Welcome Nancy Jardine to the Saturday Morning hotspot (usually it’s Monday, but hey, it’s good to break with tradition sometimes!). Fellow Crooked Cat author, Nancy is launching the third of her historical romantic adventures very, very soon. But don’t let me waffle on – here’s the lady herself to tell you all about it. Pour yourself a flagon of ale and enjoy…
Hi Shani. I’m delighted to be with you on my mini launch tour for Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series of Historical Romantic Adventures – After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks (Crooked Cat Publishing) – which launches in 3 days! Why aren’t they called historical novels or historical romances? I’ll try to explain…
My series begins in AD 71, in northern Britain. You might wonder why I chose that particular year as a start point so, for your readers not familiar with my series, I’ll try to explain…
In AD 71, a lot was happening in Britannia which sparked my interest as an author. The Roman Empire was effectively on the move again and was slowly pushing further north, still determined to conquer the whole known world and that meant all of the island of Britannia.
I wanted to do something different from historical novels I’d already read which depicted Romanised southern Britain and were generally about Celtic tribal kings and queens. Instead, I wrote about northern England and made my characters of a slightly less elevated status. Kings and queens are occasionally mentioned in my books but my characters are mainly of Celtic chieftain level: still of high status in their own tribal structure, but with a freedom of movement the lowliest tribesman would not have had. My characters are men and women who lead their tribe in some way and who have been taught the requisite skills to do important tasks.
Unfortunately for the researcher, there’s little to be had on the subject of Romans in the north. Some might say that’s not a great problem in a fictitious tale but whether anal, or not, I’m a wee bit obsessed with setting my scenes as authentically as possible. So, plenty of research and rechecking has been going on as I wrote my series which creeps further and further north as the stories of my Garrigill warriors unfold. That definitely suits me as a Scot since I wanted to feature Roman Scotland – as far north as the Roman expansion went, which is a lot further than the average person thinks! Recent archaeological evidence and findings indicate that there was more Roman activity up on the Moray coast (near Inverness/Scotland) than formerly thought.
When I started the series, I had far more knowledge in my head, and at my fingertips, about the Celtic tribes who were settled northern Britannia so my series is written around a fictitious extended family from the hillfort of Garrigill, in northern Brigantia (present day northern Yorkshire/England). Roman invasion affects their everyday lives for a number of years; Books 1-3 span from AD 71 to AD 84; and my current writing in progress continues the tales of the family group from Garrigill for a few years beyond AD 84.
In Book 1 – The Beltane Choice – the romantic elements are very strong. The developing relationship between Lorcan of the Brigantes and Nara of the Selgovae (southern Scotland) is hampered by many obstacles which are politically and personally motivated. This novel is heavily biased towards the Celtic perspective, the threat of Rome only mentioned and the battle at Whorl is ‘at a distance’. That wasn’t because I wanted to avoid blood and guts; it’s because the romance of the story is more dominant in Book 1.
In Book 2 – After Whorl: Bran Reborn – war and its aftermath on Brennus of Garrigill (brother to Lorcan of Book 1) features much more, as do the machinations of the Roman Empire. Resulting from the Battle of Whorl Brennus assumes a new identity and becomes Bran the spy, aided and abetted by Ineda of Marske – a new female character – their relationship being a complicated one. This is especially so when the couple are set upon by a Roman patrol. Brennus is distraught when Ineda vanishes and can’t be found. He has no idea she’s been taken prisoner by a Roman tribune named Gaius Livanus Valerius. Romantic elements are certainly in Book 2 but there is no HEA – Happy Ever After – ending.
Book 3 – After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks (yes, the title is somewhat similar to Book 2 and is intentional) – continues the tales of Brennus of Garrigill, Ineda of Marske and Roman tribune Valerius as they find themselves journeying further and further north in Britannia till they end up at the range of hills named Beinn Na Ciche, where there is a resoundingly horrid battle between the Celtic tribes and the armies of the mighty Roman Empire. War features quite highly; political strategies are explored in the Northern Campaign of the Roman Governor Agricola; and travel is a dominant theme. Yet there are also different types of love and relationships revealed. Filial loyalty and love resurface in Book 3 when original Book 1 characters are reunited. New bonds are made when new characters are brought under the wing of my Garrigill warriors.
My series is Historical Romantic Adventure; my heroes are wonderful Celtic warriors; my heroines are likewise likeable and I’m told from many excellent reviewers that my settings are so historically accurate, and so authentic that the reader ‘lives and breathes’ the environment of my characters. I can probably get nothing better than that!
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is available for pre-order from Amazon at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Whorl-Donning-Double-Cloaks/dp/1909841579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394551378&sr=8-1&keywords=after+whorl+donning+double+cloaks
Officially released in ebook formats on Amazon on 25th March 2014
Nancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in an area that’s steeped in ancient standing stones, tombs, ruined castles and fantastic Scots Baronial architecture. A lover of all things Scottish, her homeland creeps into her writing as does her fascination with history- Celtic/ Roman Britain in particular- though keeping herself updated is a constant battle, since history is being rewritten almost every week as new archaeological discoveries are made. Writing time is shared with regular grandchild minding duties, tending her large garden, ancestry research and leisure reading. She is currently writing a family saga based mainly in Scotland, and Book 4 of her Celtic Fervour series.
Topaz Eyes (Crooked Cat Publishing) an ancestral-based mystery, is a finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE Fiction 2014.
After Whorl: Bran Reborn – Book 2 of her Celtic Fervour Series (Crooked Cat Publishing) has been accepted for THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION 2014
The Facebook launch party for After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is on the 25th March and all are welcome to pop in and say hello. Hopefully, this URL will lead you there…
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – Final blurb
Pursued by Rome.
AD73 Northern Britannia
After King Venutius’ defeat, Brennus of Garrigill – known as Bran – maintains a spy network monitoring Roman activity in Brigantia. Relative peace reigns till AD 78 when Roman Governor Agricola marches his legions to the far north. Brennus is always one step ahead of the Roman Army as he seeks the Caledon Celt who will lead all tribes in battle against Rome.
Ineda of Marske treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius, who is responsible for supplying Agricola’s northern campaigns. At Inchtuthil Roman Fort Ineda flees seeking fellow Brigantes congregating on the foothills of Beinn na Ciche.
Will the battle against the Romans bring Ineda and Brennus together again?