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Author Interview, Opening scene

Opening Scene: Agricola’s Bane

Nancy Jardine is the next author to be featured in the Opening Scene series. Agricola’s Bane, the fourth in her Celtic Fervour Series, takes place in A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain. How does she start this novel? I’m going to let Nancy tell you herself.

Agricola’s Bane, the fourth book of my Celtic Fervour Series, opens in the 625x1000aftermath of a disastrous battle fought at Beinn na Ciche (end of Book 3) between the Celtic warriors of Northern Britannia and the legions of the Ancient Roman Empire. The Roman aggressors, under the command of General Agricola, have set up temporary encampments and Roman patrols are scouring the countryside in search of survivors of the battle. In turn, my Garrigill clan have taken refuge after the battle in the roundhouse village of a Caledon chief, Lulach of Ceann Druimin, but Lulach’s territory has to be patrolled to ensure the Romans don’t attack them unawares.

Enya of Garrigill is doing surveillance duty in nearby Glenlaff Woods. At only fourteen summers, Enya has already bloodied her long knife at the Battle of Beinn na Ciche and itches to dispatch more Roman soldiers to the otherworld. She’s on patrol with Feargus of Monymusk, a warrior only a little older, and someone she has recently been introduced to. Nith of Tarras is twenty and has been like a foster brother to Enya for many months during a long trek they made northwards which ended up at the battle site – though her feelings for Nith have become less-sisterly and more of a mature love, as time progresses. Chief Lulach’s son Colm is the fourth patrol member and the one who is attacked by Roman auxiliaries making Enya’s blade flash yet again!

My reasons for beginning Book 4 in this way were to introduce members of the next generation of the Garrigill warrior clan as main characters. Since Book 1 is set in A.D. 71, when Enya is a baby, and Book 3 has moved on to the end of A.D 84, I needed to give some of the second generation a chance in the limelight. Enya’s uncles, who are the main characters of Books 1-3 are still in the new story, as are her parents, but they now take on minor roles. My Celtic Fervour Series is not quite a family saga but, I believe, some readers might read it that way. And though Book 4 has General Agricola as one of my main characters, my series is essentially about what happens to the members of my Celtic clan when they become refugees, their only recourse from being oppressed and Romanised by the dominance of the Roman Empire.

AN EXCERPT:

Arddhu? I fear you are not a happy god.”

Enya’s disgruntled whisper might be unworthy thinking, but the local forest god seemed to favour no one.

A deep chill, accompanied by a squally wind, had descended after dawn causing a last cascade of colourful leaf-drop to glide down from the birches. The burnished butterfly-flutters might have been appealing had the day been a fair one but Arddhu demonstrated his anger at the bloody deeds of the warriors in his precious territory.

“Ouu…ouu…ouu…ouu…”

Down the slope from where she took cover, the thundering of capercaillie alarm in the undergrowth of the forest was followed by the strident tapping of a woodpecker.

“Tchik…tchik…”

The double woodpecker call repeated itself.

Two of them!

Her insides fluttered as she pressed her back closer to the damp tree trunk, her teeth clenched tight together to suppress the urge to rant. Her eyes pressed so wide she feared they might pop out of their sockets. After pulling the edges of her bratt tighter across her freezing cheeks for more protection, she sneaked her head round to peer down the hill.

They had not been the truest of capercaillie or woodpecker calls. Colm of Ceann Druimin and Nith of Tarras, members of her scouting patrol, had issued their warnings. Two Roman soldiers were in the vicinity. She had not encountered any of the Roman invaders since the disastrous battle fought at Beinn na Ciche, but she sincerely hoped the otherworld was ready and waiting for the ones she aimed to dispatch there.

ABOUT THE BOOK:  

Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledon warriors and the mighty Legions of the Rome. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been taken captive by the soldiers of General Agricola?

General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.

The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nancy Jardine writes contemporary mysteries; historical fiction and time-travel historical adventure. Her current historical focus is Roman Scotland, an engrossing pre-history era because her research depends highly on keeping abreast of recent archaeological findings.

A member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland and the Historical Novel Society, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.

She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband but life is never quiet or boring since her young grandchildren are her next-door neighbours. She regularly child minds them, those days being cherished and laughter filled.

NANCY JARDINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk

Website:www.nancyjardineauthor.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG and http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

email: nan_jar@btinternet.com 

Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

 ORDER AGRICOLA’S BANE HERE: mybook.to/ABsherenow

 

 

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Opening scene, Writing

Opening Scene: Purgatory Hotel

Anne-Marie Ormsby, the author of Purgatory Hotel, is the next author to be featured in the Opening Scene series. Yes, the first scene is supposed to grab readers. Anne-Marie puts it this way: “For me it was important to set the scene, what would it feel like to wake up in a frightening, dangerous place with no memory and no way of knowing how to get to somewhere safe.”

Here, Anne-Marie, a Crooked Cat Books author, shares an excerpt and her inspiration for the opener Purgatory Hotel.

First the excerpt:

 “She was about to die and she knew it, as though there was always an awareness that this was how the end felt. In that moment fear left her, and it was like when a gust of wind came and went, the stillness that followed.

Before everything stopped, her life passed before her in a random barrage of images that arrived like photographs slipping past her eyes.”

Now the inspiration:

The story begins at the end of a life, the end of Dakota Crow’s life.

And we begin with the last images that flash through her mind as she is dying – her mother, her father, her sister, and the man she was in love with.

For me, in writing this scene I was trying to think of things that I loved, things I might me 2017see in my own last moments, ‘autumn rain falling on the garden,’ was actually a memory of my own. I remember being a teenager and when it would rain I would sit beside the open back door, breathing in the scent of the wet garden and writing poems. I recall the more beautiful things even if they were insignificant to anyone else.

Dying is the loneliest thing we will ever do – no matter what happens we all know we are going to die – but what matters is what we would remember as beautiful about our lives, what memories would make our passing peaceful and happy – what things would we be most grateful for in the end, whose face would see us through that final moment?

Shortly after this she wakes up, the last images she saw in life, the wet forest, switch places with a new environment – a dirty, decaying Victorian Hotel. She finds herself in a lobby, other unfriendly faces peering at her, instantly feeling unwelcome and lost. But she knows she is dead, she just doesn’t know how or why. And for her this will be the greatest test – reliving her forgotten life in order to remember her crimes and her death in order to repent.

I chose to throw the reader in at the deep end – straight into Purgatory because I wanted the reader’s experience to mirror Dakota’s own. She has no memory of what she has done or what this awful new place is – so the reader learns along with her, travels down the rabbit hole and into the darkness with her.

For me it was important to set the scene, what would it feel like to wake up in a frightening, dangerous place with no memory and no way of knowing how to get to somewhere safe. The sad truth for Dakota is that one thing is certain – there’s one thing she can never change. She’s dead and nothing will bring her back to life.

HOW TO GET YOUR COPY:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purgatory-Hotel-Anne-Marie-Ormsby/dp/1977649521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518610216&sr=8-1&keywords=purgatory+hotel

ANNE-MARIE ORMSBY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Good reads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36329433-purgatory-hotel

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/annemarieormsby78/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AOrmsbyAuthor

Blog: https://pirateburlesque.wordpress.com/

Website: https://www.annemarieormsby.com/

 

 

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Author Interview, Opening scene

Opening Scene: The Soulweaver Series

Heidi Catherine, an Australian author, is the first to appear in this new feature I call Opening Scene. Here Heidi writes about the opener for her Soulweaver Series, The Soulweaver Trilogywhich takes the idea of reincarnation to a different level. The third, The Shadowmaker, launched May 31.

In Opening Scene, authors are asked to describe how they began their book and to give an excerpt. Here’s what Heidi wrote.

OPENING SCENE

The Soulweaver series is a love story that spans many lifetimes. Occasionally one of the characters will die and be reborn, sending them on a search to find the souls they loved in their previous lifetime. It was inevitable that this series was going to need to take place over several centuries, which made choosing the right starting point a little tricky. Should I start in present day and move the story forward into the future? Or should I start in the past and work my way to present day?

In the end, I decided that my strength is my imagination. If I began the story in the past, I was going to need to bury myself in research to make sure it was accurate. And the idea of doing that spoiled all the fun for me. I much preferred the idea of making up a futuristic world on my own terms.

With that decided, my opening scene took shape in my head. I had a clear image of a girl in a forest. I’m Australian, so I wanted to begin on my turf, even though I planned for the story to cross the globe, as it felt unrealistic to me for souls to continue to be reincarnated in the one place.

The opening scene introduces us to Hannah and a girl who lives in a peaceful Australian town, which is in direct contrast to the turmoil swirling in her mind. She doesn’t quite understand her place in the world and has spent her life feeling like something is missing.

I took a bit of risk with the first sentence by telling the reader that Hannah was going to die. But I also tried to make this fact intriguing rather than off-putting. Hopefully I succeeded. Here are the first three paragraphs of the opening scene for you to decide.

Hannah’s life began the day she died. It had happened before – both the dying and the beginning. She didn’t know it, though. All she knew was now.

She knew the smell of spring in the fields around the forest. She knew the sound of whispering trees as she slipped beneath their canopy. She knew the feel of Matthew’s hand clasping hers as if she were part of his soul. It was a hand that led her deeper into the forest. The deeper they went, the more she felt at peace. Here, the world could rage its wars and her ears would be deaf. It was her place to run when the world began to spin.

The world often spun for Hannah. She’d spent the sixteen years of her life feeling like she’d forgotten something of urgent importance. It was a nagging thought that pulled at her. If only she knew what it was she’d forgotten.

And so the story begins. By the end of the first chapter, we understand exactly why Hannah always felt this way and exactly what was that she felt like she’d forgotten. And by the end of the book… well, I’d better let you find that out for yourself!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Catherine’s award-winning, romantic fantasy series, The Soulweaver, explores the possibility of loving the same souls over many lifetimes. The first novel in the series was the winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award and was released by Crooked Cat Books. This novel is followed by The Truthseeker and The Shadowmaker.

Not being able to decide if she prefers living in Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, Heidi shares her time between both places. She is similarly pulled in opposing directions by her two sons and two dogs, remaining thankful she only has one husband.

Heidi loves to hear from readers and can be found at www.heidicatherine.com

ABOUT THE SOULWEAVER SERIES

She’s loved and lost him a hundred times across a thousand years. She can’t bear to lose him again.

Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by.

Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew.

With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own.

Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world.

BOOK LINK 

http://mybook.to/thesoulweaver

HEIDI CATHERINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

http://www.facebook.com/heidicatherineauthor

http://www.twitter.com/heidicatherine

http://www.instagram.com/heidicatherine

http://amazon.com/author/heidicatherine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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