Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Author Interview and Giveaway: Elizabeth Chadwick on The Scarlet Lion

If you've been reading my blog this past month, you've noticed that I have become infatuated with two new books; The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick. Today I am lucky enough to interview Elizabeth Chadwick on this blog. Thank-you to Elizabeth Chadwick to take the time to answer my questions!!

Q (Laura)William Marshal is one of the best characters I have ever read about – and it’s amazing that he is an actual historical figure! Where did you first learn about William Marshal and what inspired you to write about him?

A (Elizabeth Chadwick) Thank you Laura. I think he is pretty amazing myself. I first came across William Marshal a long time ago in my career when I was writing a romantic novel titled “The Champion.” I was studying the art of jousting and his name cropped up as having been the best jouster of his age as a young man. As I continued to write, his name kept cropping up time and again, I finally decided to take a closer look at the man himself. His story was just so powerful that it had to be told. I was really lucky that as I seriously began to research and write the books, a history of his life story, told as a poem in Old French and written from eye-witness accounts, was published for the first time in English translation. I couldn’t have got as close to him as I did without the help of that wonderful document.

Q (Laura) Isabelle is a very strong heroine for her time. In your author’s note you state that there are not many records of her, but what there are shows that she was a strong presence in William’s life. How did you fill in the details to create your compelling portrait of Isabelle?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick)Some of it, as I stated was taken from the records, where inferences could be pieced together. Isabelle is described as being beautiful, noble, gracious and courageous, but a lot of these descriptions are stock in trade for noble ladies of the period. However we know that William was very taken with her – he took her away on honeymoon to a quiet spot and they had proper time to themselves for a month before resuming normal daily business. We know her father had red hair, her mother was blonde, and that her daughter Isabelle, named after her, had glorious thick, flaxen hair (a chronicler mentions it) as a grown woman. So I’ve made Isabelle a blonde because it seems very probable that she was. We know that she was usually not far from William’s side, that she sat in on his ‘business meetings’ and had a say in what happened, even if William (in keeping with most medieval men) was head of the household and still had the last word. She was prepared to argue with him when their sons were taken hostage, and when she thought he was being too lenient in forgiving their untrustworthy Irish vassals. When he returned to her in Ireland after being trapped at court in England, we are told that seeing him again was ‘very much to her taste.’ All of these details can be garnered from the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal, the poem written about his life. She comes over as a sensible, gracious woman, well aware of her own worth, and of the worth of the man whom she had married. To find Isabelle, I also used the skills of Akashic Record consultant Alison King. Details on my website here http://www.elizabethchadwick.com/akashic_record.html Basically it’s a belief that everything that has happened in the past can be accessed if you have the skill to do so.

Q(Laura)Your description of the Battle of Lincoln was riveting. What inspiration do you use for your writing of such epic scenes?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick)Again, I used the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal which described the battle in detail. I used Alison King’s skills to go back to the battle and take a look, and I used memories of scenes of warriors on horseback from various historical pageants I’ve attended to help get the feel. I also used music as an inspiration. It might seem a bit strange, but when I was envisaging William charging into battle at Lincoln, I had parallel Universe by Red Hot Chili Peppers running through my mind. It was all about being transported. About being inside yourself and outside of yourself at the same time, and feeling all the joy and power of what you were born to do, no matter your age. As William was swinging his sword, I had that powerful chorus kicking in full blast.

Q(Laura) In your author biography, it states that you are a part of the Regia Anglorum, an early medieval reenactment society. That sounds intriguing! How long have you been a member and how does it influence your writing?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick) I first met Regia Anglorum when I went to see a pageant at Nottingham Castle and they were providing the guards on duty. To see men wearing real mail shirts and with real weapons, to see the living history exhibit, made me realize that if I could capture this 3D feel and put it in a novel, it would really add richness and texture and hopefully enhance the sensory experience to make readers believe that they were actually there. If you can learn the crafts, if you can handle good quality replicas and experiment with how they work, I do believe it brings you closer to the life and times.

Q (Laura) Alais de Bethune’s tragic story intrigued me. What information is known about her? Did she have known bad relations with her family?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick) Very little is known about her beyond the fact that she died. Her half-brother would not have known her well and they would not have grown up together. I fleshed her out using the Akashic Record and also had some help from a friend who has studied the genealogy of the period and knew something of the background and personality of William de Forz, which made the circumstances of what happened chillingly plausible.

Q(Laura) Curse or no curse? Do you believe that Bishop’s curse caused all five of the Marshal sons to die childless?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick) I think it was probably a made up story that has grown in the telling. I know the bishop was most disgruntled at what he saw as William misappropriation of his lands, but whether he actually did curse William has to be treated with caution. Chroniclers were all too fond of doing the retrospective thing.

Q(Laura) The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion are two of the best historical fiction novels that I have ever read. What is next for you? Will you continue writing in the same time period?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick) Thank you! I haven’t quite finished with the Marshals and the USA will get to see more of this family and their friends and relations. I wrote a prequel to the Marshal novels titled A Place Beyond Courage, which is all about William’s father, John, and involves William as a little boy. It’s not currently available in the USA, but I think it may well make its way here at some point. The next novel for the USA published by Sourcebooks, will be in the autumn and titled For The King’s Favour (it’s called The Time of Singing in the UK). It’s based on a true story about a mistress of Henry II called Ida de Tosney, and her match with a young lord called Roger Bigod who is striving to regain his family’s lands. Their eldest son, married William Marshal’s eldest daughter. William has a bit part in the book, but it’s mostly Roger and Ida’s tale. To Defy A King will follow in the USA in spring 2011. It’s the story of Mahelt Marshal and Hugh Bigod, and covers from a different angle the issue of Magna Carta and explores the real place of aristocratic women in medieval society. How much power they did and didn’t have. I’m currently working on an untitled novel about the Empress Matilda and her young stepmother Queen Adeliza. It’s an up close and personal view from a woman’s perspective. The Empress has been covered on a few occasions before, but not in the same way as I am writing about her, and Adeliza is, as far as I know, completely new territory.

Q(Laura)I’ve read that William Marshal will appear in the new Ridley Scott Robin Hood movie. How do you feel about the blending of history and legend? And more importantly, if The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion became movies, what actor can you envision playing William Marshal?

A(Elizabeth Chadwick)With the Ridley Scott film, I will just have to suspend my disbelief. William Hurt is playing William Marshal, which I just can’t see for a start, so I’ll just either not have to watch the film, or put myself into the mode of ‘It’s entertainment fantasy, so chill out.’ If The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion became movies, then I’d love Ioan Gruffydd to play William. Alison, who has seen him when reading the Akashic Records, tells me that he looks not unlike actor Christopher Eccleston. I’m sure everyone has their own views and an image in their heads. I’d love suggestions from readers as to who they’d like to see play William Marshal in a film?

Q(Laura)What are your personal favorite novels? I always love to see what authors love to read!

A(Elizabeth Chadwick) I have very eclectic reading tastes. Variety is the spice of life. I like well written stories, simple as that. Entertain me without dumbing down or being pretentious and I’m a happy girl. Some favorite novels not in any order of preference include.

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. Grebo the cat is one of my all time favorite characters. Terry Pratchett books are my comfort reads. They are so wise and so funny.
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett – My first introduction to Dunnett and the stunning Francis Crawford of Lymond.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Jamie Fraser. What more can I say?
Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich. There’s a scene in that involving a body part sent in the post. I shouldn’t laugh, but that is one of the funniest moments I have ever read!
Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman. What a novel, what a great writer, and what a lovely, genuine, classy author.
The Shining by Stephen King. Because it’s one of the scariest books I’ve read and a fantastic page turner – I told you my taste was eclectic!
The Roselynde Chronicles of Roberta Gellis. Historical romance with real history rather than just modern day characters in fancy dress.
Riders by Jilly Cooper. This was left behind in a holiday cottage where I stayed once. I picked it up and was riveted from start to finish – a glorious romp!
The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox – one of my more literary reads, this story of a man’s relationship with an angel, but I love the descriptions and the ideas, and this one has stayed with me for a long time.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – simply beautiful language and ideas.

Other writers I enjoy to name but a few - Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Peter James, Jill Mansell, Barbara Erskine and Bernard Cornwell.

A page-turning novel of honor, intrigue, treachery, and love, continuing the story of England's greatest knight of the Middle Ages, William Marshal. Bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick, "an author who makes historical fiction come gloriously alive" (The Times of London), is known as a writer of uncommon historical integrity and accuracy.

By 1197 William Marshal's prowess with a sword and loyalty with his heart have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare—heiress to great estates— and their brood is growing. But their contentment and security is shattered when King Richard dies. Forced down a precarious path by the royal injustices of the vindictive King John, the Marshals teeter on a razor-thin line of honor that threatens to tear apart the very heart of their family.

Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, A Place Beyond Courage, the Winter Mantle, and the Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards. She won a Betty Trask Award for The Wild Hunt, her first novel. For more information please visit http://www.elizabethchadwick.com/, http://livingthehistoryelizabethchadwick.blogspot.com/ and follower her on Twitter http://twitter.com/Chadwickauthor!

Giveaway Details
Danielle of Sourcebooks has been kind enough to offer two copies of the The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick for this giveaway.If you would like to enter this contest do any of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post. You must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. (1 entry)

2. Blog about this giveaway or post about it on your sidebar. (1 entry)

3. Become a follower or leave a comment that you already are a follower of this blog. (1 entry)

There are three ways to enter, but you can put all three entries as one comment.

I will be using random.org to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday March 19th.
Good luck!


  1. Thanks for the giveaway. This sounds like a great book.

    I am already a follower +1

  2. What a great marketing idea! I will add you to my list of people to follow and look at your other work.

    Thank you!


  3. Great interview! I'm going to have to look for the series. ^^

    jedisakora@msn.com +1
    I am a follower +1

  4. thank you. This book looks great!
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

    I am already a follower +1

    I posted it on my sidebar at www.brokenteepee.info

    thank you!

  5. What a great interview! I'm definitely going to put these books on my list!!


    I am also a follower!

  6. I want to read these..

    +1 I commented!
    +1 follower


  7. Please enter me, I am a follower, I posted on my sidebar here:

    Thank you

  8. Here is my email for the entry for The Scarlet Lion. Serenahind_animallover@yahoo.com. Thank you.

  9. Wonderful, in-depth interview!

    I would love to read this book, so please enter me in this giveaway.


    I'm a follower. :)

    I will post this in my sidebar.

    Thanks for hosting this, Laura!

  10. Looks like such an interesting book - I'd love to read it.

    I am a follower.


  11. This sounds like such a great book. I really want to read it! Great interview too. +1

    Posted on my right sidebar in giveaway section: http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com/ +1

    I am a loyal follower. +1


  12. justpeachy36@yahoo.com

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

  13. Thanks for the interview-I think the cover for this book is so pretty and I like that it seems to be a romance based largely on historical fact instead of just making up characters (not that there's anything wrong with that).

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    stephaniefleischer889 @ gmail.com

    +1 follower

  14. I would love to read about Elizabeth Chadwick.

  15. I would love to win a copy of this book!!! Thanks for the giveaway. Great interview!

  16. sounds wonderful
    KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

  17. I have been in love with this book from the cover. And I love Elizabeth Chadwicks writing style. PLease enter me in this contest Heres my email:
    +1 Hot87Tamale(at)aol(dot)com
    +1 I am a follower
    +1 I put your contest on my sidebar (http://tryreadingmymind.blogspot.com/)
    Thats 3 entries all day. I really enjoyed your interview and I can't wait to hear more about "For the Kings Favor". Thx so much!

  18. Great interview, Elizabeth Chadwick is a favorite author. Thanks for the giveaway.
    And, I just signed on to follow your blog through Google Reader.

  19. Love historical fiction, and especially those with strong female characters. Great review!

    +1 cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com
    +1 I am an e-mail subscriber

    Thank you!

  20. Sounds like a great read, please count me in on the giveaway!!!

    (Plus I am a follower, so put me down for two entries please!!)

  21. I've read great reviews on this one, would love to enter :)

    here is my email: emperatrixx@gmail.com and I'm already a follower

  22. Oh wow. I am so glad I happened by. These books do sound marvelous. loun, wasn't he Horatio Hornblower? Great pick. 1prizewinner(at)gmail.com

  23. I wrote about this giveaway on my blog:


    So put me down for a third entry please!!

  24. I love historical novels and this one sounds particularly interesting.
    I'm a follower on GFC.

  25. What a wonderful interview!

    Thank you for the entry!

    I'm already a follower!


  26. Great interview!! I've heard so much about this author lately!! I'd love to enter!!

    +1 I'm a follower

    +1 link on sidebar here: http://inthehammockblog.blogspot.com/

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thanks so much!!

  27. Please enter me!

    I am a follower.


  28. Please count me in. Thanks for the chance.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  29. Great interview! This sounds like a great book. Please enter me. I'm a follower.


  30. Great to learn more about Elizabeth Chadwick. Lovely interview and thanks for the contest.

    Would love to win her book.

    I follow your blog.


  31. Great Interview. You begin to understand why her books are so great. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  32. I am a current follower of your blog.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  33. I posted the giveaway on the sidebar of my blog.


    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  34. The review of this book was so detailed and good that anyone reading it would be determined to read this book. Please count me in.

    I just became a follower.


  35. Thanks for the giveaway.. I would love to obtain a finished copy of this book, I enjoyed Chadwick's writing.
    Please enter me
    marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

    NEW follower =)

  36. I would like to win this giveaway because I have not read any of Elizabeth Chadwick's books and from reading the blogs on her, I think I would like her very much.


  37. please enter me in your drawing...would enjoy reading this book


  38. This sounds like a good book. I'd love to check it out.
    My email address is on my blog if I should happen to win this. I also follow this book blog -- there is a link on my page to back here. ;)

  39. I love historical novels! I'm a follower!

    nicolmontero at gmail dot com

  40. Hi. I'd like to be entered to win. I haven't read anything by Elizabeth Chadwick yet.

    tonsc721 at aol dot com


  41. I love historical fiction. Great in-depth interview. i would love to read this.

    I'm a follower.


  42. Just found your blog. I am a fan of Sharon Kay Penman and Susan Higgenbothem. I bought "The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick on their recommendation but haven't read it yet. Would love to have the sequel too!

  43. First, I enjoyed the interview! Second, I would LOVE a chance to win a copy of The Scarlet Lion=)
    Third, +1 I am a current follower!
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

  44. This is an excellent interview. Sounds like Elizabeth did wonderful research resulting in a wonderful book! I would love to read this.
    I am a new follower!

  45. Elizabeth Chadwick is fabulous, please count me in!

    Already follow!


  46. Such a great interview. I have read many of her books and found them so great. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I already follow the blog through Google Friend

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  47. Thanks for the interview! I'd love to read this book - right now I seem to be drawn to historical fiction.

    I already follow in GFC

    Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com

  48. 1. I'd love to read this :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

    2. Blogged about the giveaway

    3. Following Laura's Reviews with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}]


  49. 1. I'd love to red this, thanks!

    2. I follow on gfc!


  50. I would love to read this book

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  51. Please enter me in this giveaway!

    +1 I follow.

    saemmerson at yahoo dot com

    Sarah E

  52. This book sounds awesome! I would love to win it! (+1)

    I am a follower! (+1)

    my e mail is k8thebookbuff@yahoo.com

    Kate the Book Buff

  53. This sounds good! I'd love to read it! Please enter me! Thank you!

    I follow your blog.

    mittens0831 at aol dot com