Interview and giveaway: Elizabeth Chadwick – Shadows and Strongholds

Today I am thrilled to have Elizabeth Chadwick over at my blog. And there is also a giveaway of her book, Shadows and Strongholds.

Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
 I’ve been writing historical fiction set in the Middle Ages ever since I was a teenager, and have been a published novelist for more than 20 years.  During that time several of my novels have won awards, one of them presented by HRH the Prince of Wales.  I am passionate about the history of the Middle Ages and enjoy researching it both for my novels and for general interest.  Writing is my full time occupation, but when I’m not sitting at my desk, I enjoy walking with my husband and our dogs. We have two Jack Russel/Patterdale terrier crosses and a pure Patterdale puppy who has recently joined the family.  I enjoy visiting historic sites and taking photographs.  I’m also very fond of baking (and eating!) home-made cakes.  When I get time I like to do cross-stitch and watch movies.  Last year we moved to a cottage in the country with views over open fields, and we’ll be growing most of our own fruit and vegetables.
Can you tell me about your book, Shadows and Strongholds?
Shadows and Strongholds is a coming of age story set in 12th century England.  It’s based on a family chronicle about a family called the FitzWarins who lived on the Welsh borders at a place called Whittington.  The story concerns young Brunin FitzWarin who is something of a misfit at home, but when he is taken on as a squire by Joscelin de Dinan, lord of the great castle of Ludlow, he begins to flourish and emerge from the shadows.  It is also the story of his lord’s daughter, Hawise, who is the same age as Brunin. As they grow up together and become a young man and a young woman,  their relationship changes and she  has her own lessons to learn about taking responsibility.
You have written so many books, about so many interesting people. How did you come across FitzWarin and decide to write about him?
I came across the FitzWarin family by accident actually, while researching a character called Eustace the Monk for another novel.  I was reading a book  titled Two Medieval Outlaws which was a translation of two thirteenth century chronicles, one about Eustace the Monk and the other about Fulke FitzWarin.  Having researched what I needed to know about Eustace, I then read the chronicle of  Fulke FitzWarin and discovered that as well as the outlaw Fulke (whom readers will meet in a later book titled The Outlaw Knight, due out in September), there was also his father, Fulke le Brun, who had led a fascinating and conflicted life, especially as a young man. The FitzWarin men and the women who became their wives, were characters too interesting and vibrant not to write about!
How much time to you spend researching?
I research alongside the novels as I write them.  I research as much as I need to know to get started, and then continue to read up on the necessary details as I develop the various drafts of the novel. I began writing Medieval fiction when I was in my teens and that was a few decades ago now (!), so I have plenty of background information already under my belt.  If I suddenly decided to change era and write in the Regency period, I would have a tremendous amount of research to do just to bring me up to a  base line awareness.  I have never added up the hours of how much research I do, but it is pretty much a constant part of my life.  There is never a time when I don’t have a research book on the go.
Is there someone you have not written about but would sure love to?
I would love to write a novel about what William Marshal did during the two years he was in the Holy Land.  I didn’t cover this in The Greatest Knight and I am sure he had many adventures and learning experiences during his pilgrimage.  I also think William Marshal’s great grandfather would be interesting to write about.  He was an English thegn (nobleman) who managed to survive the Norman Conquest and even flourish in its aftermath at a time when other men of his culture and station were falling beneath Norman swords and losing their lands.  I’d love to find out he managed to succeed and grow.
What is coming next from you?
Currently I am writing a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine (she is called Alienor in the novels, which is what she would have called herself).  I feel that although Alienor has been written about before, this will be a fresh story with some insights that have not previously been explored.  The first one, THE SUMMER QUEEN comes out in the UK this summer and will be followed by THE WINTER CROWN and THE AUTUMN THRONE.  I expect they will be coming to the USA fairly soon but I don’t have a set date as yet! 

1 copy of Shadows and Strongholds

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Énds March 24th
3. Just enter 🙂

OUT NOW – Shadows and Strongholds
A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148—ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin’s development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin’s rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other’s arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family’s lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts….


35 thoughts on “Interview and giveaway: Elizabeth Chadwick – Shadows and Strongholds

  1. Carole Rae says:

    Wonderful interview. I'm SOOOO excited for the Eleanor of Aquitaine book. I haven't read anything about her in quite some time *contemplates*Count me in! This book sounds fantastic!

  2. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings says:

    She is amazing for sure. As I said yesterday, I really must read one of her books soon. Any recommendations on which one to start with? I love that she pours all that research into her work, I am a stickler for detail and world building so I am sure I will enjoy her books. Oh and enter me please 🙂

  3. Meghan says:

    Ooo… thanks for the giveaway! I love how epic the cover is and I LOVE historical fiction… it's pretty much my bread and butter.mestith at gmail dot com

  4. Teddyree says:

    Fab interview, Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my all time favourite authors. Loved The Greatest Knight so I'm keen to read anything else Elizabeth writes about William (or his grandfather) Looking forward to the new trilogy

  5. BookaholicCat says:

    I have heard so many great things about Elizabeth Chadwick's books, I even have couple of them on my TBR and plan to read them this year. Shadows and Strongholds sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway, I'm participating with my US address.

  6. Naida says:

    Wow. Hello Blod and Elizabeth Chadwick! Fantastic post! Shadows and Strongholds sounds great.I'm curious about the Eleanor of Aquitaine novels, I have read about her before and I'm sure these will be interesting.Please enter me, thank

  7. Lauren Elizabeth says:

    Cool interview! I loved finding out how she came across FitzWarin while doing research for another book. Shadows and Strongholds sounds like a really interesting story. Curious to hear more about the Eleanor of Aquitaine book too. 🙂

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