It is with the greatest of pleasure that I welcome Historical Fantasy author, M.T. Magee onto the blog. Ms. Magee is going to share with us a little insight into her book today.
Child of the Kindred
(The Rinefield Chronicles: Book 2)
Their world is changing and a new era has begun. Princess Laurel finds her kingdom of Gwenlais, torn and shattered from a bloody siege. Her people now looking to her, to help them rise above the ruin and misery inflicted upon their once peaceful and sheltered realm. Laurel and her beloved Prince Caleb, must find a way to unite their kingdoms, as never before. The enemy from a distant land makes a bold and savage attempt, to thwart the unity of the two kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin. The odds have never been greater against the realms or the two lovers that hold the kingdoms together. Will their people and their love survive all they have lost? Will new life rise from above the ruins?
The award winning epic historical fantasy saga continues. Enter the realm of Rinefield, where love, danger, adventure and romance awaits you.
What exactly is gork? It is a mythical creature in my historical fantasy series, which resembles a wooly pig, and quite the delicacy. So, no, it’s not something you can try. Since the backdrop for the fantasy realm of Rinefield, is based on Scotland and Ireland, I went on a culinary journey into some of the classic fare.
One of the things I enjoy as a writer, is giving my characters memorable moments, many of which are centered around a meal, whether a romantic intimate setting, family gatherings, wedding feasts, or political matters. The food is not only reflective of the cultural background and settings but also the mood of the scene. Tolkien did this, throughout his epic saga. The meals often symbolizing the characters’ feelings, wellbeing, and general mood, in which the setting placed them in. The thing I found the most interesting aspect was not only the vivid descriptions, be it feast of meager rations, it was always based on the classic food of the UK or Ireland.
I wanted to fully appreciate how my characters would feel when sitting down to a meal. The sexy Leprechaun (aka the hubby) and I, researched as many authentic recipes as we could find, and actually cooked or purchased what the characters would be eating. I am not a big meat eater, but I still found it very interesting as well as tasty, the dishes we decided to explore. The famous stout stew, which features Guinness cooked with cubed beef, potatoes, carrots, and we added mushrooms and turnips, was amazing. This inspired me to create for my books, the famous venison stew served at the Standing Bear Pub, highly favored by Fergus, the King of Heathwin.
My favorite dish was, the rich potatoes and cabbage combination of Colcannon. I could not get enough of it, and make at least once a week. The smoky, salty succulent Scottish style smoked salmon, has always been a treat. The hearty and satisfying bubble and squeak, as much fun to say as it is to eat. The lovely pasties, that I baked with or without meat. Of course, the soda bread, filled with sweet moist raisins, and let us not forget the shortbread. Even something as common as butter and cheese, took on a whole new perspective, as we tried Irish style butter and various cheeses from Ireland and Scotland. The beautiful but satisfying simplicity of boiled potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and kale, dressed in butter and a bit of salt. Beans on toast is now something we have with breakfast several times a week.
We also enjoyed having traditional tea time. Not always the dainty finger sandwich type tea. Though this was fun, we relished the idea of the more hearty fare, which I loved incorporating in my books. The smoked salmon, the oat scones with clotted cream or lemon curd. The rich flaky pasties, served with various pickled vegetables, sliced apples and cheese, were a delight. We tried and fell in love with Irish hard ciders, both apple and pear. All of these wonderful culinary experiences, made us respect and appreciate our Scottish and Irish heritages even more. It also helped me to create a more in depth and vivid world for my characters to dwell in. By using not only the rich and passionate history of our forebears, but exploring the ways they ate and showed hospitality, made me value so much more where we come from. It helped me to have a better understanding of how important sharing a meal was, either with family or associates. The warmth and heartiness of the meals served, the earthiness and comfort the food gave, added much to the history of these beautiful and majestic places. Experiencing the joy of cooking these meals, gave me a wonderful sense of family, of belonging. It was something I will always treasure, and was honored to implement in my books and will continue to.
Now what of Haggis? Well, I am not that brave. Though I did promise myself if I ever have the privilege to go to Scotland, I will try the “real” stuff. I do however make mention of it, with all due respect, in my books. Though for now, it will remain as fantastical and mystical as gork.
Links for Purchase
Treasure of Gwenlais ~ Book #1
Child of the Kindred ~ Book #2
About the author
My name is M.T.Magee I write bestselling YA Historical Medieval Fantasy that is beautifully romantic with whispers of Gaelic legend. On Mar. 31st The Treasure of Gwenlais received the 2015 Silver Medal Winner of Ireland's Drunken Druid Award Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016 for First Novel on Aug. 31st. On Sept.1st 2016 I received the Finalist Award for Readers' Favorite Book Awards Voted #1 On Listopia's Best Fantasy Romance (not urban).
I live in New England on our small farm with my husband and son. We raise an assortment of silly goats, quiet rabbits, far too many ducks and chickens, and a high strung Border Collie cross named Gronk.
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx