It is my very great pleasure to welcome back the Amazon Bestselling, Young Adult author, and a very dear friend, M.T.Magee, on to the blog today. I had the pleasure of reviewing this book last year. You can read the review here. We are going to have a bit of fun and interview one of her characters from her most beautiful historical fantasy, The Treasure of Gwenlais:The Reinfield Chronicles Book!
But first, let's take a look at the book....
Princess Laurel of Gwenlais, finds herself tragically and quickly thrust into a world of danger, so unlike the idyllic and sheltered life she has known. These dangers from an unknown enemy, also unexpectedly throw her into the arms of Caleb, the warrior Prince of Heathwin, the nearby kingdom in which Gwenlais has a tense alliance with. The more refined people of Gwenlais, find their neighbors and protectors of the West necessary, but consider them uncouth and sometimes barbaric. The long and bloody feud between Heathwin, and the mysterious, frightening, and misunderstood, race of beings, called the Rabkins, had finally reached an uneasy truce, by the hard fought and diligent efforts of Prince Caleb. This fragile agreement, was soon shattered by an attack from outside, that threaten both kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin. Laurel and Caleb find themselves, not only fighting for the peace and existence of their kingdoms, but fighting for their new found love that is imperiled at every turn from a nameless enemy, and their own people as well. Laurel follows her calling, by beginning her training in the ancient healing arts of the Ollams. She soon finds that her skills may be needed to heal more than just the physical wounds of others, but also the wounds of the heart, long put upon by the people of both she and Caleb’s kingdoms by the mistrust and bigotries of either side. As they draw closer together, they discover just how far this unknown enemy, has gone to tear them apart from within. They must together, find a way to rise above old and long standing prejudices, and form a much stronger alliance in order to fight against the new enemy from outside of their borders, that threatens their very survival.
1. Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, could you introduce yourself?
Caleb: Certainly darling. My name is Prince Caleb, oldest son of King Fergus and Queen Alana of Heathwin. Commander of the Sentinels and heir to the throne. I have recently turned thirty seasons.
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Caleb: I assume you mean in the world of Rienfield. Though I do enjoy visiting mo chailin milis home of Gwenlais several times each season, I will always call my kingdom of Heathwin home. The majestic mountains and mossy forest will always be closest to my heart.
3. What would you consider to be your greatest strength?
Caleb: That is a most thought provoking question. I would have to say my ability to take charge of most situations. I have worked very hard to become a leader for my people but also be approachable. I also strive to be an example to my younger brother Aiden and my many younger cousins.
4. What is your biggest regret?
Caleb: I can very easily say, conceding to a Marriage Agreement with my first wife Morene. We did not love each other and only married because we were pressured by both of our fathers. Her hatred for the Rabkins, a race I have worked diligently to make peace with, caused her to commit a vicious act against one of their Kindreds. It caused much strife and bloodshed for our people.
5. Describe your perfect day.
Caleb: Ah yes, a perfect day would entail spending it with mo stor Laurel. Riding through the countryside on horseback, perhaps taking her to the shops of Welstone. Or sitting in the back garden under the trellis reading her favorite poetry. She has told me quite often she loves my voice when I read to her.
Now some silly questions!!
6. Have you ever swum naked?
Caleb: Why yes, darling many times. What an adorable cheeky lass you are to ask me this. We here in Heathwin are not ashamed or shy concerning our bodies as others might be. Swimming in the cool waters of Loch Tay growing up, we often swam naked. The men of our Clan still do in the early morning hours, each season we visit there.
7. What is your most embarrassing memory?
Caleb: Hmm. I have two actually, and they both involve my dear Laurel. The first is when she was 12 seasons and I was just entering my 22nd season and given the assignment of being responsible to bring back the harvest supplies from the kingdom of Gwenlais, where my beloved is from. I did not wish for her to accompany me and my group to go hunting. I had no desire to look after her, as she was always running about and never did as she was told. After telling her no, very calmly I might add, she proceeds to yell at me in front of the entire group telling me what an unjust brute I am and other insults. Of course everyone is laughing at this, which only makes me angrier, and I spanked her for it. It left me feeling terrible, because she has this uncanny ability to turn me into a pathetic sop. So I then bought her a new saddle and bridle for her new horse, I regained her favor at that point. Eight seasons later when bringing Laurel back to Heathwin, to formally meet the four Chieftains, before our wedding, she curses me out in front of them for laughing at her losing her temper at them for insulting and giving her beloved counselor a black eye. I was embarrassed to be sure, but also a bit amused. I find her quite adorable when she curses in the language of the Kedesh. Mo stor has quite the foul little mouth at times.
8. Fine dining or a picnic?
Caleb: As pleasant as fine dining can be I have to say I much prefer the casual charm of a picnic. There is something about eating out of doors in the fresh air that enhances one’s appetite.
9. What makes you angry?
Caleb: LOL! Probably more things that should. I loathe slavers and raiders, and find smugglers to be equally deplorable. On a lighter note, I find mimes to be particularly irksome. I also do not like when one of my younger cousins sasses back or curses at me in front of others. I find the little urchins to be quite irritating when they do that on occasion.
10. If you could choose a magic power, what would it be?
Caleb: There are those among my people that feel I already possess magic powers. After my ‘sharing’ with a young Rabkin as a boy, my abilities with vision and hearing were greatly enhanced. I am also the only human who has the ability to communicate with the Rabkins and also sense when they are about. So I would have to say these things are more than enough.
Thank you Prince Caleb for taking the time to answer my questions.
Caleb: The pleasure was all mine, darling.
Caleb politely but hurriedly took Laurel away from the talkative woman, and lead her to the edge of the Hall’s dance floor. Laurel looked at him smiling but puzzled at his behavior. She noticed Aiden and a pretty young woman he had been with most of the evening beginning to dance together, as well as other couples joining them. Laurel began to recognize the dance being of a sensuous and romantic nature, she blushed but watched in fascination, as the couples were moving slowly and gracefully together. Caleb watched her face as she looked at the couples dancing slowly, their bodies moving in perfect time, always touching, apart for only moments.
“Do you know this dance?” he asked her softly, his voice caressing her ear.
“I have seen it, but I have never been permitted to actually participate,” she answered, still watching in fascination.
“Would you like to?” Caleb asked her quietly, moving his hands to her waist again.
“I...I do not know how,” she whispered breathlessly, still watching completely captivated.
“I will show you. I know it very well,” Caleb whispered back seductively.
She looked up at him to find him smiling at her, his eyes glowing and penetrating, burning through her.
“Very well. I hope I do not embarrass you,” she said shyly, laughing nervously.
“I am not worried in the least,” Caleb said reassuringly.
Caleb took her hand and led her to the floor, as they stood in front of each other. Listening carefully to the melody, waiting for the next movement which happened in a moment’s time. Caleb pulled Laurel gently to him, their bodies flush against each other. Caleb moved his hand to her waist, placing her hand on his chest, he moved her forward having her follow him as if she were pushing him backward. She looked at him, her eyes wide and slightly startled, by the passionate nature of the movements the dance was evoking. Caleb continued to look in her eyes, smiling warmly at her as she moved to keep up with him. She turned to look at the others around them, Caleb gently turned her face.
“Look at me love, only me. Imagine we are the only people here,” he said to her softly.
He then gently turned her around several times until her back was to him.
He placed his arm around her waist placing her left arm about his neck as he gently lifted her off the floor and twirled her around as her gown swirled around them like a billow of smoke. He placed her down and turned her so she was facing him once again. He took her in his arms holding her closer than he ever had, having her place her arm over his shoulder holding her other hand in his placing it in the air, their arms supporting each other. He moved her across the dance floor in an effortless fluid motion. Twirling gracefully, Laurel felt there were times they were not touching the ground. The entire time her eyes never leaving his face as he had asked her. As the rhythm of the melody changed again he released her from his embrace and twirled her around several times again with his arm as he moved forward. He stopped abruptly as the tempo halted for a moment, only a single cymbal could be heard. He slowly bent her backward his hand resting on the small of her back, bringing his face down to her neck as she reached up and grasped the back of his neck for support. He then brought her back up to him quickly, making her catch breath, her eyes opened wide with surprise, as he continued to smile at her lovingly. Taking her in his arms again he repeated the dance by moving her gracefully across the floor. Once more the tempo changed as he placed her hand against his chest and his hand at her waist once more. Only this time she was ready for the next motion and moved with him unresistingly as he moved backward, drawing her with him. Aiden watched them from across the floor and was intrigued by how quickly Laurel was able to follow and adjust to the constant changing of the music’s tempo. Caleb was patient and loving in his direction.
They are really quite distracting, Aiden thought as he grinned watching them.
So much so, other couples also noticed them, slowly beginning to stop dancing to watch them move in perfect harmony with each other.
Caleb again twirled Laurel several times until she was facing away from him. Laurel laid her head back against him. Closing her eyes as she placed her arm around his neck, her right arm over his as he placed it tightly around her waist. Caleb turned his face into her neck as he gently lifted her off the floor twirling her about again, the gown giving the illusion that they were enveloped in cloud of deep blue smoke. Caleb placed her gently down and turning Laurel once more to face him, took her in his arms holding her close to him resting his lips against her forehead. They held each other, eyes closed, moving slowly in perfect time with each other as the music’s tempo began to slowly wind down. Moving ever slowly until the music directed them to stop. They stood still for a moment listening to each other’s breathing. It was only until they heard the sound of applause did they open their eyes. Laurel and Caleb were both surprised to find it was for them. Laurel blushed her cheeks blazing. Caleb held her, smiling down at her. He softly kissed her forehead, before taking her hand and leading her off the floor, as she was smiling but overwhelmed by the attention they received.
Laurel could scarcely breathe as they walked together, her heart racing with the exhilaration she felt from the passionate dance.
Where can I buy this fabulous book?
A note from the author
The world I have created, comes from the inspiration of both my Scottish heritage and my husband’s Irish descent, with pride and respect for both cultures. The beauty of the Scottish Highlands, as well as the lush rolling meadows of Ireland, serve as a backdrop for the mythical realm of Rienfield. Many of the names of villages and towns that are used are actual names of towns and villages of Scotland and Ireland. They are used in direct correlation for what their rich past made them known for and is applied with loving respect for their history in the story. Many of the names of the characters are Irish, Scottish, or Gaelic, again showing my love and admiration for our heritages. The characters also speak Old Irish, from time to time, referring to it as ‘old speak.’ I hope you will find this as fascinating and beautiful as I did.
You will find the Kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin filled with wonder, danger, adventure, romance, love of family as well as betrayal.
The people, races, and beings, will beckon you to return and visit, over and again, sharing in their joys, sorrows, tragedies and triumphs.
So my friends, find your comfortable reading place, and immerse yourself in the lives of the warm, courageous, humorous, and sometimes frightening characters, which make up the world of Rienfield.
With warmest regards;
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx