With the impending publication of Blood Oath, Book 1 of my soon-to-be-released medieval crime series, the Janna Chronicles, I thought it would be fun to do another ‘meet my character’ blog, having recently taken part in a similar blog tour with Sophie Masson, Serene Conneeley and Jan Latta – see past posts.
Who is Janna? She’s the daughter of Eadgyth the wortwyf, the herbwife and healer. Her mother has taught Janna everything she knows – but nothing about her past, where she came from, or who her father is.
Janna’s quest: Janna’s mother dies in mysterious circumstances, and, after finding out who was responsible, Janna vows to avenge her mother’s death.
When and where are the novels set? The series is set in the 1140s, at a time of civil war between King Stephen and the legitimate heir to the throne of England, the Empress Matilda. This is a turbulent time of changing fortunes, greed, ambition, bastardry and treachery; a time when too many people have something to hide, and no-one can be trusted. Janna’s search for her unknown father takes her from forest to farm, abbey, town and finally into the heart of the royal court at Winchester via the mysterious ruins of Stonehenge.
Problems and setbacks: Forced to flee from her home after the villagers turn against her, Janna is forever on the run from those who fear her knowledge and who wish her dead. She is also held back by her lack of knowledge about her family and her inability to be able to read or write. Because of her upbringing, she is sometimes too naïve and trusting, too inclined to take people at face value (but she does learn, the hard way, to be more cautious.)
What helps her in her quest? Janna’s knowledge of herbs and healing, taught to her by her mother, helps her transcend social boundaries. She is curious and inquisitive, which helps her to solve the many crimes and mysteries she encounters on her quest to find her father. She has courage; she has integrity (even when she sometimes has to do the wrong thing!) and she’s quick-thinking, especially in times of danger. Fortunately, she also learns how to defend herself during the course of the series.
Is Janna a fictional or historical character? Janna is a fictional character but the setting, and most of the events described (eg Empress Matilda’s visit to Wilton Abbey, the siege of Winchester, the siege of Wilton and the empress’s escape from Oxford castle) are historically accurate. So my fictional character interacts with real historical figures and events – and in one book I actually solve (maybe!) a real historical mystery!
If Janna is a fictional character, who is the girl portrayed above? Every author’s dream (maybe with the exception of the creator of Mary Poppins!) is to have their novels turned into a movie. My choice for casting Janna might be Carey Mulligan.
When and where will the book become available? The e-book version of Blood Oath, Book 1 of The Janna Chronicles will be published this week and will be available from every e-book retailer. Each subsequent book of this six-book series will be published monthly hereafter, with print versions available some three weeks after initial publication. They are published by Momentum (Pan Macmillan) and will be available through the publisher and from every e-book retailer. Visit www.momentumbooks.com.au for more information.