Tell us about your book
Hi everyone. I'm Linda Acaster and I live in England, UK. Hostage of the Heart is a rights-reverted print novel new to ebook, a Mediaeval historical romance set in 1066 on the eve of the biggest invasion the British islands have seen. With the militia away countering the threat, the balance of power shifts along the disputed English/Welsh borderlands. Rhodri ap Hywel reclaims by the sword lands taken from his kinsmen by force, and with them the Saxon Lady Dena, sacrificed to slow the Welsh advance. But Rhodri harbours dark secrets, and when the fortunes of war turn, Dena can either stand by her faithless kin, or by her own integrity and the beating of her heart.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was researching for another novel and came across information about battle hostages. In truth, most 'hostages' were more often exchanged under treaty terms, where kin of group A (often children) would be brought up as part of group B's household on the understanding that if group A didn't toe the line dire consequences would result. And they often did. Can you imagine living a feted life as an adoptee and suddenly not only having it all withdrawn, but the people you'd trusted threatening disfigurement or death, all because your blood-kin now considered you worthless? This became the back-story to Hostage of the Heart which is mirrored in the front-story of poor relative, Dena, only welcomed into her uncle's household to raise his status by making a prestigious marriage.
Are any of your characters based on people you know in real life?
'Knowing' someone is anathema in terms. We never truly 'know' someone we have even daily contact with. Life experiences cause people to be layered outwards from a central core, and we can only see a person from the outside layer in. To make fiction believable writers need to know their characters from the inside out so that the motivation and fears of each can be used to strengthen the storyline.
What kinds of things did you research to write your book?
Masses, it goes with the territory when writing historicals of any genre, and often not just historicals. I've a scene where Rhodri, who may or may not be a Welsh prince, is dragged into the hall in chains as part of the entertainment during a meal. Everything from how the hall looks, feels and smells, to what is eaten and how, who serves it, what they look like, what everyone would wear depending on their circumstances, table customs and usae, other entertainment, the underlying hierarchical intrigue... I needed to know it even if only part of it is used on the page. And all this is going on in the background just to give depth to the unfolding character interaction in this scene.
I have a lot of very creative readers. Do you have other hobbies or creative pursuits besides writing?
I help keep a vegetable garden, and until recently I painted in oils & knife, but this has had to be set aside for a while.
Do you have any upcoming titles you’re working on?
Beneath The Shining Mountains, an historical romance set among the Apsaroke/Crow people of the northern American plains in the 1830s, is due out for the Kindle before the end of July, and is already out via Smashwords.com awaiting distribution for other formats. My English contemporary timeslip thriller Torc of Moonlight, book 1 of a trilogy about the ressurection of a Celtic water goddess, is already out as a paperback, but the Special Edition ebook should be out by the end of August.
What else would you like to add?
Dena gasped at the sight which met her eyes, gasped and held her breath to capture the moment and hold every detail of it.
‘Rhodri, you are well!’ she breathed. The relief and the thankfulness burst in her chest to fill her whole body with warmth and contentment.
‘Told you he was strong, I did, but you did not believe me,’ Mildthryth chuntered.
Dena took a step forward, her shins nudging the edge of the pallet. She wanted to get closer to him, to sit by his side and hold his hand, to throw her arms round him, but there was no room except to stand and stare.
Propped against the wall, his chest and arms sticky with the salves and potions Mildthryth had applied to his wounds, Rhodri’s sunken eyes surveyed her without emotion. Curtained by his lank, dark hair which fell in matted locks to his shoulders, his face still looked very pale. For Dena, he was a joy to see, and she clasped her hands, wanting to tell him so, but not knowing how to bring her sense of elation to her lips.
‘Tell this witch of yours to stop calling me my prince. I am not a prince. I have never been a prince.’
He was in pain and he was angry, and his words were designed to hurt, but they only made Dena’s smile the broader.
‘An ungrateful cur,’ Mildthryth snarled. ‘Bites the hand that heals.’ As if to prove it, she extended her hand to touch him, only to have it knocked aside.
‘I am not your doll!’
‘But I can make one,’ Mildthryth retorted, ‘to stick pins into!’
Dena’s smile faded. ‘Stop this! The door is thin enough. Do you want the kitchen workers to hear you?’
Linda is making herself available today to respond to your comments and questions. Remember, every time you leave a comment during this author party you are entered to win the $50.00 Amazon.com gift certificate.