I’m happy to introduce Anna Markland, a fellow RWA chapter writer and lover of Medieval Romance. This post has three parts:
- Anna introduces herself.
- Anna answers my question: What would you do if you were the Queen of the Universe?
- An excerpt from her newly released book, Haunted Knights.
P.S. I’d like to host more guest bloggers (on Fridays), so if there’s something you want to say, give me a holler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks for having me as a guest today, Jo-Ann.
I am a Canadian author with a keen interest in genealogy. Like many family tree researchers, I harboured a secret (i.e. impossible) dream to trace my own roots in England back to the Norman Conquest.
Since I am not descended from nobility, this of course did not come to fruition! So, I made up a family, the Montbryces, and my books follow their lives and loves through successive generations, beginning with Conquering Passion, set in 1066.
My stories are medieval romances about family honour, ancestry, and roots. They are intimate love stories filled with passion and adventure, but I don’t consider what I write as erotic romance. I like the term “juicy”.
Though I have lived most of my life in Canada, I was born in the UK, which perhaps explains why I feel very comfortable writing about English history.
I eventually branched off into other European countries as the family grew and its members married into different noble families. Dance of Love, for example, is partially set in Spain.
I had a fruitful career in teaching before becoming a writer. Prior to tackling fiction, I published numerous family histories. One of the things I enjoy most about writing historical romance is the in-depth research required to provide the reader with an authentic medieval experience.
Queen of the Universe Question
If I was Queen of the Universe (oh the power!) I would wish for a world where people are more accepting of each other’s challenges. My last three books, which I fondly refer to as The Wounded Warrior Series, feature three heroes and heroines with physical challenges.
Dark Irish Knight is the story of Ronan MacLachlainn, an Irish nobleman who has lost an eye after being tortured.
Dance of Love tells the tale of Izzy de Montbryce, who suffers from arthritis. It has gnarled his hands, making it difficult to wield a sword.
Haunted Knights has two heroes. Adam de Montbryce suffers an attack of mumps as a young man. This results in deafness and what we would refer to today as erectile dysfunction. In the Middle Ages, they called it impotency.
(Now you’re thinking, how can the hero of a romance be impotent? Aha! Never underestimate the power of love.)
Anyway, I digress! The other hero of Haunted Knights is a dwarf. Denis de Sancerre was born in If Love Dares Enough, and reappears as an adult in Passion in the Blood and Dance of Love.
I was inspired to write his love story by the great success of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). Elements of the plot were inspired by his reference at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards to Martin Henderson, a British dwarf facing life in a wheel chair after being “tossed” by a modern day medieval thinker.
His attacker may have been inspired by a “dwarf tossing” incident involving members of the English Rugby squad during a tour of New Zealand.
So where is all this leading?
Imagine dealing with these physical difficulties in a hostile medieval world where survival of the fittest was the norm.
But have we really progressed very far? The incident with Martin Henderson would suggest we haven’t.
During my teaching career, I often had to deal with bullying incidents involving children with “difficulties”. We are painfully aware of the toll bullying takes in today’s society.
The hero of Conquering Passion suffers from what we would call post traumatic stress syndrome after his near decapitation at the Battle of Hastings. Many veterans today struggle with the stigma of this condition. Some enlightened folks openly brand them cowards.
So, poof! I’ve waved my wand and made everyone more loving and considerate of others. Isn’t that the whole point of writing romance?
Haunted Knights Excerpt
Here’s an excerpt from Haunted Knights. Denis is an achondroplastic dwarf, whereas his heroine, whom he meets for the first time in this scene, is a pituitary dwarf. This is a condition of growth retardation characterized by people who are very short in stature but have normal body proportions. It is caused by a dysfunction of the pituitary gland, the pea-sized mass of tissue located at the base of the brain.
Paulina’s home has caught fire and Denis has just saved her from the flames.
Agony gnawed at every bone in his misshapen back and hips, but Denis was determined not to lay his burden down until they were safely away from the house. He fell to his knees in the grass, thankful of Vincent’s help supporting his sister as she slumped forward off Denis’ shoulder.
Vincent cradled her, sobbing. Denis tore the mask from his face, thumping his chest with his fist as fits of coughing racked his body. Panting heavily, trying to control the tremor that had taken hold, he looked through bleary eyes at the woman whose life he had saved.
At least he hoped he had saved her. She had not opened her eyes, despite Vincent’s heartfelt entreaties.
Denis blinked rapidly, sure he must be imagining things. Paulina, for so Vincent had called her, was a beautifully formed woman—but she was his height! He shivered again, but for a different reason. He had been right about the breasts. This was no child. His fingertips tingled. He had big hands. Paulina’s breasts would fit perfectly.
He wanted this woman. She had been made for him.
Her eyelashes fluttered and she moaned.
It came to him suddenly what a fearsome sight he must be. His features were ugly at the best of times. If she set eyes on his smoke-blackened face and body—
She will believe she has gone straight to hell and been greeted by an ancient gargoyle!
He scrambled to rise before she opened her eyes, but it was too late. She lifted heavy lids and stared at him. Without blinking, she took several deep breaths.
Over the years he had become indifferent to whether people liked him or not, but his gut roiled at the possibility this woman might be repelled. As he knelt, gazing into her warm brown eyes, aware of the rise and fall of her breasts, Denis was speechless for the first time in his life.
He wanted to tell her she was beautiful, that he would willingly spend his life making amends for the wrongs done to her. But all that came to his lips was, “I am Denis de Sancerre.”
She frowned, looked up at her brother, then back at Denis.
His heart thudded in his ears. He had never felt as vulnerable, and he didn’t like it. Obviously revulsion had struck her dumb.
Buy links for Haunted Knights