My good writing buddy and friend, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, released her second novel, Warrior’s Surrender, on November 7, 2014.
I think the cover for this book is striking. So evocative.
I'm very excited that Elizabeth could join us today. She's a very busy lady. Not only has she had the big release of Warrior's Surrender, but she also has been doing several public speaking appearances, talking about historical research - especially as it relates to medieval and regency times.
Q. Firstly, congratulations on the release of Warrior’s Surrender. This is your second historical romance from Etopia Press. How long has it taken you to write Warrior’s Surrender?
Thank you Noelle, your friendship and support has meant so much to me and I’m so glad that we’ve been able to connect in the real world this year along with Susanne Bellamy and Eva Scott.
Warrior’s Surrender took a lot longer than Moonstone Obsession, mainly because I was in the middle of promoting Moonstone Obsession and also my husband had a very serious health scare, so in the end it took eight months – double the time of Moonstone Obsession.
Q. I imagine that you’ve done a lot of research of the time, place, costumes, political and cultural climate. How important to you is to have the setting, era, and speech perfectly suited to the time the book is set?
To me, having a historical romance that is conscious of its time is important to me to add depth and complexity. Just as people today are aware of the social and political climate in which they live, so too are the people who inhabited times past. The only difference is technology, specifically in this case mass communication and the rapid dissemination of information.
|Elizabeth Ellen Carter|
So news which is instant today, may take weeks or months to travel back in 1077AD
So, I always like to include an element of ‘current’ events to help anchor the story as well as introduce real life historical figures. In Warrior’s Surrender it is William Walcher, the Bishop of Durham, most famous today for building Durham Cathedral and Ligulf of Lumley, a Saxon Earl who eventually has a most fatal falling out with Walcher...
I did give a bit of thought to the speech habits of the characters – of course, they couldn’t be speaking Norman or Old English – no one would be able to understand it! So I hope I’ve struck the right balance between sounding authentic and being readable.
The historical research part of it is fun. I love learning new things about the era I’m writing about. For instance, I had great fun learning about medieval sword play and the importance of monasteries in the foundation of modern education and science.
Q. Baron Sebastian de la Croix sounds like a very complex man. On one hand, he sounds harsh, ruthless, and unforgiving; on the other, sympathetic and protective. Will readers like him straight away, or warm to him as the book progresses?
Readers will get to know Sebastian straight away, the prologue is from his point of view, so we understand that he is an able and loyal soldier but he is also a man with a very strong sense of right and wrong. That morality he will have to defend with his life.
The prologue reveals Sebastian’s Achilles heel...
Q. Lady Alfreya must be a brave woman. How strong is she in the face of the dilemmas she finds herself?
Alfreya was a fascinating woman to write. She is brave and her strength comes from seeing what needs to be done and doing it, regardless about how she feels personally. She has been stretched and tested almost every day for seven years since the Harrying of the North and there are times she feels she has endured beyond breaking point. But now there is Sebastian to help take some of the load, she has to learn that one of the biggest sources of freedom is when you give your concerns to another.
Q. Now that Warrior’s Surrender is finished, what are you working on now?
It hasn’t stopped! I’m looking forward to the release of A Season To Remember, the short story anthology that we’ve all been a part of.
Not only was it an amazing experience working with wonderful authors, but I also enjoyed the discipline of writing a short story – my novels tend to be 10 times the length.
After finishing that short story, called Three Ships, I made myself a promise that I would write at least one a year – I have a few ideas that will take me out of my usual historical genre – a contemporary romantic comedy is one, and another a poignant ghost story.
I started research on my fourth full length novel, a romantic mystery set in 3rd Century AD Rome, but I’ve put that aside for the moment to work on another short story which relates to your next question J
Q. Your first novel, Moonstone Obsession, has been a runaway success. Any news for a sequel?
I’ve left the Rome story to work on a short story for Etopia Press called Moonstone Promise, it will give a happily ever after to one of my favourite supporting characters in Moonstone Obsession – Toby Jackson, the best friend of our hero.
His heroine is Ann Sellars a brave and determined widow who learns to fall in love again after the death of her husband.
And that leads me to another exciting project, a full length sequel to Moonstone Obsession called Moonstone Conspiracy.
My husband fell in love with one of the villains, Lady Abigail Houghall. Moonstone Conspiracy is set two years after the end of Moonstone Obsession. We find out what happened to Abigail after her arrest and learn of Sir Percy’s plans to turn this Jezebel into a Rahab.
Her hero is the Honourable Daniel Ridgeway, the black sheep third son of a Viscount. He is one of Sir Percy’s spies, and Abigail’s ‘controller’, to use a modern spy term. He’s a fascinating character with a tragedy in his past that haunts him and colours his actions.
Elizabeth, thanks so much for sharing with us your exciting projects. I think 2015 is shaping up to be even bigger than this year!
Set in 1077 in wild and untamed Northumbria in the years following William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North.
Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick has returned to her family home after seven years in exile — not victorious as her dead father promised – but defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.
To save her gravely ill brother’s life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy.
Sebastian is a man with a secret – one that could destroy him.
Seven years earlier, he made the impetuous decision to spare the life of a Saxon Earl and his family – the act brands him a traitor, even now.
For Alfreya’s protection and his, Sebastian makes another impetuous proposal just as a new threat emerges.
Drefan of Angou, a man who betrayed Alfreya’s father and claims to be her betrothed, arrives with more than a reunion in mind. He has learned the Baron’s secret and will use it to destroy him – even using Sebastian’s own family – to further his ambition that will plunge an unprepared England into war against the Scots.
By the light of the fire she could see the abandoned chair. To see the second chair Frey must peer around the door.
It too was empty.
Frey frowned. Did she doze and Sebastian slipped past her unseen? She took a further step or two into the room and looked.
The bed was…
Before Frey could complete the thought, she was grabbed roughly from behind and held firmly against a man’s broad chest. A large hand covered her mouth and suppressed an involuntary scream.
The man recognised her and relaxed but did not remove his hand.
“You picked the wrong night to slit my throat while I slept, princess.”
Sebastian’s whispered voice filled her ear. He held her still for long moments before speaking.
“Are you recovered? You will not scream?”
Frey nodded and shook her head in answer to each question and she was released, her heart pumping furiously.
“Do you suggest I pick some other night then?” she said, wiping her mouth to rid the sensation of his hand.
Sebastian ignored her barb and poured a small measure of spiced wine into his goblet. He handed it to her and watched as she drank.
“Why do you assume the worst of me?” she asked.
“Habit,” he answered, arms folded across his chest. “Now tell me what you’re doing in my chambers while others sleep.”
“I have to speak to you.”
Sebastian’s eyebrows rose in surprise. It might have been scepticism, but Frey couldn’t be sure.
“And it couldn’t wait until morning?”
All of a sudden Frey’s courage left her and she wondered if her senses had taken leave of her too.
She was an unmarried woman, alone, late at night in the bed chamber of a man whose mere presence made her feel powerful sensations that she struggled to understand. What on earth was she doing?
She shook her head softly.
“This was a mistake.”
As she turned to leave, Sebastian grabbed her wrist.
“It’s a mistake to not finish what you start.”