Today I am delighted to welcome to the blog the historical fiction author
Anna is the author of several historical fiction novels.
The first two books in The King's Greatest Enemy series are out now.
Hi and welcome to Jaffareadstoo Anna. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you started as an author?
“A little” is always relative, isn’t it? But very briefly I am Swedish, grew up in South America, attended English schools – and spent most of my childhood moping because I wasn’t born in medieval times (preferably as a rich somebody). So, seeing as I was stuck in the 20th century, I put pen to paper and transported myself back in time by writing stories. I am not sure those early efforts qualify as the start of a writing career, but I have been writing ever since…
Where did you get the first flash of inspiration for The King’s Greatest Enemy Series?
I was eleven and had a somewhat choleric if passionate history teacher. He had a major thing about the Maya Indians – and about Edward II. Well, maybe not so much about Edward, whom he dismissed as a sadly weak successor to daddy Edward I, as about the lurid legends concerning how Edward II died. “Hogwash”, he’d say, before expending quite some time explaining just why it would be very, very difficult to kill someone with a red hot poker up their nether parts.
Anyway, all of this made me read more and more about the period, and as a young teenager I stumbled upon Maurice Druon’s “Les rois maudits”, which is an excellent take on the period, albeit that it focuses on France rather than England.
Will you explain to us a little more about the plot of this second book without giving too much away?
We are in 14th century England. Edward II is king, Roger Mortimer is disgruntled, royal favourite Hugh Despenser is nasty, Queen Isabella has had it, and in the midst of all this mess, my fictional protagonist Adam de Guirande with wife Kit have to navigate a political quagmire that can lead to death and ruin for them both.
When you start a new series do you have an idea where the series will finish, or does the story evolve as you go a long?
In this specific case, I had a very definite ending: late in the year 1330. That is not always the case, and my other series started out as “a book” and ended up being eight (with a ninth as WIP).
Your books are a mixture of historical fact and fiction, how much research do you do in order to bring the stories to life?
A lot. I read books about the period, biographies of the relevant people, etc. I end up being very distracted at times, like when I spent several days reading about the beguines, a fascinating religious lay order which offered a sort of haven to women who neither wanted to marry or commit to the life of a nun. (See? I’m still distracted by them…)
Would you consider yourself to be a historian or are you more of a writer who likes history?
A writer who LOVES history and would dearly love to travel back in time to visit.
What are the upsides and downsides of writing historical fiction?
The upside is that I get to spend a lot of time in the past – with my characters. The downside is that historical fiction is sometimes considered “difficult”, i.e. it may not attract quite so many readers. Personally, I think historical fiction is a very broad definition, encompassing all sort of genres which have one single thing in common: they’re set in the past.
Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
Edith Pargeter, Sharon K Penman, Nigel Tranter, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sigrid Undset, Vilhelm Moberg (Swedish author)
What’s coming next in The King’s Greatest Enemy Series?
The next book Under the Approaching Dark is planned for late April 2017, with the final book in the series, The Cold Light of Dawn, coming either very late 2017 or early 2018.
More about the author can be found on her website by clicking here
Follow Anna on Twitter @Anna_Belfrage or on her blog
Find the books on Amazon
Huge thanks to Anna for sharing the first two books in this series with me.
Jaffa and I wish you continued success with your work and look forward to the continuation of the story in Under the Approaching Dark.