Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Sleeping Beauty

Today, my guest is romance author, Lindsay Townsend.  Her delightful story, A Christmas Sleeping Beauty, is available from MuseItUp Publishing as an eBook download.  If you're looking for a last minute present for someone who loves a fairytale romance, this is it.


Please tell us about yourself? I’m British,  married, and I live with my husband in Yorkshire in the UK. I love reading, writing, listening to music, walking in woodland and seeing my friends.

Tell us your latest news? My latest news is that I have two Christmas-time stories coming out this year – my short historical romance fantasy, ‘A Christmas Sleeping Beauty,’ with Muse it Up Publishing and my medieval historical romance, 'The Snow Bride,’ with Bookstrand. In the new year Lysandra Press is reissuing 'The English Daughter', a romantic suspense novel set in Corfu.

I wrote ‘A Christmas Sleeping Beauty’ as a Christmas fable based on a simple idea – what if the prince could not wake Sleeping Beauty? Through the story I took care that the princess, too, is  active, even though she remains asleep until almost the very end. 

'The Snow Bride' is a full-length medieval set in the days running up to the winter solstice and contains a redheaded heroine, a battered hero, witchcraft from the time and unknown danger in the deep woods.

When and why did you begin writing? I’ve always written since I was small. It was always a wish,  or rather a  need, of mine to create stories.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I was eleven I entered a competition at school for writing, and the tutor asked me if I’d thought of becoming a writer when I grew up. That put the idea firmly into my mind and it became a goal from then on.

What inspired you to write your first book? The history of the distant past, of the Bronze Age. I wrote ‘Bronze Lightning’ because I wanted to recreate that period, when Stonehenge and Avebury were already built and when warring lords fought for territory and gold. To me it’s an exciting, heroic age and one I wished to bring to life through the eyes of a woman, my heroine Sarmatia. 
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Only that humans have different cultures and customs through the  ages, but that in the essentials – love, survival, making homes for our families – we remain the same.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  (Has anyone ever realized it?) I’m constantly inspired by people around me or by historical figures. But no one has ever fully gone into my books, merely aspects of character.

What books have most influenced your life most? I loved Tolkien’s work and still do, and I also really enjoy Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? The thriller writer John Katzenbach. I admire the elegant, compelling way he writes and evokes tension.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it? I’ve just finished Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, having got around to reading it for the first time. I enjoyed the strong heroine, Mina, and the way the author really evoked her thoughts via her journal and letters. However I found the whole device of revealing the action solely through letters and journals less immediate than I prefer. What always strikes me is how sentimental the Victorians were and how emotional – men cry and express themselves freely throughout the novel.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  Read widely, within your own genre and other genres.  Read fiction and non-fiction. Join a writers’ group for support and feedback. Let your writing ‘rest’ a while before you go back to edit and polish it. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to rush things out to publishers. Be aware of what genre you are writing in, of  how your work follows the or stretches the conventions of that genre. Study the e-publishers and follow their submission guides carefully. It’s a very exciting time for writers at the moment, with e-publishing on the rise and self-publishing becoming a viable option. 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? I hope you enjoy my work. I hope my books take you to other times and places, where good wins in the end over evil and where my heroine and hero strive together toward their own HEA.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention? My latest medieval historical romance, ‘The Snow Bride’ is coming out from Bookstrand on December 27th.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? I have books with several publishers – Kensington Zebra, Siren-Bookstrand and MuseItUp. I connected with all of them directly and followed the submission guidelines on their website. They accepted my work and we moved on from there.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.


The girl curled on her side, fast asleep in the middle of the twilight-blue silken sheets, was glorious, fit for any prince, even for him. Small, with long, glossy black hair, she had a lithe, flawless figure and the most perfect pink little mouth. Lips sweeter than sugar cane, he wagered, congratulating himself for a third time.
            He rolled her onto her back and straightened out her slim, taut limbs. She did not stir. Her breath was sweeter than peppermint and her skin like ivory, tinted faintly with rose. In this gloomy chamber, unlit by windows or torches, she glowed like a pearl, as if lit from within. Her nightdress was white and trimmed with lace, the kind of old-fashioned gown his grandmother used to wear. He imagined himself ripping it from her, plundering those lush pink lips for kiss after kiss as she gasped her thankfulness and gratitude, and he made her his, right here in the great bed. And after that, of course, the kingdom would be his, for her parents would make him their heir.
            A swift marriage in the cathedral before Christmas, and all would be well. He would hire tutors for her, to teach her the modern ways, but if she was as soft and obedient as his grandmother had been, then all would be very well indeed.
            And I am going to marry her, he thought.
            He tugged off his boots and sank onto the bed. He would kiss her forehead first and then her mouth, he decided. He caught her wrists in one of his large hands, so she would not scratch him when she woke.
            Her flesh was warm and fragrant. A small pulse thudded in her temple as she responded to him. The weariness of his long hunt for this fabled kingdom dropped away as he knelt on top of her, careful not to crush her with his weight, and lowered his head.
            A snap behind him had him sprawling off her, knife ready, shielding his prize.
            He relaxed, realizing a log had collapsed in the fireplace, and turned back.
            "None shall take her from you, eh, Prince?"
            Out of nowhere, a woman had appeared beside the carefully laid fire. She was nearly as tall as himself, with iron-gray hair and a handsome, if sharp, face. She was robed in the latest fashion and carried a sheath of yellow iris which she proceeded to arrange into a tall blue vase beside the bed. "I suppose you tried to defend her, at least."
            Orlando fingered his dagger. "Who are you, woman? Some kind of ghost?"
            "There." She gave the flowers a final shake. "These are some of her favorites. Have you brought flowers?"
            "What for?"
            "For the princess!" She gave him an expression he had last seen on the harassed face of his Latin tutor. "Do you expect to woo her with nothing?"
            Cursing under his breath, even as he felt the heat of his temper pound in his head, Prince Orlando decided things had gone far enough. He slammed his knife back into its sheath. Next, defying the mysterious stranger, or rather ignoring her, he lifted the sleeping young woman into his arms and kissed her firmly on the lips.
            Her head fell back a little, but she slept on.

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