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Monday, 21 September 2015

All At Sea... (Part One)

 ....With Indie B.R.A.G and Anna Belfrage (and my own Jesamiah Acorne)

To celebrate Indie B.R.A.G's Book Blitz Week (where they are promoting some of their top B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees) the author of the timeslip Graham Saga Series, Anna Belfrage and I have been asked to talk about sea travel in the late 1600's.

Indie B.R.A.G. 
"Our mission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves."

Because this post is somewhat long I've split it into two parts 
see details of  Part Two  below

1661 The second in Anna Belfrage's timeslip series, Like Chaff In The Wind features time traveller Alexandra Lind and her 17th century husband, Matthew Graham. Matthew committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother's nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour - a death sentence more or less. He arrives in Virginia in May 1661, and any hope of someone willing to listen to his tale of abduction is quickly extinguished. He also realises that no one has ever survived the seven years of service.

Fortunately, Matthew has a remarkable wife who has no intention of letting her husband die. Alex sets off on a perilous journey to bring him home. She prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, but what should have been a two month crossing turns into a year long voyage. Will she find him in time? If she does, will she be capable of paying the price to buy him free? And will she survive sailing across the Atlantic Ocean?
* * * 

An Interview With Anna Belfrage

Tell us, briefly, about the Graham Saga : The first book in the series is titled A Rip In The Veil and there are eight books in all. It’s the story of two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him. But once they do meet, it’s inconceivable to either of them to live without each other, and so Alex remains in the 17th century where she and her husband live through one harrowing adventure after the other.

What gave you the idea for it? : I wanted to write about the religious persecution in 17th century Scotland – after the Restoration. It wasn't supposed to be a series – even less to have a time-travelling woman as the female protagonist – but once Alex gate-crashed the party, Matthew was adamant: he wanted her, or he’d refuse to cooperate.

Alex is very feisty and capable – do you think she coped well with ‘Time Travel’ or was it always a bit of a nightmare for her? : I think falling through time was a terrible experience for her. And once she finds Matthew, she lives with the constant, niggling fear that Time may somehow attempt to reclaim her. But as to finding her feet in the 17th century, yes, it was difficult at first, but Alex is good at adapting.

Matthew is a handsome guy (I don’t blame Alex for falling for him) Would he have coped, do you think if he had been the one to fall forward in time? : No. Matthew is very much a product of his time – and he’d be utterly bewildered in a world he had no preparation for. It’s like Isaac says in one of the books, that a modern person falling backwards in time at least has some perception of what the past was like, while falling the other way is truly leaping into the unknown. Besides, Matthew’s skills are not ones we need all that much today, and he’d be uncomfortable living in such a secular society. To Matthew, God is a given – and boy, do he and Alex have heated discussions about that one…

What one of the series was the hardest to write? : None of the books have been hard. But some of the scenes - both in book three and six, as well as in book eight – there are scenes that have cost me more tears than there’s water in the Niagara Falls (ok; slight exaggeration)

What one the easiest? : The third book. Probably because this was the original storyline, and I’d spent so many years reading up on it.

Every author has a favourite scene. Yours? : I've several, but seeing as we’re on the topic of sea travel – and specifically Alex’s search for Matthew  I thought this would be a good choice:

    Matthew turned towards the voice. Obey, he reminded himself, always obey. After the flogging he had become pathetically docile, a beast that went wherever he was pointed, and now he shuffled towards Jones hoping that it wouldn’t be too much additional work, because he was too tired, too hungry, and some days all he wanted was to lie down and never rise again.
    He no longer allowed himself to hope, never looked in the direction of the road, and every now and then he asked God to take him soon, not leave him to die piece by piece in this unbearable existence. And yet... there were still moments when his head rang with her laughter, when she danced before his eyes, and in her blue, blue gaze he could see just how much she loved him. These fragmented images filled him with quiet joy, a conviction that he had to live through at least one more day, a week, a month.
    Matthew came to a silent stop in front of Jones. His foot throbbed, and he threw a look at the soiled bandage that he’d wrapped around it in an attempt to protect the gash where a hoe had sunk into it, just below his ankle.
    Jones flicked his riding crop against his buck hide breeches. Once, twice, thrice the leather cracked, and every time Matthew had to force himself not to flinch.
    “You have a visitor,” Jones informed him.
Matthew kept his eyes on the ground. He’d seen Jones play this particular game far too many times to fall for it, and he wasn’t about to give anyone the pleasure of seeing first hope, then disappointment, wash across his face.
    “Your new owner,” Jones clarified and lifted his whip in the direction of the curing barns. A new owner? Apprehension rushed through him, and he raised his face to look in the direction Jones was pointing.
    Had he been alone he might have tried to call her name or even broken into a run. Now all he could do was stand absolutely still as the ground under him seemed to sway and fold, praying silently to the good Lord that she not be a mirage, please God, not that.
    “Go on!” Jones barked, unfreezing him. “Get yourself over to her, now. I have instructions to see you off the property immediately.” At Matthew’s continued immobility, he raised his hand in a threatening gesture, and Matthew, to his shame, cringed and began to move.
    He was acutely aware of how he must look through her eyes; dressed in rags, dirty and unkempt, his hair and heavy beard crawling with lice. And that was only on the outside, the damage to his inside was far, far worse.
    He stumbled towards her. He must seem a scarecrow, stick thin limbs protruding from what little was left of his breeches and shirt. He tried to lengthen his stride, swayed like a reed, and almost fell.      His knees buckled, he had to stop, take a breath, take two.
  He looked at her from under the fringe of matted hair, and she was just as he remembered her, all the way from the unruly curls escaping constraints of cap and braid, to the way she smiled, arms held out. She had come! His Alex was here, her eyes uncommonly dark and brimming with tears.
   Matthew lifted his face, stretched his uncooperative lips into a smile. He heard her loud intake of breath, and here she came, the lace cap fluttering to the ground as she ran towards him. She crashed into him, and only her quick reactions saved them both from tumbling to the ground. His Alex; so warm, so strong and full of life. Her arms wrapped themselves around him, she said his name, she wept and laughed. Matthew closed his eyes, stuck his nose in her hair and inhaled.

So what’s next now that the falling star (the last book in the series is titled Catch A Falling Star) has been caught and the Graham Saga has ended? : *sniffs loudly, reaches for a tissue* Well, as a matter of fact, Matthew and Alex are not quite done with me – and thank heavens for that! But other than that, my next series is halfway done and the first book of four (I think it’s four) will be published on November 1st 2015. This series is set in 14th century England, my hero being a fictional character named Adam de Guirande who is one of Sir Roger Mortimer’s more capable and loyal knights. As we all know, things did not end well for Mortimer. I sure hope Adam will not share his fate…

The Time : The Golden Age of Piracy - 1716. 
The Place : The Pirate Round - from the South African Coast to the Islands of the Caribbean.

    Escaping the bullying of his elder half brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves - his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crew mates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.
    He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes - until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain death, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she really is; a healer, a midwife - and a white witch.
    When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship - the Sea Witch - is put in Jesamiah's path he must make a choice between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both, but others want him dead. In trouble, imprisoned in the darkness and stench that is the lowest part of a ship, can Tiola with her gift of Craft save him.
    But first she must brave the ocean depths to confront Tethys, the Spirit of the Sea, an elemental who will stop at nothing to claim Jesamiah's soul and bones as a trophy.

Buy Like Chaff  In The Wind 
On Kindle: £3.49 ...  $5.41
In Paperback:  ...

Buy Sea Witch

On Kindle: £3.48  ... $5.43
In Paperback: ...

Anna's Website  : Blog Facebook  : Twitter @Anna_Belfrage

Helen's Website : Facebook : Twitter @HelenHollick

Indie B.R.A.G.  Website  :  Facebook

End of Part One
click HERE for Part Two

 *A brief look at Life At Sea
* A very special additional 'story'!


  1. Thank you for allowing me to drop by...I should have brought the rum, right?

    1. No probably not re the rum Anna - I'm hoping his Lordship will co-operate with a couple of chapters for the next book this afternoon! :-)

  2. A party without me? No, never!
    I need a jug of rum after reading the sorrow of 2 of my favorited fictional (?) characters-

  3. Rum is pretty good!!! great feature...!!!


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