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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Guest post: The inspiration for Between Two Fires - Mark Noce

As promised, here is the first of a series of guest posts from other authors who write in 'dark ages' or Anglo-Saxon Britain. What inspires their stories? 

First up is Mark Noce, whose historical novel, Between Two Fires is just six months away from being released. I'm really looking forward to reading this novel - and I must admit I have serious 'cover-envy'!

Over to you, Mark!

The Inspiration for Between Two Fires


Thanks, Jayne for having me here! Jayne and I were talking books the other day, especially about her new release of Darkest before Dawn and my upcoming release of Between Two Fires in August, and she put the question to me: What actually inspired your book? That’s of course an easy and a complex question all at once.

The short of it is, my wife is my muse and inspiration. We talk books all the time, read books every night, and we pretty much live inside books. She certainly feeds all my reading and writing habits. In short, I write stories she likes. So if you like my work, you have my wife to thank for it, because she’s always my primary audience.

I also love writing about “dark ages,” and that’s part of what drew me to writing a novel set in early medieval Wales. Any era where much of the written and archaeological record has been lost fascinates me, because we know there were humans living at the time, going about their lives with all the hopes, loves, and fears we all share, yet we’ve no idea for certain what actually happened. That’s where a fiction writer can help to creatively fill in the gaps that history has left behind.

So what’s my book all about? Below is a blurb about Between Two Fires, which comes out with St. Martin’s Press (Macmillan) on August 23rd. I sincerely hope you enjoy it! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and you can add it on Goodreads!

Thanks again, Jayne for having me!

Between Two Fires


Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.

But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.


24 comments:

  1. Wales is a fascinating country anyway. (Don't think I could ever learn the language though.) Historical Wales is even better!

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  2. Yes, and more yes...I agree. Thanks for stopping by Alex:)

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  3. It's cool that your wife is such a help to you. Mine helps me quite a bit too.

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    1. Yeah, I call her my "secret weapon." Her advice is always dead on:)

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  4. How wonderful that your wife is your biggest inspiration! My husband and I love to read, but he doesn't read anything I write. Not because he isn't supportive, but he has no taste for romance!

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    1. Yet...he's not reading your romance novels yet;) What author does't enjoy a challenge? I bet you could write one that he would like too:) Thanks for stopping by, Christine!

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  5. Thanks everyone, for stopping by! :-)

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  6. Aw, you and your wife have a beautiful marriage, Mark. I cannot wait to have your book in my hands!

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    1. Thanks, Emily! When my wife's relatives saw the cover, they asked if the publisher had modeled the woman on it based on my wife...just coincidence I guess:)

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  7. Aw, you and your wife have a beautiful marriage, Mark. I cannot wait to have your book in my hands!

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  8. I love the names you've chosen, Mark. Especially Branwen. What a lovely name. Throughout my childhood and teen years, my family and I visited Wales regularly. It rains a lot! And is very windy! We visited castle ruins and walked the hills. I have very fond memories.
    My last visit was in 2014 when I had to go to Newport to renew my passport (it was the closest office to where my mother leaves - over the border). Whilst waiting, my mother and I ventured into a shopping centre and met the most amazing young welsh woman behind the checkout. She automatically knew we were visiting the passport office - I think that's probably the only reason the English visit this welsh town. She could see worry lines across my forehead, which appear when I'm a little stressed or deep in thought and asked me about them :) So I told her and she said, "Don't worry about things you can't change. It is what it is." How wise for her young years. That will always stay clear in my mind. Bless her.
    So looking forward to reading your new novel, Mark. Have a great week.

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    1. Wonderful story:) Branwen is actually a pretty popular girl name in Wales...hopefully, my book helps keep that trend going:) Thanks, Nicola!

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  9. Aw, how sweet that your wife is such a huge inspiration for you as a writer! Between Two Fires sounds fantastic...

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    1. Thanks! I definitely couldn't have written it without her:)

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  10. All the best for your book, Mark. I love that your wife is your primary audience. :-)

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    1. Thanks:) She's a pretty good critic too:)

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  11. I love reading stories about that time period. Always wonderful. And I love that your wife is your muse.

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    1. Thanks, Lynda! Always helps to have an awesome muse:)

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  12. Hi, Jayne, very nice blog!

    Mark, you're a lucky man to have your wife's support. I wish my hubby was as supportive.

    I love your blurb, cover, and I can't wait to read your book!!!!!

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    1. Thanks! And don't worry, the more you write, the more that hubby will come around:) You'll win out in the end:)

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    2. Thanks, Cathrina - all the best with your writing! :-)

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  13. Ah, Wales the true home of King Arthur! Love the sound of your story and that beautiful cover! Congratulations!

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  14. Thanks, Tyrean! I love everything Arthurian, and the story is set in what would be just a few generations after the time of Arthur. Hope you like it!

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