It's Monday again and I'm privileged to have two authors today--Chris Power and Terri Beckett, co-authors of Nettleflower. Chris and Terri live in Great Britain, Terri is North Wales and Chris in southwest England. Nettleflower takes place in the area in between where they live so that worked out well! Well, we'll get to the book in a moment. In the meantime, let's get to know the ladies, shall we?
1) If you could start over with your writing career, what if anything would you change?
(T) Technology. Wish we'd had computers sooner!
[C] Oh, God, yes! I second that. Ah, the Good Old Days, when writing a novel meant playing hunt-and-peck on a manual typewriter. Now that was a real test of creative staying power!
2) What was the best piece of advice you received regarding the life of a writer?
(T) Just write. Doesn't matter if anyone is going to read it. Write!
[C] I agree - write, and then read through and polish it. The first draft is just that :)
3) If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
(T) Alexander the Great. Charismatic, brilliant, all-round superstar...
[C]...Paranoid megalomaniac, and tasty as well... For me it would be Richard III, a much maligned king who seemed to have had a fascinating mind and no political savvy at all.
4) If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
(T) Really tough to pick just one.. Okay, I'd love to meet Rhiow, from Diane Duane's 'Cat Wizards' series.
[C] Duncan, the principal human character in C.J. Cherryh's Faded Sun Trilogy - stubborn, honorable, proud, confidant and loyal.
5) What do you want to be when you grow up?
(T) Which will be when? I want to be a writer people remember. Rich would also be nice, but I'd like people to remember what I've written with enjoyment.
[C] Grow up...? Um, I hope that doesn't happen any time soon - I'm having too much fun. It would be great to be a successful writer, of course. Maybe have some of our titles made into TV mini-series...
6) In the next century, what do you hope people will remember you for?
(T) Oh, boy... If anyone still remembers me then, let it be as a person of character, of integrity to my craft -- and as a person they'd like to have met!
[C] "Chris Power? You remember her, that kind of crazy-in-a-nice-way Englishwoman who wrote *those* books..." "Oh, yes! She was really nice, and a damn-good writer. She made me laugh--and cry."
Nettleflower by Terri Beckett and Chris Power from Cerridwen Press
It is a sad thing to admit, but I think that American schools in general do a poor job of teaching history and geography for countries outside of the United States. For all I know now they may not do such a good job on the history of our own country, what with testing and all the other responsibilities that teachers have laid on them. That's a shame as there is a rich tapestry of characters and events outside out own narrow little world.
In Nettleflower, Terri and Chris have presented us with a fascinating snapshot of Saxon-Welsh politics and history almost a thousand years ago told through the eyes of Leofric, a Saxon lord on the Welsh border and Dafydd, a bard and Welsh spy. There are, of course, love interests for both of them--Regan and Edwina--but this story is truly the tale of the two men and their thorny relationship.
Leofric, a recent widower still sunk in grief only becomes aware again of his responsibilities when Dafydd arrives with his music and stories. Dafydd for his part is a bard torn between friendly feelings for the Saxons in the household where he's staying and the increasing burden of loyalty to the Welsh.
Their women have their own difficulties and decisions to make. Such is the state of things when Regan and her fellow travellers including Dafydd are caught in a snowstorm and must take shelter at Leofric's steading.
Old prejudices often fall under the pressure of one-to-one friendship and that was the case with Leofric and Dafydd. Two men, each with his own hurts and past baggage, shed their anger and hate to become fast friends. It was not without cost. But nothing worthwhile ever is.
I know very little about the historical background of this book, though probably a little more than my average fellow citizens. I have long worked on my family history (and my husband's) and it turns out that his ancestors were in the thick of things in this area and time period so the names of the historical figures were familiar. I have the sneaking suspicion that I missed out on some of the political nuances, though that certainly didn't affect my enjoyment of the book!
The richly textured background, the wonderful vocabulary and dialogue, the intricate weaving of the two romances within the framework of the men's friendship all came together in a most satisfying tale with a lovely ending. If you want a truly entertaining read, then dash out and get your own copy of Nettleflower from Cerridwen Press.
By now, I suspect that you've checked out Kelly's entry to the Crazy Blog Serial. If not, you've missed out on quite a surprise and challenge http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/ . And then hop over to Amarinda's for her reply... http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/