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.


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