Posts Tagged ‘Gisborne:Book of Knights’

As we do on Fridays, when we have an interview, we take a break from the Regency Personality series. It shall of course return. As early as tomorrow.

Today we are fortunate to have with us us Prue Batten a medieval historical romance writer.

What moved you to become an author?

It’s such a clichéd answer but I have written since I was in Grade 3, experiencing great joy in the activity. Once my life had become my own and children had grown, it was the only thing I wanted to do – write a story. I completed a creative writing course and wrote a YA trilogy which is my bottom drawer piece but which is the piece one writes to begin but will never publish. Then I wrote a real story, The Stumpwork Robe, Amazon.com__The_Stumpwork_Robe__The_Chronicles_of_Eirie__eBook__Prue_Batten__Kindle_Store-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg a historical fantasy, and with the help of a London Consultancy called Cornerstones, that book was given wings.

Tell us about your current novel.

I’m currently working on the third and final book in a historical romance trilogy – The Gisborne Saga Inbox__62_messages_-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__Inbox__62_messages_-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg. It is entitled Gisborne: Book of Kings.

How did the story begin to develop in your mind?

It flowed naturally from the previous two – the continuing story of Guy of Gisborne, legendary knight whom we know from the Ballad of Robin Hood. I wondered, after watching the BBC Robin Hood series, what kind of life Gisborne would have had if the cards had fallen another way and so I decided to re-write his history, excluding Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Maid Marian entirely.

What did you find most challenging about this book?

I’m finding that there is part of me that wants to kill Gisborne off at the end of the novel. Hopefully I can resist that urge.

How did you choose your publishing method?

My first book, the afore-mentioned The Stumpwork Robe, Amazon.com__The_Stumpwork_Robe__The_Chronicles_of_Eirie__eBook__Prue_Batten__Kindle_Store-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg, was touted as a part of Cornerstones Hot 24 in 2008. But whilst hot, it was niche and therein lay the problem. Like so many other books that find their way to independent publishing, the story was lauded but never taken up and so I opted to take it to the market myself. Now, 6 books later, I am published by a boutique Australian press (DWW-Darlington Press–Note just a page to contact them) and supported by an ever-expanding readership whom I appreciate beyond measure.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Australia and studied history and politics at the University of Tasmania. I’ve worked as a hotel cleaner, a cosmetician in a major department store, a bookseller but most properly as a journalist/researcher for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where I met my husband, also a journalist.

We now farm in Tasmania, growing the superfine wool for which Australia is famous. I spent almost ten years as a coordinator for the cancer therapy program Look Good Feel Better and time as a walker for Riding for the Disabled and for the local Dogs’ Home. I write historical fiction for which Gisborne: Book of Pawns Inbox__62_messages_-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg received Honourable Mentions in the 2012 Golden Claddagh Writing Contest and in the RONE Awards of 2013. I also write historical fantasy. A Thousand Glass Flowers Inbox__63_messages__1_unread_-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg
(Book 4 in the Chronicles of Eirie) received a silver medallion in the 2012 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

What is your next work, and beyond that, what do you want to work on.

The WIP, Gisborne: Book of Kings, will keep me occupied for a year. After that, I have two books I would like to write about minor characters who are shouting to be major characters. Again, medieval stories.

In the current work, is there an excerpt to share?

Can I just say that this is part of the unedited opening chapter of Book of Kings…


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother to thee I do come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

The Memore


Bernard of Clairvaux (12th Century)


Chapter One

1194 A.D.

The body balanced on the gunwale, wrapped in a worn and stained canvas sail – nothing grand for someone I considered more noble than any nobleman I knew.

Except one.

Eli and Davey held it firm whilst a small prayer of committal was spoken by Sir Guy of Gisborne. I could read nothing in his face, the angles as sharp as ever and the eyes inscrutable. But his hands? They clenched as he nodded to the ship’s master. The body fell feet first, the attached rocks breaking the water with a hard splash that served to hide my one and only wracking sob. The man I had called my father-brother, my friend, Ulric of Camden, sank below the surface of the sea, leagues north of Cyprus and I watched him disappear forever. The speed with which he vanished was too frightening because now I had nothing left but memories and the most recent so sad and pointless.

‘Ysabel,’ Gisborne’s voice was hoarse, cracked with disappointment and guilt as he reached to touch me.
We had left behind a blood-soaked house and an enemy that had been vanquished but the price had been too high because we had lost our friend as well and hated the manner in which it was done.

Gisborne had lost someone he called his brother and who had been the most trusted man in his life – his second in command, and he had also misplaced his faith in himself. Always able to judge a man, he had completely misread the direction of Ulric’s emotions and it disturbed his equilibrium to think he could have been so blind. For myself – my selfishness, my need to lean so heavily on Ulric – it had fanned an affection within him that flamed into blind love, a love far greater than I was at liberty to return. And the awful thing was I didn’t even see it happening. Now, my little son had only to say ‘Oowic’th gone, Mama. I mith him,’ and guilt would choke me, deathly fingers that squeezed my throat.

Mehmet counselled in his wise physician’s way as he re-splinted and bound my arm. ‘It is no one’s fault. Ulric was his own man. He made decisions built on false assumptions. He paid the price.’

He did. I killed him.

‘And Ysabel,’ he continued, clucking at the fact that I would be in a splint for so much longer, ‘if you hadn’t done what you did, William would not have his father nor you the man you love. Instead, Gisborne would be pinned by the length of sword to a fig tree. What price your affection for your friend Ulric then?’

Who do you think influenced your writing?

I’m influenced daily by the great Dorothy Dunnett. Her lack of fear in writing is unparalleled. But I don’t believe I write like her. I would like to, have no doubt. But she is unique and represents the apogee of perfect hist.fict writing. I have no doubt that it will remain that way.

Who do you read?

I read many authors. In no particular order: Dorothy Dunnett, Jane Austen, Tinney. S. Heath, SJA Turney, Angus Donald, Rosamunde Pilcher, Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Chadwick, Ann Swinfen, Anna Elliott, LM. Montgomery – to name just a few of those to whom I return repeatedly. They constantly educate me as well as entertain me. I would like to think my narrative has a basic elegance, that my love of words is evident, that I am unafraid to make my characters redundant if it serves the story. Nor am I afraid to make my protagonists dysfunctional and emotionally challenged on many levels. On the most basic level, I hope that I write in a way that encourages the reader to turn the page. I owe all those authors above (and many others besides) for such things.

When writing, what is your routine?

My husband and I are farmers and in addition we have over an acre of gardens and I have two dogs, so I do have another life that requires a great deal of attention during the day.


A large part of my non-fiction reading is done in the evening and my writing, heaven help me, is done in longhand after the house is sleeping. It’s quiet and I am very much a part of my story at that point. When I have slabs of 3000 words of longhand (which has been read and re-read, crossed through and re-written), I transcribe to the computer in the daytime when I have a moment. A further edit takes place at that point. When the novel is finished as far as I believe I can take it and having been read by two trusted beta-readers, it then goes to my UK editor and of course more work begins.

Do you think of yourself as an artist, or as a craftsman, a blend of both?

Either/or. They are both creative after all. Actually, I’m not sure I see a difference. Writing is a creative art and the work one creates is crafted as it is put together.

Where should we look for your work.

Inbox__62_messages_-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg Gisborne: Book of Pawns is available at the following locations:

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/LrzO8l
Kindle USA: http://amzn.to/JFLNh8
Nook: http://bit.ly/1aBknrz
Kobo: http://bit.ly/16VMeie
i-Book: http://bit.ly/1ca5Pkp

1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__Inbox__62_messages_-2013-08-30-06-00.jpg Gisborne: Book of Knights is available at the following locations:

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/13F2im9
Kindle USA: http://amzn.to/1awRZ9Z
i-Book: http://bit.ly/13F2Bxl
Nook: http://bit.ly/16NWf0P
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1aXkktI

In addition, my blog http://pruebatten.wordpress.com/ is currently doubling as a website as my new one is designed and rebuilt and I would love readers to visit and comment. And if readers wish to see some wonderful images that have inspired me during my writing, they can visit http://pinterest.com/pruebatten


David, may I thank you so much for interviewing me? I think when a writer is asked such questions, it helps them pinpoint things about themselves and their writing that they may never have realised before. Cheers and best

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