Another week, another interview. It’s my great pleasure to this week be chatting to Mary Anne Yarde. She is a great author, book blogger, and all round great girl. Her skills in the kitchen are the stuff of legend in South West England.
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.
Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!
Her latest works should give you an insight into the mythical world that she weaves.
The Du Lac Chronicles : Book 1
AD 495, Wessex, Briton.
If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?
A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.
The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.
Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.
Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.
To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon witch with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
- When did you first realise that you wanted to become a writer?
I cannot remember a specific time where I said to myself, I want to be a writer. I have, however, always had stories rattling around in my head, but it wasn’t until one of my closest friends did a module on creative writing as part of her English degree, that I began to think seriously about writing a book. I bravely told this friend my idea for a story; she listened and said, “…for goodness sake, what are you waiting for? Write it!”
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but about a year later I had finished the first draft of The Du Lac Chronicles and gave it to my friend to beta-read. I cannot begin to describe how proud I was of myself!
My friend came back to me with a bemused expression on her face, and she told me the story was good, but….
She then elegantly listed what was wrong with the manuscript and handed it back to me full of red pen marks!
I laughed and said, “It was so good that you had to write notes in the margin – what an honour!”
I have always been good at taking advice and I listened to what she had to say and spent the next 12 years perfecting the craft…
So I guess, I have been a writer for the past 12 years, but strangely until I actually had a copy of The Du Lac Chronicles in my hand, I never considered myself as one – nor did I consider writing to be a career I would pursue. It was just something that I did for fun. Of course, that has all changed now.
2. What novels/works have you released and what are you working on now?
I am currently working on Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles, which has a working title of The Du Lac Devil.
I released my Young Adult novel, The Du Lac Chronicles – Book 1, back in February this year. The Du Lac Chronicles is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur and follows the fortunes –and misfortunes – of Lancelot du Lac’s sons as they try to navigate a Saxon dominated world
3. I’m a new author. Tell me how to achieve my goal?
Don’t give up! Writing and publishing a book is a marathon, it isn’t a sprint. You will make mistakes…that doesn’t matter, as long as you learn from them. Read everything you can about marketing a book and most importantly of all, enjoy the journey.
4. Is there anyone who has influenced your writing?
I am an avid reader and I have many favourite authors who have certainly influenced my writing to some extent. When I was 13 I read Colleen McCullough’s, The Thorn Birds, and that book touched me on an emotional level that I had never experienced before from a book. Several years later, I picked up a copy of Nicholas Evan’s, The Horse Whisperer, and I read that book so many times that eventually it fell apart and I had to buy another copy. So of all the great writers out there, I think it would probably be those two who, not necessarily influenced my style of writing, but certainly inspired me to write from the heart.
5. What makes you sit down and want to share your stories
I have never thought about this. I love escaping into the medieval world that I have created. Finding out that people enjoy reading what I write, I guess, is the icing on the cake and makes writing all the more enjoyable.
6. If you could be a character from one of your favourite novels, who would it be, and why?
Now, that is a question. I think if I could be a character from a novel then I would have to be Tom Booker from The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. Tom is this incredibly emotional person who feels compelled to not only help a traumatised horse, but to help people as well. He is this really gentle, caring person, who sees the world as it is. I think he is inspirational. I would love to be someone like him.
Wow. Thank you Mary. That was great. I look forward to reading your book (s).
Check back soon for another interview.