Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi everyone? Thank you, Fiona for inviting me onto your blog. My name is Mary Anne Yarde and I am anaward-winning author of the International Best Selling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles.
I am also the founder of The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Bath, England. I grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from my home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of my childhood.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest release, The Du Lac Prophecy, is book four of The Du Lac Chronicles series. This series is set in the late fifth and the early sixth century in post-Arthurian Britain. This was a time of myths and legends, and I am fascinated by the stories that come from this period. I wanted to explore what happened after the death of the legendary King Arthur. I wanted to write a story about the next generation of knights and how they navigated a somewhat turbulent era in history. It was imperative that I made the backdrop to this series as realistic to the period of history as I could. During this time we saw the demise of the Western Roman Empire. Men such as Clovis took advantage of Rome’s weakness and, in his case, forged a kingdom for himself. While Clovis was creating a united Frank, Britain was desperately trying to defend her coasts, from the Saxon’s, Jutes and the Angles, but without the support of Rome, and without unity, she did not stand a chance. Then there was the ever-growing influence of The Roman Catholic Church, and their battle against what they saw as the pagan religions, and of course there was that very subtle split between the Church of Rome and what is now known as Celtic Christianity, which is something I wanted to explore in my series.
This was a time of considerable uncertainty and significant change. It is the perfect setting for my characters and my story. My books are set in France, Brittany, Southwest England, and Wales. A great deal was going on in all of these countries during this time, and of course, there is the ever-present Church. I wanted to bring the history and the legends together. For this era the two go hand in hand, and I am incredibly fascinated by that fact.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I cannot remember a specific moment when I suddenly felt inspired to write. Writing is always something that I just enjoyed doing. It was a hobby that I never took particularly seriously. About fifteen years ago I came up with this idea about a story set in Arthurian Britain. At the time one of my dearest friends was studying creative writing at university, and we started talking about the writing that she was working on and I said, “I’ve got this crazy idea about a story set in Arthurian times,” and as good friends do, she said, “Tell me your idea.” For the next hour that is what I did. When I had finished, my friend said, “You really have to write that book.” So that is what I did. I borrowed all her university textbooks and jumped in at the deep end. It took me twelve years to have a manuscript that I was happy with, so for me, it was certainly not a quick process.
I don’t think there is one particular author that influenced my writing. I am an avid reader, so I think that certainly helped.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I have always considered myself as someone who writes stories. I can’t recall a particular date as to when, it is just something I have always done.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This is a question authors are often asked. The answers can be surprising. Story ideas usually start out as a quiet thought which niggles in the back of your head. Over time, this quiet thought becomes louder and louder until it can no longer be ignored. That is how it was for me, anyway.
I have been fascinated with the life and times of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table since I was a child — I guess growing up a stone’s throw from Glastonbury (The Ancient Isle of Avalon) may have influenced me somewhat. In Glastonbury, you cannot get away from Arthur. He is everywhere. It is where his story ends — If you believe those 12th Century pragmatic monks of Glastonbury Abbey.
The story of King Arthur is a tragic one. Arthur’s wife has an affair with his best friend — the ultimate betrayal. But while Arthur is in Brittany fighting Lancelot, Mordred takes Arthur’s throne for himself. Arthur learns of Mordred treachery. He abandons his fight with Lancelot and sails back to Briton. Arthur and Mordred meet at Camlann. Both men are mortally wounded in the battle that takes place there. That is what the bards tell us, although with time the story has been added to, changed. In fact there is very little of the original story left. But I digress…
The King is dead…
And here Arthur’s story ends. This is also where the stories of his knights end. Everything ends at Camlann. Or does it?
After Camlann we are left with nothing but an empty throne and a prophecy. This prophecy states if Britain’s sovereignty were ever threatened then, Arthur and his Knights would ride again. Over a thousand years later and countless invasions, we are still waiting.
But what if the prophecy had already come to pass? What if we were all waiting for something which had already happened?
My series The Du Lac Chronicles explores this possibility. But this is no wild fantasy story that I have penned. There are no dragons or wizards in my books — not in the true sense of the word. There are, however, Druids and Christian monks who can perform miracles. And there are men who are as brave as dragons and sometimes just as cruel. You see I wanted my books to be firmly planted in the historical Dark Ages, and I wanted to keep it as real in the telling as I could. However, to depict the Dark Ages is no easy feat.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The main characters in my series are from the House of Du Lac, so it wasn’t too hard to come up with a title.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I try to keep a sense of realism in my books. The most challenging aspects of my series so far, had to be my portrayal of Merton Du Lac. He is a warrior, a very good one, but his life is changed forever by a physical disability.
His disability was inspired by two of my dearest friends. Both of my friends were very fit, very healthy, one was a swimming and trampoline coach, and the other was a football referee. They were both diagnosed with scoliosis within a couple of years of each other, and it came as a real shock because they had both thought they had trapped a sciatic nerve or done some other such mischief. They had no idea that they had anything wrong with their spine.
After diagnosis, I was surprised by how quickly the spine curved and got worse in both their cases. We are talking not years, but months. I always thought that scoliosis was a slow process, but in their case, it wasn’t. Their lives changed. They went from being able to do everything, to struggling to do simple everyday tasks. As a friend, I felt powerless because I couldn’t make it better for them. But what they needed from me wasn’t necessarily a sympathetic ear, although of course, they had that, they wanted me to treat them as I have always treated them. Their disability does not define them; it is just a part of them. Unfortunately, one of my friends has experienced discrimination because she is in a wheelchair and it really breaks my heart. But it got me thinking, if she is experiencing discrimination in this day and age, what would it have been like a thousand years ago?
It would have been terrible. Scoliosis wasn’t understood properly and treatment was experimental at best. For a warrior such as Merton, it would have been very hard to come to terms with. My friends were both really keen to help me portray the disability. But, like all illnesses, scoliosis is different for everyone; no two cases are the same. The scenes that I wrote are a reflection of the personal experience of my friends. They are not a sweeping generalisation of the condition. It was certainly a challenge to write, but I am very glad I wrote it.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I write historical fiction so there is a lot of research packed into each book. I do try to visit as many places that I mention in my book as I can, which is always good fun.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I certainly do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I have absolutely no idea!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Stephen King hit the nail on the head when he said…
‘If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.’
I don’t think I can add anything to that other than don’t give up.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading The Vogels: On All Fronts (The Half-Bloods Book 2) by Jana Petken
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I have always loved reading, but I think the first full length novel I ever read was Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. That book can still make me cry!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Apart from Black Beauty? So many things make me cry, the news especially. Thankfully, my husband always knows how to make me laugh.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch an awful amount of television. I am however very dedicated to Michael Hirst’s fabulous Viking series!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favoured Food: Vegan Ice-cream
Favourite Colour: Blue
Favourite Music: Anything and everything, it really depends on my mood!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon Author Page: USA https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/
The Du Lac Prophecy
(Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
By Mary Anne Yarde
Two Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.
Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac.Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Withoutthe knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.
If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.
“I feared you were a dream,” Amandine whispered, her voice filled with wonder as she raised her hand to touch the soft bristles and the raised scars on his face. “I was afraid to open my eyes. But you really are real,” she laughed softly in disbelief. She touched a lock of his flaming red hair and pushed it back behind his ear. “Last night…” she studied his face intently for several seconds as if looking for something. “I am sorry if I hurt you. I didn’t know who you were, and I didn’t know where I was. I was scared.”
“You certainly gave me a walloping,” he grinned gently down at her, his grey eyes alight with humour. “I think you have the makings of a great mercenary. I might have to recruit you to my cause.”
She smiled at his teasing, but then she began to trace the scars on his face with the tips of her fingers, and her smile disappeared. “Do they still hurt?”
“Yes,” Merton replied. “But the pain I felt when I thought you were dead was a hundred times worse. Philippe had broken my body, but that was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. Without you, I was lost.”
“That day… When they beat you. You were so brave,” Amandine replied.
Her fingers felt like butterflies on his skin, so soft and gentle. He closed his eyes to savour the sensation.
“I never knew anyone could be that brave,” Amandine continued. “You could have won your freedom and yet, you surrendered to their torture to save me. Why? I am but one person. Just one amongst so many.”
“Why do you think?” Merton asked shakily, opening his eyes to look at her again, hoping she could see the depth of his love in his scarred and deformed face.
“I gave you these scars,” Amandine stated with a painful realisation, her hand dropping away from his face. “You are like this because of me,” her voice was thick with unshed tears.
“No, not because of you,” Merton immediately contradicted. “My reputation, Philippe’s greed, Mordred’s hate, and Bastian’s fear, gave me these scars—”
“I should not have gone back to your chamber. If they had not found me there, then they would never have known about us. If they had not known, then you would have had no cause to surrender. Bastian would not have taken your sword arm.” Amandine touched what was left of his arm. “Philippe would not have lashed you.” She touched his face again and shook her head. “I am to blame.” She sat up and her eyes filled with tears, her hand fell away from his face. “I am to blame,” she said again as a tear slipped down her cheek. “How can you stand to be near me?”
Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling series — The Du Lac Chronicles.
Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were a part of her childhood.