I'd like to welcome a fellow writer, Nancy Jardine, to Suspense, She Writes today. I met Nancy through the Crook Cat Press community but soon discovered she has also been published by The Wild Rose Press, so Nancy and I have connections on both sides of the ocean!
Denise: First, tell us a little about yourself.
Nancy: I’m an ex-primary teacher who accidentally became an author due to my profession. My very first novel, a time-travel Celtic/Roman historical for early teens- Dabbling With Time - was written as a result of my being involved in class work based on a current archaeological ‘dig’ on the school playing field. It was because my class (11-12 year olds) wrote such fabulous stories of the local Celts being invaded by the Roman Army that I penned my own first novel during the school summer break. I finally stopped teaching in 2011 and now split my time between writing, officially child minding my 2 year old granddaughter and tending my large garden which comes last in the that list for available time.
Denise: As writers, we often become emotionally attached to our characters. Who is your favorite hero you’ve ever written?
Nancy: That used to be Lorcan in my first historical romantic adventure, The Beltane Choice. The first book in my Celtic Fervour series, The Beltane Choice, went through so many revisions that I really got to know Lorcan very well- his faults and his fabulous aspects. And the second contender for my favorite hero would have to be his brother Brennus. In The Beltane Choice Brennus is actually more handsome than Lorcan but not the one that Nara of the Selgovae is in love with. Brennus gets a bit of a raw deal from me in that first book; so much so that I wrote the second book continuing his story in After Whorl: Bran Reborn.
After the battle of Whorl, where Brennus and his fellow Brigantes battle against the armies of Rome, we find he’s not the same guy he used to be (Sorry - you need to read the book for the full details of that!)
Because of the changes to his personality and the need for him to portray himself in a different way, he now has a lot of my emotional attachment since he has to battle through such a lot of trials and tribulations in the aftermath of the battle. After Whorl is the second book of the series, but the story of Brennus and the woman he hankers after - Ineda - is continued in the third book After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks which will be published around March 2014.
Not quite getting the girl by the end of Book 2 is a departure from my usual HEA endings, but during the writing of my sequel I realized that although After Whorl: Bran Reborn is essentially Brennus’ story, it is also Ineda’s story as well. Since I’m not writing for a ‘Romance only press’ I feel I can have that continuation into the next part of After Whorl…. The series is marketed as slightly different from a typical historical romance. There is a much deeper historical element in them than in the average historical romance, and yet it is not a typical historical novel either. I’m aiming for a blend of both.
Brennus being my ‘current’ hero definitely has my heart at the moment though I’m also very much taken by Nairn, the hero in my contemporary fun romance- Take Me Now published by The Wild Rose Press. Nairn is my contemporary brawny highland hero but he’s a very down to earth character – tough but with endearing vulnerabilities after he has a mysterious accident. I suppose because he’s Scottish, like I am, I’m just a tad biased towards him.
Denise: As a writer, I completely understand wanting to see a secondary character their own story. How do you develop your heroes? Do you imagine their personality or their physical appearance first? Do they grow as personalities as you write or do you do a character sketch before you type the first word?
Nancy: My first ever hero, Lorcan of The Beltane Choice, developed looks and personality as I wrote but a bit down the line in the many edits I went through for it, I realized that I could purchase the use of images from an internet site quite inexpensively, images I could later use in my book trailer videos; on my own blog and on facebook. It took a while to track down someone who resembled my Lorcan but his was the first ‘face’ to be pinned onto my cork board. From that point on I’ve tended to find my ‘characters’ early on ; I print them out and pin them to the storyboard behind my laptop. That way I don’t forget their characteristics. My characters aren’t replicas of the models; their little quirks develop as I write and I pencil the character traits onto the print-outs as I go.
Denise: What a great idea! I think I'll start looking for images to help visualize my hero and heroine. I like to give my heroes a personality quirk, just so they aren’t too perfect. Have you ever written a quirk for one of your heroes and what was it?
Nancy: In some way or another I think all of my heroes have something particular about them that can be irritating at times but endearing at others. The traits range from Luke in my TWRP novel Monogamy Twist who is almost compulsively sexually drawn to Rhia, can’t keep his hand off her, but who can also switch over to be the 100% focused business man in a twinkle. Rhia helps him fulfill some archaic Dickensian conditions for him to inherit an English manor house and estate, but Luke seems a bit insensitive at times about her involvement – his expectations of her a tad high! There’s always room for developing some hero quirks into positive endings, though.
Denise: How do you name your hero?
Nancy: Great question! I actually spend ages with most names in my historical books. It’s anal, but a small obsession of mine that I like to give them a name appropriate to their character. Lorcan means ‘the fierce one’ in Scottish Gaelic. Brennus means ‘chief or king’ and although he is actually neither of those things he is a man of kingly, chieftain-like qualities. Ineda means ‘bright fire’. Her hair is golden with reddish tinges but her name reflects her bright initiative more than her looks. In both of the After Whorl books, Ineda has a tendency to be a little impetuous but is also bright and resourceful- she’s a mingling of all of those traits. Some of the other Roman characters have names that mirror how they behave. Zosimus is a lumbering character, the lowliest of Roman recruits whose job it is to guard Ineda. Zosimus means ‘one likely to survive’ and in a way I’ve ‘punned’ on his name. He is so lacking in wit it will be a miracle if he survived any engagement with the Celtic enemy.
My most problematic naming was for what ended up as being my debut novel, published by The Wild Rose Press-Monogamy Twist. I thought I was being clever with my hero’s name in calling him Bosco Salieri. My hero in that book is an Australian of English and Italian roots. Since Bosco means ‘wood’ in Italian I chose that name since it had a tenuous connection to the woman who bequeathed him an English manor house and estate called Greywood. The TWRP senior editor liked the story but told me that Bosco was a sit-com character with not much in the way of hero connotations. Being Scottish I’d never watched the series she was talking about but I had no desire for a wimpy hero so I renamed him Luke Salieri (Lucas being the Italian form in his official name)
Denise: Who is your favorite hero in books, movies, or television?
Nancy: Well, I probably didn’t have a particular one till I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Aragon stamped himself on my heart, so it has to be Viggo Mortensen in that role. Though I’m quite fickle! Next year someone else might step into those shoes.
Denise: Who is your hero in real life?
Nancy: Well, of course, the fact that I’ve been married to the one man for nearly 40 years might be because it’s my husband. We choose our real life heroes for more than just superficial looks - I believe - though mine is still as handsome as I thought he was back on 1974. Looking older, but then so do I!
Denise: Tell us about your most recent release and where we can find it. Who is the hero and what do you like about him the most?
Nancy: After Whorl: Bran Reborn just released this week! And this visit is part of my mini-launch blog tour for showcasing my wonderful hero – Brennus of Garrigill, also know as Bran.
Ravaged by war
…AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed.
Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion.
Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father.
When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.
Nancy: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to visit today, Denise! If you want a sneak peek of what my Brennus looks like, hop on over to my Book Trailer Video on YouTube.
After Whorl: Bran Reborn book trailer video:
After Whorl: Bran Reborn is available for pre-order in paperback from Amazon UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Whorl-Reborn-Nancy-Jardine/dp/1909841323/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1_CEPA)
Nancy Jardine lives in the fantastic ‘castle country’ of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband. She spends her week making creative excuses for her neglected large garden; doesn’t manage as much writing as she always plans to do since she’s on Facebook too often, but she does have a thoroughly great time playing with her toddler granddaughter when she’s just supposed to be ‘just’ childminding her twice a week.
A lover of all things historical it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and Crooked Cat Publishing.
You’ll find Nancy at the following places: Amazon UK author page Amazon US author page Blog Website Facebook Goodreads About Me LinkedIn Twitter @nansjar