I have a soft spot for Historical Fiction Authors, especially Medieval, so when Mary Anne Yarde approached me for an interview, I jumped at the chance. She, like me, has a wicked sense of humor and loves all things Arthurian. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Mary Anne and her debut release, The Du Lac Chronicles: Book 1. Take it away Mary Anne!
What is your writing process?
Before I do anything else, I will make myself a cup of tea. Then, avoiding the biscuit barrel, I will go in search of my laptop. Rescue it, if one of my children has got their hands on it, and retreat to my den – or bedroom- as it is more commonly known.
Depending on what emotion I am writing about, I will choose some music to match the mood, which can be anything from Bach to Bon Jovi. I will then power-up my computer, take a sip of tea, and start writing.
I tend to write paragraph by paragraph. I type incredibly fast, so there is a great deal of red underlining in my work – that is what I tell myself anyway – I am sure my spelling is really not that bad. I hope not anyway! I will not write more than a page without giving it a quick edit. I usually spend about six hours on a single passage, as I like to go over and over it, until I am happy with it. I know, I know…utterly mad. But only then can I move on with the story!
What book do you wish you could have written?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the book I would have loved to of written is Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds. I read that book when I was thirteen and it enchanted me. McCullough takes her readers on a beautiful emotional journey, and I have never encountered a book quite like it since. I think it will always be a firm favourite.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
There are so many fantastic authors out there and I have read so many books! Umm… Colleen McCullough would definitely be on the list. As would Nicholas Evans, who wrote The Horse Whisper. Both authors are really good at capturing the emotions of their readers. I only hope that I can do the same.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Some of the characters in The Du Lac Chronicles are reported to have been actual “historical” figures, such as Cerdic of Wessex, so their names did not take any thought at all. But for some of the others, I would try and find names that fit in with where they came from. So many of the names I have chosen were common, at the time, in Cornwall, Brittany and Saxony. I also take into consideration the meaning of the names and try to find ones that match the personality of the characters that I have created.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
On a beach in Bermuda?
If that doesn’t work out, then I hope to be someone who can, at least, cook a mean Chicken Tikka – at the moment there is no hope of that.
I would have finally mastered the rules of Top Trumps – I swear my children cheat, because no matter what I do, I always seem to lose.
Oh, and if I could write full time as well, then that would be cool.
If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
If I didn’t write, then I guess I would fall back on my music. So whichever way you look at it, I am probably going to be poor for the rest of my life!
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I am currently working on Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles. I am roughly 70,000 words in and enjoying every minute of it. There are a few surprises, which even I had not knowledge of, until they were staring back at me from the screen. Those du Lac boys certainly like to keep me on my toes!
Do you write naked?
Oh my days! Is that actually a question? I live in England – if it is not blowing a gale, it is raining. I write huddled up in a very thick jumper with a blanket over my knees!
But if, in five years time, you find me in Bermuda, ask me again.
What is your biggest failure?
Cooking. Just cooking. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, cook.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I would be a culinary genius. What every I cooked would come out looking better than what it does on the recipe card. Yeah right – like that is going to happen.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t eat meat. I am not doing myself any favours here am I? I do however have a very interesting collection of warm woolly socks – does that count as a vice?!
Have you ever been in trouble with the law?
No. But I did once get shoved into the back of a police van and had a very uncomfortable ride across a field. Don’t ask.
What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?
Back in the day, I told my boyfriend (now husband) that I could cook. Was he in for a surprise!
Have you ever gotten into a fight?
Only with the oven. He and I are old enemies.
What secret talent do you have?
I can’t tell you that – it wouldn’t be a secret then.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
There are two places I have always wanted to go to. Firstly, I would love to travel to Rome and soak up all that history. Maybe one day I will. I would also love to go to Montana in America and go on one of those dude ranch experiences. I think The Horse Whisper may have had something to do with that.
What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
I was the perfect child – my siblings may have a different opinion on that, but don’t believe a word they say. In truth, I was a daydreamer. I was never where I was supposed to be and even if I was, mentally I was in a far superior world surrounded by heroic knights on horses and dragons! My favourite toys were my collection of horses, but most of the time I would be found with my nose in a book.
Title: The Du Lac Chronicles : Book 1
Author: Mary Anne Yarde
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
“An evocative, timeless saga of love and betrayal” –Tony Riches, author of The Tudor Trilogy
AD 495, Wessex, Briton.
If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?
A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.
The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.
Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.
Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.
To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
Excerpt from Chapter 11
“Alden, I heard you were taken. I must say I did not believe my son when he said that he had found you.” The rest of the hall fell silent; the kind of silence one often heard when an innocent man was being sentenced to a horrible death.
Alden raised his head. “I escaped.”
“Well, I did not think he would hold you. It was a bad business. I am sorry I could not offer you troops, but we have our own problems protecting our borders from the bastard as it is. I have offered shelter to some of your kinsmen. Cerdic razed the place, Alden. Your fort was completely destroyed.”
A victorious army in an enemy kingdom was bound to cause devastation. Alden had feared as much.
“Then you have relayed my worst fears. Has a message been sent to Budic?”
Oeric shook his head. “The weather has been unpredictable and Merton wanted to deliver the message himself, but he has not been well.”
“Merton is here? He is safe?” Hope burst in Alden’s chest.
“He is safe. He had some minor wounds, but they have been treated.” He crossed the distance between them and lowered his voice. Annis could only just make it out. “I fear he is disturbed. He is not the man we knew.”
“I want to see him.”
“You will,” Oeric stated. “You will…later. But prepare yourself. I hear you surrendered,” he said, a faint hint of glee in his eyes.
Alden, who was still contemplating what Oeric had told him about his brother, looked up. “Good news travels fast.”
“As does bad.”
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had no choice.”
“That is what they all say, isn’t it?” Oeric laughed. “And who is this fine-looking woman by your side?” Oeric turned his attention to Annis.
Annis raised her head reluctantly. She had never met King Oeric, although she had heard a lot about him, mainly about his skill as a warrior from her brother, who liked to talk about worthy opponents to anyone who cared to listen. His appearance surprised her.
Oeric was an old man, older than her father was. His hair was a soft white, his face wrinkled. His eyes were watery and the colour of a foggy blue sky. His clothes were lavish and skillfully embroidered. He smiled a welcome, showing gaps in his mouth where his teeth had been knocked out. Alden was right; she could see he was mentally undressing her with his eyes. He made her feel sick.
“What is your name, my dear?” Even the way he spoke to her was lewd.
“Annis?” Oeric raised his bushy white eyebrows. “A pretty name for a pretty girl.” He licked his lips. “And what are you doing in the company of Lord du Lac?”
Alden had to stop himself from saying king. The slight on Oeric’s part hit its mark well.
Annis nervously glanced at Alden. “I am his wife,” she whispered, fearing the lie.
“His wife?” he whispered back and then he laughed, turning his attention away from her and back to Alden.
“You lose a kingdom, but have the time to find a wife. Where did you pick her up? The dungeons?” Those gathered in the hall laughed at their king’s jest. “What did you do, my dear? Was it something horrid?” he asked Annis, stepping closer to her.
Alden’s arm shot out and pulled her closer to him. “The where and why has nothing to do with you.” There was a warning in his tone that he meant for Oeric to hear.
“You speak to me like a King. You forget yourself,” Oeric said, his eyes blazing with anger. “You cannot speak to me as an equal anymore. Annis, Annis.” He rolled her name over his tongue. “Of Wessex?” he stated, his eyes widening. “You married his daughter?”
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1519224435
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.
Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!
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Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0