Interview with Elizabeth Ellen Carter

I’m happy to present my interview with Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Her book Warrior’s Surrender is a great new historical romance.

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(Blurb and an excerpt below!)

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Tell me a little about the characters and the conflict in Warrior’s Surrender.

Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick has had her life uprooted by war and the aftermath of conflict. She, like many women of her time, had her life planned out for her. She would marry a nobleman, bear him heirs and run a household. The Harrying of the North, the act of total war by William the Conqueror following the rebellion of Northumbria’s Saxon nobles sees Alfreya’s marriage plans upended, her father injured and the family dispossessed of everything they own. They are forced to flee to Scotland where she is forced to take more and more responsibility for keeping her family together. In the end she is forced to take up arms and lead her men, following her father’s death in a skirmish with Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman Baron who now owns the land by fiat of King William.

Sebastian is a man haunted by his past. One rebellion against his orders, done in a moment of compassion is, seven years after the event, about to have severe repercussions that put a jeopardy his reputation, everything he owns, even his very life.

On top of which Sebastian has to deal with a series of mysterious deaths on his land which may be the work of Evil which has Alfreya in his sights.


Where’s the story set? How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?

Warrior’s Surrender is set in 1077AD – 11 years after William The Conqueror defeated King Harold in the Battle of Hastings. In the intervening years there was an ill-fated rebellion by Saxon noblemen in England’s north which saw an area of 360 square miles razed as punishment.

As a result, there are tensions which my hero has had to work hard to win the trust of the people he has been sent to rule. Over five years the people of Tyrswick have come to accept Sebastian has their ruler, but Alfreya hasn’t , so when she is forced to offer herself as a hostage, she treats Sebastian with hostility and suspicion.


Were your characters difficult to write, or did they seem to spring easily from your mind to the page?

Alfreya was a little difficult to write because she was filled with hostility and suffering under the strain of trying to survive as an outlaw on lands her family once owned, trying to keep a group of fighting men together and care for her seriously ill younger brother.

I didn’t want to create a damsel in distress, but there had to be a recognition she wasn’t coping, no matter how strong or what kind of brave face she put on.

Sebastian is a honey, he is everything you want in a Baron, strong, resourceful, brave, but still with a vulnerability that only the heroine can see.


How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?

Very often. When I was writing Warrior’s Surrender, I was struggling with creating a moment of romantic connection between Alfreya and Sebastian.

And then it came to me… in the middle of a work day. I left my desk, walked outside with my phone and dictated the wolf attack scene into my phone.

The Muse will strike whenever and wherever she wilst.


What do readers have to look forward to in the future from Elizabeth Ellen Carter?

More history! More, more more! I have a sequel to Moonstone Obsession, called Moonstone Conspiracy in which a significant secondary character Lady Abigail Houghall undergoes a transformation ‘from Jezebel to Rahab’ in a romance set during the Reign of Terror in France.

I’m currently researching another title set in Third Century Rome.


When did you begin writing and why?

I’ve always loved writing and after I ran out of Nancy Drew stories to read when I was 9-years-old, I decided to write my own on my mother’s typewriter. Then I wanted to be a journalist and I was fortunate to get a cadetship at our city’s newspaper straight after graduating high school.

I toyed with writing novels several times over the years but I never completed a book until Moonstone Obsession which was my first genuine full length novel.

It’s addictive. After spending a day at work, I love to sit down for three-four hours in the evening and write. Fortunately I was a very supportive husband who proofreads and edits for me too.

Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth! Readers can learn more about Elizabeth Ellen Carter here:

http://eecarter.com
http://facebook.com/elizabeth-ellen-carter
http://www.pinterest.com/eecarterauthor/
http://twitter.com/EECarterAuthor
http://plus.google.com/+ElizabethEllenCarter



WarriorsSurrender-ByElizabethEllenCarter-200x300Warrior’s Surrender
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: Novel
Page Count: 482
Price: 5.99
ISBN: 978-1-941692-29-5
Release Date: 11-7-2014

A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…

Northumbria, 1077. In the years following William the Conqueror’s harrying of the North, Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick returns to her family home after seven years in exile. But instead of returning victorious as her dead father had promised, she returns defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.

To save her gravely ill brother’s life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy. As Alfreya gets to know her new husband, she finds he’s not the monster she feared, and their marriage of convenience soon becomes a bond of passion. But Sebastian is a man with a secret—one that could destroy him.

As a series of brutal murders haunt their nights, the man who betrayed Alfreya’s father returns claiming to be her betrothed. He has learned Sebastian’s secret and will use it to further his own ambition—using Sebastian’s own family—which will destroy Sebastian and mark him a traitor, and plunge an unprepared England into war with the Scots…

Buy Warrior’s Surrender here
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Or read on Scribd!
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An Excerpt from Warrior’s Surrender


CHAPTER ONE


Northumberland, England—Late summer 1077


The late afternoon sun met the tops of the trees in the west, casting golden slivers of light across the meadow.
From his vantage point on an adjacent grassy rise, Sebastian de la Croix, baron of Tyrswick, scanned the tree line ahead and waited for the appointed time.
With grudging reluctance, he considered how well his enemy did to choose this place and time to parley. As the lowering sun shone in his eyes, Sebastian could be caught unawares by a well-aimed arrow.
However, years of battle experience had drilled into him the rules of leaving nothing to chance and turning disadvantage to advantage. Thus, he had come early to the rendezvous and even now his men flanked the field, hidden from view by the very shadows his enemy perhaps hoped to use against him.
Satisfied his orders were being carried out, Sebastian nudged his large black horse forward to the campaign tent that would host this meeting.
In battle he would have worn a hauberk, but as a sign of the good faith the request for parley demanded, Sebastian wore only light protection.
His head was bare and a breeze ruffled his coal-black hair. Over a shirt, he wore a sleeveless leather aketon, a padded garment ordinarily worn under his mail. It was no match against an arrow or a crossbow bolt to be sure, but it was protection enough for a close-quarters encounter.
He dismounted and handed the reins of his horse to one of his men-at-arms and wondered about the man he was about to meet—the dispossessed Thegn of Tyrswick, Alfred, whose land and holdings Sebastian now owned by fiat of William the Conqueror himself. The meeting came somewhat as a surprise. It was popularly believed Alfred and his family were either dead or in exile in Scotland because, until six months ago, none had seen or heard of him since the mighty battle in York that ended with defeat for supporters of usurper Edgar the Atheling.
During his many battles these last few years, Sebastian had distinguished himself as a squire in his lord’s service, earning his spurs as a knight and coming to the notice of the king himself for bravery and a reputation as a cunning military strategist.
In the aftermath of the Harrying, a deadly six-month rampage from York to Durham that saw the systematic slaughter of one hundred thousand people, King William sought to secure his kingdom along the Scottish borders. He needed men he could trust rather than leave in place Saxon earls who pledged fealty with one hand and plotted treason with the other. Thus it was five years ago, just after his twenty-third birthday, Sebastian had accepted elevation to baron from William the Conqueror, and land along the Scottish border to protect with his life and, more importantly, his honor.
Now the new baron of Tyrswick waited for the noted warrior who wanted to reclaim what Sebastian now owned by right and by deed.


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From the cover of the trees, a man only a few years older than the young baron watched his quarry and cursed him.
Then he cursed William the Bastard of Normandy and, for good measure, cursed Lord Drefan for making this parley necessary.
Wheeling at the sound of a snapping twig, Orlege held his sword at the ready until he recognized the approaching Larcwide, his fellow man-at-arms.
“Make the most of holding that steel,” Larcwide commented dryly. “The next metalwork we will see is iron around our wrists and our legs. That’s if we’re lucky.”
Orlege gave a short, bitter laugh, but fatigue and hunger made the effort halfhearted at best. It had been nearly a full day since any of them had consumed more than weak herb tea.
“Any sign of Lord Drefan and his reinforcements?” Orlege asked the older man hopefully, as he had every day for six months.
Larcwide shook his head regretfully.
Orlege sighed and turned back to point to the man some distance away who was entering the deep-blue-and-red striped tent erected for the meeting. It looked obscenely festive under the circumstances.
“Look at him, strutting about wearing nothing but an aketon!” he spat. “If I had a long bow I could end his worthless life and bring honor back to Alfred’s family.”
“If you had a long bow…” Larcwide mocked. “If you had a long bow you would be signing all our death warrants for certain, including Lord Brice’s and Lady Alfreya’s. This way there’s a chance Lord Brice might see a healer and we might at least have one decent meal before we’re hanged.”
At the mention of Alfred’s son, the man-at-arms’s temper subsided.
“I sat with the lad last night,” Orlege said. “Infection has set in on the wounds. He will be lucky to survive a sennight.”
“Aye,” agreed the other man. “Come.” Larcwide slapped Orlege on the back. “Let us see how Lady Alfreya fares before she has to parley with that Norman dog.”
As they walked back to camp, Orlege considered how far their fortunes had fallen.
Their advance party had been one hundred men strong just half a year ago. They had been modestly equipped but sustained by the promise of rapid reinforcements and reprovisioning from Scotland by Lord Drefan, cousin of Edgar the Atheling. Their lord, Alfred, had been certain of taking back his home by the end of spring.
Then they lost forty to skirmishes against the new lord of Tyrswick, a man who clearly knew the skill of warcraft well. Among the fatalities had been Lord Alfred himself, killed by an arrow within the first month of direct engagement.
Spring turned into summer and Lord Drefan’s promised support failed to appear. Another forty-five men and their women melted back over the border to try their fortune on a venture more assured of success.
The rebellion might have ended right there if not for the faith Lady Alfreya placed in Drefan’s promises of support and her determination that her younger brother would take his rightful place as earl of Tyrswick.
It was to her, not the boy Lord Brice, whom the men looked for leadership over the past three months.
Now at twenty-one summers old, Lady Alfreya commanded this guerrilla band of thirteen men, planning strategies that over the past four weeks had centered merely on staying alive.
As the small clearing came into view, Orlege regretted Alfreya hadn’t been born a man and Brice a girl. She had the temperament and fortitude of a warrior, while her ten-year-old brother was a sweet lad with no fight in him.
Now, they lived like outlaws on land they once owned and worked, avoiding the determined pursuit of de la Croix and his men, and forced to forage and steal food that would be increasingly scarce until autumn, with its promise of the harvest and better hunting.
A ragtag group of three weather-worn canvas tents provided their shelter.
Orlege and Larcwide approached the largest of these.


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Inside the tent, Frey removed a hard-stone ring set in silver and an elaborate enamel brooch from her small timber and brass-work casket before closing the domed lid and returning the box to its sack.
She stood and fastened the brooch to the cloak that had once been her father’s. The blue enameled jewel, with intricate interlinked squares picked out in gold, was designed to instill no doubt the wearer was of power and substance.
Frey surveyed her appearance the best she could. Her light blonde hair, the color of primrose, was braided and tied with a leather thong so it fell just above her waist. Over a long shirt, again formerly her father’s, she wore a hauberk that came to her knees. The hauberk was unfamiliar and heavy. It had belonged to a young squire killed several months ago.
Her success with the crossbow over these months relied on her ability to move quickly—something she could never do wearing armor—but now it was necessary to do so.
Over the dead squire’s tunic of chain mail, Frey wore her father’s surcoat bearing the armorial of the House of Tyrswick.
Hose covered her legs and her feet were clad in sturdy boots of soft brown leather, the only thing of value she owned now. Everything else had been abandoned or sold in order to survive.
Frey looked to where her younger brother lay on a narrow cot that occupied nearly the width of the tent itself. The boy watched her through half-lidded eyes.
Frey worried her lower lip with her teeth.
He is so weak, she lamented, and she had nothing to nourish him, let alone ease his fever. “Oh God,” she prayed, “Brice is but ten summers old. Don’t take him away from me too.”
The boy shuddered despite the heat, and the violence of his movement steeled her resolve.
“Frey?” Brice’s voice was thin and reedy. “Does Lord Drefan come? Is that why you are so anxious to go in my stead to greet him?”
Frey swallowed back tears and coughed to find her voice. She crouched down to draw a hand tenderly across his forehead. It was slick with sweat, darkening his fair hair.
“I am going to meet with someone who will help us,” she told him.
How could she tell her brother they were defeated and the only way any one of them would survive was to throw themselves on the mercy of their enemy? Brice would now never be earl of Tyrswick. Would it be a blessing if he died never knowing his inheritance had gone forever?
Frey rebuked the thought. No! Brice must live, with as good a future as she could negotiate for him.
“I’ll be back before nightfall,” she promised, nodding to further affirm her words.
“Frey, do not treat me like a lytling,” he said, annoyance evident in his voice. “I am lord of Tyrswick and I should be the one to greet Lord Drefan.” He sighed, the effort of speaking nearly too much. He curled his hand around his sister’s fingers and gave them a weak squeeze.
“He should ask me for your hand first,” he added quietly. “It is only proper.”
Frey didn’t answer but squeezed his hand in return.
Eight months ago, she would have gladly put aside misgivings to accept the marriage contract for the sake of her father and brother, but now, since Drefan and his promised armies had failed to appear, she put no faith in any man’s pledge.
“I have to go, brother,” she whispered. Frey squeezed his hand one more time and left the tent. She spotted Orlege and Larcwide approaching a few yards off. She squared her shoulders and walked toward them confidently.
“Is the baron waiting for us?” Frey called some distance out.
“Aye, my lady, he waits at the edge of the meadow as you requested,” answered Orlege.
The rest of Alfred’s band gathered near to listen.
“Then let’s go through this as we agreed.
“Grimbold and Sar, you attend to Lord Brice. Orlege and Larcwide will accompany me. The rest of you wait at the edge of the woods.
“Do not act except in my death or incapacitation, and then do everything necessary to protect Lord Brice.”
The men nodded readily though Larcwide was slower to respond. His reticence was not missed by Frey, who arched an eyebrow.
“Is aught amiss, Larcwide?” she asked.
In the absence of her brother’s taking his rightful role, she was leader. She would not let her men-at-arms forget. They would just have to overlook her sex.
“It’s not right, my lady. One of us should be going instead.” He crossed his arms as he spoke, and Frey recognized the sign of resistance from living in such close quarters with him for half a year.
Larcwide was as dear to her as an uncle; she had known him since infancy and knew he had only her family’s welfare at heart. And she knew his objections. He had voiced them three days earlier in front of the men.
Her response had been to brandish her knife and threaten to slit his throat from ear-to-ear for his rebellion.
Frey had hated to do it, but if she did not stand firm on her resolve, she would lose the respect of those who remained. How would it serve Brice if she gave in?
She looked at him sternly.
“It is not your position to question the decision of the clan leader, Larcwide.”
The man’s lips drew to a tight, colorless line.



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One Response to Interview with Elizabeth Ellen Carter

  1. noelleclarkblog says:

    Great interview Elizabeth. I’ll be reading this one over the Christmas holidays. 🙂

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