22 February 2019

Novel Conversations with Nancy Jardine's Aran Bruce

 In conjunction with Indie BRAG
posted every Friday

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


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 Nancy Jardine’s novel The Taexali Game. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?  

A: Hi, I’m Aran Bruce. I’m the lead character in The Taexali Game but I suppose my friends might think otherwise. BTW – the cops will be called if you offer me any of your alcohol, since I’m only thirteen, but your chocolates and that slurp-looking mango in the bowl will be no problem. Where I’ve been recently was totally cool, but the food was yuck! 

Helen [smiles] no alcohol then - and I assure you, those chocolates and the fruit are very non-yuck! 

Q: What genre is the novel and what is it about?

A: The Taexali Game’s a time travel historical novel where I was whizzed back to A.D. 210, along with my friends Brian and Fianna. ‘Course, when we started playing our Rubidium Virtual Reality game we’d no idea where we were, or when it was, and had to work that out from really neat visual clues. Just as well that I’ve got a fabulous recall of facts. Oh, and then we had to come to terms with it all being really real, you know, and that death actually did mean being a dead-guy for ever. Some of the local Taexali Celts were our friends, others were dirty traitors, but the best bit of all was besting that nasty Ancient Roman Emperor Severus and his even more evil son – Caracalla – while we were solving the local mystery. We’re talking about Aberdeenshire, Scotland. That’s where I live when I’m not time travelling. 

Q: No spoilers, but are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)

A: I’m not sure the Roman auxiliary, the one that I was attacking during their raid on the Taexali Hillfort of Balbath, would call me a goody. It was actually Tyrnan’s spear that killed him, but if he hadn’t appeared at the right moment, I would have killed that Roman soldier to save Fianna. Otherwise, I’m mostly a ‘goody’, ‘cause tampering too much with history is against the rules! 

Q:  Goodness, that all sounded very dangerous. Tell me about another character in the novel – maybe your best friend, lover or partner … or maybe your arch enemy!

A: Tyrnan’s a fearsome-looking dude. He’s got a tribal tattoo on his brow and a spiky-limed fringe that sticks up solidly, though not from using the hair gel like I use today. As daughter of a chieftain, Seonagh’s kinda’ like a princess and Tyrnan’s her bodyguard till she becomes a fully-fledged warrior. At first, I thought Tyrnan was out to get me but once I knew him better, he is the coolest guy. As dour as …well, let’s say a smile is a rare thing. He’s the absolute-best loyal warrior, though he had me wondering when he let me be handed over to the enemy! 

a red jasper intaglio portrait of Caracalla
 in the Trimontium Museum, Melrose
Q: [thinks, it still all sounds very dangerous!] Is this the only novel you have appeared in, or are there others in a series?

A: So far, yes, but my author has already started Book 2 of the Rubidium Time Travel Series, and I’m really champin’ for her to get on with it since it’s in Victorian times. It’s boring having to wait, but she’s been spending time writing her other historical series.

Q: What is one of your least favourite scenes you appear in? 

A: Well, there’s the one where the adults from the Hillfort of Balbath drag me up to the ancient grove during the Beltane Ceremony. It’s really creepy up there, and I truly thought it was me that the Druid was going to sacrifice! I can’t say I was relieved when they tied the little sheep down on the altar to slit its throat because it was absolutely skanky to watch. I’m still not quite sure what would have happened to me if the auxiliaries from Emperor Severus’ fleet hadn’t come over the hill and attacked the hillfort. 

Q: And your favourite scene? 

A: Too tough to pick! I loved being in the chariot race against Maga and Sheonagh, even though I was completely useless at controlling it. However, a really great moment was when I was outwitting Emperor Severus. That guy was in charge of the whole of the massive Roman Empire, but the old man was so…superstitious. When I told him his Triumphal Arches in Rome and Leptis Magna would still be admired two thousand years later, he was fair chuffed. Though, it was amazing to watch him get really spooked after I told him to watch out for himself because his yukky son, Caracalla, was going to stab him in the back, which that bad b…oy really did attempt. 

Arch of Severus, Rome
Q: Tell me a little about your author. Has she written any other books? 

A: Her Celtic Fervour Series of historical adventures is set in late first-century northern Roman Britain. They begin in what we know of as Yorkshire and Cumbria, and then by Book 4 the location is Aberdeenshire. They’re during the first invasion of Scotland by General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola and his Flavian legions. And she’s also written three contemporary mysteries as well, totally stand-alone stories. 

Nancy Jardine
Q: Is your author working on anything else at the moment?

A: Yeah. She’s working on Book 5 of her Celtic Fervour Series. That action is in Roman forts in Southern Scotland, and maybe in Eboracum (York). She’s not told me yet, where it’s going to end but the main character, Beathan, is a guy I’d love to meet ‘cause he was the baby in Book 1 who was prophesied as going to become a great Celtic leader. 
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: My author, Nancy Jardine, is getting better known in her home territory of Aberdeenshire. Local readers tell her they love her writing when they meet her in person and that’s amazing, but it’s great when her work gets written reviews – that really helps to spread the word globally. Telling other readers on Social Media like Facebook or Goodreads, and posting a review on Amazon is really helpful.

Q:  Finally, before we must bid adieu, 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: Nancy Jardine loves being an IndieBRAG Medallion awardee and is really pleased that they help spread the word about The Taexali Game. Authors are all busy people but it’s really excellent that they reach out to each other and help endorse their work, in many ways. Nancy often has other authors promoting their writing on her own blog but, so far, she’s not thought of having some kind of blog series for guest authors who are indieBRAG awardees.  Working out how to start that sounds like a great plan for 2019! (Though, naturally, it would need to be different from this one.)

Helen: Thank you Aran it was a pleasure talking to you. Would your author like to add a short excerpt? But while she does that, I think that chatting is thirsty work, so would you like a refill of that non-alcoholic drink…? And do finish up those chocolates. Salute! Here’s to being a successful Brag Medallion Honouree! 

Aran and Nancy: Thank you, Helen! 

Mapon turned to him, the man as aloof as a stone statue. “Aran, son of Durran, you have the wisdom of the gods though you are still a boy.” The druid shouted so that as many people as possible would hear him. “The gods now go with you. You will take your knowledge to the Emperor Severus. He has need of your divining of the future.”
   Blairdaff guffawed drowning out Mapon’s next words as he leaned down from atop his horse. “The boy is not much of a diviner if he cannot see his own fate in front of him!”
His words pitiless, Aran felt the warrior grab at his golden torque and then he yanked him free of Tyrnan’s clutches. Blairdaff tugged him towards Severus, increasing the horse’s pace by using knee pressure alone. Aran dangled alongside, his feet skimming along the ground in uneven lurches.
    “It is your moment now, boy. You can tell Severus we have no further need for any of you. He can kill all the hostages immediately, including you, if he desires to, since your use is now over.” Blairdaff crowed when the horse padded across the tightly lashed planking of a makeshift bridge which had been set a across the waters of the narrow river.
   Aran felt himself airborne for a few seconds before he regained his balance on the far banking, his toes stubbing against the ground. He struggled to get free but it was no use. The torque bit into the back of his neck when he was towed across the rough grass till the High Chief came to a halt. He was furious but Blairdaff was as strong as an ox holding him in place for the Romans to collect. It was too late to realise what the Celtic leaders were doing. It wasn’t only the line of screaming tribespeople who were being dragged across the river as hostages to Severus. The treaty included bodies for slaves and he was one of them!”
   The Roman Emperor Severus looked as cruel as the history books said he was. There was nothing forgiving in the Emperor’s expression as he signalled for the hostages to be rounded up by his too eager auxiliaries.
   Why on earth had he wanted to get close up to this murderous man?

CONNECT WITH Nancy Jardine
The Taexali Game http://getbook.at/findmeonamazon
Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  
Website: www.nancyjardineauthor.com/   
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G 
email: nan_jar@btinternet.com  
Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar 
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere 
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

Twitter: @IndieBrag

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  1. Aran would like to thank you for the opportunity to spring free from the pages of The Taexali Game, Helen, and says you buy the yummiest chocolates! :-) It's brilliant to be part of your indieBrag theme, Helen.

  2. *laugh* thank you Aran - you're welcome to drop by for more chocolate any time! (But do bring Nancy with you!)

  3. I love the idea of time travel but haven't read many novels in the genre. This one sounds interesting! Thanks for a fascinating conversation...

    1. Thank you Lucienne for dropping by

    2. Thank you, Lucienne. Should you read The Taexali Game I hope you enjoy it!

  4. I enjoyed The Taexal Game so much I can't wait for Book 2 of the Rubidium Time Travel Series.

    1. Thank you Roland - it is on my TBR list, I wish there were more hours in the day for reading, writing,blogging....

  5. Brilliant, Roland! I'm focusing my sparse writing time on completing my Celtic Fervour Series, but the next Rubidium will come along for you asap!

  6. It is wonderful to find books geared to middle grade readers that are action packed and historical Ms.Jardine does a great job of blending fact and fiction. I would highly recommend this book for the younger reading audience!

  7. Thank you very much indeed, Geri! My experience locally is that adults are buying for younger readers but are then reading it first and telling me they've loved it!


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