I'm delighted to feature author Sarah Hegger on Book Blather. Sarah, like me, is entranced with all things medieval and has done the research to back it up, as evidenced in her debut novel, The Bride Gift, (an excerpt is included in her post.) Readers will look forward to her upcoming release, Sweet Bea, available on September 1st. To read more about the globe-trotting Sarah, be sure to check out her bio titled "A Little About Me." Welcome to Book Blather, Sarah.
One of the first questions I get asked when I tell people about my book (which I’ll do to anyone if they stand still long enough) is Why Medieval.
And it’s not that easy to answer. I started out wanting to be the modern version of Georgette Heyer. After torturing myself, and my critique partner, through one Regency novel (never published, thank God), I realized that I just didn't have what it took and there were so many others doing it so much better.
The attraction to medieval lies mostly in the fantasy element. LadyHawke, The Princess Pride, Camelot – I’ve seen them all HUNDREDS of times. And it’s not that I don’t understand that the reality was so very different – dirtier, grittier and those knights were more thug than hero. But the magic remains for me.
It began with a visit to my favorite castle, Kenilworth. I couldn’t stop imagining the lives that had passed in front of those walls.
In fact, standing just about where this photograph was taken. The castle is nothing more than a ruin now, but it still echoes with the life that passed through it.
And the dresses. Is it shallow to admit I love all those sweeping gowns?
At the start of my research I came across an historian postulating the nature of women of the time. The Bride Gift is set in England, 1153. He said that we tend to think of these women as these wilting flowers, damsels in distress, but the reality had to be different. Times were hard and the women must have been tough to survive them.
That started the magical...
What if we had a woman trying desperately to control her own destiny in a time when she really had little chance of doing so?
What if I snatched it out of her hands and saw what she did to regain control?
What if I put that control in the hands of the sort of man who was her worst nightmare?
This is how it all ended up.
It’s 1153 in the period dubbed ‘The Anarchy’, King Stephen and Empress Maud are not the only ones embroiled in a fierce battle of the sexes.
Determined to control her own destiny, willful Helena of Lystanwold has chosen just the husband to suit her purposes. But, when her banished guardian uncle attempts to secure her future and climbs through her bedroom window with a new husband by a proxy marriage, she understandably balks. Notorious warrior Guy of Helston is everything Helena swore she would never marry; a man who lives by the sword, like the man who murdered her sister.
This marriage finally brings Guy close to his lifetime dream of gaining lands and a title. He is not about to let his feisty bride stand in his way. A master strategist, Guy sets out to woo and conquer his lady.
Against a backdrop of vengeance, war and betrayal, Guy and Helena must learn to forge a united front or risk losing everything.
The Bride Gift is my debut novel and released on May 14th. It’s available now on Amazon.
I have a second medieval, Sweet Bea, releasing on September 1st and it is the first in the series, Sir Arthur’s Legacy.
A little about me:
Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.
Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.
She currently lives in Draper, Utah with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.
She is always delighted to hear from you. Sarah can be reached at any and all of the following places:
And if you’re still with me, here’s a small taste of The Bride Gift:
Slowly, Helena turned and approached her husband.
His large body barely fit in the wooden tub. He sat with his knees almost to his ears. A slight frown creased his dark brows.
Helena dipped her hand in the soft soap they kept for bathing; more jasmine. She rubbed it between her fingers to create lather. When they next made soap she would need to produce something less feminine for Guy.
From this position, his head was almost on a level with her breasts. A feeling akin to excitement fluttered through her belly.
He watched her face as she leaned forward to soap his head, working it through his cropped hair. The bristly ends tickled her palm.
She reached for a bucket of rinsing water. He closed his eyes as soap and bubbles streamed down the strong planes of his cheeks. Droplets clung to his lashes. They were almost ridiculously long and so incongruous with the rest of him. Probably the only part of him that could be called soft.
He dropped his head forward onto his knees so she could finish rinsing.
Guy presented the broad expanse of his back, and she laid her hands across the sun-darkened skin. He was warm under her fingers and beneath the smooth skin, his muscles bunched slightly as she spread the soap. This might be bearable. When she rubbed her fingers on either side of his spine, he made a soft purr of enjoyment.
Her pulse jumped.
"Soft hands," he said.
Her fingers traced a long, puckered scar running beneath his shoulder blade and disappearing around his side.
"A lance man with poor aim," he murmured.
The skin on his back was firm, but marked by the scars of a lifetime spent wielding a sword. "It appears you really do fight," she commented lightly.
For some reason those accumulated injuries and the pain they had caused angered her as well as rendered her sorry for his suffering. Helena steeled her resolve. It was just these sorts of wounds that made him perfect for her purpose.
She lathered soap across his shoulders and down the thick, corded muscle of each arm. Her belly reacted with another odd little quiver as her fingers slid across his skin like oil poured from a vial.
Guy raised his eyes to her face. A slumberous warmth made them glow nearly silver.
Her breath quickened in her chest as if she had been running; her hands tingled where they touched him.