28 August 2011

Guest Blog: Lindsay Townsend

This week, we're welcoming historical romance author and regular contributor, Lindsay Townsend, as she celebrates the release of her latest novel, TO TOUCH THE KNIGHT, from Kensington Zebra. Lindsay is giving away a copy! Here's the blurb:

As a pestilence sweeps medieval England, a low-born woman has only the sharpness of her wits—and the courage of her heart…Edith of Warren Hemlet plays a dangerous game. At the knights’ tourneys across the land, among the lords and ladies, she is a strange foreign princess. But in the privacy of her tent with the other survivors of her village, she is but a smith’s widow with a silver tongue. They are well-fed, but if discovered, the punishment is death. And one knight—fierce, arrogant, and perilously appealing—is becoming far too attentive…

Sir Ranulf of Fredenwyke cares little for tourneys: playing for ladies’ favors, when his own lady is dead; feasting, while commoners starve; “friendly” combat, when he has seen real war. Still, one lady captivates him—mysterious in her veils and silks, intoxicating with her exotic scents and bold glances. Yet something in her eyes reminds him of home…and draws him irresistibly to learn her secrets…

***An Interview with Lindsay Townsend***

Your historicals are set in the ancient world and the Middle Ages. If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I would love to have been alive in the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria during the 1st or 2nd centuries. To browse in that amazing library! Or, like my Flavia in Flavia's Secret, I would have seized the chance to bathe in the Roman baths of Aquae Sulis and see the whole healing and religious site. Sarmatia, my heroine in Bronze Lightning, fulfills my own wish when she sees Stonehenge and Avebury as they were in the Bronze Age. She also helps a metalsmith to create the wonderful treasures of the Bush Barrow Hoard, something I would like to attempt, if only in a more modest way.

During the Middle Ages, I wish I could have seen the great Arabian cities and seats of learning and culture, or hear the scholars debate at the University of Bologna. It would have been fascinating to be a courtier at the Duc de Berry's court or a Knight of the Garter at the court of Edward III. More likely I would have been a peasant woman, working I hope in a part of England where the dues to my lord were light.  I would happily settle to be a craftswoman, perhaps working in a free town, or a lady whose fortune would not tempt greedy barons to invade my lands.This more modest world is one I enjoy exploring in my 'knight' books, including To Touch The Knight.

What do you most enjoy about writing historical romance?

I really enjoy writing tender, getting-to-know-you scenes in my books, including the historical romances. I relish the differences in culture and beliefs that are part of historical romance and enjoy using the morals and customs of a particular time to add tension and throw obstacles in the way of my heroes and heroines. Events shape my historical characters and they in turn share happenings and adventures. Sometimes I use situations from the direct historical record, such as the tense coronation of William I in A Knight's Captive, or the customs of the world of the tourney in A Knight's Enchantment and To Touch The Knight.

What, apart from reading, influences your work?

Nature - I love the British countryside. I have a semi-wild garden filled with primroses, cowslips, bluebells, St John's Wort, old roses, marigolds, cherries, apples and plums. I go walking in woodland to relax and to be inspired. I watch the birds and animals and think about the animals that use to thrive in our woods, such as the wild boar.  (In parts of the south of England, by the way, wild boar are coming back.)

Music also influences my work. I listen to certain pieces and for some reason pictures and scenes play in my head. It must be simply how my mind works.

Television and radio can also be wonderful windows on the world, sharing all kinds of information that I can adapt and feed into my own stories.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm trying to promote my recently published To Touch the Knight. I've also just finished the proof-reading on one novel and returned the edits to another story. At present I'm working on scanning my previously published romantic suspense Voices in the Dark, for re-issue on Smashwords.

What do you have coming out next?

I have a romantic suspense, Palace of the Fountains, appearing this month. This is a modern story set in Spain, but it has its roots in the past.

Thank you for having me at Unusual Historicals today!

Lindsay Townsend

Thank you, Lindsay! Remember, leave a comment to win a free copy of TO TOUCH THE KNIGHT!