Blog 101 29/08/2020 A LITERARY WORLD: An Interview with Mary Anne Yarde
A LITERARY WORLD
An Interview with Mary Anne Yarde
My guest today is someone many of you may be familiar with. Mary Anne Yarde is the multi-award-winning author of The Du Lac Chronicles. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed. On top of this she is also the award-winning blogger of The Coffee Pot Book Club which has been promoting quality fiction since 2015. As you see, she is one busy lady and I admire her not only for her own work, but for her work in promoting and encouraging other authors.
Welcome, Mary Anne, it’s great to have you with us. Tell us about your background? When did you decide to become an author?
It is such an honour to be with you on A Literary World today.
I was born in Bath and grew up surrounded by the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset — the famous town of Glastonbury was a mere 15 minutes from my childhood home. Glastonbury is a little bit unique in the sense that it screams Arthurian Legend. Even the road sign that welcomes you into Glastonbury says: “Welcome to Glastonbury. The Ancient Isle of Avalon.”
Which I think is probably the coolest road sign I have ever seen!
England is a land rich in history but also mythology, and I was fascinated by both from a really young age.
I can’t remember when I decided to become an author, I always liked writing stories, but I think it was when I become a little obsessed with Arthurian Legend that the idea for The Du Lac Chronicles series began to take shape in my mind. My first book in the series was published in 2015, which was a fantastic experience. There are now five books available on Amazon, and I am currently working on the 6th.
What are your novels about and where are they set?
The Du Lac Chronicles tells the story of what happened after the death of King Arthur. It follows Lancelot du Lac’s sons as they try to navigate an increasingly dangerous Saxon world. The books are set in the 6th Century, and although they are primarily set in Cornwall and Brittany, my characters also spend time in Wales, France, Germany and The Holy Lands.
Can you tell us about your latest novel?
My latest novel – The Du Lac Curse (Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles) continues the story of the House of Du Lac. I can’t tell you too much, because I don’t want to give any spoilers!
What sort of research did the stories require?
All of the books in my series required a lot of research — my bookshelf is overflowing with non-fiction books about The Dark Ages in Britain, France, Brittany, and Jerusalem. As with most historical fiction authors, I spend more time researching the era than writing about it. But there is only so much that books can offer. As the majority of my story is set in Cornwall, which is only a couple of hours away from where I live, I do like to visit the locations, described in my books, so I can soak up all the atmosphere.
What was the most surprising thing you discovered when researching?
I think my most significant discovery while researching the Du Lac Chronicles was when I stumbled upon Saint Sampson of Dol. I had never heard of him before, but he was one of the seven saints of Brittany, and he had the most extraordinary life. He founded many monasteries, and of course, he had a skill for unearthing the demonic and sending it away. He even saved a king from being poisoned! Saint Sampson really fascinates me, and he plays a significant part in my story of kingdoms and kings.
Are the characters based on real people?
Some of the characters are indeed based on people who lived in the era my books are set in. The problem with depicting these characters is a lack of primary written historical sources for Britain and especially Brittany — It would be almost another 300 years before The Anglo- Saxon Chronicles were penned. Researching the period I write about (the late 6th Century) is a little like trying to study in the dark with a candle that is about to go out. It really is a Dark Age!
The reason for this lack of historical evidence is because of a series of unfortunate events. The Dark Ages is known as the time of the lost manuscripts. With regards to Brittany, many manuscripts were lost to those raiding Vikings. In Britain, some valuable sources were lost during Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Abbeys, more still during The English Civil War. Then there was the tragic burring of the Cotton Library (1731) — this library was not only vast, but it was also of great national significance. The French Revolution was another disaster for historians who area of interest is the early medieval periods. The closest we can get to primary written source is the work of Gildas, Bede and Nennius, but they are very biased accounts, although absolutely fascinating.
The Du Lac Chronicles series follows the life of Budic II of Brittany. His story is an enthralling one, and I have spent many hours researching his life, and then researching the people that it is said he had interactions with — It is almost like going on a giant treasure hunt, and I never know who I am going to dig up next. But their stories are begging to be told, and it is an honour to tell them.
Do you think fiction helps us understand the past?
It certainly does. Historical Fiction is not a dry text book. You can experience what it was like to live through an era by the protagonists and the antagonists that you meet in these stories.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do to chill out?
When I am not writing or working over on The Coffee Pot Book Club, I like to chill with my family.
My great uncle introduced me to the Impressionists when I was a little girl – he adored the paintings by Claude Monet, and for that reason, I do as well. Although whereas my great uncle had loved those water lilies, I was to became rather attached to the haystacks series!
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on The Du Lac Enemy (Book 6 of The Du Lac Chronicles).
Excerpt from The Du Lac Curse (Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
The air inside of the church smelled of myrrh, as well as the frightened sweat of the nuns and the monks who were knelt with their heads bowed in desperate prayer. Outside this sacred building, the Evil One played, but here there was only God.
Sister Helena lit the altar candles, her fingers shaking. She stood back for a moment and watched the tiny flames as they fought against the darkness that threatened to consume them all.
A child whimpered but was quickly shushed. It would not do for the child to be discovered, for Sister Helena knew that the Evil One had no respect for the sanctuary of this church or any church for that matter. He only needed an excuse to rip the door off its hinges and violate this sacred place with his foul presence.
Outside, a man screamed, and a horse whinnied in terror. The smell of smoke drifted through the tiny gap at the bottom of the doors and mingled with the scent of the myrrh. Someone hammered on the door, but the nuns and the monks paid it no heed and continued to pray. Only Sister Helena turned to look.
They had barricaded the doors as best as they could. But the barricade would only last for so long. And if those outside really wanted to get in, then there was not an awful lot they could do to stop them. They had no weapons — not that they would have known how to use them if they did. They would be slaughtered. Sister Helena knew this for she had seen such things before. She had lived through such things before. But this time it was different. Very different. Tonight, there was an evil moon, which looked down from an indifferent sky. Many would die. Perhaps they all would. The child whimpered again as she hid under Sister Mary-Sarah’s habit. If the child were discovered, then she too would be killed, for that was what happened to the children of a king who had been usurped. But Rozen had only just turned four, and she did not understand what was happening. How does one go about telling a child that
her father had been poisoned and her mother, who had so daringly tried to reach her children, had been taken prisoner? The soldiers must not find this little one. It was bad enough that her younger baby brother had been taken captive. Sister Helena knew only too well what his fate would be. She just prayed that Jowan, Alden du Lac’s eldest son and heir, would make it to safety. But even if he did, he would still be hunted. No son of Alden’s would ever be allowed to live. For the boy would be a great threat when he grew up and sought revenge. And he would seek it.
The Du Lac Curse
(Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
By Mary Anne Yarde
God against Gods. King against King. Brother against Brother.
Mordred Pendragon had once said that the sons of Lancelot would eventually destroy each other, it seemed he was right all along.
Garren du Lac knew what the burning pyres meant in his brother’s kingdom — invasion. But who would dare to challenge King Alden of Cerniw for his throne? Only one man was daring enough, arrogant enough, to attempt such a feat — Budic du Lac, their eldest half-brother.
While Merton du Lac struggles to come to terms with the magnitude of Budic’s crime, there is another threat, one that is as ancient as it is powerful. But with the death toll rising and his men deserting who will take up the banner and fight in his name? Please note: The Du Lac Curse contains Adult Content and scenes that some readers may find very upsetting. The Du Lac Curse is not a standalone novel.
Thank you so much for allowing a glimpse into your world, Mary Anne. It’s been an honour to have you with us. The era you write about is certainly a fascinating one, and the view from Tintagel Castle is spectacular. I also love the Monet painting. On behalf of my readers, I wish you continued success.
Buy Link for the series:
Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your world, Mary Anne.
If you missed the other blogs in this series about award-winning writers and bloggers who enthusiastically encourage and promote other authors, here are the links: