Tag Archives: books by Anna Belfrage

Interview with the Intelligent and Humorous Anna Belfrage, historical author of The Graham Saga Series

Today, I have an excellent exclusive interview with Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga series, the newest release being book three, called The Prodigal Son. Make sure to sign-up for the giveaway for a copy of the book, following the interview. Enjoy my discussion with Anna, she’s so insightful and humorous! You’ll love it!

Hi Anna! So happy to have you on Oh, for the Hook of a Book today for an interview! You’re an absolute delight and I bet readers are going to have as good a time reading our interview as I will have hosting it. How are things? You’ve been so busy producing your book series, have you had time for anything else?

Anna: Hi Erin, I’m so thrilled to be here – I feel quite honoured to have the opportunity to chat with you like this. As to how things are, well it’s all a bit hectic – but fun hectic. However, if you ask my family they might grumble, along the lines that their mother & wife spends too much time in front of her computer, too little in the kitchen.

Erin: Ah, well let’s relax and have a tea party then, shall we? What’s your choice of tea (Anna replies that she likes black tea, no milk) and I’ll make up a pot. Let’s splurge and eat something yummy while we’re at it too! Let’s get our discussion started!

Q:  When were you first inspired to write? Given your day job, how did you decide it was time to let your creative side out for all of us to enjoy?

A: I was first inspired to write when as I child I read a book (by Henry Treece I think) where the ending was not to my liking. I’m a bit of a sucker for some sort of a happy end – it doesn’t have to be an uncomplicated happy end, and there may be sorrows and losses along the way, but still, some sort of “phew, they made it!” feeling is important to me. This is why – dare I admit it? – I always peek at the last page to reassure myself the characters I’m rooting for will be okay. Makes it a bit difficult to read George. R.R. Martin, let me tell you! (But I do)

As to my day job, I am fortunate enough to have a demanding, challenging job that keeps me on my toes and allows me to grow. Yes, I have a number of time conflicts, but now that my children are more or less grown up, I invest the time I used to spend on them at my writing desk. I escape into my bubble of make believe for a couple of hours and reappear refreshed and energized – well, sometimes I reappear a bit too late, like three a.m. which makes next morning somewhat heavy, but the sheer joy of writing makes it all worthwhile.

Q:  How did the idea form for you to write A Rip in the Veil, your first book that started your Graham Saga series, which is just now publishing Book Three, The Prodigal Son? Were at first just set to write one book and it became a series? Or did you always have a series in mind?

A: Alexandra Lind has been in my head for very many years. She’s danced through my brain and in her wake came Matthew (happy sigh) and a whispered account of so many adventures my mind suffered a minor quake. So when I started writing A Rip in the Veil I already knew one book wouldn’t be enough.

Q: How much do you control the characters in your novel as you write and how often do they lead you to where their story needs to go?

A: “Control?” Alex laughs and shakes her head. “You have no idea, do you Erin? We lead Anna quite the merry dance, we do!” Well; maybe not as merry as all that, because I do have a general blueprint of how the story is going to develop, but my characters do have a major influence on events. I have spent a lot of time with Matthew and Alex, I know where they’re going, I know where they’ve been, and still there are moments when they act in a way that surprises me but which, after having considered it for some minutes, makes absolute sense.

In book two, Like Chaff in the Wind, there is a scene where Alex feels obliged to taunt Matthew into a rage to break through the walls of silence he is building to protect his vulnerable and ravaged inner core. The fallout was not quite what I had expected… (And Matthew prefers not to think of it – at all.) In book three Captain Leslie decided to reappear, riding down the lane with perfect timing. I was very happy to see him – as was Alex – especially as he goes on to play an important part in all the subsequent books.  

Q:  Has it been an easy story to tell in the sense of it flows pretty easy on paper? I know you have several planned in the series (all with great covers), have you already written them all or do you have it all scheduled out? Can you talk about what is coming up in the series?

A: It’s an easy story to write, definitely. The problem lies in pruning it, because there are so many potential side stories, so many cameo characters that could grow into something more. And yes, I have already written them all – but that doesn’t mean I am finished as I have a LOT of editing left to do.

As to where the future books will take us, we will follow the Graham family to Maryland and their new life there, we will spend some time in London, traipse down to the West Indies to rescue a family member and return to Scotland with a  detour through Seville. Religion remains a recurring theme and in Maryland the relationship between colonists and Indians play a central part. One of Mercedes’ magical paintings will resurface, causing considerable chaos, and to top it all off both Matthew and Alex will come face to face with people from their past – not all of them friendly faces.

Q:  Speaking of covers, you have some of the most beautiful covers! Did you have a hand in designing them?  Do you think covers help sell books?

A: Why thank you! The credit resides with Oliver Bennett at GB Print. I will waffle on about what I want – I have a very clear image of what I want and sometimes I’ve sent him a sketch – he will think for a couple of days, and voilà! a new cover lands in my inbox. It’s sort of amusing; Oliver is a young man, far from the intended target group for my books, and yet he immediately gets it, now and then adding details to make the whole even better. I think a good cover snags the eye, thereby generating the initial interest that is a prerequisite for a sale.

The Prodigal Son

Q:  Who is your favorite character in any of your books so far? And why?

A: I am rather in love with Matthew. (“What?” Alex scowls. “Hands off, lady!” “Fine,” I mutter, “it’s not as if I have a chance anyway, is it?” “Nay, not as such,” Matthew says, gathering Alex to his chest. He winks at me, that long mouth of his quirking into a smile. ) I like his steadfastness, his convictions, the stubborn streak in him that Alex finds enervating. I like how vulnerable he can be at times, that he admits to being frightened, that he recognizes how dependent he is on his Alex. (“Shush,” Matthew mutters, “she doesn’t need to know, aye?” Alex hugs him from behind. “I already do,” she says, kissing his nape. “Besides, it’s mutual.”) I have really enjoyed working with a male POV – I think it has deepened my understanding of men in general.

Q: What has been your favorite part of writing this series? (I know, when those voices talk to you..ha!)

A: Yes, the voices in my head do add an extra dimension to my life. 🙂 Actually, I really enjoy following Matthew and Alex through their lives, being at their side as their family expands, holding their hand when they suffer loss. Through them I have learnt so much; about life in the seventeenth century, about the sheer courage required to set off for a new life in the colonies, about love in all its varied forms, about faith and determination – and about myself.

Q:  What has been your biggest challenge?

A: As a writer of Historical Fiction, I think the biggest challenge is to always remember that it’s the characters, not the historical events, that must be the backbone of your book. Readers relate to people, not to dates, and no matter how much facts you load your work with it won’t fly unless there’s a human interest. There is a constant temptation to show off, to add a paragraph or two describing just how the cider press works, or how the honey is separated from the honeycomb, or how the maple syrup is kept simmering for hours on end over open fire. The thing is, most of the readers don’t care! Having said that, most readers are quick to spot an anachronism, so whatever you do include must be correct, so I don’t have Alex wandering out to collect eggs in in December – hens don’t lay eggs between November and March – nor do Matthew’s breeches have zippers (duh!).

Q:  What is your favorite historical time period? Do you have another time and place you’d like to write about outside of this series? If you could time travel yourself, where would it be to?

A: Well, obviously I have a thing about the 17th century – it is something of a breaking point between old and new. Many of the foundations upon which our modern societies are based saw the light of the day in the 17th century, starting with the Bill of Rights approved by the English Parliament in 1689. Also, I am rather fascinated by the religious conflicts that dominated the century.

I am also very interested in the medieval period and have a draft for a story set in early 14th century in England. Also, I have a fascination for the period of the Reconquista in Spain (15th century, mainly) and especially in the Andalucía region.

If I could time travel I would love to spend time with Henry II of England. And with Llewellyn Fawr. And with Robert Bruce. And with Isabel of Castille. And with Henry of Navarre. And with St Catherine of Sienna. And with Cardinal Richelieu. And with my favourite Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus. Sheesh; I’d have one major jetlag after all those trips back and forth!

Q:  Do you think that it’s possible to time travel now or in the future? What kind of impact might that have on the future if we mess with history?

A: No, I don’t think time travelling will ever be possible – unless one resorts to magic, and one should never discount magic, should one? If it were possible, I think we would all be very tempted to tamper with history. Assassinating Robespierre would seem a good idea to avoid the terror he unleashed on Paris in the aftermath of the revolution. Drowning Hitler as a baby seems a good idea, and as to Lenin and Stalin… The problem with this is that we have no idea what the consequences would be if we did away with all these baddies. An excellent novel about the potential disaster caused by time travelling is Stephen Fry’s book Making History.

Q:  Are there any famous women in history that you’d like to write about in a novel or one that you admire?

A: I have a thing about Queen Christina of Sweden. I’m not sure I admire her, but she did know how to cause quite the ruckus – imagine that; the queen of staunchly protestant Sweden abdicated AND converted to Catholicism. I do have a WIP in which Queen Christina figures quite prominently. Otherwise, my admiration is mostly for the women who lived “ordinary” lives, who fed their children, held their families together, who followed their men across the seas to unknown lands. I cannot begin to comprehend just how brave these pioneer women were!

Q:  What advice do you have for women writers? How can they fulfill their writing dreams and make time for family and other obligations as well?

A: Difficult question: it is always a question of priorities, isn’t it? If you’re in that stage of your life where you have young children and have to combine this with a full time job I don’t think you should even try – it is difficult enough to juggle kids and work and your relationship. For many years all I did was write notes to self on scraps of paper, in notebooks – but I did write those notes! Once the children got older, I set aside “me” time for my writing – and made it clear to my family this was very important to me. Unless you consider it important enough to set aside time for it, no one else will take your writing seriously.

Q:  Do you have any other projects you are working on or plan for the future you haven’t already discussed?

A: Well, I did mention the book with Queen Christina in it, didn’t I? My lead character is a young woman called Sofia Carolina who decides she deserves a new start in life and finances this by nicking a nobleman’s family jewels. Off she goes, the enraged nobleman comes after, and things would not have ended well for Sofia if it hadn’t been for Jon Darrow, a disillusioned royalist who has been forced into exile and earns his living through various … err… creative endeavours.

Q:  Who are your writing mentors? Who inspires your writing? And who are some of you own favorite authors?

A: I don’t have any mentors – but I have a handful of people who support me and cheer me on, first and foremost my husband. Inspiration comes from various sources, but my children have definitely contributed to the Graham children. My favourite authors… now that is a long list! I read voraciously, across all genres, but if I restrict myself to the Historical Fiction genre the authors I always return to are Sharon Penman, Edith Pargeter, Barbara Erskine (especially her early books) and Pamela Belle. And yes, when in need of a special treat I will re-read my favourite passages in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  

Q:  Where is the most beautiful place in the United Kingdom?

A: Given that I’m not British, I probably haven’t seen ALL the beautiful places in the UK, no matter that I’ve spent a lot of time there. However, I would argue that the Aber falls (Afon Rhaedr fawr) close to the A55 on the northern coast of Wales is a spectacular spot.

Q:  And last but not least, what kind of food gets you through marathon writing sessions?

A: Chocolate. Tea. More chocolate. Unfortunately carrots don’t do it for me…

Q: Where can readers connect with you?

A: On my website, www.annabelfrage.com, or by commenting on my blog, annabelfrage.wordpress.com. I am also on facebook and on twitter, @Anna_Belfrage.

Q:  Where is the best place to purchase your books?

A: They’re actually available on most online bookshops, but I tend to recommend Amazon, Barnes& Noble and Trobador.co.uk.

Erin:  Anna, thank you so much for coming by my site, it’s always a pleasure to get to speak with you. Best wishes on your writing!

Anna: Likewise Erin – and thanks! And hey, if you’re not having that last slice of chocolate cake, can I have it?

Erin: I’ll split it with you. *wink*

Giveaway~

The giveaway is for one copy of The Prodigal Son and open internationally.  To enter, please comment below in the footer, email me to hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com, or on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook. In all cases, you must leave your email so I can contact you if you win.

Extra entries: +1 for following this blog, +1 for recommending the blog, and +3 for “liking” the above mentioned Facebook page. Good luck and let me know which extras you do.

 THE PRODIGAL SON, Synopsis~

The Prodigal SonPublication Date: July 1, 2013
Matador Publishing
Paperback; 392p
ISBN-10: 1780885741

Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. The government of His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition.

In Ayrshire, the people close ranks around their evicted ministers, stubbornly clinging to their Presbyterian faith. But disobedience comes at a price – a very steep price – and as neighbours and friends are driven from hearth and home, Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his continued support of the clandestine ministers – foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden.

Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is totally incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and minister before his own safety and therefore per extension her safety and the safety of their children, he puts their marriage under severe strain.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn’t entirely sure this is a good thing, watching from a distance as her husband dances round his lost boy.

Things are brought to a head when Matthew yet again places all their lives in the balance to save his dear friend and preacher from the dragoons that chase him over the moor.
How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose?

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free?

Author Anna Belfrage, Biography~

Anna BelfrageI was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

www.annabelfrage.com

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theprodigalsontour/
Twitter Hashtag: #ProdigalSonTour

The Prodigal Son Tour Banner FINAL

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Filed under Q and A with Authors

The Prodigal Son by Anna Belfrage Continues The Graham Saga with Love and Hope in the Midst of Harsh Times

The Prodigal SonThe Prodigal Son is Anna Belfrage’s third book in her Graham Saga series, a story about a time shifted Alexandra (Alex) Lind and her husband, Matthew Graham, whom she marries in the seventeenth century.  In this installment, Anna continues to give us the same well-developed characters, cherished love story, conflicts and resolution, and her usual amazing feelings of hope.

Starting the series with A Rip in the Veil, we meet Alex who is caught in a thunderstorm that suddenly transports her from 2002 to 1658 Scotland where she lands near the feet of Matthew and is thrown into the adventure of adjusting to an entirely new set of circumstances. Even as she is independent and strong, Matthew is stubborn and protective and they fall in love quickly as well as a whole host of other situations.  As we read the second book, Like Chaff in the Wind, Alex and Matthew sail to the New World.  You can read my review of that HERE.

This third book, The Prodigal Son, sets them back in Scotland during a time of much upheaval due to politics and religion, both intertwined at the time. With many people standing up and almost risking their lives to be able to have religious freedom and not conform to the Church of England under Charles II, Matthew puts his life, as well as his family’s in danger, by helping ministers and the cause. One of those ministers he assists is Sandy Peden (who actually existed and was on the run for his religious beliefs almost his whole life), much to Alex’s disdain as she didn’t want her family to suffer for the antics of these people’s fervent beliefs (she doesn’t quite always understand Matthew’s desires and would prefer he stay out of it!). 

Though not a religious novel, due to the time period itself being racked with religious zeal and war, it really seeped into every life during this time period following England’s restoration as well as the settling of the American colonies. Men like Anna’s character of Matthew would have felt strongly about holding onto his personal rights at that time, even if it meant hiding “on the run” ministers who were upholding freedom of religion and speech, even as others threatened their lives and chased them down. I enjoyed the times in Anna’s story when Matthew and Alex would discuss religion or actions, even theology with alternate and proposed ideas of God, all as if they were discussing the price of tea, then they’d kiss and declare their love for one another. THAT is the best part of this book for me, by the way, the never-ending, undying love that Matthew and Alex have for one another that knows no bounds.

The worst part for me is that Matthew’s devotion to the freedom of religion cause and helping others does leave a disastrous mark on their family and their life together. It was a chapter of weeping, but I won’t share and spoil the novel. However, it’s sooo sad!!!  It truly tugged at the heart-strings. Again though, it didn’t change their love for one another and there is a chance for rebirth of hope and family.

Another plot point in Anna’s third book has to do with the title (The Prodigal Son), as Matthew’s ex-wife, who was always in love with Matthew’s egotistical brother Luke, comes to their country residence saying she needs to run from the plague, but when she has to leave the son that Luke has declared his, even though it most likely has always been Matthew’s son, Matthew and Ian grow close, only to be torn apart and brought together in an ebb and flow of sorts. It’s up to you to read and see if they are reunited permanently. But you’ll love how Anna’s writes so much emotion into all of the characters; you’ll feel what they feel. She does a phenomenal job of developing characters and she handles, and has Alex handle, the situation with grace and understanding.

Overall, I love the LOVE that spills forth through this novel. I love Alex’s independence, strength, devotion, will, endurance, understanding, plus she learns and adapts quickly! Living in the late 1600s is not easy when you are from the 2000s. I also enjoy her humor quite a bit, her bluntness, and her wit.

I’ve loved Anna’s series so far, and especially The Prodigal Son, and I look forward (not very patiently) for the next novel in The Graham Saga.  I highly recommend this historical series and I personally can’t wait to see where Anna will take the series.  Matthew and Alex are the perfect couple who fit together as two parts of an apple, which really shows us as readers that nothing can stand in the way of love (even 300 years)!

THE PRODIGAL SON, Synopsis~

The Prodigal SonPublication Date: July 1, 2013
Matador Publishing
Paperback; 392p
ISBN-10: 1780885741

Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. The government of His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition.

In Ayrshire, the people close ranks around their evicted ministers, stubbornly clinging to their Presbyterian faith. But disobedience comes at a price – a very steep price – and as neighbours and friends are driven from hearth and home, Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his continued support of the clandestine ministers – foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden.

Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is totally incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and minister before his own safety and therefore per extension her safety and the safety of their children, he puts their marriage under severe strain.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn’t entirely sure this is a good thing, watching from a distance as her husband dances round his lost boy.

Things are brought to a head when Matthew yet again places all their lives in the balance to save his dear friend and preacher from the dragoons that chase him over the moor.

How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose?

Author Anna Belfrage, Biography~

Anna BelfrageI was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

www.annabelfrage.com

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theprodigalsontour/
Twitter Hashtag: #ProdigalSonTour

The Prodigal Son Tour Banner FINAL

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Filed under Book Reviews

Creating Dialogue with Characters: Guest Post by Historical Fiction Author Anna Belfrage

Today you have the opportunity to read an excellent guest post by author Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga series, with A Rip in the Veil and Like Chaff in the Wind currently published. I reviewed Life Chaff in the Wind yesterday, and you can see that by clicking HERE.

Anna has an amazing writing voice and you’ll really enjoy this guest post, as it talks about how she came to write her series and how her characters talk to her…..pesky friends in our heads sometimes aren’t they? I hope you enjoy it, I know I did!

How I Have Come to Know My Characters Really, Really Well…..
by Anna Belfrage

Anna BelfrageFirst of all, thank you very much, Erin, for participating in my blog tour and giving me the opportunity to post on your blog. This is the second guest post on the blog tour, and for those of you interested in reading the first, in which I introduced my female lead, I recommend a visit to Bippity Boppity Book.

In retrospect, I suspect my subconscious had been doing its own little things for years before I finally sat down to write the Graham Saga. Since well over a decade, I had nursed an interest for the seventeenth century, and in particular for the religious conflicts that dominated this period in history. Why, you might ask, and the reason for that is quite personal.

My husband comes from a family old as the rocks (most of us do; it’s just that the majority of us spring from families that were illiterate and dirt poor, ergo leaving nary a trace in the historical documents) that emigrated to Sweden in the early seventeenth century. In actual fact, the only ones that emigrated were a twelve-year-old boy called John and his mother Joneta. This woman with her most unusual name was of Stuart blood – albeit a cadet line – but for whatever reason she was compelled to flee Scotland, citing religious persecution as her reason. Hmm. Not entirely sure I buy that… Whatever the case, the interest in my husband’s family sort of lead on to reading more and more and more about this turbulent time in European history.

When I began writing A Rip in the Veil – the first book in the Graham Saga – it therefore had a clear setting in time and place (Scotland, seventeenth century), a dramatic beginning, a number of very detailed scenes that I could recite verbatim should someone wake me at three a.m., and a rather vague ending. Fortunately, as it turned out, because my dear characters decided to have a major say in how things turned out, and so the original plot line (however dotted) did a ninety degree turn at one point, doubled back a couple of chapters later and then set off at full speed in a direction not intended by yours truly.

I mostly blamed it on Alex. Well, no; on Matthew.

“On me?” Matthew protested. “It wasn’t me who came up with that idiotic idea in chapter 11, was it?”

“No,” Alex agreed, “that was you, Anna.” She flexed her arms and grinned. “But I liked it.”

Yeah, sure you did, I smiled. Alex enjoys showcasing herself as a strong woman. Matthew muttered something about it not being seemly, not at all, but the way he smiled at his wife sort of took the edge out of the rebuke. 

Anyway, the consequence of all this re-plotting is that I got to know my characters really, really well. (It was almost like those all night sessions while at University; me, wine, and instead of a lot of partying friends a notebook and my imaginary best friends. Somewhat weird…)

Now and then Alex would wink at me and wonder if I didn’t want to know the rest of their story – oops, stories. Of course I did! For some reason, Matthew seemed discomfited, and it was only through insistent wheedling that I came to understand why. My old-fashioned hero had something of an issue with the leading lady coming to rescue him – as she does in the second book of the series, Like Chaff in the Wind.

“I’m not old-fashioned,” he sort of growled when I pointed this out to him. “But I’m the man, she’s the woman. If anyone’s to do any saving it should be me!”

“You do that all the time,” I replied, “if it hadn’t been for you, poor Alex would have been dead – or worse – days after having dropped through the time chute.” He liked that, I could see, angling his head so that he could throw his wife a look. “She can’t live without you,” I said.

He raised a brow. “Of course she can.” 

“You know what I mean! Something inside of her would shrivel and die without you, and so …” I shrugged. There’s no choice really. In Like Chaff in the Wind Alex has to set out after her husband, the rock on which her entire existence is built on.

Yet again Matthew looked at Alex. “She’s something, isn’t she?”

As if she’d heard him, Alex lifted her face in our direction. She smiled, raised a hand to touch her neck, her hair, in a way that made Matthew fidget.

“She most certainly is,” I agreed, thinking that he wasn’t too bad himself, what with that slow smile that always makes my heart flutter, those large, warm hands that glide so gently down her back.  I turned back to him. He was no longer there, hastening towards Alex.

“It’s not the last book,” he called over his shoulder. “There’s plenty more to tell, aye?”

I can imagine; next time round he’ll be the hero, the order of things properly re-established.

 Like Chaff in the Wind is an adventure, a journey from one end of the world to the other. It is a story that invites you to shut down your computer, turn off your phone and drift off into a time when life was so much simpler than today.

“Simpler?” Alex and Matthew say in unison. Matthew frowns at me, absentmindedly rubbing his shoulder.

Oh dear. “I didn’t mean it like that,” I say. And, dear reader, they’re right. It’s not an easy life they lead those two, not at all. But it does make good stories, let me tell you, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading Like Chaff in the Wind as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 My next post in this blog tour, in which I introduce Matthew Graham in a lot more detail, will be published on March 26 on Flashlight Commentary . I hope you’ll be joining us there.

Anna Belfrage, Biography~

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

Learn more about Anna and her work at:  www.annabelfrage.com. She has some great extras that go with her stories that you’ll love.

Like Chaff in the Wind Synopsis~

Like Chaff in the WindMatthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother’s nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour – a death sentence more or less.

Matthew arrives in Virginia in May of 1661, and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his tale of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything Matthew’s insistence that he is an innocent man leads to him being singled out for the heaviest tasks.

Insufficient food, grueling days and the humid heat combine to wear Matthew down. With a sinking feeling he realises no one has ever survived the seven years of service – not on the plantation Suffolk Rose, not under the tender care of the overseer Dominic Jones.

Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife, a God’s gift who has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die, and so Alex Graham sets off on a perilous journey to bring her husband home.

Alex is plagued by nightmares in which her Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. She sits in the prow of the ship and prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, to let her hold him and heal him before it’s too late. God, however, has other things to do and what should have been a two month crossing becomes a yearlong adventure from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free?

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