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25 January 2019

Novel Conversations with Paula Lofting's character Tovi

 In conjunction with Indie BRAG
every Friday

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

image © Rich Price

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 Paula Lofting’s novel Sons of the Wolf. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?  
A: Hello, my name is Tovi, son of Wulfhere of Horstede in Sussex. I’m not sure what tea or coffee is, wine is a bit too French – do you have any mead? These ‘chocolates’ you say? They are like nothing I’ve ever tasted!
Helen: Mead? Yes, I have some of the finest, I'll fetch you some. Chocolates are from a far-off land - do try one.

Q: What genre is the novel and what is it about?
A: It's historical, set in the 11th century, in the years leading up to the Norman Invasion. It centres around a bloodfeud between my father and his neighbour, Helghi. Of course Earl Harold and King Edward are also featured. I have a bit of a boy crush on the earl, I must admit.

Q: (smiles) I have a crush on him as well! No spoilers, but are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)
 A: Well, I am only a boy when our story starts, so there’s scope. I try to do the right things, but unfortunately when you have had parents like I have, it sort of moulds your character. I’ll say no more.
The Long Hall at Wychurst
courtesy Regia Anglorum
Q:  Tell me about another character in the novel – maybe your best friend, lover or partner … or maybe your arch enemy!
 ACan I tell you about a couple?
First there is my father. He is very important to me. He is a Sussex Warrior, a king’s thegn and a loyal retainer of Earl Harold’s. His reputation as a strong, skilful warrior goes before him and as a little boy I looked up to him. But as I got older, I realised he wasn’t the perfect man I thought he was. This turns out to be a great disappointment to me but it is also part of growing up, isn’t it? As you get older, you learn things about the people around you. Realising my father was flawed had a profound affect on me and it does affect how I behave as I grow up.
The other person I want to tell you about is my sister, Winflaed. She is not only my sister, but my best friend. We used to do everything as little children, but later as we grew up, she was often the butt of my anger. One day something I do will almost kill her, its not entirely my fault but everyone else believes it is. I felt so guilty about what happened, but Winflaed, always selfless and caring, forgives me. That one act of kindness is a testimony to the sort of girl she is, always thinking of others and she makes a huge sacrifice for the sake of our family later and for this I will always regard her has my most beloved sister.

Tovi and Winflaed
image ©Rich Price
Q: Is this the only novel you have appeared in, or are there others in a series?
A: There are two books so far in the story, though I believe that our scop has plans for at least four more!

Q: What is one of your least favourite scenes you appear in?
A: It has to be the scene in which my brother’s try to drown me in our well. I don’t think I have ever been so scared. I really thought I was going to die. My brothers, the twins, always played pranks on me like that. They thought it was hilarious. They loved to see me distressed and scared. They were sadistic brats!

Q: And your favourite scene?
A: For me that’s a difficult question because a lot of the time bad things happen. I suppose I like the scene where I save the earl’s daughter from drowning. I felt proud of myself saving her. I was only ten years old then and she was six. Earl Harold gifted me a seax for saving her life. I love the seax he gave me. It is beautiful – pattern-welded. But he presented it to me in my father’s hall in front of everyone, well he didn’t, his daughter Gytha did and everyone was like “Ahhh, isn’t that cute,” which really embarrassed me. It made my brothers jealous and they hated me even more.

my seax
Q: Tell me a little about your author. Has she written any other books?
A: As I said earlier, she plans a series of roughly six books. I’m not sure she can tell our story in its entirety in just six books, but we will have to see.

Q: Is your author working on anything else at the moment?
A: Yes, we call her our scop, which is Old English for 'story teller.' She is working on the third in the series. Its called Wolf’s Bane, which follows on from The Wolf Banner, which follows on from Sons of the Wolf.

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 him/her personally?
 A: Our author feels that writing blogs and engaging in historical groups on that thing called social media, has helped raise her profile. Also, mutual sharing of other’s works and supporting other authors is very important to her. And it does help if people engage on blog posts in the comments section. She does think its difficult to know what works the best, reviews obviously also help, but its difficult to get them on Amazon now because of Amazon’s strict review rules. I have no idea what an Amazon is, but this is what she tells me.

Q: Finally, before we must bid God Be With You, the novel you appear in has been awarded a prestigious IndieBRAG Medallion, does your author find this helpful, and is there anything else she would like IndieBRAG to do to help indie authors receive the recognition they deserve?
A: Our author thinks that having two books with the IndieBRAG award is fantastic and she is so proud of this. The IndieBRAG team work so hard to promote authors for so little reward and this is more than she could ever dream of.

Thank you Tovi it was a pleasure talking to you. Would your author like to add a short excerpt? But meanwhile, chatting is thirsty work, would you like a refill of that mead Yes please. Any more chocolate?

Wulfric smirked, mirroring Tovi’s crossed arms. “You, hunt?” he spat on the ground. “We are the men here, not you,” he said, indicating himself and his twin brother. “You’re still a boy and you’re not coming!”
     Tovi retreated into the fierce warrior within his mind, seven foot tall and just as broad. He chopped at Wulfric with his Dane axe and his brother fell to the floor, head cloven in two, his brains spilling out like a slaughtered pig’s. Tovi pulled out the axe from the pulp of his brother’s head and stepped over him as he lay in a mass of blood and gore.
     “Where are you going?” Wulfric demanded, stretching out an arm to bar him.
     “I am going to get my horse,” Tovi replied.
     “You’re not going anywhere, so get back to your play, baby.”
     Tovi tried to push past his brother but Wulfric caught his tunic, bunching it in his fist.
     “Oh, just break his face, Wulfric. That’s the only thing he understands,” Wulfwin called, storming across the yard toward them. Tovi reminded himself that he had just killed Wulfric, so he could do him no harm. Tovi made again to move past him, but Wulfric was doing very well for someone whose head had been cloven in two. Tovi suddenly felt his arms locked behind his back and Wulfwin thrust his face at him as Wulfric held him, fast.
     “Hearken to me, you little piece of scite! This is our hunt. This is mine and Wulfric’s day to hunt with the earl. We don’t want you getting in the way and trying to make us look bad.”
     “Because you know I am better with a bow than either of you? And I wouldn’t have to try hard to make you look bad, you can do that for yourselves,” Tovi argued, squirming like a little insect caught by two hungry spiders. “That’s why Father said that I could go, because he knows that you two couldn’t hit a tree even if it was right in front of you.” 
     “He is rather good with a bow, Wulfric,” Wulfwin acknowledged.
     “Yes, he is,” Wulfric agreed.
     “All the more reason for him not to go then, is it not?” 
     “Aye,” agreed Wulfric. “If he goes, he might make us look bad, Wulfwin.”
     “You’re going to tell Father that you’ve got a stomach-ache, and you can’t go to the hunt after all, aren’t you, little brother?” Wulfwin turned his attention to Tovi, giving him a demonic grin.
     “But I don’t have a stomach-ache,” Tovi protested.
     Wulfwin glanced at Wulfric and his twin nodded. Grinning, Wulfwin slammed a forceful fist into Tovi’s midriff. “You have now, runt!”

Twitter @paulalofting
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  1. Not been able to catch up with Tovi yet, but definitely on my 'follow up' list .... nice to meet you, lad ....

  2. I love this series and Tovi is one of my favourite characters. Reading an interview like this really helps Tovi to become more real. I do admit I worry about him sometimes, his brothers are a real trial and so sadistic. But they live in a time where it's a survival of those who can fight the best...come to think of it, life hasn't changed much. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

  3. Thanks for leaving a comment Richard and 'unknown' :-)

    1. Thanks to you, for all you do for us indie authors!

  4. Thank you so much for reading the interview and taking the time to read my books. Yes, i do worry about him too, but he's learning to stand up for himself, as you will see in the next book.

  5. I have read both of the previous books and they were fantastic. I read so many books that I sometimes forget the titles! But these books have stuck with me and I can't wait for the third. If you haven't given Paula's books a chance, you should. You will not be sorry!

    1. Thank you so much Alicia. Next one hopefully later in the year

  6. I really look forward to your next book, Paula! The first two were wonderful!

  7. Harold is one of my all time favorites (isn't he everyone's?) I have read Ms. Loftings books and loved them and highly recommend them. It is no surprise that they both have B.R.A.G.Medallions-

    1. Thank you Geri, and all you do for us undies also!


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