Saturday, 9 November 2019

Nanthild visits! #Ocelot Press Character Blog Hop

Happy Saturday wishes to you!

It's my turn to interview during the Ocelot Press Character Interview Blog Hop!  I can't be more delighted because it's a truly exclusive interview with Nanthild since Love Lost In Time is only now at the Pre-order stage! 
It's a fabulous story ( I've read an ARC and loved it) and Nanthild is a very interesting character. There were some really empathetic moments as I read, some almost creepy ones, and others that left me stunned. So, it's with great pleasure I've been able to interview Nanthild, sometimes known as Hilda. 
Welcome to my blog, Nanthild (I love that name) and make yourself comfortable. Let's start with this question...

On your arrival at Bellon’s home, just before your wedding, do you think you were determined to find fault with him because you imagined he would curtail your freedom to make many of your own choices. Or was there an even greater fear involved?
Oh, I was so annoyed, let me tell you! First, at my father for making me travel in rain and sleet – what was he thinking? And at Bellon, too. If it hadn’t been for him, I likely would have stayed at my home at Vaulun, safe and dry. But I guess my greatest fear was that of discovery. Women are now treated very unfairly by the Church. We used to have far more freedom in preceding centuries, but lately, these old bishops have nothing better to do than to vilify us and curtail our influence. If word about my pagan beliefs had escaped, I may have been killed. Just look at what King Charles did to those Saxons! ~shudders~

After the wedding, what excited you most about your journey with Bellon around the countryside?
Mostly I wanted to get to know ‘our’ area. It was all new to me, and it’s such breath-taking countryside. You can see the high peaks of the Pyrenaei mountains to the south, their peaks glistening with snow. The sweeping hillsides around us where deer and boar roam ancient forests, and of course the vines, which the Romans brought with them all those centuries ago. Our wine is delicious, by the way.
That trip made me appreciate Bellon’s challenge to keep the peace in such a vast area. Oh, and he asked me for my opinions. He sounded very interested in what I had to say. I was positively surprised. What more could I ask?

Carcassonne-courtesy of Carcassonne Photography Tour

What dismayed you most when King Charles arrived at Carcassonne after the disastrous battle at Roncevaux? 
Oh, don’t remind me! He left my father and my husband to die! I’m still furious about it. It had been weeks since the battle (if you can call it such; it was more like carnage), and I had no tidings from Bellon. The king disappointed me greatly for simply leaving Father, his adviser and friend for decades, behind. How could he?!

Clovis wasn’t a nice man, ever. When Bellon returned after Roncevaux were you more relieved that he came home in timely fashion or more disgusted with Clovis’ behaviour?
Bellon couldn’t have chosen a better moment! I had run out of ideas of what to say or do, and then there he was. I’m no match against Clovis’ physical strength, and Dagobert was fortunate not to get booted out by that cur. You can imagine my utter relief when Bellon appeared. The Goddess was truly smiling upon me at that moment.

Bellon has many wonderful qualities. If you were asked to number the five best in order of which you admire most - what would they be?
Oh, only five??

There is his shrewd intelligence. I don’t appreciate stupid men, and Bellon thinks before he speaks or acts. He is different from many young men at court who are all full of fancy words, with little of substance to follow. 
Then, of course, he is a handsome man. Perhaps the moustache could be trimmed a little shorter, but it’s his style, so I don’t mind too much. And it tickles… Well, we’re getting into personal territory here! 
Bellon is loyal. Say what you want about us Franks, but we are committing some vile atrocities! Yet Bellon maintains his loyalty to the king. He swore to follow him, and so he does. Unlike many regional leaders…
He is a wonderful father. Overseeing our sons’ training in the yard, they have so much fun together, but the boys learn valuable lessons in fighting and battle techniques. And he adores Alda, our daughter. If something were to befall her, he would pursue the culprit until the end of his days.
And lastly, he is a supportive husband. He is caring, seeks my advice, much like Father did, and I couldn’t have found a better man. Little did I know it before my arrival, but I was very fortunate.

I warmed a lot to Bellon, too!  But back to the interview: You’re a headstrong character but do you have any regrets about being so determined to tend to the sick and needy, even at the expense of your own safety?
I do not really have any regrets other than having to watch my daughter grow up without me. I’m heartbroken, but we never know in advance what fate has in store for us. In hindsight, a larger group of men-at-arms might have kept me and poor Amalberga safer, but it may have been too intimidating to those who sought my help, or Bellon may have stopped me. Now, I shall never know.

What do you think is your greatest legacy, Nanthild?
My children. The boys are wonderful. They don’t fight, like the sons of many titled men. (Just look at the king – his brother died in ‘mysterious’ circumstances. We all know what that means!) My boys have each other’s back, and they are over-protective of their little sister. I have a feeling Alda will turn out like me, and my mother before me. I only hope she won’t ever come across a brute like Clovis again.

Thank you for inviting me to chat. I have enjoyed talking about my family and our life in beautiful Carcassonne.

It was my pleasure, Nanthild! It's been excellent to meet you since I know very little about early medieval France. Here are some more details about the Dual-timeline book that Nanthild wasn't able to tell you herself...

A tale of love, death and redemption…

AD 2018
Languedoc, south-west France
 Madeleine Winters discovers ancient female bones under her kitchen floor. How did the woman end up buried, all alone, in that particular spot in the Cabard├Ęs hills?
And why was her back broken?
AD 777
Septimania, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
Seventeen-year-old Nanthild must marry Count Bellon of Carcassonne, a Visigoth, as part of his peace agreement with Charlemagne. As a wise-woman, she continues to visit those in need of her help during Bellon’s frequent absences. But dangers lurk on her journeys…

International buy link:

About Cathie Dunn:
Cathie writes historical mystery & romance.
She has been writing for over twenty years, and she loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites. 

Cathie Dunn
For three years, she has been teaching creative writing in south-west France and runs writing retreats twice a year in the beautiful Languedoc countryside. She also works as a freelance editor.
At the moment, Cathie is working on two novels: The sequel to Dark Deceit, and the first instalment in the Loup de Foix Mysteries, a medieval murder mystery series set around Carcassonne in the 13th century during the Albigensian Crusade.
Cathie's stories have garnered praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic depiction of the past.

Twitter:  @cathiedunn
Instagram: @cathiedunnwrites

My thanks to both Nanthild and to Cathie for visiting, today. Very best wishes for the launch day of Love Lost In Time.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

#AfterWhorlBranReborn 's limelight time continues!

Thursday Thinking for you!

Today, it's Bran of After Whorl: Bran Reborn's turn to be the spotlighted character in the Ocelot Press Blog Hop character interviews. Bran had a set of amazing questions to answer at Jen Wilson's blog that you can read in full HERE.

This is one of the thoughtful questions that was asked of my lovely Brennus... and of course my equally lovely wounded  Bran.

Q: It must have been terrifying when you first realised you were in the care of a stranger; how did you relax under her care, as you seemed to develop an incredibly close bond by the end?

Bran's answer: 
Close to old Meaghan? I suppose we became close, of a kind. When the mist of her herbal potions eventually ceased, and left me feeling more clear-headed, what infuriated me was that the old crone had tied me down to the cot! You talk of relaxing? That never happened. How could it when I felt she had made me live and condemned me to being only half a man. She forced me to take stock of myself, badgered me to think forwards and not backwards. It took many weeks before my temper subsided, and by the time I accepted my new state poor old Meaghan had given me her all. When she died I was ashamed because I had never allowed her to see how important she had become and I never thanked her properly for giving me a new life.

Pop over to Jen Wilson's Blog and read the rest of his answers. Don't forget to #enter to #WIN a free ecopy of Book 1 of the Celtic Fervour Series on her blog.  Or hop on over to Amazon and get copies the Celtic Fervour Saga for 99p (Books 1 & 2) and just a tiny bit more for Books 3 & 4!

Look out for the last of the Ocelot Press character interviews here on this blog where I get an exciting *exclusive* pre-launch interview with Nanthild from Cathie Dunn's Love Lost In Time. (currently on pre-order)


#BlogTour Round Up!

What a fantastic Blog Tour!

Once again, I'm really impressed with Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources blog tours. The tour for After Whorl: Bran Reborn is now officially finished and the last posts and reviews are now in- and fabulous they've been!

Here's the gist of the ones from the second half of the 7-day tour (If you can halve 7!)

Click the links below to see the full reviews of After Whorl: Bran Reborn because these lovely bloggers have a lot more to say about their favourite elements! 

From Chelle of Curled Up with a Good Book  

"...Again, this is well researched and I loved that it gives you an insight into Britannia when the Romans were here and the tribes were fighting for their land and livelihood.  It’s an area of history that truly fascinates me.  And I love that the Druids are in here!
As with the last book, I now can’t wait to read Book 3 to see what pans out!..." 

"Another thing I also enjoy is how we get to view the Roman forces from the outside perspective. We all read about them in school but then we viewed them from a different angle. The way Jardine has managed to make the Roman so «foreign» to her readers is really amusing to witness. I think this is one of the things that really kept me engaged whilst reading this story. That, and that you, of course, get the feeling that you really want to root for team Brigante! Who wants those filthy Romans on their lands? We sure don’t want them! There are also some elements of from a spy novel here."

"...I can keep on gushing to you on how much I loved and enjoyed this amazing sequel so much, that I actually read this book in one sitting I couldn't put this book down at all I had to finish reading this book in one day.  Ohh my what an emotional ride was reading After Whorl: Bran Reborn was for me...."

My thanks to all of the reviewers and those who featured my writing during this tour - you are all a joy to work with and to have experience of. I wish you lots of happy reading.

Massive thanks, again,  to Rachel Gilbey for organising the event- you're a star.