Author of The Seventh Son
Please join me in welcoming historical romance author Ashley York to Books & Benches for a 5 Question Q&A. The Seventh Son is Ashley York's fifth book, and the fourth in her Award-Winning and Amazon Bestselling Norman Conquest series.
“The author has a keen ear for dialogue and clearly knows it: her characters are wonderfully talkative, and the novel is skillfully plotted, a very adroit balancing act between historical action and romance.”
—The Historical Novel Society
What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?
As I wrote The Gentle Knight, it became clear that Brighit (the heroine) needed someone locally to mention to her father as an acceptable husband. Someone she was willing to marry so that she could stay with her clan. After all, she was working on trying to change his mind about sending her to a convent in England. Enter Sean—a man who didn't even bother to come to see her off when she was sent away. Later on when Peter (Brighit's soon-to-be-husband) meets Sean, he had to be a character worthy of Peter's jealousy. I fashioned him after Rollo from Viking.
Sean became such an appealing character to me, that he had to have his own story. He had to have his own HEA. Reader's didn't care for Sean at first which makes sense since he didn't want Brighit to marry Peter. But he won them over in The Irish Warrior when he shows himself as hero-worthy. Also a pivotal secondary character in The Seventh Son, Sean takes over as chieftain to his mother's clan. This is the series I am working on. Understandably, both Sean and Thomasina's daughter, and his little cousin, Aednat, grow into strong, independent women.
Do you consider your books plot-driven or character-driven? Is that how you naturally write, or do is there a purpose for what you chose?
My books are definitely character driven if you mean they tell me what to do ;) Their story comes from them. I may know the history but if they need to end up further north and closer to Scotland, for example, then I have to change the location of the actual event. It's the same siege, the same Ralph de Gael and his lady wife, Emma, but they've suddenly arrived in Northumbria. That's where they needed to be in order for the Scots to come to Peter's assistance in The Gentle Knight. Though Peter is a Norman, he holds not such prejudices against the locals that others, such as King William, do.
What is your favorite scene in The Seventh Son?
My favorite scene in The Seventh Son is the last one between Darragh (pronounced Die-Ruh) and Tisa (Lisa with a T). Darragh was her husband but not very interested in her...or any woman. I could have made him flat with no depth of character, no desires or drives of his own but once I knew him, I just couldn't do that to him. He had a hard life, trying to prove himself to his father and all but giving up. He and Tisa were a unique couple. She supported him, even loved him in her own way, and that gave him courage because no one had ever believed in him before. I cried when I wrote that scene.
Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
I write alone and in quiet. I used to write at the local Panera and I was able to block others out but having all my research and maps at my fingertips keeps me in my office. I know some writers can listen to music when they write but I studied Music and it's hard to turn that off. I need to focus on the scene in my head, all the sights and sounds.
What has been your greatest pleasure in writing The Seventh Son?
My father was the seventh son of the seventh son so when I decided to write the book, I wasn't sure where it would lead. I knew Tadhg (Tie-gue) would be a great leader and that his love for his young betrothed would never lessen even when she was married to another. But creating Darragh and the challenges he faced from all sides was never where I thought it would go. Both Tadhg and Darragh became stronger. Darragh in his determination to ignore his father and focus on what he wanted for his life. Tadhg grew in his strength even as he kept himself apart from the woman he loved. That he stood by to protect her from the forces that sought to undermine her husband's authority was his only outlet for that love. He believed she and her husband had a normal relationship and saw what he expected to see. His love for her only deepened when he decided to have no one if he couldn't have her. So I guess my greatest pleasure was in showing the ways that love can conquer all, even in the most impossible situations.
"Ms. York knows how to keep a reader on her toes!"
Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author's imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.
The Seventh Son
“Ms. York is a very talented author and a very descriptive writer. I strongly recommend this fantastic read!”
Drogheda, Ireland 1075
The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.
Tisa O'Brien's life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations, the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her and meets his needs in the arms of others, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.
Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight for Aodh who envisions himself the new High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love's marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to overthrow King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.
An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed, doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?
Publication Date: March 30, 2016
Formats: Paperback & eBook
Series: Norman Conquest, Book Four
Genre: Historical/Medieval Romance