A conversation with Historical
Romance author, Glynnis Campbell.
Romance author, Glynnis Campbell.
Hello, beloved readers! I’m Glynnis Campbell, a USA Today bestselling author of 20+ books published in six languages, most of which are swashbuckling action-adventure romances set in Scotland. I’m also a voice in those video games you won’t let your kids play and the wife of a rock star. I do my best writing on cruise ships, on my husband’s tour bus, and in my southern California garden. Above all, I love to play medieval matchmaker, transporting you to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, and chivalry is alive and well!
It is so lovely to have you back on the blog, Glynnis. What inspired you to write MAIDS WITH BLADES?
My father introduced me to towering castles and trusty swords when I was a little girl, regaling me with stories about King Arthur and his noble knights. I grew up in California, next to Bidwell Park, the woods that substituted for Sherwood Forest in the Errol Flynn version of “Robin Hood.” So it was only natural that I grew to love all things medieval.
But I never thought the princesses doing stitchery in their solars were half as interesting as the knights-errant going on quests around the countryside. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a culture where women were allowed to wield weapons, take charge, and go on adventures of their own—medieval Scotland.
The three sisters in MAIDS WITH BLADES are descended from Vikings and thus have warfare in their blood. Deirdre, Helena, and Miriel, three kick-arse Scots wenches known as The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch, aren’t about to become any man’s chattel, until they meet heroes who are strong enough to tame their fiery spirits and worthy enough to win their wild hearts.
I also turned my local woods in to Sherwood Forest! What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?
Most of the “official” history of the Middle Ages was written by men of the church, who preferred to view women as subservient to men. However, if you look at everyday primary source documents—ledgers, contracts, letters—you see this is not quite the case. Women owned businesses, commanded castles, and even went to battle. In order to unearth evidence of this sort, you have to really dig deep.
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A second challenge was dressing my characters. There are only a few sketches and descriptions of Scottish medieval clothing, which is pretty basic. Familiar modern kilts, as romantic as they are, did not exist in the Middle Ages, nor were clans identified by a specific tartan. For the most part, plaids of muted colors were worn like belted blankets over a long linen shirt. Women’s kirtles were fairly simple and drab as well. Since my stories take place along the Borders, I do allow for some English influence in fashion and fabrics, so silks and velvets appear now and then.
There are many books about medieval Scotland. Can you tell us three things that set your novels apart?
Many romance novels set in medieval Scotland feature women who find themselves at the whims of men—lasses married against their will or used as pawns in clan alliances or sold into slavery. My heroines are self-reliant, responsible, and headstrong. If they must marry for the sake of the clan, it’s on their own terms, and they’re likely to meet opposition to their will with the point of a blade or at least a very sharp tongue.
I like flawed characters. In MAIDS WITH BLADES, I’ve given the sisters very different personalities. In LADY DANGER, oldest sister Deirdre is proud of her Viking roots and bears the heavy responsibility of caring for her ailing father and the entire clan. In CAPTIVE HEART, hot-tempered Helena is the first to draw steel when under attack, and her impulsive nature often gets her into trouble. In KNIGHT’S PRIZE, sweet, demure Miriel harbors a secret, one which only her mysterious servant from the Orient knows.
Despite my stories being set in the Dark Ages, I can’t resist lightening things with a large measure of humor. Some readers say that’s their favorite thing about my books. Whether it comes from a humbling situation, a stubborn trait, or a witty remark, there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments woven into my stories.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a sequel series to MAIDS WITH BLADES! The Warrior Daughters of Rivenloch will feature the three oldest cousins of the original heroines from The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch. Book 1, BRIDE OF FIRE, will come out on April 2nd. Books 2 and 3, BRIDE OF ICE and BRIDE OF MIST, will follow later in the year. If you’d like to read the cousins’ very first wee adventure together (they’re just seven years old), check out my short connecting story, A RIVENLOCH CHRISTMAS!
Maids with Blades
The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch boxed set.
Damsels in shining armor...riding to the rescue! Deirdre, Helena, and Miriel, three kick-arse Scots wenches known as The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch, aren’t about to become any man’s chattel, until they meet heroes who are strong enough to tame their wild ways and worthy enough to win their wayward hearts.
Book 1: Lady Danger
A beautiful female warrior has never had trouble turning away men, but when she marries a powerful lord to save her sister, she soon finds herself losing the battle over her heart.
Born to the blade and raised to fear no one, Deirdre of Rivenloch never shies away from a fight and never turns her back on a threat to her land or her family.
But she’s never met a man like Sir Pagan Cameliard, the bold and powerful knight who comes at the king’s command to make a marriage alliance with Rivenloch. To save her younger sister, Deirdre tricks Pagan into marrying her instead, and now she faces a new kind of enemy who crosses swords with her by day and lays siege to her heart by night.
Book 2: Captive Heart
A fierce warrior maid tries to save her sister from marriage by abducting the groom's right-hand man, a plan that goes awry when her hostage is all-too-willing to succumb to her demands.
Helena of Rivenloch has fire in her heart and battle in her blood, and she’s desperate to save her youngest sister from a fate worse than death...marriage. When Helena attempts and fails to slay the bridegroom, she does the next best thing...abducts his right-hand man, the witty and dashing Sir Colin du Lac, and demands her sister as ransom.
But her plans go awry as her captive—amused and enchanted by her wild spirit—becomes a willing participant in her scheme, and Helena soon finds her own heart held hostage.
Book 3: Knight’s Prize
A lovely lady with a secret proves a welcome but dangerous distraction for a mercenary bent on hunting down the mysterious outlaw known as the Shadow.
Miriel of Rivenloch may not have the killer instincts of her older sisters, but she’s keeping a dangerous secret. She knows more than she’s letting on about the mysterious Shadow, the forest outlaw who robs from the rich and gives to the poor.
And when devil-may-care mercenary Sir Rand la Nuit, hot on the trail of The Shadow, claims to be in love with Miriel, she knows he’s hiding something, too. It’s a battle of wits as they race to uncover each other’s secrets before their make-believe romance takes on a life of its own.
Competition has now ended.
Competition has now ended.
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Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling "medieval action-adventure romances," mostly set in Scotland, with more than 20 books published in six languages. Glynnis once rocked in an all-girl band called The Pinups on CBS Records, did voiceovers for the MTV animated series, "The Maxx," Diablo and Starcraft videogames, and Star Wars audio adventures, and is married to a rock star. She loves to transport readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well!
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