Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Welcome Guest Nancy Jardine

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today, Autumn. I’m always delighted to pop in to new places. I’d like to pose a question for you, and your readers, to explain my reasoning for writing my first historical novel, The Beltane Choice.




What fascinates me about Celtic Britain?

I’m honoured to have lived virtually all my life in Scotland, a country that’s steeped in history. A few hundred yards from my house there will be something still visible on the landscape that’s been there for a very long time. Perhaps it’s the nearby ruins of Hallforest Castle, built in 1296, a square keep which had six floors and is now the most fantastic crumbling shape. Or it could be one of the many Bronze Age standing stone circles.

I moved to Aberdeenshire, Scotland, more than twenty years ago and set about visiting as many of the local ancient monuments as I could. I became particularly fascinated by the scattered-stone ruins of an Iron Age hillfort fortification that sits just below the summit of Mither Tap, the most prominent peak of the range of hills called Bennachie (pronounced Ben-Ah-Hee) which lies about nine miles away from my home village. Mither Tap pokes up, a proud conical peak, though it is only 518 metres (1699ft) high, the range dominating the skyline because of the flatness of the surrounding terrain. The name Mither Tap is said to be very ancient, and possibly has an ancient religious significance it being a mammary shape, and the various stone circles surrounding the hills having particular alignments to it. I was delighted to also find out at the time that Bennachie was a prime contender for the Battle of Mons Graupius – a fierce battle waged between the Roman Army and the Celtic tribes of the north led by a Celtic chief named Calgacus.

Before then I knew a bit about the Bronze Age in Scotland, though little about the Iron Age. As a history graduate, that was a shocking admission. I set out to learn what I could. I absorbed information about Celtic hill forts, comprising of varying numbers of roundhouses. I tried to envisage what the one at the top of Mither Tap might have looked like, though failed at first. Imagining the surrounding stone wall of the hillfort was easy but what lay behind the wall? I couldn’t comprehend how, perhaps as many as ten, wooden roundhouses could have sat so high up, bared to the elements.

The construction of a typical Celtic roundhouse was intriguing. I learned which materials might have been used for the central pole and roof timbers. What might have been a typical central height was determined by the local cropping of a timber slender, sturdy and tall enough. It was also determined by man power and tools available to set and maintain it in place. Wattled walls, and inner partitions, were made from hurdles of woven wood-strong and suitably pliable for the bending necessary in the weaving process - the daubing of clay, dung and straw an effective draught proofing.

Sadly, my knowledge was gained from books as there is no reconstructed Celtic roundhouse anywhere near my home.

1994 brought some excitement. An Iron Age crannog building over Loch Tay was being undertaken, with expertise from underwater archaeologists! It took a while to open to the public but it was 2001 before I stopped in at The Scottish Crannog Centre. It was wonderful to experience the sensations of living in a Celtic roundhouse perched over the waters of the loch.


The visit topped up knowledge of Celtic Scotland and tied in well with my teaching since I was fortunate to teach about the Celtic/ Roman period in my primary classes. We tried as many Celtic building and craft task as was possible and had a heap of fun!

My historical novel, The Beltane Choice, set in Celtic Britain was conceived, though I chose to set the story in the border areas between Scotland and England. Naturally I had to include a Celtic hillfort, and I also felt a pressing need to include a stop at a crannog dwelling for the main protagonists in the story. You might guess why!

The Beltane Choice ends a few years before A.D. 83 when Agricolan surges to the north east of Scotland took place, the Battle of Mons Graupius documented as happening during this time of Agricolan campaigning.

I find it fascinating that Mons Graupius has been translated as a place of a conical hill. Sadly, there are other contenders for the site of Mons Graupius and Bennachie is not necessarily the current firm favourite, yet, as a novelist I prefer to think it is an excellent site for the battle. A sequel to The Beltane Choice has been started, and the action just might culminate in, or be centred on, Mons Graupius. And…it might just happen in Aberdeenshire, at Bennachie.

My novel…my choice!

My thanks to you, Autumn, for allowing me to visit today and to witter on about my passion for Celtic Britain. 

Blurb for The Beltane Choice:



Can the Celtic Tribes repel the Roman army? AD 71

Banished from the nemeton, becoming a priestess is no longer the future for Nara, a princess of the Selgovae tribe. Now charged with choosing a suitable mate before Beltane, her plan is thwarted by Lorcan, an enemy Brigante prince, who captures her and takes her to his hill fort. Despite their tribes fighting each other, Nara feels drawn to her captor, but time runs out for her secret quest.

As armies of the Roman Empire march relentlessly northwards, Lorcan intends to use Nara as a marriage bargain, knowing all Celtic tribes must unite to be strong enough to repel imminent Roman attack. Nara’s father, Callan, agrees to a marriage alliance between Selgovae and Brigante, but has impossible stipulations. Lorcan is torn between loyalty to his tribe and growing love for Nara.

When danger and death arrive in the form of the mighty Roman forces, will Nara be able to choose her Beltane lover?

Bio:
A former Primary teacher, Nancy Jardine lives in the picturesque castle country of

Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband who feeds her well or she’d starve! Ancestry research is one of her hobbies, as is participating in exciting events with her family which drag her away from the keyboard. In her large garden she now grows spectacular weeds, which she’s becoming very fond of!
Author Links: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com http://facebook.com/nancy.jardine.56 Twitter @nansjar
The 5 star rated - The Beltane Choice - is available from: http://bit.ly/SViLCQ ; http://amzn.to/Rqg7yY ; http://amzn.to/UdT8v0
Book Trailer for The Beltane Choice: http://youtu.be/igJmfBoXRhQ
Other books by Nancy Jardine:
Monogamy Twist – a history mystery contemporary romance http://amzn.to/wwaGCv
Book Trailer for Monogamy Twist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJVzbrkJQzA

Take Me Now- a contemporary fun read: http://bit.ly/MQJXvw amazon.com: http://amzn.to/R3ysrU
Book Trailer for Take Me Now: http://youtu.be/stDC4Yhm2r0

42 comments:

  1. Morning, Autumn! It's lovely to visit your blog today and look forward to talking to your visitors!

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  2. A lot of fascinating stuff, Nancy. I would so love to visit Scotland and experience the history you’ve seen. The roundhouse is awesome. I visited a native American round house with children and is was so interesting to see how the people of our past survived. Thanks for sharing with us today. I know people are viewing the blog.

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  3. I'd love to answer any questions they may have, Autumn!

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  4. Nancy, your story sounds awesome and just my cup of tea. :) I love reading not only about the Celts, but about the Roman era in Britain.

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  5. Hello Barbara! I'm sure you'd like reading The Beltane Choice if you like Celtic/Roman Britain.It's nice to meet you. :-)

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  6. I adore Scottish history! Although there is a bit of historical error in Braveheart, I just watched it today and loved it, so just as long as your story is entertaining, who cares if you're a little creative with certain aspects of history. I think your book sounds wonderful. Congratualtions on its release!

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    1. Thank you, Shea. I agree with the inacurracies of Braveheart, but as a film who could not love it...and Mel! thank you for your good wishes!

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  7. Being of Celtic ancestry, I've always been fascinated with the history and mythology. As for the exact placement of MG, they're still debating whether the Battle of Bosworth Field actually took place at Bosworth (the current concensus is no). You're writing fiction, as am I, so you can give yourself a wee bit of leeway when in comes to 'facts' still being debated.
    Hope your book makes the jump to the US. It sounds like something I'd enjoy.

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    1. Hi Gwyn. My book, The Beltane Choice, ebook version is available now on Amazon.com and the print with be availble come 26th October from amazon and creatspace.

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  8. Congratulations on your book---and on having a husband who feeds you!

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    1. I couln't do without him...or the cooking, Elizabeth! Nice to meet you.

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  9. Oh, I LOVE that kind of early history!

    And your book sounds wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Elisa. I'm sorry I sloped off to bed at my 11.30pm. I missed being with you all, earlier.(I had had a 6 am rise to collect my 1 year old granddaughter who lives an hour's drive away) Thank you!

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    1. Oops, put in the wrong user name, so I was trying to repost, not delete. Sorry about that! Anyway, Nancy, congratulations on your book. My grandfather descended from the Gordon Clan, so I've always been fascinated by any kind of history from that area. Hope to get to read your book!!

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    2. Hi Tina. Thank you for your good wishes. I'm descended from Mackenzies and Frasers. I'm not sure which other clans the Gordons are affiliated to but you never know, maybe we've got some kind of connection back down our ancestral lines. Gordon is quite a popular name in the north-east of scotland where I currently live! I'd love to know what you think of The Beltane Choice if you read it.:-)

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  11. Wow, this sounds fascinating, Nancy! I love all things Scottish and English, and enjoy when an author educates me about the history, because while I'm fascinated by it, I'm not particularly interested in research (which is why I write present-day stuff). LOL I love that the time period you've chosen to write in is so different from what's out there in abundance. Something new - yay! :D

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    1. Hi Anne-Marie. I'm glad my information wasn't too 'heavy'. I agree with the time period being a bit different from normal. It does mean The Beltane Choice is around #3 on the amazon.com Celtic History tags just now!!! Which I'm obviously delighted with.

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  12. Nancy the wealth of knowledge you bring to this novel is amazing and the history behind it, fascinating. You seem as though you could just step back in time and fit right in. What do you think your chances would be of making it through a week? I always figure mine would be rather slim.

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    1. I'd love to have a go, Beth. I've done very rough camping in Scotland as a Girl Guide (1960s, very basic, and real tents in the wilds) At the time I also camped as hillwalker/ski-er, at the top of some Scottish Munros, so I think I'd manage. Old survival skills, I'd hope, would come to the fore!

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  13. FYI friends. Nancy is in Scotland, so she will answer in the morn. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. Wow, what wonderful information to keep in mind when I read novels set in that time period. Celts rule! Gotta get your book!

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    1. Hi Mary. Autumn is right. This is now 'the morn' when I'm answering! Glad you like the sound of The Beltane Choice!

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  15. Congratulations on your book, Nancy. It sounds wonderful with all the Celtic details. Have fun and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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    1. Hi BEv. Thank you for commenting, and sorry I missed you last night!

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  16. Congrats on the release of your first novel!!

    Lindsey Brookes
    Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore (Kensington Publishing)

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    1. Hi Lindsey. It's actually my 3rd published novel. I have 2 published already with The Wild Rose Press- though they are both fun contemporaries.

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  17. Oh wow, how I envy you living in Scotland! I have visited Scotland and loved the time I spent there. I really want to go back again!

    Congratulations on your book release and it is definitely going on my TBR list. I love Celtic history and I wish more historical romances were written about this era. Such a fascinating time in history.

    My father's family is from Pembrokeshire in Wales. I recently discovered my great, great grandparents were married in St. Jerome's Church in the village of Llangwm.

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    1. Hi Louisa. I do a lot of family research myself and love finding out about my family. One of my WIPs is a very exciting family Saga, loosely based on info I've gathered! (amazing what comes out the woodwork) I go back many generations Scottish on one side, and Irish back 2 generations...lots to write about. Best wishes with your research.(ps I use Ancestry.com)

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  18. Hi again, Autumn. That was amazing to talk to all your visitors. I send my huge apologies for not staying up long enough to catch them all last night. Thank you very much indeed for inviting me today/yesterday...it's been wonderful.

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  19. The best part about writing a novel set in historical times, being able to apply your passion and weave a story from the fascinating research!

    Congratulations on your book, Nancy!

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    1. Many thanks for your congratulations. And I agree it is lovely to be able to do your won interpretation!

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  20. Hi Nancy, congratulations. I love historicals set in England and Scotland. And I'm planning a next year trip to visit the area. You did a great job.

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    1. Thank you, Mona. I hope you enjoy you trip!

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  21. I wish I could visit Scotland and Ireland. In my dreams or if I'm lucky with Mona's great pictures to see it. Good luck Nancy, sell a ton!!!

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    1. Hi Mary. Thnks for the wishes, and I hope you see some great pics.

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  22. You've chosen a subject which still hasn't been fully ex

    A lot of my own characters have Scottish accents, though they didn't start out to. They just seemed to fall into it. My own ancestry contains a Scottish lady named Adeline Heath who married a Scarborough and came to this side of the Pond in the early 18oos.

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    1. Hi Toni. You're right about the era not being exposed(?) too often. Researching the time period to include accurate facts hasn't been the easiest, but it is a challenge!

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  23. Been following you on FB Nancy. Good luck with your new novel.

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  24. Hello again, Autumn. Another quick thanks from me for inviting me to guest with you. It's been a pleasure!

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  25. Glad you stopped by, dear. Anytime.

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