Bran ap Madog, bastard son of a Welsh prince, has devoted his life to serving the English king. At Edward's behest, he nourishes his reputation for savagery, taking as his badge the raven, a scavenger bird that feeds off rotting spoils. He wants, as his reward for service, the hand of a wealthy wife and the land and power she will bring to his bed.***
When her father and twin brother are murdered, Lady Catrin Fitzalan sets out to learn the truth about the awful rumors. Were they killed by the king's own champion, the vicious King's Raven? She will do anything to protect her remaining family, including switching places with her cousin when the king forces the pious girl into marriage with his wicked champion.
Have you ever had a project that hangs over you for years, begging to be written? My Lord Raven is such a project for me. After writing Tangled Memories, my reincarnation Gothic, in 1994, I knew I could write a medieval romance. Tangled Memories is set in modern times but contains medieval flashbacks.
As a teenager, I had devoured novels by Thomas B. Costain, The Black Rose and The Silver Chalice. I'd read his history books, a four book series on the Plantagenet family. I'd also read and loved Anya Seton's Katherine. In fact, it remains my favorite novel, and I aspire to write as well as Anya Seton some day.
In the 70s, romance was changed by books like The Flame and the Flower and Sweet Savage Love. Of course, I devoured them, but I was young and had small children. Although I dreamed of writing, I was afraid to try. Then in 1988, I almost died. I decided it was now or never, so in 1990, I joined RWA and tried my hand at writing romance.
In 1995 I began initial research for a medieval, getting my feet wet. Anya Seton researched for five years before writing Katherine. The whole idea of historical research boggled my mind. At the library I found a copy of Strongholds and Sanctuaries: The Borderland of England and Wales by Ellis Peters and Roy Morgan. The book fascinated me and I knew I had my setting. Another scholarly book I used was The Lordship of England: Royal Wardships and Marriages in English Society and Politics 1217-1327 by Scott L. Waugh. I found Thomas B. Costain's The Three Edwards through a used bookstore. These are but a few of the many references I consulted.
I was also writing contemporary romance and sold my first book to Kensington in 1998. I wrote about five chapters of The King's Raven, as it was called at the time. It did well in contests, but I never finished it. I continued to write contemporary and the medieval manuscript started gathering dust.
In 2004, I went to a psychic fair, the kind of event where you pay $20 for 10 minutes with a psychic. Of course, I asked about my writing, and the psychic said "finish projects." Completing my medieval was always on my "to do" list. I pulled it out, dusted it off and finished it.
In 2001, Steeple Hill author Renee Ryan and I gave a workshop at RWA in New Orleans about "Perspective, Passion & Persistence: The Three Ps of Success." I'd say persistence is the biggest quality a writer must have, because without it, the book doesn't get written, and if it's not written, it can't be published.
My affiliation with Resplendence Publishing, a new small press that sells digital eBooks and "print on demand," began in 2007. I love working with the publisher and the editors. Rika Singh, an artist from South Africa, has designed a beautiful cover for My Lord Raven. I'm proud I finished the project and thank Resplendence for making my dream come true.
You can find Jan at her Website, Blog, and Myspace, and you can also watch her book video.
Would you like to win a copy of My Lord Raven? Leave a comment or ask Jan a question for your chance. Check back next Sunday to see who won. Good luck! And thanks to Jan for stopping by!