Saturday, May 3, 2014

What Makes a Medieval Man Magnificent? Let's Find Out

by Joyce Lamb)

(Photo: Medieval Mavens)

Ah, gotta love some medieval romance. All those swords. And how is it that chainmail is so sexy? Well, the authors of the Magnificent Medieval Men boxed set (out now and only 99 cents for a limited time) are here to clear that up for us.

Catherine Kean, author of A Knight's Temptation

Why do you write medieval romances?

Catherine: I love the ideals of chivalry. There's nothing more romantic than a knight risking all to rescue the woman he cherishes, or clashing swords with murderous traitors in order to champion justice, honor, and true love. I've visited castle ruins and wondered about the lords, ladies, and common folk who lived there; those ancient sites have a timelessness that resonates with me. I've spent hours in museums with collections of medieval silver, armor, tapestries, jewelry, and other artifacts, and found myself in awe of those objects created hundreds of years ago. I also own many books on the Middle Ages, including cookbooks. All inspired me to bring the medieval era to life through my novels.

What makes a Magnificent Medieval Man?

Catherine: He is bold, handsome (of course!), honorable, loyal, and driven by his convictions. He fights for what he believes is right. In my books, he's usually a hero who also suffers an emotional challenge to what he believes, which makes for an intriguing, complex character.

Please tell us about your book in the boxed set.

Catherine: A Knight's Temptation is the third book in my Knight's Series but can be read as a stand-alone novel. The hero, aspiring knight Aldwin Treynarde, is on a mission to recover a stolen pendant. When he meets a woman in a tavern to exchange the pendant for its offered reward, he senses she's keeping important secrets. He takes her captive, only to discover she's Lady Leona Ransley, the highborn woman he wronged years ago. I loved writing Aldwin and Leona's fast-paced, danger-filled adventure and hope readers will enjoy their story, too.

Kathryn Le Veque, author of Lord of the Shadows

Why medieval romance? I write medieval romance because it was a time of such change for mankind — coming out of the Dark Ages and trying to become more "civilized." It was a time of growth, of trial and error, and of the budding ideals for modern society. There are a million stories to be told in the High Middle Ages because those people were really on the cusp of history — trying not to repeat the mistakes of the past while trying to ensure an organized and prosperous future. Every time I write a novel, that's what I keep in mind — building a better future and a happily ever after ending for my characters.

Magnificent Medieval Man qualities? A Magnificent Medieval Man is a multifaceted beast — yes, I say beast. He was raised in conditions we consider abusive and primitive. Kids were sent off to foster at a very early age — 5 or 6 wasn't too early. They were first pages in great houses, oftentimes very abused by beatings or emotional/verbal abuse that wasn't considered abuse back then. They called it "training." They moved on to become squires, living in the harshest conditions with the knights who were training them. So out of all of this abuse, training, education, and learning emerges a product that had to endure all of the bad elements of growing up to become a finished product. Honor, loyalty, and compassion were the three major traits of a knight. If a Medieval Man could embody those three qualities, then he is indeed a magnificent beast — raw, brutal, but with ideals to change the world. Does the magnificence also include romance? It does in my books!

Book in the boxed set: I was so thrilled when Catherine Kean asked me to be a part of this prestigious group of authors. My contribution to the boxed set is Lord of the Shadows, a medieval spy/romance set late in the reign of King John. The hero, the spy, falls in love with the daughter of an enemy. All of the historical events in the book are real, as are many of the characters. I have 48 published novels, with 38 of those being medieval historicals, and every book I write has some real element of history in it. In Lord of the Shadows, the events in the novel happen to revolve around the siege of London in 1215 A.D. Thousands of barons actually marched upon the city and lay siege to the Tower in protest of King John. There is a lot of political intrigue in this novel, a lot of romance, and a lovely twist at the end. It's one that is very popular with my readers and I am very proud to contribute it to this collection.

Anna Markland, author of Dance of Love

Why medieval romance? My medieval romances are about family honor, ancestry, and roots. Why medieval? I chose the medieval period because as an amateur genealogist, I cherished a dream (typical of many) of tracing my own English roots back to the Norman Conquest — an impossibility since I am not descended from nobility! So I made up a family and my stories follow its members and offshoot branches through successive generations.

Magnificent Medieval Man qualities? At first, one might think Izzy de Montbryce, the hero of Dance of Love, isn't very magnificent. He suffers from crippling arthritis which has gnarled his hands. He's aware that women find his touch repulsive, and shies away from them. He's become moody and antisocial. Izzy may not have the hands of a warrior, but he has the heart of one, and when the woman he finally falls in love with is placed in grave danger he travels hundreds of miles to pursue her. Medieval men were magnificent in that they had to fight to win and hold what was theirs. Some, like Izzy, had to overcome tremendous adversity in order to do so.

Book in the boxed set: Dance of Love is one of the books in my Wounded Warriors series. It's the love story of a sullen, antisocial Norman nobleman and a girl who turns out to be the illegitimate daughter of a Spanish king. I enjoyed learning about the medieval kings of Spain while researching this book and discovering something of the incredibly beautiful geography and history of Aragon and the Pyrenees.

Laurel O'Donnell, author of The Lady and the Falconer

Why medieval romance? I write medieval romance because I love the romance of the era. Just the thought of a knight in shining armor conjures a magnificent man in sparkling plate armor. I enjoy the romanticism of the time. I know it wasn't always such a grand spectacle, but the emotions the image conjures are why I write medieval. For a summer, I worked at the Renaissance Faire and was taught stage combat. I loved swinging the sword. I try to write that type of excitement into my stories.

Magnificent Medieval Man qualities? A Magnificent Medieval Man for me is a dark, troubled hero who needs the love of a heroine to heal. I love tortured heroes. All of my men have to overcome something that happened to them in the past. A Magnificent Medieval Man is commanding and powerful, with a physique to die for. But he is much more than that. He is a man with a wounded spirit who, whether he knows it or not, needs the love of a woman to make him whole.

Book in the boxed set: The Lady and the Falconer is about a troubled lord, Logan Grey, whose castle was taken and family killed. When he goes to take it back and search for his brother, he disguises himself as a falconer. The only thing he wants in the world is revenge. But when he runs into Solace Farindale, the daughter of the lord who killed his family, he is caught off guard by her compassion and fierce protective nature for all those she loves. Will her love heal his wounded spirit or will his revenge destroy her? I guess you'll have to read it to find out!