04 December 2016

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Elisabeth Hobbes on THE SAXON OUTLAW'S REVENGE

This week, we're pleased to welcome author ELISABETH HOBBES with her latest release,  THE SAXON OUTLAW'S REVENGEBe sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's  author interview for a chance to win a digital copy of the novel. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.

At the mercy of her enemy! 

Abducted by Saxon outlaws, Constance Arnaud comes face-to-face with Aelric, a Saxon boy she once loved. He's now her enemy, but Constance must reach out to this rebel and persuade him to save her life as she once saved his…

Aelric is determined to seek vengeance on the Normans who destroyed his family. Believing Constance deserted him, he can never trust her again. Yet, as they are thrown together and their longing for each other reignites, will Aelric discover that love is stronger than revenge?

**Q&A with Elisabeth Hobbes*

What is the elevator pitch for your latest book?

A Norman/Saxon reunion revenge romance.  Enemies - or those who by rights should be enemies - to lovers is one of my favourite tropes.

Do your characters have any basis in fact?

Constance is fictional but Aelric was based on a number of real life figures including Eadric the Wild and Hereward the Wake.  Both were Anglo Saxon noblemen or thegns who resisted the rule of the Normans, though in different parts of the country to where The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge takes place.  These men were among many who took refuge in the countryside after being displaced by the new rulers.  According to history, both Eadric and Hereward did eventually reach a compromise with the Normans and were pardoned, which at least gives Aelric and Constance the hope of a happy ending.

It wasn’t just the Saxons that newly crowned King William had to contend with, but occasionally his own supporters and Constance is set a task of discovering whether her hated brother-in-law Robert de Coudray is involved in possible rebellious behaviour.

Hugh D’Avranches, Constance’s friend who sets her this task in return for helping her gain admittance to a convent is the only historical person.  He was the Palatine Earl of Chester at the time and says early in the book that he would found a holy order himself if it would please Constance, which of course in actual fact he did.

Your last book, The Blacksmith’s Wife, was set in your hometown.  Is your new book also set there?

The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge is set in the area where I now live which is East Cheshire.  In the Domesday book, it is in the Hundred of Hamestan so this is the name I gave to the village where Aelric’s father had been thegn and which Constance’s brother in law, Robert, was granted after the conquest.  It’s an area with stunning scenery, especially around Alderley Edge with a steep sandstone ridge over what would have been thick forest that looks over the vale.  There is evidence of Bronze Age and Roman mining and it makes a perfect place for Aelric and his group of outlaws to hide.

This book is much darker in tone than your previous ones.  Why is that?

It’s a very dark period in history.  Lives and families were destroyed on a wide scale and the political, social and cultural face of England was changed forever in the aftermath of the conquest.   Without wanting to delve too deeply into it - this is a romance after all not a textbook- I wanted to do that justice and show the impact on the lives of different people including the dispossessed men such as Aelric and his companions and the villagers who remained whether they had been now struggling under new rule.  To write a light-hearted story felt like it would diminish the experiences of the people who lived through it but I think there are enough moments of hope and positivity in it too.

The book is released in December.  Is it a Christmas story?

Not at all!  The first chapter takes place in Autumn and the second, seven years later, moves the story to early Spring.  It completely bypasses the festive period.
Having said that, there is a tradition of Christmas stories being dark but ultimately leading to redemption.

Because of her act of mercy towards Aelric at the start of the story, Constance suffers both physical and mental pain and loss in her brutal marriage.  Aelric has lost everything, his home, family and his belief in his own self-worth.  He is driven by revenge, which rarely ends in anything positive.  They are two damaged people struggling to find themselves and each other.  I wanted to offer the suggestion that through reaching an understanding and embracing what we have in common rather than fixating on what divides us, people can come together to build a future- something that at this moment in time seems more important than ever.  In my mind, there isn’t a more Christmassy message than ‘peace on Earth and goodwill to all’.

What next?

I’m writing the story of Roger Danby, the villain from The Blacksmith’s Wife.  He was a fun character to write and towards the end of that book showed that he was not all bad, but Joanna was completely wrong for him.  I want to see him pitched against a heroine who won’t as much hero-worship him as smack him round the head with a soup bowl and make him shape up!

Get your copy of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge now at:

Learn more about author ELISABETH HOBBES at her website.