Saturday, April 9, 2016

Interview with Mary Anne Yarde

Mary Anne Yarde is the author of The Du Lac Chronicles, a fantasy novel set in Arthurian times. This interview showcases her talent as a writer and lets us see her upcoming work!

1) How did you become an author? What motivated you and what made you decide that this was the life for you?

The stories of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table were very much a part of my childhood, growing up near Glastonbury, England, I guess it isn’t really surprising. However, I always felt a little deflated by how the story of Arthur ends. There was a big battle at Camlann, Arthur dies – as does most of his knights. The knights that survive tend to end their days as hermits! I never bought into that ending. I wanted to explore the possibility of an alternative world where the knights don’t all die and they definitely do not become hermits! I had an idea for a novel just over 12 years ago. One of my friends was, at the time, studying English at university and one of her modules was in creative writing. We got talking and I explained my story idea and she told me to stop talking about it and write it. Which I did. The first draft was, looking back, truly diabolical, and I rewrote it, over and over, but it wasn’t until last year that I really began to think about publishing it. Back in February this year, I finally pressed that button on Amazon and now I am a published author. It has been a long journey for me, but a thoroughly enjoyable one!

2) What inspires you to write?
The stories of Arthur and his knights definitely inspire me, as does the era that I write about. I love anything to do with The Dark Ages; it is such a fascinating period of British history. However, it is very difficult to research, because written records were not kept and all we have left to rely on is secondary sources and primary artifacts. I compare it to trying to make a jigsaw with no picture and instructions that you cannot rely on. It is, without a doubt, a time of legends. I love it. And I hope that comes across in my writing.

3) Do you have a project underway? If so, could we possibly get a sneak peek as to what we'll be seeing when it comes out 
I have recently completed a novella called ‘The Pitchfork Rebellion’, which is free when you sign up to the mailing list on my website. This book tells the story between Book 1 and Book 2 and I really enjoyed writing it.I am currently writing Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles. This book is set 5 years after the first, and follows the youngest son of Lancelot du Lac. Merton du Lac, has brought shame on the family name by becoming a mercenary, but he has his reasons for becoming what he is. Life has certainly not dealt him an easy hand. The book currently has a working title of ‘The Du Lac Devil.’ 

"Summer AD500 On the border of Burgundar.

“Clovis is a clever bastard,” Yrre said softly as he watched the army of the Franks assemble

themselves. He moved forward a little, using the shelter of the trees and the ferns to stay

hidden. It would not do for them to be seen. Not yet, anyway.

Merton du Lac wiped the rain from his face with his hand. It had rained nonstop for three

very long days. And Wihtgar had said that it was always sunny in Burgundar…he was a lying

son of a bitch.

Yrre crawled back to where Merton waited. Like Yrre, Merton was lying on his stomach.

It was an uncomfortable position to be in, for a gnarled tree root was digging into him and the

ground was wet. The air smelt of trees and wet foliage, but that made a welcome change to

the usual smell of blood and carnage.

Merton rubbed his sore, chapped red hands together, trying to encourage the feeling back

into them. He glanced up at the sky through the tree flora, at the menacing black clouds, and

he fleetingly wondered if he would ever feel the warmth of the sun on his skin again.

 They had been watching Clovis’s camp since daybreak, looking for something, anything,

to exploit to their advantage. But there was nothing.

“Any bright ideas?” Yrre asked, although there was little hope in his voice. Only the gods

could save them now.

For once, Merton had nothing to say. He couldn’t see a way out of this one. Their situation

was precarious to say the least. They were surrounded and the chance of survival was slim to

non-existent. Damn. Why did everything always have to go wrong at the same time? And

why the hell had he not listened to his intuition in the first place?

 “An easy win,” Wihtgar had said. “Easy money. Nothing to it.”  But Wihtgar had never

said anything about Clovis. He had never said that that was whom they would be fighting. For

the love of….they were mercenaries. They didn’t fight when there was no chance of winning

and worse still, no chance of being paid.

Thunder rumbled overhead and the sky flashed brightly for a moment. This day couldn’t

get any worse.

But then it did.

Merton bit back a groan of anguish as he watched Clovis’s cavalry ride into the camp.

Beside him, Yrre cursed profusely, unable to keep the words in.

“It was nice knowing you,” Yrre said, when he had run out of obscenities.

Merton didn’t reply. The cavalry was certainly impressive in number. Whether they had

any skill, well, that remained to be seen. But still, it wasn’t what he had wanted or expected to

see. Clovis kept on surprising him.

Yrre touched his shoulder briefly. “Let’s get out of here. Maybe the others have had better

luck.” His voice, however, lacked conviction.

Merton stayed a moment longer, watching the army. He had no choice; he had to cross the

enemy lines, somehow. He had to get his men and his son to safety. He owed them that much.

Why on earth had he got involved in this messy family feud in the first place? He should

have known better. No amount of money was worth all of this. He watched as Clovis came

into view. He was easy to pick out against the rest of his men, for no one else wore clothes as

fine as he had on, and he held himself like the commander he was. This wasn’t the first time

the two of them had run into each other, but Merton suspected it would be the last. This time

one of them would die. Merton had a strong suspicion that it wouldn’t be Clovis.

Clovis must have sensed someone watching him because he turned his head to where

Merton lay, not that he could see him, for Merton was well hidden. Still, it would not pay to

linger. Slowly, Merton began to make his way over to Yrre. He would never live it down if he

were caught. Not that he would be kept alive for long if he were. There was no forgiveness

for a man like him, and many would rejoice at his death. And who could blame them?

In the last few years his world had been turned upside down. He had seen things he had

never even imagined, and he had done things that he never thought he would have done. He

had traded his soul for a steady supply of gold. Some now called him the son of the devil,

because you could tell where he had been, for he left fire and destruction in his wake. He was

feared. Which was a good thing. It was what he wanted.

His late father, the once-great Lancelot du Lac, had been an honourable man. Merton had

been told countless times that his father would be rolling in his grave if he could see what his

youngest son had become. Merton had shrugged off such comments, because in the grand

scheme of things, it hardly mattered. His father was dead and he wasn’t coming back anytime

soon. Why should he lose sleep over a dead man’s opinion?

Contrary to popular belief, however, he had not been born a monster. Sometimes, in the

still of the night, he would imagine an alternative life to the one he now lived. He would have

a home. A wife who loved him and whom he loved in return. Children. Peace.

Peace was a foreign word to a man like him, and no woman would want him now. His late

wife certainly had not. She hadn’t wanted their son either. She had called their baby the

devil’s spawn and flatly refused to nurse him. He closed his grey eyes briefly, refusing to

think about her. The bitch had put him off women for life.

Only a handful of people knew why he had become what he had, and why he did what he

did, and even they did not necessarily understand. He owed his brother a debt, and this was

the only way he could see to pay it off."

4) How do you come up with your characters? I know many authors struggle to come up with names. Where do yours originate from?

Few of the characters in The Du Lac Chronicles are based on actual historical figures, such as Cerdic of Wessex – which made life a little easier. As for the other characters in my book, I researched names from the era. I have read many books set in the Dark Ages and I always found it a little disconcerting when I couldn’t pronounce the characters names - I didn’t want to do this with my book. So I chose names that were within keeping with the era, easy to say, and that fit the personalities of my 


5) Do you have any underlying themes in your novels that we should be aware of? We would love to hear what the author intended to show us!

There are many themes and twists in the plot of my novels. I wanted to explore as much of the ‘human’ emotions as I could…so there is love, hate, anger, betrayal, loyalty. I also didn’t want to create ‘supermen’ or ‘superwomen,’ if something bad happens to one of my characters they don’t just drink a glass of ale and move on…they have to deal with what happened to them –just like we do in real life. I guess, I wanted to say to my readers, through my characters, that sometimes, bad things happen to good people, and it is okay to not always be the strong one. On the flip side, who knows what is going to happen in the future, you may be in a desperate situation now, but next week, next month, next year, anything can happen. And the good times may just be around the corner, so hang on in there.

5) What is your most recent addition to the literary world? Tell us about it?
My most recent addition to the literary world is my Young Adult historical romance, The Du Lac Chronicles. The Du Lac Chronicles is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur – 

"AD 495

Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities. Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, and son of the late Lancelot du Lac, has nothing. Betrayed by Cedric, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon witch with her claws in a broken, wounded king. Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain." 

7) I've seen you on Twitter; do you have any other ways we can follow you so that we can keep up to date on your publishing.

You can find me on Facebook

My blog

My website

8) Out of all your novels, which was the hardest to write and why?

I think the hardest novel to write was possibly the first one, because I was really learning the writing craft with this book – which is why it took me so long to publish it!!

9) Out of all your novels, which one do you like the most?

I am really enjoying writing Book 2 at the moment, but I think my first published work will always be my favorite.

10) Finally, what can we expect in the future from you? What aspect/genre will you venture into next?

I am hoping to publish The Du Lac Devil this year and the final installment of the trilogy, next year. I have not really thought as to what I am going to do once I am done with the Du Lac boys, but I will definitely still write in the YA genre…I am just not too sure what about, yet!

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