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Saturday 16 April 2016

N is for...(A) Newfound Land

Click Here for a list of other A-Zers
A Newfound Land

Throughout April I have invited 26 authors who had been selected as Editor's Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
 to help me out with the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge...

Except to be a little different I interviewed 
their leading Character/s...

Today's Character is from :

HH : Hello! I believe you exist in Anna Belfrage’s  novel – what is the title of the book, and would you like to introduce yourself - who you are, what you do etc?
Hi Helen, I’m Alex Graham and let me start by saying how nice it is to finally meet you – any chance of having a brief tête-à-tête with you pirate, that gorgeous Jesamiah fellow? No? Too bad. (Alex - call back in a couple of day's time .. P will be for Pirate Code...) It’s just that Anna goes on and on about him…Anyway: very briefly about me, I’m the protagonist of Anna’s A Newfound Land (the fourth of The Graham Saga) – together with my husband, Matthew. I should never have met Matthew, seeing as he was born three centuries before me, but as I tend to repeat ad nauseam he’s the single, biggest benefit to having been dragged back in time. And no, before you ask, I do NOT want to time travel again. Ever. Instead, I want to remain here in my new time with my new family, even if at times the sheer drudgery of life in the 17th century gets to me. I seem to work non-stop from the moment I get up to the moment I fall into bed.

HH : Where and when are you? (i.e. time and place of the novel) Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
I am a created character – but if you ask Anna, she’d say I’m as real as they come. Let’s just say I am very, very good at making my presence felt in Anna’s head. In A Newfound Land I am fortunate enough to remain in the 17th century throughout – and in Maryland.

HH. In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
In A Newfound Land Matthew and I have only recently arrived in Maryland, having fled religious persecution in Scotland. Establishing ourselves as settlers in the inland wilderness of Maryland is not a walk in the park, let me tell you, even less so when one has to deal with Indians, unexpected guests from our past (and future) and the horrible, horrible Burley brothers. Violence simmers under the surface, and here was I hoping that by moving to this brave new world we’d find some peace of mind…

HH :  I ‘met’ my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne on a beach in Dorset, England -  how did your author meet up with you? (i.e what gave your author the idea to write about you)
She met up with Matthew first, I think. Anna tends to be a bit vague about this, probably because I have to suppress a desire to claw her eyes out whenever she gazes at my husband as if he’s hers. Well, I suppose he is hers in a way – but not in that way. Anyway, Matthew popped up as a consequence of Anna researching the history of her husband’s family – they fled Scotland for Sweden in the 17th century due to religious persecutions. But to add some spice to the story – and ensure Matthew didn’t develop into a rigid bore – she decided he needed me in his life. I was already lurking about in her head by then, a young woman in tight jeans *looks down at her heavy woollen skirts and sighs. Loudly.* with a yearning for adventure. I never said I wanted to time travel. In fact, I don’t believe one can time travel, but there you are, here I am – with my Matthew.

HH : Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you - husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one?
Other than me, Matthew is the protagonist of The Graham Saga. Dark-haired, tall and gifted with the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen – they’re a light hazel, shifting between gold and green – he is a devout Presbyterian which at times leads to quite the spirited discussions. Quarrels, Matthew would call them: I call them an interchange of ideas. He is also – unsurprisingly – rather old-fashioned, and like almost everybody else in this time and age he is of the opinion that it is the husband who has final say on most things. However, years of rubbing along with me have taught him it is smarter to involve me than exclude me, and only rarely does he commit the mistake of taking decisions over my heads. Like regarding that obnoxious narrow-minded misogynist Richard Campbell whom he invited to stay and teach our sons. Did not go down well…
Fortunately, Matthew has other sides to him. He is tender and loving, will go to any lengths to protect me and our children. Adept with sword and musket, he is an excellent horseman and has a well-developed sense of right and wrong – which is why we end up embroiled in this feud with the Burleys. Matthew would not countenance them abducting Indian women, no matter that other colonists shrug at the fate of the heathen. I love that about him – how he stands up for the weak and defenceless. Well, to be honest, I love almost everything about him.
The nastiest? Well Dominic Jones is one very big rotten apple, but he can’t hold a candle to Philip Burley.

HH : What is your favourite scene in the book?
My favourite scene? There are so many… But I think it’s the scene when Matthew returns after his months in the militia. It was early, sunlight glittering in the thin layer of snow, and I’d just been to the privy when I saw him come riding down the lane. Tired, bearded and dirty he was still whole, still my man, albeit marked by what he’d seen and done. And the way he looked at me, the way he crushed me to his chest…*shivers happily*

HH : What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
Whatever scenes include Philip Burley have me quaking with dread. There is something seriously off about that man, starting with his eerie eyes, so light they look almost white at times.

HH : What are you most proud of about your author?
That she perseveres. People who don’t know her all that well may think Anna is hard as nails. She is outspoken, direct, opinionated – sheesh, she sounds like me – she is also something of a perfectionist and has like half a dozen mini-Luthers on her back keeping her nose to the grindstone. She delivers. And delivers. But deep inside she struggles with just as much insecurity as the rest of us, and given how much of herself she has poured into her books, she inevitably takes things to heart and has periods of intense self-doubt. Yet somehow she always gets back up. Always. I think it is a quality most writers share – more or less.

Anna Belfrage
HH : Has your author written  other books about you? If not, about other characters?
How do you feel about your author going off with someone else!
Oh yes, Anna has written in total eight books about me and my family. Of late, she’s been ignoring us, what with being stuck in the 14th century sorting out all the adventures and misfortunes Adam de Guirande and his wife Kit have to handle in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. I really like those two – Adam and Matthew get on like a house on fire when they get together. BUT. Helloooo! We’re still around, Mrs Belfrage. Fortunately, she seems to have picked up on the fact that we have a lot of things happening in our lives which is why she has started work on a new Graham book.

HH : As a character if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting  where and when would you go?
Uh-uh. Nope. I’ve done what time travelling I want to do, thank you very much. I am happy to live and die – but not yet – here in the 17th century. I wouldn’t mind visiting London though – I could drive Matthew crazy by making comparisons between my London as I recall it from the late 1990s and this London.

Thank you that was really interesting!

Now where can readers of this A-Z Blog Challenge find out more about you and your author?
Buy on Amazon:

Coming soon from Anna Belfrage: 
Days of Sun and Glory
the second book in The King’s Greatest Enemy

Here is the company we will be keeping on this 
A-Z Blog Challenge!

B 2nd Saturday  - Bloodie Bones - Lucienne Boyce
C 4th Monday - Man in the Canary Waistcoat Susan Grossey
D 5th Tuesday - Dubh-Linn  - James Nelson
F 7th Thursday - Fortune’s Fool- David Blixt
H 9th Saturday - The Love Letter of John Henry Holliday - Mary Fancher
K 13th Wednesday - Khamsin- Inge Borg
L 14th Thursday - Luck Bringer   - Nick Brown
N 16th Saturday - A Newfound Land  - Anna Belfrage
O 18th Monday - Out Of Time  - Loretta Livingstone
P 19th Tuesday  - Pirate Code  - Helen Hollick
Q 20th Wednesday - To Be A Queen – Annie Whitehead
R 21st Thursday  - The Spirit Room - Marschel Paul
U 25th Monday  - A Just And Upright Man - John Lynch
X 28th Thursday – The FlaX flower – AmandaMaclean

So call back tomorrow 
To meet the next exciting Character! 
(unless it is Sunday - in which case, I'll have something different 
but just as interesting ! 
And as it happens it will be another article by Anna about
 her new venture!)


  1. Hallo Anna, what a strong voice! I feel I must get to know this character - I'm particularly interested in the different religious backgrounds of Alex and Matthew. (Adds another book to the tbr pile - which teeters over and crashes to the ground...!)

    1. Oh do read the Graham Saga Lucienne - its really good!

    2. Yes, this A-Z blog is causing general havoc in the TBR piles. Let's just say that Alex and Matthew have serious differences of opinion when it comes to religion - makes for quite the heated discussions :) More seriously, it was the religious conflicts of teh time that originally hooked me, and I suspect it shows :)

  2. Anna, I absolutely loved the way you tackled the time travel element in the first book in this series. I'm rather 'into' time travel, so I've read (and used) various methods but yours was fantastic. Very cleverly contrived, even if Alex doesn't want to do it again - and the way it happened in your series, I can't say I blame her.

    1. Totally agree Loretta - Anna was very clever with this.

    2. Alex has still to forgive me for that plunge through time - although she admits she'd never have met Matthew if it hadn't happened...Glad you felt it worked - I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. That first book has 78 versions prior to being published

    3. 78? Oh my goodness. Well, it worked - it was brilliant.

  3. "...tender and loving, will go to any lengths to protect me and our children. Adept with sword and musket... an excellent horseman... well-developed sense of right and wrong..." I'm starting to worry about some of these impossible role models for us mortal men to live up to!

    1. I'd say you don't need to worry. No one expects you to fire a musket these days, it's more about handling car maintenance, helping with the weekly shop and comforting when internet trolls are nasty. Plus the tender and loving part of course. :)

  4. Alex appears to be in love with her Matthew - yet I sense a restlessness about her (no wonder, being yanked back and forth through time). I am certain she'll be slinking around on "P"-Day batting her eyes at Jesamiah (innocently, of course...)

    Beautiful covers, Anna. I am looking forward to tomorrow's article. No rest for the wicked, eh, Helen.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Alex may like to look (and at times she feels its good fro Matthew to worry about some competition) but she loves her Matthew to bits. Totally. Which doesn't mean she would pass up on the opportunity to flirt with Jesamiah, although knowing her, chances are she'll get stuck in a corner with Tiolia comparing notes re their men.

  5. 78 versions! Wow - how did you know when you finally had it right? Was it a 'bingo' moment where you just sat back and thought 'Yes, I've got it!' ?

    1. You know as well as I do that it is never "right". There is always something further one can tweak... But I reached a point where I just couldn't twist my innard in and out anymore, and so I decided this was my gut telling me I was done.

  6. This sounds like a great read and Alex a great character. I wonder what writers influenced you, Anna in the writing of your own books?

    1. Quite a few, actually. I began toying with Matthew and Alex way back in the early eighties (so yes, BEFORE Outlander) which is when I met my husband. There are a number of Swedish writers who've inspired me, such as Wilhelm Moberg and his series about Karl-Oskar and Kristina, who left Sweden behind to start anew in America. Obviously, writes such as Barbara Erskine have influenced me, as have Ken Follett and Edith Pargetter

  7. Wait a minute--who is Jesamiah Acorne and why don't I know about him???

    Meet My Imaginary Friends

    1. LOL Captain Jesamiah Acorne is my pirate - he'll be gracing us with his presence next Tuesday )P for Pirate Code) meanwhile scroll back up to the menu bar & click 'How Sea Witch set sail! :-)

  8. Yes, that WAS interesting and very cleverly presented. I think I know the character almost better than Anna! I love historical fiction and this made me want to jump right in and read. Wish I wasn't so tied up writing posts this month. Thanks!
    Hi Inge. It's me visiting from the a-z again....

    1. Thanks for dropping by Sharon - I know what you mean by being tied up!

    2. Hi, Sharon - You remembered! Yes, I was the one leaving this link of all these historical Characters to tempt you.

  9. Anna, how wonderful to be writing a series set in such fascinating times -- and I'd love to visit Alex's London with her and Matthew. So keep those vividly written books going!

    1. London has one major, major drawback as per Alex: it's on the other side of the sea. But it does play a major role in my ongoing Matthew & Alex WIP, albeit without Alex

  10. This sounds like a terrific book. As mentioned earlier - that's yet another one for the TBR pile! I'm loving your A to Z.
    My other A to Z blog is That's Purrfect

    1. Thank you - the A-Z is hard work but great fun!

  11. Anna, I doff my hat to you - it's hard enough writing historical fiction without having to factor in a time-travelling element and a character out of her time! I can't wait to read it. (This is Susan Grossey, by the way - for some reason, my comments are coming out under a pseudonym and I can't seem to correct it!)

  12. Dear pseudonym (:)): yes, time travelling can be a complication - but it also gives me as the writer an opportunity to comment on the new times. ("You?" Alex says. "And what would you know? It's not you living in the here and now, is it? it's ME!")


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