Monday, February 22, 2016

Interview with B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree Rebecca Lochlann

Please join me in welcoming B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree Rebecca Lochlann to A Literary Vacation today! Rebecca lives west of the Rocky Mountains with her husband. Whenever work allows, they vanish into the wilderness searching for hidden high places where the Milky Way carves a bright path undimmed by city lights, where bristlecones thrive and coyotes sing to the moon. She’s had many varied jobs, but her passion, from a young age, has been writing. A lifelong fan of the classic Greek myths, she began envisioning a new epic story very early on, one launching from the foundation of the classics and continuing through the centuries right up into the present and future. Her goal is to create a new myth: one that offers the same flavor and unique magic as the Greek classics, yet which will interest modern readers.


Hi Rebecca, and welcome to A Literary Vacation! To start off with, please tell us a little about your book, The Year-God’s Daughter, the first book in The Child of the Erinyes series.

Thank you so much, Colleen, for this opportunity to say something about my series. Blogging and reviewing is detailed work that requires commitment and a heck of a lot of time. My hat is off to you and your compatriots. My thanks as well to Stephanie Moore Hopkins for thinking of me, and of course to IndieBRAG.

The Year-god’s Daughter is Book One of the Child of the Erinyes series. It introduces not only the characters, but also their world: my vision of what Bronze Age Crete and the Greek mainland might have been like just before the volcanic eruption on the island of Thera. We meet the young Cretan princess, Aridela, who lives in the fabulous palace at Knossos, and the Greek brothers, Chrysaleon and Menoetius. They are sons of the king of Mycenae, and on his orders come to Crete seeking a way to overthrow this wealthy, powerful society. All three think they know how to manipulate the future to their own ends. The choices they make—good and bad, wise and foolish, propel them into a journey through time, forcing them to ride out history as it unfolds—not as influential leaders but commoners like most of us. Unlike most of us, they are major players in Goddess Athene’s long-term game plan.

Through the eyes of Aridela, Chrysaleon, and Menoetius, the reader experiences the collision of opposite cultures—matriarchal Crete with warlike Mycenae. At its core is the annual rise of the star Iakchos (Sirius to us), the sacrifice of the old king, and the fight (to the death) between men determined to become the new king, which takes place in the dark labyrinth beneath the temple at the heart of Knossos.

The second edition of The Year-god’s Daughter was finished and released last year. I would like to mention that the first three books are available as a digital boxed set (over 900 pages) for those who prefer a firmer conclusion when they read.

The Year-God’s Daughter takes place in Bronze age Crete and deals with a lot of mythology, sacrifice and battle. How much research went into writing this story? What sort of balance did you strike between incorporating true history and more fantastical elements?

My research began with Moon, Moon, an amazing book by Anne Kent Rush. Before that, I thought anything I wrote about a matriarchy would have to be pure fantasy—that the idea was as fantastical as an animated Disney fairy tale. This book started me on the path of learning where, how, and when these places could have actually existed, and at first, it was quite difficult and expensive. There wasn’t much out there—and what I could track down was out of print. I worked at bookstores just to have easier access to obscure books! But eventually, more was published on these subjects, and my work became easier. I read archaeological texts that painstakingly define eras by the style of pottery shards (rather dry reading, that), history books, books of Greek myth, books about the palace-temple at Knossos, books about volcanic eruptions, and treatises on the submerged role of women in these vanished times. I have a vast library now, and a bibliography at my website for those interested in reading more. While I guess I have to apply the fantasy label to the religious beliefs and practices that I’ve written in my book, they actually may not be so far-fetched.

Historians and archaeologists are currently in agreement that the eruption of the Thera volcano didn’t destroy the civilization on Crete, but there are indications that the island fell under Mycenaean control afterwards. I was intrigued with this; in its basic form, The Year-god’s Daughter and its two companion novels tell how the changeover might have happened, using the evidence we have. Then there are the consequences, as Athene watches the theft of her island and her people. That part—Athene’s curse and the return of Aridela and her two lovers through time—is straight fantasy, of course. But a lot of what the reader encounters in TYGD is a fleshing out of archaeological data into a story.
I see that The Year-God’s Daughter is the first book in The Child of the Erinyes series and that this series is going to stretch from the Bronze Age into the near future. Given this stretch in time, can you give us a little taste of what’s to come? Will those stories move away from history into more a fantasy genre?


I stick close to history in my books, very close indeed. The fantastical elements, up to the last book (When the Moon Whispers) are there, but in the background, influencing the characters subliminally, teasing and generally just out of reach. However, in the last book and its companion novella, which take place in the future…all bets are off!

After the Bronze Age, the saga takes a giant leap in time. The middle three books are all set in Scotland—two in the Victorian era and one in the Dark Ages. Then comes the denouement, in the near future, with a wife gone missing for over twenty years, a billionaire, his estranged brother, and the full, unfettered return of submerged memories from every life. The final novella, Swimming in the Rainbow, dips into a specific segment of the last act and wraps things up. So, rather like the original Narnia Chronicles and Star Wars, the series does not always progress in linear form.
Historical fiction happens to be my all-time favorite genre and I find myself going back and forth between what periods of history are my favorite to read about. Is the Bronze Age your favorite time period to write and/or read about, or do you enjoy jumping around as I do?

I DO enjoy jumping around, and thanks for the question, as it gives me the opportunity to explain my thoughts on that! The Bronze Age was my favorite for many years but I spent so much time and energy there that I’m a bit burned out on it now. Thankfully, my series accommodates this need to research and build new adventures in new places. It skips forward and backward in time and travels to different areas of the globe. Plus, the characters change, giving the reader (and me) a whole new person to bond with, and is, in my opinion, more interesting than keeping everyone static. Though they all carry certain identifying characteristics from one life to the next, each incarnation brings new personality quirks that living over and over again will necessarily create. After all, the whole purpose is to groom them for the climax, so they do need to change and grow—or, in some cases, diminish.

By the time I became involved with the ancient Mediterranean, I had already put many years of research into Scotland. I used what I learned to write the three books that follow the Bronze Age: The Moon Casts a Spell (set in the Outer Hebrides), The Sixth Labyrinth, and Falcon Blue. I’m getting ready to publish The Sixth Labyrinth, which takes place in 1870s Scotland, London, and the Hebrides. Then I will fall backward in time to tell the tale of the very first life after Crete. Falcon Blue is set near Cape Wrath, in the early medieval period after the Romans have abandoned Britain. These books have been even more of a challenge than the first three, since there is a lot less wiggle room, and conversely, a lot MORE to write about. For instance, eighteen-seventies Britain was chock-full of intriguing people and events. It’s been hard work, but great fun! 

What does a typical day (if there is one) look like for you? How do you balance writing and the rest of your life?

At the moment, I don’t. I rise early, I make coffee, and I get to work. I don’t stop until late at night, when I can no longer concentrate. I usually work fourteen hours a day or more. I really want to get this next book out—it’s so close. It interrupts my sleep with its demands. It’s simply obsessing me. 

What drew you towards independent publishing as opposed to seeking out a traditional publisher?

I had a feeling from the beginning that what I wanted to do would preclude me from any traditional publisher, and I was right. Each book in my series builds upon the last, and there are overlapping themes and struggles, all reaching towards the end goal. What publisher or even agent would be willing to read the rough drafts of 8 books by an unknown? Non-negotiable deadlines are also difficult in a series that is continually evolving. So, vive la independent publishing!

How did you discover indieBRAG and what does it mean to you to have The Year-God’s Daughter awarded the BRAG Medallion?

The wonderful IndieBRAG! It was my first award, I believe, which helped my psyche enormously, and what an organization! Tireless, invaluable to readers, and, unlike some other review & award sites, always kind and supportive. Although IndieBRAG is established and respected to the highest degree, there is no hint of pretentiousness. I believe I first learned of IndieBRAG through fellow historical fiction authors, for instance Elisabeth Storrs and Richard Sutton, early medallion winners. Since then, quite a few of my fellow historical fiction partners have won IndieBRAG medallions. Sometimes, when this series feels as though it has taken over my life, and when I wonder if it will ever be completed, and when bills need to be paid and the dust on the furniture is thick, when there’s an endless list of things to do—cover decisions, advertising, editing, yet more research—knowing that IndieBRAG thought my work worthwhile helps keep me on track. I cannot say enough in praise or in thanks. Where would authors be without dedicated bloggers, reviewers, and organizations like IndieBRAG?


 Thank you, Rebecca, for taking the time to stop by and answer my questions! You can learn more about Rebecca and her books on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You can purchase The Year-God's Daughter on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes.

A Message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Colleen has chosen to interview Rebecca Lochlann, who is the author of The Year-God's Daughter, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ® , a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as Past Encounters merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.



  1. Sending my thanks to you, Colleen, and to IndieBRAG, and to Stephanie! Have a wonderful day.

    1. You are so very welcome, Rebecca, and thank you for the great interview!

  2. I adore this interview, Ladies! History is so much fun and intriguing. Great job!

    So delighted to have Colleen on the the indieBRAG Interview Team and Rebecca as a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree!

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie! I LOVE being a part of the team!