Saturday, 3 February 2018

#4 Saturday Shorts – with #Nancy Jardine!

It's #Saturday Shorts time!

Today, I had nobody booked! How did that happen? Anyway, I've been writing a few interviews this past week for me appearing as a guest on other author blogs so I thought I'd take the opportunity to answer the #Saturday Shorts questions I've set for other people.

Read on to find out about my recent progress!
Nancy Jardine- one of my best selfies!

Short bio:

I'm Nancy Jardine. I’m a retired primary teacher and grandma of 2 adorable grandchildren whom I look after a couple of days a week, and on an ad hoc basis since they’re my immediate neighbours. I live in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with my husband of 40+ years. I love living here because Scotland, and Aberdeenshire in particular, is a fabulously historical place to bide in.

When is your best time to write?
I don’t have a best time but if there is any then it’s not on the days when I do childminding since that’s when my concentration span is zilch. When I got serious about writing fiction after 2010, I tended to write quite late in the evening. That sometimes still happens but I don’t burn so many of the wee sma’ hours since I’m usually up fairly early most days and 6 am on childminding days. I’m a slugabed and tend to feel better if I have at least 7 hours sleep.

Which social media platforms do you find most comfortable to use?
I like the visual aspects of Facebook and the ease of use. On the other hand I don’t enjoy Twitter mainly because I can’t ‘work it’ properly and don’t feel I have time to ‘chat’ all day – though I do realise that many of the successful authors of the day are adept at Tweeting! Every year since joining Twitter I've resolved to do better- so maybe this will be the year! I’m on many other sites but don’t use them regularly.

Please tell us what your latest book is about and its genre.
It’s presently named Agricola’s Bane (not yet edited)  and it’s a historical novel.  I’ve been writing and changing, and re-writing and…changing the plot and the general premise of Book 4 of my Celtic Fervour Series for a couple of years now but very soon I do have to call a halt to editing and publish the darned story. Watch this spot! I have an insane desire to be as realistic as possible but what I’m writing truly is fiction now because nothing was put into writing about what Agricola actually did at the end of his Caledonia campaigns. Does that mean it becomes historical fantasy? That’s a question I have to answer for myself.

Did anything in particular influence you to write it?
Yes. The fact that I wrote 3 books of the series and wanted to write down my concept of what happened to my Garrigill clan during the aftermath of the Battle at Beinn na Ciche. I wanted to envisage what General Agricola did after the battle of ‘Mons Graupius’ as written about by Cornelius Tacitus. I also wanted to bring Agricola in as a main character in Book 4.

Did it require any specialised research?

  • Absolutely! All of it. I’m researching all the time and finding new things to tie into my text. Archaeological interpretations are extremely important and I read everything I can lay my hands on for the Late Iron Age in Aberdeenshire. I’ve had to envisage the landscape so I’ve researched: 
  • findings on soil data and what produced the best farming yields 
  • estimates of how much natural woodland there might have been and what particular trees were used for  
  • how the existing rivers may have had different courses 2000 years ago and other sources of water for domestic animals and people 
  • what animals would have been common to eat
  • what was produced on their small farms
  • what other commodities were produced and did they ever trade them with other tribes…  
  • and lots more research on the Roman armies and the Celtic peoples of Britannia.
Who is your main character?
There are 3 main characters.
Ø      Nith of the Tarras.
Ø      Enya of Garrigill
Ø      Ancient Roman General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola.

What are your main characters’ greatest weaknesses?
Ø      Nith is a very competent warrior but has previously shunned the limelight in Books 2 & 3.  It’s now his turn to shine as a warrior of Garrigill opposing the forces of Ancient Rome.
Ø      Enya is a young female warrior who let’s her idealism outweigh the practicalities of thwarting her Ancient Roman enemies.
Ø      General Agricola is torn between a desire to claim all of Britannia for the Roman Empire even when he knows there are few practical reasons for doing so.

What are your main characters’ greatest strengths?

  • Nith is determined to find Beathan, son of Nara and Lorcan of the Brigantes, since his reason for being with the Garrigill clan was to help protect them as they moved northwards to find Calgath, the Celtic leader around whom all of the Celtic clans gathered before confronting the Roman Armies of Agricola. (Beathan disappeared after the Battle at Beinn na Ciche)
  • Enya is determined to find her elder brother Ruoridh or die in the attempt.
  • Agricola is an astute organiser who has many different roles to play in everyday life- 1) the commander of all of Britannia’s armies; 2) the governor of Britannia running the Province for Rome; 3) wife and father who is almost always distant as in away from ‘home’.
Are you a lover of editing your work?
Yes. I love reading and rereading my work to bring it up to the highest possible standards.

What’s your favourite occupation? (apart from writing)
Reading fiction written by other authors. Gardening when in the mood!

Do you have a favourite place to ‘hide’ out from life?
My dining room is also my work station so that’s my ‘got to’ place. My desk overlooks the garden so that’s a form of escapism.

Favourite food and drink?
A rare steak and a really good bottle of Malbec.

Look out for exciting news in the coming weeks about my Celtic Fervour Series!

Meanwhile scoop up the first 3 books of the Celtic Fervour Series from various outlets including Amazon. You can get all 3 ebooks for less than £5!

Till the next #Saturday Shorts from Lynn Forth have a fantastic week.


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