I am delighted to welcome Nancy Jardine to my blog today. As part of the blog tour for her novel, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Nancy is here to tell us all about her writing inspiration. I will hand you straight over to Nancy now, and you can find all the book details after her post.
Being asked about the inspiration for After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour Saga, isn’t an easy question to answer. However, one thing I can say is that during Brennus of Garrigill’s story (beginning in Book 2) I wanted to depict a huge battle between the forces of the Ancient Roman General Agricola and the Caledonian Allies, somewhere in northern Scotland. And if truth be told, not far from where I live in Aberdeenshire, because one of Agricola’s temporary marching camps is right across the road from my garden!
The Ancient Roman writer Cornelius Tacitus refers to a Battle of Mons Graupius having happened somewhere in Scotland, probably north of the central belt. Unfortunately, no battle site has ever been identified. Some experts believe there wasn’t one and that Tacitus embellished the truth to exaggerate the military exploits of his father-in-law General Agricola. Undaunted, the lack of clarity on a battle site only made me more determined to have my Brennus of Garrigill be part of a huge pitched battle in northern Scotland. Though, how to get him to this location would prove interesting!
Tacitus’ book, the ‘Agricola’, has military campaign information which I used as a rough guide, since Agricola had to subdue the natives all around north Yorkshire and Cumbria, and then those of southern and central Scotland, before he headed north east to reach the Moray Coast of Scotland. Historically, according to Tacitus, that took General Agricola about seven summer campaign seasons to achieve. (Approx. A.D 77/78 – 84) The Battle of Mons Graupius was likely to have occurred in A.D. 84. It’s A.D. 71 at the end of Book 1, so Brennus’ complete story is written across a time lapse of thirteen years.
Brennus would always be one step ahead of Agricola and his legions – even though there was a lot of geography to cover! Somewhere along the route, refugee members of my Garrigill Clan could be reunited with Brennus making the stories into a continuous family saga.
Originally my story of Brennus was one very long book at more than 120,000 words. My publisher loved the story concept but wasn’t keen on the length. However, if separated into two different books, referring to two different phases of Brennus’ story, then publishing wasn’t a problem. Book 2 became After Whorl: Bran Reborn and Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks. The After Whorl in both titles a deliberate move to show continuity across the two books.
Book 2 describes Brennus’ new life after the Battle at Whorl (A.D.71). Having suffered life-changing injuries he assumes the new name of Bran and becomes a spy for King Venutius of the Brigantes. Book 2 covers the time period from A.D. 71 through to A.D and introduces the new characters of Ineda of Marske and the Ancient Roman Tribune Gaius Livanus Valerius. Book 2 ends at a dramatic new phase of Brennus’ life.
The rewriting to create two different books for Brennus’ story meant that my battle in northern Caledonia (NE Scotland) doesn’t happen till the end of Book 3 and what a battle it is! If the Ancient Roman Tacitus was correct about the battle then it ended up a disastrous one for the Caledonian Allies, and I felt the need to write mine in similar vein.
As a relatively new writer, I went through a huge learning curve during the separation of the two ‘After Whorl’ books, my writing style changing from Book 1 to reflect the more sober events happening to my poor Brennus. I’m delighted to say that even if his romantic happiness takes two books – it does eventually happen!
Many thanks Nancy, for taking the time to talk to us today.
Here comes all the book info for you eager readers:
AD 73 Northern Roman Britain
Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.
Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.
The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?
The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)
A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
Win x1 signed paperback of After Whorl: Double Cloaks to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide
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Thanks again Nancy, for the fascinating post, and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this tour. If you would like to know more about the book, head on over to the other blogs taking part in the tour.