Today, I’d like to welcome the lovely Alison Stuart who is an award winning Australian author. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published seven full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories. Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.
Take it away, Alison!
Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today, Alli.
Rather than talk about a single book I thought I would talk a little bit about my English Civil War series GUARDIANS OF THE CROWN.
Firstly, why the English Civil War?
If I had a commercial bone in my body I would NOT be writing stories set in the English Civil War. Don’t think enough people haven’t told me that. I’ve heard it all… ‘great story, fabulous characters, can’t sell the period’. I have a small glimmer of hope that over the last few years a few more writers are venturing into this hitherto unknown territory and together we are building interest in what, for me, is the most interesting period of English history.
Because I love it… it has been my passion for nearly my whole life. It began with my father, who loved history and passed on his passion to me. In the days before television every Sunday afternoon he would read to my brother and me. The thing about my father – he loathed ‘children’s’ stories. Even when I was sick in hospital with meningitis, he sat by my bed for hours on end reading Hiawatha. One of the books he chose was Daphne Du Maurier’s The King’s General… and that was it, I was hooked on roundheads and cavaliers. The passion was sealed with the film CROMWELL (Alec Guiness, Richard Harris and a very young Timothy Dalton as Prince Rupert).
What is the attraction?
Here are the reasons why I love this period….
- What’s not to love about men in large hats with feathers, lace collars, bucket top boots and large swords…? It is pure swashbuckling… every pirate fantasy you ever had (without the pirates!). Think THE MUSKETEERS…
- Family legend has it that I am descended from a “regicide” (one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I). While no evidence has been found to support that claim I did recently discover another twiglet on the family tree with blood on his hands. Anyway who ever let fact get in the way of a good family legend!
- The very idea of a Civil War throws up so many possibilities for an over active imagination: father against son, brother against brother, friends destined to become foes! Intrigues, plots, assassinations, revenge… What about the families… the wives, the mothers…the lovers?
- Just the sheer drama… a King executed! Unthinkable and yet to be repeated 150 years later during the French revolution. What did this mean for the ordinary people of England?
What about The Guardians of the Crown?
This trilogy is not set during the war itself but in the ten years that followed the King’s execution (called the ‘Interregnum’) when England toyed with republicanism and Cromwell and his puritans ruled.
The series takes the fates of three young men, bound by a friendship born on the battlefield of Worcester (3 September 1651). They will pay a heavy price for their loyalty to the King, Jonathan Thornton (BY THE SWORD) will be a hunted man in his own country, Kit Lovell (THE KING’S MAN) will sacrifice his honour to save someone he loves and his brother Daniel (EXILE’S RETURN) will endure years of imprisonment, torture and slavery. Their only hope is the restoration of a monarchy. And of course… the women who love them… Kate (BY THE SWORD), torn by her loyalties to the parliamentary cause and the man she loves, Thamsine (THE KING’S MAN) abandoned, penniless and friendless on the streets of London and Agnes (EXILE’S RETURN) whose love for her sister’s children will drive her to risk everything to save them.
And they say a picture speaks a thousand words…
The first book in the series is BY THE SWORD
From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them.
England 1650: In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.
Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.
Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.
In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?