Welcome to an interview with historical fiction author, Anna Belfrage. Her latest release, Her Castilian Heart, was published in September this year.
Blood is not always thicker than water…
At times a common bloodline is something of a curse—or so Robert FitzStephan discovers when he realises his half-brother, Eustace de Lamont, wants to kill him.
A murderous and greedy brother isn’t Robert’s only challenge. He and his wife, Noor, also have to handle their infected relationship with a mightily displeased Queen Eleanor—all because of their mysterious little foundling whom they refuse to abandon or allow the queen to lock away.
Eustace is persistent. When Robert’s life hangs in the balance, it falls to Noor to do whatever it takes to rip them free from the toothy jaws of fate. Noor may be a woman, but weak she is not, and in her chest beats a heart as brave and ferocious as that of a lioness. But will her courage be enough to see them safe?
Here’s my interview with Anna
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so!
Can you tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I am one of those people who spent a huge chunk of my childhood with my nose in a book. And reading very often leads to thinking “what if I should write a book?” –usually because there’s a story gnawing at your brain which you feel hasn’t been told.
I still read a lot—but rarely within the genre I write as I worry this may affect my “voice”.
As to writing, I have an entire collection of notebooks that contain my earliest efforts. With advancing technology, the notebooks have been replaced by word files on my laptop, and now and then I reread one of my earliest efforts and cringe, before patting myself on the back and congratulating myself on having improved my craft 😊
Tell us a bit about your writing process.
Generally, a new project will start off with a scene. By then, the characters have already been popping in and out of my head for a while, but they’re still relativeky undefined—until that scene where they go from vague and hazy to full colour. The scene is rarely the opening scene: no, it’s somewhere in the middle of a plot I have yet not developed, but it generally gives me an indication of what the story will centre on. In some cases, that scene doesn’t make the final cut, but usually it remains unchanged all the way to the bitter end.
Once I start writing, I go all in on a first draft. That takes me three to four months. Once I have a first draft. I leave it to marinate for a couple of montsn before starting the best part of the process: the first rewrite round. I love rewriting! I love honing and tweaking and twisting my plot a bit further.
After I am done rewriting I send my MS off to my editor and wait and wait for feedback. Once I receive that, I do yet some more rewriting, and then I am done!
Tell us about your novels. Why should everyone buy them?
If you’re into epic stories full of action and love, you may very well enjoy both my time travel romances and my historical fiction/romance. I think I write “Romantic Historical Fiction” rather than pure Historical Romance, because for me, the historical context in all its complexity is really important. I write strong female leads, women who do their best to handle the curve balls life throws at them, no matter how precarious their circumstances. I write male leads who can admit to their vulnerability, no matter how strong and protective they may be. I may set most of my books in the past, but I think the experiences I describe, the emotions and reflections, are valid for the human condition no matter in what era.
What is your all-time favourite novel/book? What makes it special?
Choose one book????? Impossible! But if I must, it would probably be The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. Why? Because it may seem like a children’s book but there is so much depth and wisdom in it.
What author would you love to have dinner with?
Shakespeare would have been nice—but he’s dead. But as he isn’t around, I’d be delighted if I could share a meal with Margaret Atwood.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or passions?
I spend a lot of time exercising – I have become a tad addicted to working out. I balance that with a passion for chocolate.
How important is it to have your facts right and are there any instances when you bend history to fit your story?
As a writer, you should always strive to get the facts right. There are instances when a writer can twist the facts a bit—like I do in Her Castilian Heart, where I have a historical person dying in November rather than March—but if you do, it is important to say as much in the Author’s Note
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished Gallows Wake by Helen Hollick, a wonderful, rollicking story featuring 18th century pirate Jesamiah Acorne and his white witch wife Tiola. Really enjoyed it!
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Don’t try to ride the wave of what is “in” right now. Chances are by the time you’ve finished your story, the market is wild and crazy about something new.
Don’t try to be your own editor. You need a professional to help you hone your work
Don’t skimp on the cover art!
Do write the story you want to write.
Do encourage and support other authors – they may one day give you the boost you need!
What are your future plans as an author?
To write. And write. In the short term to conclude my Castilian saga (but I worry some of my peeps will not survive the next book) But I also have a time travel story set in 18th c Pennsylvania to finish, and then there’s a WIP set in 17th century Sweden, and. . . You get the picture, I hope!
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. Her Castilian Heart is the third in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In the second instalment, The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain. This latest release finds our protagonists back in England—not necessarily any safer than the wilds of Spain!
Anna has also authored The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode!
All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.
Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com
Social Media Links:
Website: www.annabelfrage.com – Twitter: https://twitter.com/abelfrageauthor – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabelfrageauthor – Instagram: https://instagram.com/annabelfrageauthor – BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/anna-belfrage – Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/ABG – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6449528.Anna_Belfrage
Thanks Anna, and hope you have a successful blog tour