Around the internet, Mondays are usually #MedievalMonday (where the spotlight is placed on Medieval Fiction/Romance) so I thought it was a perfect time to introduce you to an author who writes incredible stories. She’s an award-winning author and she agreed to sit down with me for an interview. Please welcome Stella Marie Alde to the Princess of the Light blog. Take it away, Stella:
What is your writing process?
I tremble and my stomach turns over at the mention of the word process, but I am one to face my fears. Be gone cowardly thoughts! Did I mention I write Medieval Romances? I procrastinate.
I believe that process is a living thing. It has to be, in order to grow. If you do the same thing over and over, first of all, it’s boring. Secondly, you won’t get any better.
Currently my process, as I start a new book, is to meet my characters. For example, I have just met Sir Nicholas and Lady Fay. They made a brief appearance in book two, but I really don’t know them very well. I allow each of them to tell me their life’s story as if at an intimate dinner where there’s a little too much wine to drink.
My first book was not so. I didn’t have any process so I met the hero and heroine as I wrote and I constantly had to back up and rewrite when they exclaimed they would NEVER do such a thing. In ‘How To Train Your Knight,’ the hero Marcus, was way too rough at first. Perhaps more historically accurate, but not likable to the modern audience.
After I meet my characters, we talk about their goals and motivations in their lives. As their god, I know that they are destined for one another, but it amuses me to see what they think so I allow them to carry on about the other character.
Once I know them, I create a high level plot. Sometimes I write a few scenes, plot, and then write. It is a mixture. I write in dialog, then, like a wonderful coloring book, I go back and fill in the scenery from my mind’s eye.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
Artists are inspired by their lives. They have to be for what else is there? I’m inspired by every author I have ever read. If you ask me my favorite book, it’ll be the one I’m currently reading.
That being said, Shakespeare and Tolkien have inspired me most. Perhaps because I read them at such an impressionable age, they stuck. In ‘How to Train Your Knight,’ those familiar with ’Taming of the Shrew’ will see some similarities. In the land around their estate, surely some will think upon The Shire and the warmth of hearth and home.
Modern Romances? I love Jane Castle. Her characters are strong, the worlds she creates believable, and dust bunnies. I can’t even explain the nature of the furry loyal pet-friend. Just know that if I could adopt one, I would.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I will be more. More writing, more fun, more travel, more love, more marketing, more fans, and more yoga. More, more, more.
I see Rome and London and Paris.
I see stories of love and longing.
I see best sellers that cross over into different markets.
We become what we think about all day long. I have learned to only dream big dreams. Why would anyone dare to do less?
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Action scenes have to be choreographed in my mind’s eye in slow-motion. I think I avoided sword fighting in my first book, to be entirely honest, because I was afraid I wouldn’t get it right.
In my second book, I’m braver. I’ve watched Medieval sword fights on YouTube and have a huge Pinterest board of knights. What is hard to imagine is those heavy swords and trying to lift them while upon horseback, no? In one scene, in ‘How to Marry Your Wife,’ Sir Thomas must fight off a group of armed bandits. Our heroine’s horse rears and she falls to the ground, almost trampled to death. That was a hard scene to write but I was glad I did.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
When I signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing, I promised a series of three Medieval romances. Book one, ‘How to Train Your Knight’, was released on May 6th. Book two, ‘How To Marry Your Wife,’ is currently with my editor. I’ve just started book three and have no idea where the characters will lead me yet. I know the hero is a bit of a loner and a spy for the English. The heroine is a feisty Scot who has no tolerance for lies.
I have other books in other Romance genres that I will consider editing and publishing once I am done with the above. Shsh. I’ll let you know more as soon as I figure it out myself.
What is your biggest failure?
At first I skipped this question, but then came back to answer it. I don’t believe in failures so there can’t be a biggest. I would like to share that.
As human beings, we make mistakes, but those are not failures. Those are places where we’ve strived but have not yet succeeded.
I have made a shit load of mistakes because I try really hard to do more and be more. That means I take chances and sometimes don’t succeed. Are those failures? No. Those are merely life lessons of things that don’t work. Yet.
So perhaps I could talk about where I’m still working on creating successes? I am, by nature, a loner and always have been. When I make a friend and connect, I feel success. I love that about writing. I’ve met a lot of authors striving in a similar way.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Weep not for she lives on in your hearts, in her books, and in the love of God.
What secret talents do you have?
I have an odd talent. I am able to see events and predict trends. If I was a stock broker, I would probably be rich, but I don’t possess that skill.
I have also, at times, seen events that have come true. I saw a public figure shot weeks before the event happened. I told only a few close friends at the time. It’s kind of creepy and it doesn’t happen too often, thank God. I saw my oldest daughter years before she was born. I saw my other daughter as the tall and thin adult she has become, when she was an overweight child. These dreams have a different quality, like watching an old movie reel and I know when I see them that it has a predictive nature.
Before you ask? It hasn’t happened in years, so perhaps the talent is gone.
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Where some people may walk with a limp, or some may have a thin white line, most of my scars are invisible and happened a long ago.
I used to curse my scars but now I embrace them for they have made me who I am. We cannot change one iota of the past by cursing it, or lamenting it, or wishing it could have been different.
What we can do is love who we have become, the strength within that has allowed us to endure, and the beauty that comes to the surface when we learn to truly forgive.
My scars make me a better writer and a more empathic, caring human being. While I used to search for a way to make the scars disappear, now I know they are interwoven into to everything that I am. Should I pull that thread from the material of my being, the cloth would lose its integrity and fall to pieces.
What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
I have vivid dreams and although it has not happened recently, I can wake up screaming and scare the heck out of my poor husband.
My most common recurring nightmare is walking around a college campus, trying to find my classroom or dorm room. Usually I am late for something of importance but like in a maze, cannot find my way.
I have some other dreams, too scary to relate but I share those feelings, (not the actual events), in my books.
Not one to remain a victim to anything, even my own subconscious, I have studied and practiced lucid dreaming. Most times, I am able to enter my dream and tell myself to wake up. I merely say, “I understand the message that you are telling me and I no longer need to be in this dream.” Then, I am able to wake myself up.
How To Train Your Knight – out now!
How to Marry Your Wife – coming soon!
Author: Stella Marie Alden
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance
Year of our Lord, 1276.
In the hours just before dawn, blasphemous curses echo throughout the stone manor. A knife clatters to the floor, and a feisty young widow is bound, blindfolded, and led to the marriage altar. The king couldn’t possibly have sanctioned this farce of a marriage, could he? After all, she alone transformed a few mud huts and starving serfs into a flourishing town, never once hesitating to pay generous taxes to his royal kingdom. Abandon her beloved people to be ruled by her new husband, an ignorant Templar knight? Never! the Lady Ann vows.
A murderous witch for a wife? The Beast of Thornhill finds himself in the middle of either a cruel jest or an evil conspiracy. After returning from the Holy wars, he accepts bestowment of a small parcel of land in return for saving King Edward’s life. But the reward comes with a warning regarding the estate’s mistress. Despite his insatiable attraction to the black-haired beauty, he allows her time to warm to him while observing her strange, forward-thinking ways. But when all is on the line, will he stand by her through the inquisition or will they both hang for her secrets?
Year of our Lord 1276
“By God, drag her down here! Naked, if you must! Bread and water from now to eternity if you can’t!” Sir Marcus Blackwell slammed his fist on the well-worn table and the sound echoed back from every direction. Of all the bad luck. Forced into marriage with a foul-mouthed, murderous widow.
He clenched his teeth when the next bout of high-pitched screams and curses exploded from the floor above. Crashes, clanging, and banging followed. He cringed as the Lady Ann’s strident screaming rang throughout the stone manor and probably into the courtyard.
“He can’t steal my lands this easily. He’ll live just long enough to rue this day. I shall never, ever, turn my people over to a blood-thirsty, gold-grabbing beast. I’d rather be cursed to hell. Nay, verily, I’d rather marry the devil himself than see myself married to him.”
Beast? He’d strangle the minstrel who’d taken his sword’s moniker and baptized him with it instead. He was a holy crusader, deserving of respect, not an animal.
Crossing himself while counting to ten, he paced the dark hall lit by a single weak torch. Shadows danced across dark tapestries, beyond a hearth the size of two horses, and over enough tables to feed a small army. Thatch crunched under his boots, releasing a perfume of lavender and grasses.
He stopped for a respite of blessed silence. What in God’s creation have I stepped into?
When the mayhem started up again, it was from his first-in-command, Thomas D’Agostine. “The devil take it, watch out. A knife!” A dagger fell upon stone with a metallic clatter.
“Damnation. The bitch nicked me.” The smack of a hand against skin, a female yelp of pain, then the battle paused momentarily.
“Enough!” The king’s command would be obeyed.
Certainly, she’d have to understand that. He stood at the foot of the massive stone staircase and waited for the thundering echoes to cease before continuing at a lesser volume.
Envisioning the vile creature, he shuddered. It was far too late to retreat now. He’d wanted the land and bedding the ancient hag was part of the bargain. “I said, do her no harm. Gag, bind, and blindfold the wench if you must. For the love of God, she’s, but one woman.”
“Excuse me, sir? Am I—”
Marcus swiveled, squinted into the first rays of the rising sun, and clasped the well-worn hilt of his sword. “Brother John?” He let go of his weapon and opened both arms wide in greeting. “Forgive me, a leftover habit. Come in. Come in.”
The lone figure in the arched doorway stood still with both hands high while oversized sleeves swallowed him whole. Were all of his new subjects mad?
“I said you can lower your arms and enter. ‘Tis a simple enough request. I already explained to the elder brother that I mean you no harm.”
The boy, mayhap the ripe old age of ten and six, stepped another foot into the room.
“Now put your arms down.” He tried to smile, but the task was elusive. “Come now, even The Beast of Thornhill wouldn’t consider the slaughter of a holy man. Enter.”
Stella Marie Alden loves Zumba, yoga, watercolor painting, and fixing up her house.
Her mother said it’s not nice to brag, but her first book…
- Won the coveted ‘The Molly’ Contest
- Won the ‘Show me the Spark’, too!
Came in second for RWA’s ‘Heart2Heart’ contest
Third place in the ‘Melody of Love’ Contest
Finalist in ‘Joyce Henderson’ contest.
Finalist in 2013’s ‘Golden Acorn’ contest
Growing up in Vermont, she loved to make up stories. Crayons fought each other over size and placement in their cardboard box and imaginary friends crowded the house. Her brother often complained. “Tell her no one’s here, Mother.”.
Her career paths have varied. She’s been a librarian, a classical clarinetist, recording studio engineer, broadcast electronics repairman, and now she architects software programs. She lives in Bergen County, NJ with her life-long hero and their two cats. Her two girls are grown but ever supportive. You go Mom!
Social Media Links:
Author Website: www.stellamariealden.com
Facebook Page of Author: https://www.facebook.com/stellaMarieAlden
Twitter handle: @stellamariealde