Thank you for stopping by for this interview. Just to give the readers some background, I wanted to let them know that I found you through Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" feature. It seems that several people who bought Duty and Wren also bought several books from your Age of Faith series. I read The Unveiling myself and loved it.
Aw, shucks. Thank you, Rachel!
Before we get around to talking about your new release, The Kindling, I'd like to ask some general questions about your Age of Faith series. I love history and writing novels set in medieval-like settings. That's one of the attractions that drew me to pick up your series.
How did you come to choose the era when you began writing the Age of Faith series?
I’ve always enjoyed a good romance and, though I’ve read across all time periods, medieval romance remains my favorite. So, when I decided to tackle a novel for publication back in 1992, there was no question the setting would be the middle ages. Warrior Bride, my first novel published by Bantam in 1994, firmly set my feet on that path and six more medieval romances followed. Then I decided to write for the inspirational market. Long story short, stories set during the middle ages don’t sell well in this market, which is the reason I switched to contemporary romances in the vein of Bridget Jones’ Diary. But now that self publishing is on the rise, providing an outlet for the stories in my head clamoring to find their way onto paper, I’m happily back in the middle ages.
When I was writing the first of my seven general market medieval romances (before the internet was a viable form of research), there was an enormous amount of research involved despite my familiarity with the genre. I have two bookcases brimming with highlighted, slip-marked books to prove it—everything from the types of shoes to the different foods to the intricacy of siege warfare. Believe me, you don’t want to get your facts wrong, an easy thing to do since the height of fashion in the 12th century was markedly different from that of the 14th century.
Though research still figures into my writing schedule now that I self-publish inspirational medieval romances, experience has lightened the load considerably. Still, it isn’t unusual for my family to find me with my nose buried in a well-thumbed book with highlighter and sticky notes in hand.
I have only read the first book, The Unveiling. How did you connect the books in the series? Do we see returning characters?
The Age of Faith series that includes The Unveiling, The Yielding, and The Redeeming is the story of the Wulfrith siblings. Though I originally planned it to be three books strong, spinning the tales of the eldest brother and two sisters, that left two brothers out in the cold. And they were most indignant. Hence, with the late fall 2013 release of The Kindling, the series expands to four books. As for that last brother… His story is brewing and will likely pour out mid to late 2014. Oh, those Wulfriths!
I love it that your characters talk to you too. Mine are very vocal when they are left out of something in which they think they should have part.
Now regarding your new release, can you tell us a bit about the story?
Oh, how I adore Abel Wulfrith, even though he was a bit aggressive in convincing me to write his story, a conversation I intend to share on my Kitchen Novelist blog before long. Here’s The Kindling’s back cover copy:
“’TIS SAID FAMILY CREATES A MULTITUDE OF SINS.”
Helene of Tippet is not her father or her brother’s keeper. Yet when she is enlisted to use her healing skills to aid a fallen knight, the secret she holds close threatens to visit her family’s sins upon her. Now she is in danger of loving where she should not—a man of the nobility, and one who has cause to despise her if ever he learns of the blood that courses through her veins. Dare she reveal herself? Dare she trust a warrior so bitter and intent on revenge? Dare she love?
Sir Abel Wulfrith, a man bred to battle, has the scar to prove one should never trust a woman. But when he is wounded by his family’s enemy, he finds himself at the mercy of one who could prove his undoing. Now he faces a battle against which no strategy can prevail, no blade can defend, no heart can escape unscathed. Can he forgive Helene the sins of the father—more, the sins of the brother? Can he reclaim his faith? Can he love?
I read the excerpt you have posted on your blog. It sounds very intriguing. Do your plot ideas come from historical events or other sources?
My plot ideas are a combination of imagination and historical events. When a particular hero or heroine pops into my head, I set about determining their ideal love interest which, of course, requires plenty of conflict to carry a story. In other words, how can I make it hard—seemingly impossible—for these two to get together? The chase, you know, is extremely important in a romance. Despite the research involved, it’s imperative that the historical context and figures ring true, allowing readers to immerse themselves in a world far different from their own. As I’ve always been intrigued with King Henry II and his struggle to gain the English throne and the means by which he held it, I chose the twelfth century for my Age of Faith series. Though my main characters are plucked from my imagination, it’s exciting to have a real and dynamic historical figure pop up in from time to time.
What do you like most about your characters in The Kindling?
Above all, I like the unity of the Wulfrith family. They have their differences and faults, each representing a unique personality, but they care deeply for one another and their bonds are strengthened by faith. Of course, the non-Wulfrith characters are special, too. Thus, by story’s end, Annyn, Michael, Christian, and Helene are absorbed into the Wulfrith family by way of love.
I know authors who are strictly Indie and some only work with publishers. You have done both. What were some of the positive experiences you had while working with a publisher?
Yep, that makes me a “hybrid” author. Sounds cute and fuel efficient, doesn’t it? Though, like every traditionally published author, I’ve have had negative experiences, most have been positive. There was a time when, like it or not, the publisher took responsibility for the marketing of an author’s work. This freed up the author to write the best book possible with the fewest interruptions. That time no longer exists and, whether traditionally published or self published, in most instances this now falls to the author to fit into her/his schedule. On the yet more positive side, while writing for Waterbrook/Multnomah (a division of RandomHouse), I enjoyed working with the editor to top all editors. I miss her.
Hybrid, now I like the sound of that. :)
What are some of the positive things about going Indie with some of your other books?
Ooh, let’s see: having final say in the content, choosing the look of the book, and deeper connection with readers. Those regular and sweet royalty checks are pretty nice, too!
Can you tell us about some of your current writing projects? What kinds of things should we be looking forward to from you?
While that last brother’s story is working over my imagination in search of the perfect heroine and plot, I’ll be rewriting my first novel, Warrior Bride, published by Bantam Books in 1994. Originally written for the general market, it will be re-released as a “clean read” and retitled Lady At Arms. For a peek at the new cover, visit my website: www.tamaraleigh.com
I love the look of the cover of Lady at Arms.
Thanks again for sharing your time with me. I'm looking forward to reading more of your Age of Faith series.
Thank you, Rachel! It’s been fun. Happy writing!