It’s my pleasure to welcome author Kira Morgan as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress as she makes a stop on her virtual blog tour.
Kira’s latest release is CAPTURED BY DESIRE. Thanks to Kira, Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group I have five copies to giveaway. Please see the giveaway guidelines at the end of this post.
Here’s a brief synopsis of CAPTURED BY DESIRE: “In 16th century Scotland, young Miss Florie Gilder runs away from her drunken foster father to find her real father and her noble heritage. Along the way, she is accused of theft, becomes a fugitive hiding in a forest, and is accidentally wounded by a handsome local huntsman.
The huntsman--a Robin-Hood figure who poaches wild game from the landowner's estate to feed the starving poor--carries the beautiful maiden to a church where she is guaranteed 40 days of sanctuary from the law. During that time, he learns her true story, falls in love with her, and helps her in her quest, at the risk of his own life. Smitten with him, she worries more for his survival. But enemies of the state are seeking to overturn the Catholic royals, while a vicious noblewoman is out to destroy Florie.”
You can hear a brief excerpt of the book read by Kira here.
I asked Kira, “Why choose to make your hero and heroine common people during a time of nobility?”
First, let me thank you for asking me to blog on a subject that is near and dear to my heart--working-class heroes and heroines in medieval romances!
My preference for commoners basically arises from three conditions:
1. A boredom with lords and ladies who don’t seem to do much all day.I was raised on fairytales where princesses locked in towers waited for handsome princes to come rescue them. What I always wondered was what did they do while they were waiting? I know Rapunzel brushed her hair. The Little Mermaid hung out with fish. The Frog Princess played near ponds. Sleeping Beauty...slept. Ho hum.
As recently as the 1800s, it was considered unbecoming for a member of the upper crust to have a (gasp) job. Titled persons might have investments, but they certainly never stooped to labor of any sort. Their sole occupation was attending social functions for which they might spend hours dressing, dancing, and learning to flirt properly with a fan. How dull.
Even today, I find people whose lives consist of sitting by the pool for hours or going on all-day shopping excursions or indulging in frequent spa treatments to be generally boring.
I prefer productive, inquisitive, goal-driven people, which is why my characters have interests and talents and things to do.
2. A curiosity about the fascinating array of occupations available in the Middle Ages.
Ever heard of a gong farmer? A thimblerigger? A catchpole? These were all valid designations in medieval times (a latrine-emptier, a scam artist, and a debt-collector, respectively). With
jobs like these, who wouldn’t want to play vocational roulette?
A hero could work in government as a sheriff, a woodward, a huntsman (as Rane is in my current book), or he might be involved in the military as an expert crossbowman or a spy. He could be a merchant--an ironmonger, an apothecary, an innkeeper, or perhaps a craftsman making armor, barrels, or leather goods. He might make his living as a musician, an artist, or a puppeteer.
Women were just as likely to be members of craft guilds as men, which means a heroine might be a hatmaker, a waxchandler, a goldsmith (as Florie is in CAPTURED BY DESIRE). There were even some very interesting and more obscure occupations, such as a silk-mercer, a tinker, a linenspinner, and a vaginarius (yes, I know it sounds dirty, but that’s a scabbard-maker).
With all the goods that needed to be made and the services that were required, it’s hard to imagine writing characters that while away the hours, twiddling their thumbs.
3. An affinity for characters that, like most of us, sometimes have to struggle for success and survival.As a girl, my favorite stories were the Howard Pyle tales of King Arthur. I had a crush on Sir Launcelot, the noble knight who traveled from France to join Arthur’s Round Table. I adored Sir Gawain, whose loyalty and courtesy were legendary. I loved Sir Tristram, who challenged a king in the name of love. I admired Sir Galahad, Launcelot’s son, the noblest knight of all.
But the knight who fascinated me most, who had the toughest journey, was Sir Percival. Percival was a fatherless country bumpkin with an overprotective mother who wasn’t about to let anyone put any ideas into the boy’s head about becoming a knight. Of course, that’s what Percival wanted above all else. So he set out on a packhorse with a javelin for a weapon and armor made of twigs, enduring the scorn of all, but determined to become a knight. He faced many trials, but he proved himself a worthy swordsman, and in the end, it was his nobility of spirit that earned him a place at the Round Table.
Heroes like this are far more interesting to me because I can relate to them. I may not have been born into royalty or wealth or privilege, but I believe in achievement through passion, persistence, and never giving up on a dream.
I hope you feel that way, too, and that you enjoy reading Rane and Florie’s adventures in CAPTURED BY DESIRE. After all, heroes who rise above their humble beginnings and pull themselves up by their bootstraps are all around us. Who are the working-class heroes in your life?
Kira, thank you for guest blogging today and for answering my question. I had never quite thought of nobility being boring but I can see how it could be compared to a ‘common man.’
Kira is a third-generation California girl who is an avid traveler, the wife of a rock star, the mother of two fascinating children, and the beloved master of a pug named Worf. I have to say, I’m like everyone else and wonder who her husband is. Her website is http://www.glynnis.net/books/index.php
Now for the giveaway guidelines. I have 5 copies of the 384 page paperback, CAPTURED BY DESIRE (ISBN: 9780446548182). To enter the giveaway send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with “Win Captured by Desire” in the subject line and be sure to include your name and address in the body of the e-mail. The giveaway is open to residents of U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. The giveaway ends at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26. Just so you know, I don’t share your information with anyone or use it for anything else.
Now here is a video book trailer of CAPTURED BY DESIRE. Enjoy. After the video you will see a brief form. I’m thinking of changing the way I do giveaways. I’m not really sure how the forms work so this is basically a test to see if it will work and how you feel about submitting your information for a giveaway. Thanks.