Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Once and Future Lancelot by Carol Anne Doug #Giveaway #Arthurian #Legends @CarolAnneDougl1

The Once and Future Lancelot
By Carol Anne Douglas

This is the story of how I came to write:
 Lancelot: Her Story and Lancelot and Guinevere.

I can't remember when the Arthurian legends first fascinated me. Certainly my interest began when I was a child. One of my first recollections of them is seeing episodes from the British television series Ivanhoe, and I probably saw some of the series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. I also was fortunate enough to see the original Camelot on Broadway. I read T.H. White's The Once and Future King. The painful romance between Lancelot and Guinevere fascinated me. I could imagine how horrible it would be to love someone who was married to someone else in a world where divorce was impossible.

Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton — Wikipedia

I was raised Catholic in the days of the Latin Mass and had a convent school education, so a connection with the Middle Ages felt close to me. I write that both honestly and with a smile.

When I was a freshman at UCLA, an anthology in my English class included an excerpt from a story in which Lancelot was a woman in disguise. Decades later, I tried to find that story, but lacking its title, the name of the author, and the name of the anthology, I was unable to do so. I knew that I wanted to write my own version of that story.

I have read many contemporary versions of the Arthurian legends as well as of course Malory, Chr├ętien de Troyes (who introduced the character of Lancelot), and Tennyson. I enjoyed Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, but I had already started working on my own version of the story before I read it. Some of my favorite contemporary Arthurian novels are Gillian Bradshaw's Kingdom of Summer trilogy, Faye Sampson's five-volume Daughter of Tintagel series, Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, Rosemary Sutcliffe's Sword at Sunset, and Nancy Springer's I Am Mordred. In most versions of the legend, Guinevere (again, I used the common form of the name rather than an older version) is passive or slightly obnoxious. I don't care for most of the modern versions in which Guinevere is featured as the main character—except for Sharan Newman's Guinevere series, which is lovely. Kim Headlee's novels, starting with Dawnlight, at least make Gyanhumara (Guinevere) active, a Pictish warrior.

I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I don't think it influenced me.

I do not believe that there was a historical King Arthur, but the earliest versions of the legend come from the Venerable Bede in the Eighth Century and seem to be set in the Sixth Century.

Stitching the standard by Edmund Blair Leighton — Wikipedia

My book has both pagan and Christian characters, though I don't see either of them having a monopoly on goodness or the truth.

I try to avoid anachronisms, though I have a few, such as the Virgin Mary being more important to Lancelot than she might have been in that century. Of course the name "Lancelot" itself is not a name from that time, but I decided to stick with the familiar name. I don't use the word "knight," but I do have more of a court than there might have been in Sixth Century Britain. I've seen some hilarious anachronisms in contemporary Arthurian fiction, notably a well-known author showing the men of the Round Table eating corn on the cob.

I write my own version of numerous stories in the Arthurian legends, including Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain and the Loathly Lady, Malory's poisoning episode at a dinner given by Guinevere, and Elaine's hopeless love for Lancelot.

I see Lancelot as a woman because Lancelot is almost always a character who cares about women and tries to help them. Lancelot is often portrayed as courteous, even gentle, though an excellent fighter. I wanted to develop her. My Lancelot was a child who saw her mother raped and murdered, and attacked the rapist. Her father then decided to raise her as a boy, partly to protect her from men and partly so that she could inherit his estate. She is anxious about being discovered as a woman, because then she would have to leave King Arthur's service. She is spiritual, much more so than Guinevere. She finds herself deeply attracted to Guinevere but is shocked at the thought of the sin of desiring her king's wife. Lancelot is of course
one of my viewpoint characters.

I set out to depict Guinevere as an active, intelligent, ambitious woman who wanted to be a queen in her own right in her father's kingdom rather than King Arthur's queen. She is immediately recognizes that Lancelot is a woman. She is one of the viewpoint characters.

I have always liked the character of Gawaine or Gawain. Even though White and Bradley portray him as a dolt, other authors such as Bradshaw depict him in a more sympathetic light. I enjoyed Thomas Berger's version of him in as jovial in Arthur Rex. Though I am a long-term feminist, I liked working on a male character who has many mistresses but knows there's something wrong with his attitude toward women. He adores his mother, Queen Morgause, who had protected him from his father. He jests and loves to tell stories, which was my point of connection with him. He is a true friend to both King Arthur and Lancelot, and helps Lancelot learn how to laugh. He is also a viewpoint character.

King Arthur has never been my favorite character in the Arthurian legends, though it's impossible not to like him in The Once and Future King and Camelot. I see sole rulers as problematic. Power corrupts, and in my story that ultimately takes a toll on Arthur.

Merlin is a minor character in these novels, but I he plays a larger part in my two young adult fantasy novels, Merlin's Shakespeare, which is soon to be released, and a sequel, The Mercutio Problem, which is coming out in 2019. 


Carol Anne Douglas is giving away five paperback copies of 
Lancelot: Her Story.

Who is your favourite character in the Arthurian legends?

Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Giveaway Rules

• Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm BST on November 30th.
You must be 18 or older to enter.

• Giveaway is only open to residents of the United States.

•Only one entry per household.

• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
•Winners will be announced in the comments.
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Lancelot: Her Story

A young girl sees a man rape and murder her mother. She grabs a stick and puts out his eye. Her father raises her as a boy so she will be safe from men's attacks. She practices and practices until she becomes a great fighter - Lancelot. She wants to protect women, and she does.

Lancelot hears about King Arthur, a just king across the sea, and journeys to earn a place at Camelot. She vows to serve him, but fears that Arthur and his men will discover that she is a woman and send her away. Lancelot is shocked to realize that she is falling in love with the king's wife, Guinevere.

Guinevere is a strong woman who would have preferred to be queen in her own right, not through marriage.

Saxons attack Arthur's kingdom, and Lancelot finds out that fighting a war is far different from saving women in single combat. The savagery of war devastates her.

Lancelot and Guinevere

This sequel to LANCELOT: HER STORY puts the focus on Guinevere as she faces King Arthur's wrath when he finds out his wife has been in a relationship with a woman named Lancelot for years and years. Lancelot herself is sinking under the effects of what we know now as battle-related PTSD. Will the men who fought alongside and viewed her as their heroic leader punish her when they realize she is female?

Carol Anne Douglas

Carol Anne Douglas is a female reincarnation of Lancelot, except that she is clumsy and unathletic. She has spent many years as an editor of feminist and traditional publications. Her next novels are Young Adult fantasy: Merlin's Shakespeare and The Mercutio Problem.

Carol Anne loves to hear from readers, you can find her: WebsiteTwitter

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A conversation with Historical Fiction author, Chris Bishop. #amwriting #Vikings #Saxons #HistoricalFiction @CBishop_author

A conversation with
 Historical Fiction author, Chris Bishop.

It is with the greatest of please I welcome the fabulous Chris Bishop back onto the blog. Chris, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, Mary, it is great to be back. For your readers who may not know who I am, my name is Chris Bishop and I’m an author with a particular interest in historical fiction.  My principal work includes a series entitled The Shadow of the Raven which is set at the time of Alfred the Great.
After a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor, I retired to fulfil my lifelong ambition to write a novel, combining that with my interest in Anglo Saxon history which started when I first read Hereward the Wake at school.
The first book in my series (Blood and Destiny) was published in 2017 and the second, (The Warrior with the Pierced Heart) in July this year.  The third part (The Final Reckoning) will be published in the Spring 2019.
My other interests include travel, windsurfing and fly fishing – perhaps even one day combining all three on a beautiful tropical beach, sailing when it’s windy and fishing when it’s not… (If only!)

Windsurfing and fly fishing as the same time? I think I would pay to watch that!! What inspired you to write your series?

That’s actually a very good question as the inspiration for the first book, Blood and Destiny, was really very strange.  I was writing a short ghost story for a literary competition which was not a genre I’d ever attempted before.  My plot centred on a group of archaeologists who’d discovered the grave of a boy in a very remote and lonely place.  As the story developed, it became clear to me that the boy had his own tale to tell.  His ‘ghost’ then seemed to hijack the story, pushing me into all sorts of places I’d not intended to go and inducing all manner of twists and turns along the way.  The upside was that pretty soon his whole story came gushing out like… well, like all good stories should!
The strange thing was that when I started to research the era in detail (Anglo Saxon England), I found that so much of what I’d jotted down fitted the perceived historical facts like a glove.  Then, when I gave my ghost a name, (actually, I gave him two but you’ll have to read the book to find out why) he seemed to come to life and I realised that I was no longer writing a short story, I was writing a novel.  Little did I realise then that it was actually the first part of a trilogy which followed the story of my ‘ghost’s’ life through what was a very turbulent time and also a key turning point in English history.
There is more about this uncanny experience in my blog entitled Ghost Writer – The Hand that Guides the Pen.

That is an amazing story. It is wonderful how writing a short-story can lead on to bigger things. What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?

For me, the greatest challenge in writing about the so called ‘Dark Ages’ was establishing fact from fiction – not to mention folklore and legends!  So much of what we think is fact has been distorted by intervening generations for both political and cultural reasons.  There are also few contemporary first-hand accounts of what actually happened – and even fewer which can be regarded as unbiased.  After all, history is written by the victor, not the vanquished and propaganda and fake news are nothing new. 

Tell me about it! Researching the Dark Ages is notoriously difficult. There are many books about the Anglo Saxon era. Can you tell us three things that set your novels apart?

As a relatively new author, that’s a difficult one for me to answer.  The reviews often refer to the fact that my novels are fast paced, include a lot of interesting detail and make the reader feel they’re actually there.  I hope all that’s true as my love of creative writing combined with my lifelong interest in Anglo Saxon history compels me to entertain as well as inform.

 Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

I’m currently completing Book Three in the series (The Final Reckoning) which should be published in the spring next year.  I’m also researching the possibility of a fourth book though that may be the start of second series, albeit still set in Anglo Saxon England.
In the meantime, I’m working on a number of blogs and articles which you can view on my website and where you can also sign up for my mailing list.

My Blogs include:

GHOST WRITER – THE HAND THAT GUIDES THE PEN – the story behind the origin of the series

SO, DID ALFRED REALLY BURN THE CAKES? – a discussion about the folklore surrounding Alfred the Great and an attempt to determine how much of it is true
ALFRED AND THE VIKINGS – Alfred’s Troubled Realm is the first in a four part series based on my research which looks at some of the lesser known facts of this key turning point in English History.  Part two – Who Were the Dreaded Vikings will be posted shortly.
Please sign up to my mailing list HERE to learn more about my work and details of other blogs which I hope you will find of interest

Chris Bishop is the author of The Shadow of The Raven Series which is set in Anglo Saxon England at the time of Alfred the Great.

Book 1 Blood and Destiny and Book 2 The Warrior with the Pierced Heart are out now in paperback and ebook.
Book 3 The Final Reckoning will be published spring 2019

Find out more at
you can also follow Chris on Twitter @CBishop_author