I'm so excited to have Anna Belfrage on the blog today! She's provided the guest post below, so please enjoy. Be sure to continue after for more information about her newest novel, Days of Sun and Glory, and the rest of the stops on her blog tour!
How to manage a HEA with dead people
Okay, I’m going to come right out there and admit I rather like a Happily Ever After ending. The road getting there may be convoluted and full of loss, but ultimately, I like it if my protagonists ride into the sunset together.
Real people who lived exciting lives and died as a consequence rarely get to the sunset part. Nope, they litter the road, so to say, even more so when one chooses to write about the 14th century where people quite often died much younger than us. Childbirth, sword-fighting, sickness, executions – various causes of death that were far more common then than now.
It is therefore almost impossible to achieve that HEA I so long for – unless I select the characters with care. I could, for example, write about Edward I and his first wife Eleanor. Very much a Happily Ever After relationship, seeing as they seem to have had a fantastic marriage. BUT. Eleanor died just before turning fifty, and Edward was devastated, which means any book I write about them has to come to an end before this. Long before this, given that Edward and Eleanor also had the misfortune of burying ten or so of their children… But still: there’s potential for a HEA – a moment in time when everything was rosy for the leading couple.
I may very well write about Edward and Eleanor – principally Eleanor – some day, but this time round, I’ve chosen to write about Roger Mortimer’s rise to fame and power – at the expense of Edward II. Now, some of you will say “Edward II? Isn’t he the dude who was killed with a red hot poker up his bum?” and I must immediately say no, no, no! Nothing points at the poor man having met quite so horrific a death. But as per official records, Edward II died in 1327 at the age of 43 which doesn’t exactly constitute a building block for a Happily Ever After.
This is not necessarily a problem as my series focuses on Roger, the man Edward II dubbed his Greatest Traitor. I’ve always had a soft spot for Roger, who rebelled against his king when Edward allowed his royal favourite Hugh Despenser to go a bit too wild and crazy in his eagerness to appropriate wealth and power. As a result, Roger was struck in chains and thrown into the Tower – a lucky escape, truth be told, seeing as his fellow rebellious barons died – and Edward II was all geared up for the Happily Ever After, a sequence of years in which he and dear Hugh could govern England just as they pleased.
Except that Roger escaped. And then he fled to France, where he was welcomed with open arms. And some years later, when Edward had managed to totally alienate his own wife, the beautiful Isabella of France, Roger and Isabella found their moments of joy – with each other. Which was a problem, seeing as both of them were married…(And seriously, poor Roger’s loyal wife! Joan had been locked up by Edward II after her husband’s rebellion, and when he fled overseas her conditions deteriorated markedly – I imagine things went from bad to worse when Edward heard Roger was cuckolding him)
Given my propensity for HEA, I see Roger and Isabella as genuinely in love. Once they joined forces in late 1325, they were rarely separated from each other, and after defeating Edward and Hugh, they became regents – together – for the young Edward III. All set up for one of my Happily Ever After moments, except, of course, that there were certain moral ambiguities floating about. Like what happened to Edward II, and what about poor Joan? Plus, we had a young king who resented having been used as the figurehead in the rebellion against his father, and who was determined to become a perfect king – a far different creature from his father. (Whatever one may think of Edward II – and I for one think he must have been a charming and complicated man – he was not a good king)
So, Roger was not destined for a HEA. And no, I couldn’t break off the story some years before he met his end – that would be cheating my readers of the exciting resolution to this convoluted story. Big sigh. Hours of racking my brain. Some nights of dampening my pillow with my tears. (Yes, I am strange that way: I bond with my characters – all of them)
This is when Ms Inspiration – my muse & slave-driver rolled into one – sighed, shook out her long, colourful skirts, and told me to use my imagination instead.
“What? Invent a different ending?”
Ms Inspiration snorted, muttering that we both knew just how OCD I was regarding facts, so that wouldn’t work, would it? “Include a fictional protagonist,” she suggested. “And yes, he can suffer along the way – you rather like making them suffer, don’t you? – but you could give him some sort of satisfactory ending.”
“Ending?” I shuddered. That sounded like I’d kill this as yet unknown invented character off.
But Ms Inspiration was on to something. And so, my series The King’s Greatest Enemy which feature Roger Mortimer and Isabella, Edward II and Hugh, and Edward III’s path from boy to man, now include Adam de Guirande, my loyal and honourable hero, torn in two between his loyalties to Mortimer (who saved him when he was a boy) and his growing respect and love for the young Edward III. To support Adam, I gave him a wife, Kit. Together, they navigate a quagmire of political deceit and treachery, and as we speak, I am not sure if they’ll make it out unscathed. Rephrase: I know they’ll not make it out unscathed, but I’m hoping they’ll reach their sunset moment – for their sake, and mine.
So far, I’ve published two of the books in the series. We are at the halfway point, so to say, and I hope you all join me in crossing your fingers for Adam and Kit and their future Happily Ever After moment. Let me tell you, they need it – a lot.
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages
Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages
Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.
Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.
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About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.
When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her
Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.
Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.
The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.
Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.
It's Giveaway Time!!
To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.
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Days of Sun and Glory Blog Tour Schedule
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads
Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review
Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard
Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, September 21
Review at It’s a Mad Mad World
Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Monday, September 26
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings