Please welcome fellow Canadian author Dana D’Angelo to Travel Back in Time.
Thanks, Anna. When I set out to write my first book, all I knew was that I wanted it to take place in medieval England. I picked an arbitrary time frame, which happened to be in the 14th century.
As I read more on the topics, I became increasingly intrigued by the people and tried to imagine how their beliefs and fears shaped them. And lo and behold, these ideas found their way into my stories.
So what did I find?
To begin with, there were numerous unexplained things, so superstition and folklore filled many gaps in their knowledge. While the Church held much sway among the people, they still could not eradicate pagan influences or beliefs. One of those beliefs was about the Green Man. This forest spirit was known to be unpredictable and feared; he had the ability to do good (ie. he represented the cycle of nature, of new beginnings and of death), but he was not a compassionate spirit and cared little for the welfare of man. I imagined that while we might dismiss these beliefs as superstition or folklore, the people of that era would have thought that the forest spirit was very real. It was with this concept that inspired my story Heart of a Knight.
The other thing that was very apparent during the 14th century (indeed the entire medieval era) was that it was an age of danger and violence. Although there was no police, there was, however, a community policing system in place known as a “tithing” or frankpledge. It was through this group that towns and villages were able to erect pillories and stocks to punish cheaters for their misdeeds and petty crimes. But if a crime was of a more serious nature, then the authorities took over and exacted the punishments.
Yet despite efforts to keep the king’s peace, lawbreakers existed in the fringes of society. Surprisingly many of these outlaws were not simple commoner but were of noble birth. Two of the most notorious criminals of the time were the Folville and Coterel gangs.
The Folvilles were first outlawed after being convicted as accomplices to the murder of a baron exchequer in 1326. From that point onward, the Folvilles and their followers continued to raise havoc, committing robberies, rapes, beatings and extortions in a span of 20 years. In a similar fashion, the Coterel family, who was a part of the minor nobility class, also turned to crime. This gang terrorized the people of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, (which included the Sherwood Forest) from 1328-1332.
So with the awareness of how criminals operated back then, and a bunch of ideas on the fears and beliefs of the people, I had fresh fodder to paint a dangerous backdrop to all of my medieval romances. But personally, if I had the opportunity to travel back in time, I wouldn’t want to live in the 14th century. Perhaps I possess too much information about this period. Still, this is a fascinating age to visit – at least in fiction!
For breaking the sacred vows of knighthood, Gareth de Mowbrey is banished to the outer realms of the kingdom. He is broken down and plagued by the demons from his past. He has lost everything, his reputation is in shreds, and he is walking the path of self-destruction. That is, until he meets one woman who may have the power to save him from himself…
Clarisse de Servian knows that her duty is to marry the man that her family chooses for her. But even for the betterment of her people, she cannot bring herself to wed a man she does not love. She does however fall in love with a man who is forbidden to her, and for once she enjoys happiness. But this happiness is only fleeting, for Clarisse possess a dark secret that threatens to destroy her and everyone she loves.
Note: Although part 3 of the Knights of Honor Trilogy, this story can be read as a stand-alone book.
Here’s an excerpt:
Gareth reached over and with one finger, he brushed it against her cheek. Unable to help it, her body flushed hot and cold and she shivered. She wasn’t sure what had come over her, and she took a step back.
His hand dropped to his side. “There was flour on your face,” he murmured but he made no move to come after her.
“Thank you,” she said, rubbing her face, now feeling foolish. Gareth was an altogether different man, she reminded herself. He was not the one who pervaded her nightmares.
“You’re welcome,” he said.
A silence fell between them, although she was acutely aware of the man who stood before her. His heated gaze fell to her lips, caressing them with his eyes and causing her to feel warm.
“I should escort you back to the great hall,” he murmured, “yet here I am hesitant to do so. Why is that?”
“I am not certain,” she said slowly.
His eyes had darkened and the look on his face caused a strange whirling in her stomach. But the sensation wasn’t caused by fright, she knew. Gareth had never done anything to frighten her, yet his physical presence suggested that he was capable of doing great harm. She should actually be leaving the kitchen this instant, but her feet felt as if they were stuck to the stone floor. A curiosity took hold of her and as the seconds passed by, its intensity grew.
“May I kiss you, Clarisse?”
Her lips parted, while her gaze went down to his mouth. Every fiber in her body wanted her to say yes. His heat drew her in and for some inexplicable reason she knew that once his firm lips touched hers, she would reel from the heady passion that she only heard about in stories…
Get to know Dana.
Dana is the only girl from a family of nine children. As a teenager, there was a constant battle for the T.V. remote, which she lost so she was forced to find her amusement in books. Soon after she discovered historical romance novels from best selling romance writers like Johanna Lindsay, Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood. She read as many as 10 romance books per week, and spent hours with her nose pressed between the pages, skipping meals and cutting out sleep. Medieval romance and love in the Regency era was just too exciting.
It wasn’t until she was married with two young kids that she decided to take a stab at writing her own historical romance books. She is intrigued with the idea of writing romance fiction that could bring hours of enjoyment to readers, help them escape from reality, and perhaps remind them how sweet love is and should be. These are the things that she enjoys as a reader, and these are the things that she wants to give back as a writer.
Dana resides in a city east of Toronto, Canada. When not writing or reading, she’s dining at local restaurants with her husband and kids and enjoying the spectacular foods of the world.
Contact Information Website: www.dana-dangelo.com