Friday, May 13, 2011
Posted by Sandy Cody
A while back, I commented on someone’s post on this blog by saying kudos. Beate, our resident linguist, sent me a friendly email asking about the origin and exact meaning of the word. I realized I know generally that kudos means accolades – kind of like good job or well done (sounds like a turkey, doesn’t it?). Beate and I exchanged a few more emails, had some fun playing with the word and then I forgot all about it until a couple of days ago when I left a comment on Lis’s post about winning contests, ending with … you guessed it … kudos. I decided if I was going to use (over-use?) the word, I really should know more about it.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Posted by Rebecca L. Boschee
Today I have the pleasure of talking to fellow Avalon author Teresa Swift who released Knight’s Ardor, her first novel with Avalon, in April.
Twelfth-century England is an untamed land of medieval strongholds, forests, and
Feudalism. In a country where a battle over the throne leaves the nobles of the land free to fight amongst themselves for power, Rosamund Galleia, daughter of a lesser nobleman, is sent to become a lady-in-waiting at Duloe Castle. When battle with an unruly neighbor seems inevitable, the lord of the manor calls upon his most trusted man-at-arms to help defend his province. That man is Alexander Ringewar, a loyal knight and reticent heir to an earldom.
Rosamund feels a powerful attraction to Alexander but struggles against her feelings. In a world of arranged marriages and political unions, a girl of minor nobility should not dream of a future with such a high-ranking noble, especially one who is uncompromisingly wedded to his chivalric duty. – Knight’s Ardor, Teresa Swift
Congratulations on your April release! Knight’s Ardor is your first novel with Avalon. Tell us in your own words what it’s about.
Thank you for the congratulations! Knight’s Ardor is a story set in England in medieval times, in which my heroine, Rosamund, daughter of a minor noble, falls for Alexander, an incredibly handsome but emotionally distant knight living at the castle where she has been sent as a lady-in-waiting. Rosamund’s love is thwarted both by her more lowly social ranking and by Alexander’s deep commitment to his knightly calling but each time they meet her feelings grow stronger…
What inspired you to write a novel set in a castle in 12th century England?
Well I live in England and there are medieval castles – or the sites of ruined ones – dotted about all over the place. I love visiting them, they’re so steeped in history, so the setting came pretty naturally to me. I chose to place the story in the 12th century as I just wanted to visit a period that isn’t written about so often in historical romances.
England sounds like a very romantic place to live! What is your favorite scene in the novel?
I like the scene where Rosamund and Alexander have an archery contest in the woods. My hero shows he has a sense of humour and a light-hearted side, and my heroine gets a chance to demonstrate an unusual talent. I do like giving my heroines a chance to show off!
How fun! I hope she beats him at it at least some of the time. You have an interesting background—a degree in psychology. Do you use your education and experience in psychology when developing your characters and plotting their action?
I’m not sure that I do, although I suppose I might do without realising it.
Carry on with that thought. If you were giving Rosamund and Alexander a Rorschach inkblot test, what would be the first thing they see?
Great question! They are both extremely good riders so I expect they’d see a fine horse!
I have a feeling many of your readers would see a fine knight on a fine horse. Who is your favorite hero in fiction and why?
If it’s fiction generally, rather than romance, then it has to be ‘prot’ in Gene Brewer’s K-Pax trilogy. He’s such a unique character. Is he an alien traveller or just an extremely damaged psychiatric patient? Either way, his effect on his fellow patients is miraculous. If we’re talking romantic fiction then I adore the Duke of Queensford in Rona Randall’s ‘The Arrogant Duke’. Despite his rakish reputation and intimidating manner, he’s loyal, sympathetic to modernity and, most importantly, he’s ready to be bowled over by the right woman…
I’m on board with the rakish Duke. What about a favorite villain?
He’s not exactly a villain but Jilly Cooper’s Rupert Campbell-Black character in ‘Riders’ is the ultimate bad boy who can deliver a cracking one-liner at the drop of a hat. He couldn’t care less what the people around him think of him.
I understand you have three young children. You've got your hands full! What tips would you give to other writers out there trying to balance work, family life and writing?
I’ve learnt that there simply isn’t time to do everything so it’s a question of what you choose to prioritise. I wrote ‘Knight’s Ardor’ in the evenings instead of collapsing on the sofa and watching TV but I find writing relaxing so it was a fairly easy swap. I set myself a goal of writing a thousand words a night, three or four nights a week. After a writing night I was always behind on the endless washing, cleaning and tidying of domestic life but that’s the compromise. Oh and I would also firmly recommend having a husband who is very ‘hands-on’ around the house and with the children, which I am fortunate enough to have!
Tell us about any other projects you’re currently working on.
I’ve just finished writing up my PhD thesis so I haven’t had much time for writing fiction recently, but I am halfway through a romance novella set in Victorian England which I have just managed to start working on again.
You really do have your hands full! Where can readers learn more about you or keep in touch?
I’m afraid I’m wildly behind the times when it comes to self-promotion. I can only say watch this space!
We’re glad to have you in this space and watch it we will! Thank you for your time, Teresa, and congratulations, again. Blog readers, if you’d like to check out Knight’s Ardor or other Avalon books, visit your local library, BN.com, Amazon.com, or Borders.com. You can also order directly from Avalon Books.
About the Author
Teresa Swift was born in London and currently lives in Bristol, England, with her husband and three young children. She has a master's degree in psychology and works as a healthcare researcher. She loves summer, socializing, singing, reading, and writing! She loves animals and always does her recycling.
Knight's Ardor is Teresa's first book for AVALON.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Posted by Elisabeth Rose
When I first started writing romance I entered one major Australian romance writing contest, The Valerie Parv Award. The prize is fantastic--a year's worth of mentoring with Valerie Parv, one of the most successful authors for Mills and Boon and a very good tutor. Needless to say I was positive my story would dazzle and amaze everyone, Valerie included and needless to say it didn't. I received my first ever feedback as a writer and while the judges said some positive things I had gaping holes in my plot and characterisations.