Sunday, June 29, 2014

Author Talk ~ Elizabeth M Darcy

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Elizabeth M Darcy.

Hi Elizabeth and welcome to my blog.

 EMD: Thanks for having me, Sandie.

1.      Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Born in London, England and now living in Australia, Elizabeth enjoys the thrill of writing YA romance and loves all things magical. She has a passion for history and draws her historical romance stories from the history of her heritage to bring readers the delightful imagery of life and love through time. From Norman Knights to Scottish Highlanders and English rakes, Elizabeth creates stories that will remain with the reader long after the final page.

2.      You have a new release out, what is it about?

      Yes,  Her Norman Conquest  has just been released by Totally Bound.

At the mercy of William the Conqueror, Lady Ann faces an uncertain future as Norman knights fight for her hand.

Left alone after the death of all the male members of her household at the Battle of Hastings, Lady Ann finds herself at the mercy of William the Conqueror. The King intends to marry his knights to Saxon gentry. Ann becomes a useful if not uncooperative ally by using her ability to speak French to liaise with the terrified Saxon women and their potential husbands. She falls in love with a devastatingly handsome Norman blacksmith only to discover King William has plans for her to marry one of his knights.

3.      How did you come up with the idea for your novel?

The story came from a notation my aunts found in a family bible found in France, handed down over generations during investigations about our family tree.  The translation went something like this:
  I thank God, I was saved from marrying a beast by a humble blacksmith.
 Well, when I read it and a story poured into my mind… romantic.

 4.      Do you plot your novels or fly by the seat of your pants type of girl?

     I write without a net. The story writes itself really, I just go along for the ride.

5.      How long does it normally take you to write your first draft?

 I write a chapter, then edit and layer before I write the next chapter. How long is different depending on the genre, historical takes longer because of the research and checking every word. In Historical stories I write, then highlight anything that needs checking as I go rather than slow down the thought process.

6.      Who are your favourite authors?

            I read about four books a month, I love audio books too because they are kinder to my       eyes. So, picking favourites is very difficult, Diana Gabaldon, Anna Campbell, Lindsey Sands, Sandra Brown for romance and I like a few action adventure books as well and some of the old masters. I’m reading Silas Marner  by George Eliot at the moment,   having just finished Written in My Own Heart’s Blood…..still crying over the deaths in that story.

7.      You have had an offer from Hollywood to turn your novel into a movie, who would you have play the lead roles? Why?

            My handsome knight would have to be Chris Hemsworth, big and blond. Yes,       couldn’t go wrong with him.
            Lady Ann? Hmm Lily Collins would be perfect. She was in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. English actress who is just delightful.

8.      Who would like to direct it?

         "Game of Thrones" director Alex Graves

9.      Can you give us a small extract from your novel?

Excerpt: Her Norman Conquest
London, 1072

         “All unwed landed ladies, widows or maidens of childbearing age are hereby summoned to Hertfordshire without delay.”

         Lady Ann of Parr balled her fists and glared up at the Norman knight, so mighty, reading his declaration from the back of a horse. Mayhap he believed she would plunge a dagger in his heart. “But, my lord, I have tenants to oversee, an estate to manage. Your king has slaughtered the men of my family and all of my father’s loyal men.” She lifted her chin. “I am the only one left to guide my people.”

        The knight stared down at her without compassion. “Gather your belongings. My patience grows thin.”
She pressed her lips together. Bad enough the new king’s army had brutally slain the proud Saxon men and had left them to rot on the battlefield, but since the invasion, their mourning wives and daughters had lived in constant terror of these foreign-speaking brutes. Indeed, few women had knowledge of the French language as she did. She had heard tales about Norman knights ransacking estates in search of documents or details regarding their wealth or lands. She closed her eyes and drew a deep breath. Dear God! Her turn had come to join the stream of highborn womenfolk the beasts had bundled into carts bound for London to meet their death, or worse, forced to marry a murdering Norman knight.

         Conceding defeat, she met his gaze. “Very well, when do we leave?”

         “Sir Paul de Groote will be accompanying you. He will arrive at daybreak.” His lip curled with contempt. 

         “Make sure you are ready to depart. Two of my men will remain here to ensure you comply with the king’s orders.” The stern knight swung his horse around and returned to his troops.

* * * *

         The sun had hardly peeked over the horizon to herald the arrival of Sir Paul de Groote and his troops at her country estate. He had impressed her with his courtesy, so unlike the brutish ways she had encountered from the Norman knights so far. The man was impressively tall and spoke in a gentle tone. He had appeared genuinely remorseful in his delivery of the missive from the newly crowned king. Mayhap not all the Normans had such bad manners.

         “You may take your maid and one trunk. We have little room to spare.” Sir Paul led her towards the cart. 

          “You will be taken to Berkhamsted Castle and King William will decide your future.” He gave her a tight smile. “I’m sure you will be impressed at what changes our king has made to England. He plans to build great castles. Have no fear, all the estates will be properly managed under Norman rule.”

          She bit back a retort—no need to make an enemy of a man who had at least offered her a modicum of civility. She climbed into the cart with Meg at her side and watched her beloved home vanish into the morning mist. Aye, she had heard tell of Berkhamsted Castle created by Robert of Mortain to protect the king and built with no less than two moats to ensure against any further Saxon uprising. It would seem the Normans had need for such things. Hours passed with no respite and the heavens had opened up, drenching her by the time the wooden structure came into view. Cold, hungry and with a failing spirit, she followed the guards through the courtyard.

         Inside the great hall, she gaped in wonder at the impressive opulence around her. The walls rose high on each side, one covered in magnificent tapestries. The other displayed a large variety of weaponry, and centred hung the battered shield depicting King Harold’s coat of arms. A shiver raced down her spine at the memory of the tales spoken in hushed voices about the gruesome death of King Harold. The great king had suffered an arrow to the eye and the Norman butchers had hacked him to pieces. He would turn in his grave if he could hear French spoken as the tongue of his beloved England.

        She smothered a sob. Her sharp intake of breath brought Meg to her side. She brushed aside the bunched cotton cloth offered by her maidservant, lifted her chin and stepped into the Great Hall. “Put it away, Meg, for I fear I have no more tears to shed.”

         She pushed down the fear, determined not to cower before the Normans. All about her, guards stood oppressively close. Musky male scent rose from their warm bodies, enhanced by the dampness from the incessant, freezing rain. She glanced at her ashen-faced maidservant and straightened her soaked head rail. Anger shivered down her spine. How dare they treat her in such a manner? 

10.                        Now the most important question. Where can we get a copy of your novel?

You can find me here:

Thank you Elizabeth for joining me today. All the best on your new release.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today J

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