4 September 2018

Novel Conversations with Anna Belfrage's Character Matthew Graham

 In conjunction with Indie BRAG
Starting a new series which, 
apart from this opening salvo
will be posted  every Friday

To be a little different from the usual 'meet the author' 
let's meet a character...

...Matthew Graham
Matthew  looks a little like
this portrait by Frans Hals

Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Anna Belfrage’s novel Revenge and Retribution. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?  
A: Good day, Mistress Hollick. Let me start by saying what a pleasure it is to visit with you here in your parlour and I’d love a mug of beer. Glances round and relaxes against the padded backrest After my recent adventures I can do with some moments of peace and quiet. I am Matthew Graham, the male protagonist of Revenge and Retribution. Closes his eyes. You will have to pardon me, Mistress Hollick, but I am not quite my usual self at present.  

Q: What genre is the novel and what is it about? [e.g. historical, mystery, romance, fantasy…? ]
A: The title says it all, does it not? Revenge and Retribution is about two vengeful bastards and the pain and destruction they wreak on my family. Clears his throat. It is not easy, living in Colonial Maryland. Miscreants such as the accursed Burley brothers do not make things easier. 

Anna says Revenge and Retribution is Historical Fiction brimming with fast-paced action. Below is the blurb: 
Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure – as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them.
Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it’s Matthew’s brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points a finger at her.
Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex’s entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them. On a sunny May afternoon, Philip finally achieves his aim and over the course of the coming days Alex sees her whole life unravelling, leaving her family permanently maimed. 
As if all this wasn’t enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex’s arms to begin a new life in the wilderness. How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

Q: No spoilers, but are you a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)
A: Och. I think I qualify as a goodie. Smiles. I dare say Anna agrees—as does Alex, my miraculous God-given wife.

Q:  Tell me about another character in the novel – maybe your best friend, lover or partner … or maybe your arch enemy!
A: Should I waste breath telling you about that demon in human disguise, Philip Burley? I think not! Nay, instead, I will tell you about my woman, my Alex. Leans forward We should never have met, she and I—not when she was born three centuries later than me. Nods slowly. Aye, you heard me: three centuries. Not a day goes by but I thank the Lord for having propelled her through time to land at my feet all those years ago. Mind you, Alex is not quite as convinced her drop through time was due to divine intervention. She tends to use words like “mere chance” or other such nonsense. But deep down she knows: we were fated, she and I, since long before she was born. Some will say she is quite the handful—not at all the obedient wife a man like me, in my time, would want or need. Chuckles. Truth be told, our wives are rarely all that obedient or meek—this is a harsh world and our women have to be strong to cope. Like my Alex is. Aye, she is opinionated and stubborn, aye there are moments when she should have kept her mouth shut, aye, at times she is reckless. But most of all she is loving and brave—and mine.

Q: Is this the only novel you have appeared in, or are there others in a series?
A: Revenge and Retribution is the sixth in The Graham Saga, at present a series consisting of nine books but soon to be ten. Anna says it isn’t her fault we lead such exciting lives. Me, I am not entirely convinced this isn’t her fault.

Q: What is one of your least favourite scenes you appear in?
A: Least favourite? Looks very grim. Nay, I cannot describe it here. Too humiliating, too full of pain and fear. Fear for myself, but also for my Alex, my bairns. Those Burleys…Chokes, leans back, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. It was bad, Mistress Hollick. Very, very bad.

Q: Tears welling...I bite my lip... Well... Let's move on. Your favourite scene then?
A: Ah. That would likely be the scene in which Alex came to find me when I was working alone in one of the new fields. Just she and I, a blanket and that basket of hers, filled with bread warm from the oven, newly churned butter and other edibles.

Q: Tell me a little about your author. Has she written any other books?
A: Aye. All in all, she has published thirteen, has just pressed the button on a fourteenth.

Q: Is your author working on anything else at the moment?
A: Well, I did mention she is working on a tenth book about us, didn’t I? She is also drafting a new series, has a WIP set in the 13th century and then we have her medieval knight, yon Adam de Guirande. It would seem his adventures aren’t over either and I must say I am glad to hear it—it always struck me as sad that his story should end as it did. I like Adam, a man of honour and convictions.

Q: How do you think indie authors, such as your author, can be helped or supported by readers or groups? What does your author think is the most useful for her personally?
A: Mostly it is about authors supporting authors – and taking the time to read and review. Also, visibility is an issue – so groups where authors help each other to promote are important as are review sites such as the Indie Brag site and your excellent scintillating site, Mistress Hollick. I smile: Thank you.

Q: Finally, before we must bid adieu, the novel you appear in has been awarded a prestigious Indie BRAG Medallion, does your author find this helpful, and is there anything else she would like Indie BRAG to do to help indie authors receive the recognition they deserve?

A: Och aye: Anna is of the opinion that the BRAG Medallion is something of a quality stamp – important for an indie author to have. Mayhap it would help the authors if the BRAG readers would now and then leave a personal review on that place called Amazon? Anna says reviews are crucial. Me, I am mostly confused by this indie distinction, but then I come from a time where any author wanting to see his work in print had to pay for it himself.

Helen: Thank you Matthew, it was a pleasure talking to you. Would your author like to add a short excerpt?
Aye, she would.
Now, chatting is thirsty work, would you like a refill of that drink… Salute! Here’s to being a successful Brag Medallion Honouree!
In which Alex is having nightmares of being dragged back to her time
“Aye, Matthew, that’s me, lass.”
Alex struggled to sit, her sweat-drenched shift sticking to her skin. Matthew handed her a mug of cider, helping her to hold it steady. She blinked, trying to clear her mind of the fragmented images of Isaac. Jesus, Im going insane, she thought. She drained the mug and with trembling hands began to undo the laces of her chemise.
“Let me,” Matthew said. He got her out of the sopping garment, and found a towel to pat her dry with, sitting with her shivering, naked body on his lap. She curled into him, her arms tight around his neck, and he ran his warm hands up and down her bare skin, crooning her name in a hoarse, breaking voice.
“I’m not sure,” she groaned. “Are you for real? Or are you the dream?”
“I’m no dream,” he whispered back, “nor am I a ghost. I’m here, now, and so are you. It’s the others that don’t exist, Alex. It is them that are the dream.”
“A nightmare,” she said against his chest, “not a dream, never a dream. A black hole of loneliness. An absolute freezing emptiness.”
“Ah, lass.” Matthew kissed the top of her head and gathered her to him. Alex needed him even closer, pulling at his shirt, his breeches in a frenzied attempt to get at his skin, his warmth. Yes, oh yes, he was real, and Alex sighed when he laid her back naked against the pillows.
Her skin sizzled under his hands. A long, strong finger followed the curve of her hip, and she imagined she could see the blisters popping up in its wake as searing heat flew like a shadow behind his digit. Beneath her skin, blood called to blood, and when his fingers manacled her wrist, she was entirely taken over by his beat. Strong it flowed into her, demanding it drove her pulse before it, and Alex no longer knew where she ended and he began.
The candle on the chest gasped, shrinking down to a weak blue glow before it flared back into life, this time a long, dancing flame that backlit them against the wainscoting that adorned the walls. At a remove, she could feel the stubble on his unshaven cheek against the tender skin of her thighs, her belly. He dragged his face across her, and she arched herself against him, because he was hers and she was his and she was very much alive. The soft warmth of his lips; his hot breath in her ear, down her neck, on her chest; his hands with those long, dexterous fingers…Her breasts in his grip, and when he slid down to kiss her, she sank her fingers into his hair and called his name.
“Matthew,” she said to the night air. “My Matthew.” Of course she would die if she were dragged back in time – how could she survive with half of her yanked out? And he, she saw in his eyes, he would dwindle and die as well. Bit by bit, the fire in him would falter and go out, and he would float away like top soil in a drought.

Book link, Revenge and Retribution: http://myBook.to/RR1
Anna’s website: https://www.annabelfrage.com
Anna’s Amazon Page: http://Author.to/ABG
Follow Anna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/abelfrageauthor @abelfrageauthor

Twitter: @IndieBrag

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  1. This is fantastic Helen - what fun! I am a great fan of the Graham Family and visiting with Matthew is such a treat. I am certainly ready for the next book. Don't tell Anna but I have a bit of a crush on Matthew.

    1. I have a sneaky suspicion that we're not the only ones who also adore Matthew!

  2. Hi Helen,
    Glad to see Matthew delivered. I was a bit worried there as he was very uncooperative after reliving the events in R&R.
    THANK YOU for giving Matthew a slot

  3. Excellent idea in general and a particularly good choice for the first subject! well done Helen and Matthew (please give my best to Alex - you lucky, lucky man!)

  4. It's still early morning here in the US and Anna's, or rather Matthew's, steamy introduction to Helen's Conversations is more than intriguing. I hope everyone get's hooked - as I am already. Loved it, Anna.

  5. Sounds like a saga that has it all - love, hate, passion, time travel...I look forward to finding out more! Great introduction to fascinating characters.

    1. It's a very clever saga with all those things - and more!

    2. According to Alex, I've made her life excessively exciting what with all those ingredients.

  6. Love the interview! Will definitely look into this author's books.

    1. Thanks Florence - we're looking forward to your post which will appear here soon!


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