Interview – Mary Anne Yarde
When did you start writing novels, what moved you to start writing?
About 13 years ago I had an idea for a book. My dearest friend, Zoe, was in the middle of her English degree and one of her units of study was in creative writing. Writing a novel was always something that I secretly wanted to do, so I decided to confide in Zoe. I told her about this idea I had for a book. After I had finished speaking, she gave me a funny look, handed me one of her books on creative writing and said, “Write it.”
So I did.
I can still remember that butterfly-in-the-tummy feeling when I had finished the first draft. It was, looking back, truly diabolical, but I had completed my first ever manuscript, which I thought was an achievement in itself. But now it was time to learn the craft. So for the next 12 years, I practised writing until I had a manuscript I was confident enough in to publish!
In what genres do you write? Do you plan writing in other genres?
I write epic historical fantasy for New Adult readers and Adults! I love the genre that I write in, and at present, I do not have any plans to write in another — although that may change. I’ll keep you posted!
Tell us about your novels. Why should everyone buy them?
My series — The Du Lac Chronicles — expands on the story of King Arthur and, in particular, what happened after his death. This period has often been neglected by the great Arthurian storytellers such a Malory and Monmouth — in these great works the story of Arthur comes to a somewhat unsatisfying end when he is fatally wounded at Camlann. Arthur is then taken to Avalon and never seen or heard of again. Arthur’s knights, if they had not already dead, end their days as hermits. Hermits? Sorry, I don’t buy it. The Du Lac Chronicles series tells the story of what happens next through the eyes of Lancelot du Lac’s sons. It is full of action, drama, war, politics and romance.
Why should everyone buy them?
I have had reviewers compare my books to Game of Thrones (without the dragons), and The Vikings, which is a huge compliment, and I am very humbled at receiving such praise. If you like stories set in Arthurian Britain, then maybe The Du Lac Chronicles is for you!
What is your all time favourite historical fantasy novel? What makes it special?
That is so difficult; there are so many great historical fantasies out there. I could go for the obvious such as Lord of the Rings, but I recently discovered a fellow Arthurian author, C.M.Gray. Gray writes about the times of Uther Pendragon — the generation before Arthur — I write about the time after, so we kind of compliment each other a little!
Tell us a bit about your writing process.
I am not one for planning or writing ideas down. I tend to get caught up in writing and, I have to admit that sometimes my protagonists surprise the hell out of me! Saying that, I do spend a lot of time staring into space and thinking up perfect plot lines, which I will never use!
I am a bit of a perfectionist, and I can spend a couple of weeks on one scene until it reads right, I will then leave it to rest, go back to it, and no doubt rewrite it again! It’s a long process, but I get there in the end!
What author would you love to have dinner with?
I can’t pick one author — there are in fact three that I would love to have dinner with. I greatly admire the work of Historical Fiction author, Tony Riches. Tony’s books are so vivid, they bring the Tudor world to life — I love getting lost in his stories. Another author whose work just blows me away is M.T. Magee. Magee writes the most poetic romantic fantasy that I have ever read. And lastly, I adore the work of Larry Shackelford. Shackelford’s books are compelling page-turners, and he has a way of bringing his characters to life. I never know what journey he is going to take me on when I open one of his books!
We have many followers who would like to start writing a book or are already writing their first novel, any advice for these brave people?
Read. Read. Read. Read as many books as you can. You don’t have to have a degree in English to write a bestseller, but you do have to be brave and never give up. You can do it. I know you can.
How often do you write, daily, every other day or?
Monday to Friday is dedicated to my novels, the weekends I write the posts for the coming week’s blog — that is the plan anyway, it doesn’t always work out like that.
Do you keep a notebook with ideas for your novels? If so do you carry the notebook with you so you won’t forget any ideas?
I am hopeless at writing things down, and even if I did, I doubt I would ever look at my notes!! So no, I don’t.
Being an Historical Fantasy author, it must be very important to do a good deal of research. How important is it in this genre to have your facts right and are there any instances when you bend history to fit your story?
Detail is so important. I probably spend more time researching 5th Century, Britain, Brittany, France, and the Church, than I do writing the book. I want to portray the era as accurately as I can. It is an absolutely fascinating period in history that is often overlooked because it is so obscure. I am also heavily influenced by folklore, and I am fascinated how the story of Arthur was told and how it was changed to fit political purposes and ideology. In a nutshell, I blend history and folklore together, and then I simply add my imagination!
What are you reading at the moment?
I am reading The Gingerbread House by James Richard It is set in the 1900’s, and I am thoroughly enjoying it!
How is it to be an author in the UK? Do you have a good support from the local public?
When I hit the bestseller list on Amazon, my local paper did a page spread about me and my books! So yes, they are a supportive bunch!
– A final message for our circleofbooks.com readers.
Thank you for taking the time to read this interview! I love to chat to readers so look me up on Twitter or Facebook! And if you are an aspiring author…keep writing!
Thank you Mary. We at circleofbooks.com wish you much success!