Monday, 25 June 2018

Shining a Light - Authors of Dark Ages Novels: John Broughton

In 2018 I'm featuring other authors who write books set in the so-called 'Dark Ages'. This month, I'm delighted to hand the blog over to guest John Broughton, who will introduce himself and then interview one of his characters:

Hi there, I’m John Broughton, my first historical novel The Purple Thread is available as e-book and paperback from Amazon and was published in 2017 by Endeavour Press. 

As with all my historical novels it is set in the Anglo-Saxon period. My second novel, Wyrd of the Wolf is set mainly in seventh-century Sussex and the Isle of Wight. It contains my own convincing theory as to why Caedwalla’s wound never healed. I would like to interview one of the main characters in this novel – the beautiful, beguiling Cynethryth – Caedwalla’s wife. My next venture after Wyrd of the Wolf was meant at the outset to be a trilogy dealing with the long reign of Aethelbald of Mercia but it transformed into a duology to be published in the summer and the autumn of 2018. 

The first book is entitled Saints and Sinners and deals with the contrasting lives of the young Aethelbald and his best friend Guthlac, who gives up his martial lifestyle to become a hermit and a saint. The sequel, Mixed Blessings follows Aethelbald from his coronation to his murder at the end of his triumphant reign. Finally, I have just completed my fifth novel, Perfecta Saxonia set in the ninth/tenth century. This, as the title implies, deals with the formation of a whole unified Saxon England under the remarkable king, Aethelstan, who fulfills the dream of his grandfather, the great Alfred, who laid the foundations of modern England. Anyone wishing to find out more about our Anglo-Saxon heritage or about the author is welcome to visit my website   or visit my Facebook page devoted to my writing: 


The Interview

J. Hello Cynethryth, nice to have a chat with you: I hope you appreciate how I portrayed you in my novel.
C. I think you tried your best to put me over as a strong and fascinating girl but if I had written my own tale, I would have made it clearer how much my apparent betrayal of my dear father hurt me.

J. But by agreeing to marry Caedwalla, you betrayed not only your father but also your betrothed, the aetheling of Kent.
C. What choice did I have? I thought my father was dead and I realised when I met Caedwalla that I could love no other man. anyway, he wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer.

J. Do you think the book could have worked with you as a minor character?
C. How could it? Isn’t the main theme about betrayal and forgiveness. In the end, love triumphs even if you snatched Caedwalla away from me.

J. Me? No, I just related the facts. He was doomed from the moment his wound was infected. Give me credit, Cynethryth. Some people have portrayed Caedwalla as a blood-thirsty monster. I think I’ve shown the better side of his character – courageous, coherent, intelligent and loving.
C. There’s truth in that but there's one thing I’d criticise you for.

J. What’s that? 
C.You reconcile me with my father and take me home from Rome to the Isle of Wight but leave me at that point. Remember, I was carrying Caedwalla’s child and you don’t bother with the rest of my life or the child’s.

J. It’s hardly my fault if you didn’t remarry with someone important and get mixed up again in the major events of the period.
C. Aren’t you interested in the ordinary life of men and women?

J. Of course, and to be fair, those things appear in my novels but I’m not the type of writer who can make a book out of historical romance – I really feel, with the utmost respect, it is best left to a lady writer.
C. Mmm. Maybe but you certainly knew how to make me fall in love with Caedwalla – you did quite well for a man!

J. You know what, Cynethryth? I fell more than a little in love with you myself.

Wyrd of the Wolf

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