical fiction writer and 17th Century enthusiast, with a particular interest in the English Civil War (ECW) and romantic fiction. She blogs about English history and storytelling at her site, the 17th Century Enthusiast, and she's involved with the English Historical Fiction Authors blog site and a member of the Romantic Novelist Association (RNA) and the Historical Novel Society (HNS).

Connect with Cryssa:

Website: https://cryssabazos.com/

Amazon: https://author.to/CryssaBazos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cbazos

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CryssaBazos

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cryssabazos


Saturday, 16 October 2021

Character interviews: Marcus Antonius via Brook Allen

Today for seven days I'm interviewing potential new recruits for my imaginary company. I've invited several authors to send along some suitable candidates, chosen from among their fictional characters.

The first interviewee is Marcus Antonius, from the Antonius Trilogy, put forward by author Brook Allen:


AW: Firstly, I'd like you, please, by way of introduction, to bring an object for Show and Tell, let us know what the item is and why it is special/important.  

Image Credit

MA: This is a pugio—to us Romans—a dagger. But this one has a silver hilt and once belonged to one of the noblest of families. The reason I brought this one is because it was the one personal item I confiscated from Marcus Brutus’s corpse after his suicide. This is the very dagger that gave my cousin and commander, Julius Caesar, his final wound as he died on the Senate floor. I thought it appropriate to keep it near me as a reminder of what men are willing to do to others in jealousy and in hunger for power. 

AW: Secondly, I'm going to place four items front of you. Could you please rank them in order of usefulness/value, with a few words about your evaluation?

These items are: a leather-bound notebook, a horse, a bag of coins, a sharp pointy weapon. 

MA: First is this bag of aureii—gold coins. Gold is the only thing that will silence, persuade, and please men. Not friendship, not an “honorable word” or kindness—no. Nothing noble. Only gold.

Second is this gladius. And I’m pleased that you showed me this common weapon that belonged to a legionary, because it’s only with armies (and gold) that security for one’s ambitions might be found. And I’m talking about Roman armies, here—not foreign auxiliaries who will turn their backs and run at the first smell of blood. There is much I can do with one trustworthy Roman legion, provided they’ve not been corrupted against me.

Third, is this fine horse you’ve brought. (walks around the animal, eyeing it) Is it for sale? I’m a cavalryman at heart. My first command was as a cavalry commander and unlike many of my countrymen, I’m an expert horseman. Many Roman generals rely and place their trust in infantry. Not me. Give me a powerful and loyal cavalry, for such is capable of turning a losing fight into victory.

AW: [Thinks:Hmm, this fella would be handy in a fight] I have several vacancies in my global corporation. Would you be best suited to the role of CEO, Finance Officer, Head of Human Resources, or Chief Medical Officer? Why?

MA: I recognize none of these terms. No—don’t bother telling me what they are. If you have need of a general or triumvir, then I’m your man. But I am pleased not to see the office of “dictator” listed here, for that office I eradicated after Caesar’s assassination. It has no place in a Republic.

AW: [Could be tricky in meetings. Let's do some psychometric stuff instead] You're going on a first date. Who has chosen the venue - you, or your date? How are you feeling - nervous, tongue-tied, or have you totally got this? Who's your 'wingman'?

MA: Ha! You have a habit of choosing odd terms with which I’m unfamiliar. I know not what a “date” is, other than ones I often eat while in the East. What? You say a date is a social event with a single person? I’ve not heard of such, but my best friend and lover is the Queen of Egypt. I will confess that there have been times that she’s left me tongue-tied. When my armies were stationed in Tarsus, she came for a state visit on a magnificent golden ship that was breathtaking. It was so indescribably rich, that neither myself nor my staff could put it into words. The woman is truly a wonder, I tell you.

AW: [Wonder if she's free for interview?] You've been building something - a Lego model, a battleship made of matchsticks, a ship in a bottle, or something similar. Someone you don't get on with smashes it deliberately. How do you react?

MA: (Gestures to gladius) Do you see that “pointy thing” as you called it, over there? And who exactly do you suspect would do such a thing? Octavian? Probably. He’s currently a thorn up my ass. 

AW: [Things could get lively at the Christmas Party...] Thank you Mr Antonius. We'll let you know...

~~~~~~~~~~


Author Brook Allen has a passion for history.

Her Antonius Trilogy is a detailed account of the life of Marcus Antonius—Marc Antony, on which she worked for fifteen years. The first installment, Antonius: Son of Rome was published in March 2019. It follows Antony as a young man, from the age of eleven, when his father died in disgrace, until he’s twenty-seven and meets Cleopatra for the first time. Brook’s second book is Antonius: Second in Command, dealing with Antony’s tumultuous rise to power at Caesar’s side and culminating with the civil war against Brutus and Cassius. Antonius: Soldier of Fate is the last book in the trilogy, spotlighting the romance between Antonius and Cleopatra and the historic war with Octavian Caesar. In researching the Antonius Trilogy, Brook’s travels have led her to Italy, Egypt, Greece, and even Turkey to explore places where Antony once lived, fought, and eventually died. While researching abroad, she consulted with scholars and archaeologists well-versed in Hellenistic and Roman history, specifically pinpointing the late Republican Period in Rome.

Brook’s newest project is much closer to home. She is writing on Julia Hancock, the first wife of William Clark—the famous explorer. Consumed in reading research and frequent visits to historical sites around Botetourt County, Virginia, where she lives, Brook is plotting the life and times of Julia and William as their relationship blossoms, leads to marriage, and the conflict over the eventual publishing of the Journals of Lewis & Clark—a hard-won achievement in America’s early 19th century.

Brook Allen belongs to the Historical Novel Society and attends conferences as often as possible to study craft and meet fellow authors. In 2019, Son of Rome won the Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Award. In 2020, it was honored with a silver medal in the international Reader’s Favorite Book Reviewers Book Awards. In 2021, it won 1st Place in the Chanticleer International Book Awards (Chaucer Divisiton). Though she graduated from Asbury University with a B.A. in Music Education, Brook has always loved writing. She completed a Masters program at Hollins University with an emphasis in Ancient Roman studies, which helped prepare her for authoring her Antonius Trilogy. Brook teaches full-time as a Music Educator and works in a rural public-school district near Roanoke, Virginia. Her personal interests include travel, cycling, hiking in the woods, reading, and spending downtime with her husband and two amazing Labrador Retrievers. She lives in the heart of southwest Virginia in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Website: https://www.brookallenauthor.com/

Twitter: @1BrookAllen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Historical.FictionWriter


Friday, 15 October 2021

Stepping Back into Saxon England: 3 Questions, 3 Answers, 2 blog posts


To round off our tour - Helen and I asked each other three questions and here are
Helen's answers to My questions

My answers to Helen's questions
 can be found HERE



Three questions for Helen, asked by Annie:

1. What is it that draws you to the ‘Anglo-Saxon period’?

King Arthur! Ok, I can see your puzzled expression from here! [laugh]. In 1998 I had finished the third of my Arthurian Trilogy (Shadow of the King) and the publisher – William Heinemann – wanted something else. I toyed with various Arthurian related ideas, but nothing really appealed. Then, one day, I visited Waltham Abbey (a town ‘next door’ to where I lived back then).

Waltham Abbey

I was looking around the actual abbey grounds and realised that the original building had been built by King Harold II – he of 1066 fame. Within a couple of weeks I then found myself on a Towns Women’s Guild coach outing to Hastings and Battle. (My Mum was outings organiser, so I got a free ride). We got to Battle which is a nice little town in East Sussex, and it was raining.

All the ladies made a bee-line for the tea shops and cafes, but I decided to brave the weather and walk round the battlefield. Yes, the town is called ‘Battle’ because of the battle – the 1066 Battle of Hastings, where King Harold was defeated by Duke William of Normandy. (Tip: if you ever want to explore somewhere outdoors on your own – go when it’s raining!) I had the entire battlefield to myself and it was an amazing experience.

I genuinely felt the presence of ghosts. Walking down the hill I had the overwhelming feeling that were I to turn round I’d see the Anglo-Saxon men of the shield wall ranged along the ridge... 

the ridge, (in front of the abbey building)
where the Saxons
fought in the Shield Wall

I didn’t have the courage to turn round and look (which I regret now!) but I knew, there and then, that my next novel was going to be the story of the events that led to that fateful day, 14th October 1066 – written without the Norman propaganda and from the English point of view. Harold the King (titled I Am The Chosen King USA/Canada) is the result.

2. Who is the person from this period that you feel more people should know about or has suffered from an unfair reputation?

Harold! Another deciding factor for my novel was the annoyance that so many history books – and TV documentaries come to that – start at the Norman Conquest, and/or state how 'wonderful' Duke William was. Well he wasn’t.

He had no right to the English throne, he invaded England and took command by military coup. He tossed out the Anglo-Saxons laws, more-or-less enslaved the English people, took the land and estates from the rightful owners and established his feudal system.

In my opinion William was little more than a usurping, dictatorial, psychopathic terrorist! (I guess you’ve now realised I can’t stand the man!)

Harold died on that battlefield defending his kingdom and his people from foreign invasion. He is a hero and should be remembered, and honoured, as such.

King Harold II
Waltham Abbey

3. If you could go back to that period and ask one question, what would it be?

I would ask “Where is King Harold II buried?” 

The answer is controversial: Waltham Abbey or Bosham (West Sussex) where Harold’s family home was situated.

There has never been any evidence beyond one entry in a manuscript, many years after 1066 for Waltham Abbey, but the remains of an unmarked grave and a partial torso were discovered beneath the chancel arch of Bosham church.

Bosham Church
Does Harold lie beneath the chancel arch?

Only important people were buried in that particular position... I think this is Harold's resting place. But I would like to know for certain.

 For the three questions set by 

Helen for Annie to answer 

click HERE

***

What If?

a collection of alternative short stories

changing the course of the year 1066

includes stories by Helen and Annie


Buy the book
(now also available in paperback)


We hope you have enjoyed stepping back into Anglo-Saxon England with us

Thank you for journeying with us!


Thursday, 14 October 2021

New Release: Her Secret War by Pam Lecky

Yesterday was a big date for us who write about the early medieval period, as it was the anniversary of the battle of Hastings, but it was also an important date for friend and fellow author, Pam Lecky.


Published by Avon Books, Her Secret War is set in Ireland and England.

A life-changing moment

May 1941: German bombs drop on Dublin taking Sarah Gillespie’s family and home. Days later, the man she loves leaves Ireland to enlist.

A heart-breaking choice

With nothing to keep her in Ireland and a burning desire to help the war effort, Sarah seeks refuge with relatives in England. But before long, her father’s dark past threatens to catch up with her.

A dangerous mission

Sarah is asked to prove her loyalty to Britain through a special mission. Her courage could save lives. But it could also come at the cost of her own…

BUY HERE


Pam is an Irish historical fiction author with Avon Books UK/Harper Collins. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Crime Writers' Association, and the Society of Authors. She is represented by Thérèse Coen, at the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency, London. Pam has a particular love of the late Victorian era/early 20th Century.

 

In November 2020, Pam signed with Avon Books UK/Harper Collins in a two-book deal. The first book in the historical thriller series, Her Secret War, will be published on 14th October 2021; the sequel in 2022.

Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; and longlisted for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award. 

Her short stories are available in an anthology, entitled Past Imperfect, which was published in April 2018. 

June 2019, saw the release of the first book in the Lucy Lawrence Mystery series, No Stone Unturned, a fast-paced Victorian mystery/crime, set in London and Yorkshire which was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, Footprints in the Sand, set in Egypt, was released in March 2020. She is currently working on the third book in the series, The Art of Deception, which will be published in late 2021.

Pam’s Links:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

www.pamlecky.com

Instagram

Goodreads 




Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Why did Harold Godwineson go to Normandy - by Helen Hollick

 As we continue our tour of Saxon England, Helen is my guest today on this, the anniversary of the battle of Hastings:



Why did Harold Godwineson go to Normandy?
by Helen Hollick

The Battle of Hastings. 14th October 1066 - probably the most famous date in English history. (Funnily enough, the next most famous is also a '66' - 1666, the Great Fire of London.) The battle came about because Duke William of Normandy considered that he had been promised the throne of England by Edward the Confessor, probably in circa 1052 when the Godwine family were exiled, and Edward was favouring his Norman friends. The Duke, William, was Edward's kindred - his Great Aunt, Queen Emma, was Edward's mother. So, with Edward as yet childless and with no obvious heir to the throne, Bill probably thought he was in with a good chance.

Earl Godwine and his family, one of whom was Harold, Earl of East Anglia, reclaimed their positions of authority and Edward's Norman mates scuttled back to Normandy (where they belonged) with Earl Godwine's youngest son, Wulfnoth, and grandson, Hakon, as hostages.

Now, if Edward had made such a promise it would have been totally void because England, the Anglo-Saxons, did things very differently back then. The king was chosen by the council, the Witan. Elected. Best man for the job. Yes, usually this would have been the eldest son, the aethling, but it would have been highly unlikely that William would have been considered.

Skip forward ten or so years.

In 1063 or '64 Harold, now Earl of Wessex, went to Normandy. We do not know why, but we know (sort of) what happened because the events are recorded in the Bayeux Tapestry (which is actually an embroidery, not a tapestry.)

The Normans, after 1066, claimed that Harold went as an envoy of King Edward (who by now was getting old and frail) and to re-iterate William's role as heir. Again - highly unlikely! Given that his brother and nephew were still being held as hostages, is it not more logical that Harold went to get them back?

Harold boarding a ship bound for Normandy
at his home at Bosham Sussex
- note the steps...


and here's my friend James
sitting on very similar steps
 at Bosham in the 21st century!

Things went awry, however, for his ship was blown off course and he ended up a prisoner of one of William's neighbours, Guy de Ponthieu ... no matter, the Duke, with much indignation, secured Harold's release. From there on, the visit seemed quite congenial, Harold even accompanied William on campaign into Brittany, seeing at first-hand how the Normans fought (and how ruthless William was - he was known as 'Bastard' for both uses of the word.)

Again, we know all this because of the Tapestry, which includes a scene where Harold rescues two men from drowning in the river Cousenon, at  Mont Saint Michel. (The tide  comes in faster than a man can run there...)
Here Harold is rescuing two men
from the river

Eventually, it was time to go home, but William would not allow this until Harold had sworn an oath of allegiance... sworn to support William's claim to England.

Harold was forced to swear
while touching holy relics

The thing is ... William tricked Harold. He was made to swear a holy oath, to swear to God, BUT an oath made under duress is not a binding oath. If Harold hadn't sworn, would he, and his men, ever have seen their freedom again? Add to that, in Anglo-Saxon times a lord would forfeit his honour if he did not protect the men who loyally served him. What was the greater? To swear an unbinding oath under duress, with no choice but to make it, or to swear, falsely, in order to save the freedom - or lives - of your faithful followers?

Harold had no choice. He swore the oath, and did, indeed return to England with his nephew, Hakon.

Wulfnoth was never to see his freedom again. And Hakon died  alongside Harold, at the great battle of Hastings.

History, the year 1066 might have been entirely different if Harold had not gone to Normandy. On the other hand, because he did go, because he accompanied William on campaign, Harold knew exactly what Duke William was like. Knew he was obsessive - and ruthless. Knew that he would have to keep the Norman Duke out of England at all cost -whatever the cost, and whatever he had to do...

Read the entire story:

Harold the King (UK & Australia)
I Am The Chosen King (US & Canada)
(same book - different title)

About Helen:

Helen Hollick and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farm house through being a ‘victim’ on BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show. The thirteen-acre property was the first one she was shown – and it was love at first sight. She enjoys her new rural life, and has a variety of animals on the farm, including Exmoor ponies and her daughter’s string of show jumpers.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Despite being impaired by the visual disorder of Glaucoma, she is also branching out into the quick read novella, 'Cosy Mystery' genre with the Jan Christopher Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working for thirteen years as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, a news and events blog for her village and the Community Shop, assists as ‘secretary for the day’ at her daughter’s regular showjumping shows – and occasionally gets time to write... 

Website: https://helenhollick.net/

Amazon Author Page: https://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick 

Blog: https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @HelenHollick

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