Tag Archives: Middle Ages

Mary Sharratt Speaks About Hildegard von Bingen, One of the Most Famous Women of the Middle Ages

Today, I have the beautiful author Mary Sharratt on the site to talk about her book, Illuminations, and the life of Hidegard.  We’ll also chat about women in history, what else she has written, and her future writing plans. You can read my review of her wonderful book HERE. See the interview following the cover below, enjoy!

Illuminations

 

Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book, Mary!! It is our joy to have you here!  How has the season been treating you?

Mary: I just celebrated my birthday and am settling down to a dark northern winter up here in Lancashire, England. I hope to use the season to cocoon with my new novel-in-progress, The Dark Lady’s Masque, and get a lot of work done.

Erin: Happy belated birthday, Mary! It’s a little cold, blustery, and dark in Ohio as well. And though I’d like to suggest we take a beautiful walk in the park, I think it is too cold either of our locations…so maybe we’ll stay indoors with some hot tea and find a place by the fire. Then, we’ll get started!

Q:  Why did you decide to write your novel, Illuminations, about Hildegard Von Bingen?

A: For twelve years I lived in Germany where Hildegard has long been enshrined as a cultural icon, admired by both secular and spiritual people. In her homeland, Hildegard’s cult as a “popular” saint long predates her official canonization.

I was particularly struck by the pathos of her story. The youngest of ten children, Hildegard was offered to the Church at the age of eight. She reported having luminous visions since earliest childhood, so perhaps her parents didn’t know what else to do with her.

According to Guibert of Gembloux’s Vita Sanctae Hildegardis, she was bricked into an anchorage with her mentor, the fourteen-year-old Jutta von Sponheim, and possibly one other young girl. Guibert describes the anchorage in the bleakest terms, using words like “mausoleum” and “prison,” and writes how these girls died to the world to be buried with Christ. As an adult, Hildegard strongly condemned the practice of offering child oblates to monastic life, but as a child she had absolutely no say in the matter. The anchorage was situated in Disibodenberg, a community of monks. What must it have been like to be among a tiny minority of young girls surrounded by adult men?

Erin comments: I can’t even imagine what that kind of life must have been like!

Disibodenberg Monastery is now in ruins and it’s impossible to say precisely where the anchorage was, but the suggested location is two suffocatingly narrow rooms built on to the back of the church.

Hildegard spent thirty years interred in her prison, her release only coming with Jutta’s death. What amazed me was how she was able to liberate herself and her sisters from such appalling conditions. At the age of forty-two, she underwent a dramatic transformation, from a life of silence and submission to answering the divine call to speak and write about her visions she had kept secret all those years.

In the 12th century, it was a radical thing for a nun to set quill to paper and write about weighty theological matters. Her abbot panicked and had her examined for heresy. Yet miraculously this “poor weak figure of a woman,” as Hildegard called herself, triumphed against all odds to become one of the greatest voices of her age.   

Erin comments: An amazing story and a woman with more strength than she knew!

Q:  How did you feel the book would be received when you wrote it? I know it has been received by readers with an array of emotions. How did you decide which avenue to take when writing about her life?

A: To be honest it felt intimidating to be writing about such a religious woman and one I was in complete awe of. During my writing process I discovered the only way I could write about Hildegard was to let her breathe and reveal herself as human. I actually wrote two first drafts, one in third person and one in first person. My editor felt the first person narrative was much more immediate and that it drew her in right away.

The response to the book has been very warm indeed. I think it touched a chord in many women readers particularly, from all spiritual backgrounds, from secular humanists to Benedictine nuns to women pastors to Jewish and Buddhist readers! My book tour events were absolutely packed. There are so many Hildegard fans out there.

Erin comments: She’s a great role model for women, a source of great courage!

Q:  Why do you feel Hildegard was and is so important to the history not only of religion, but also to women? What kind of attributes can women model based on her that will bring about change to the world?

A: I think that Hildegard’s legacy remains hugely important for contemporary women. While writing this book, I kept coming up against the injustice of how women, who are often more devout than men, are condemned to stand at the margins of established religion, even in the 21st century. Women bishops are still the subject of controversy in the worldwide Anglican Communion while Pope John Paul II called a moratorium even on the discussion of women priests in the Catholic Church.

Modern women have the choice to wash their hands of organized religion altogether. But Hildegard didn’t even get to choose whether to enter monastic life—she was thrust into an anchorage at the age of eight. The Church of her day could not have been more patriarchal and repressive to women. Yet her visions moved her to create a faith that was immanent and life-affirming, that can inspire us today.

The cornerstone of Hildegard’s spirituality was Viriditas, or greening power, her revelation of the animating life force manifest in the natural world that infuses all creation with moisture and vitality. To her, the divine was manifest in every leaf and blade of grass. Just as a ray of sunlight is the sun, Hildegard believed that a flower or a stone was God, though not the whole of God. Creation revealed the face of the invisible creator. Hildegard’s re-visioning of religion celebrated women and nature and even perceived God as feminine, as Mother. Her vision of the universe was an egg inside the womb of God.

Hildegard shows how visionary women might transform the most male-dominated faith traditions from within.

Erin comments: That brings tears to my eyes. When I think about my own daughters, ages 10 and 6, being thrust into that situation at their age, I can’t fathom.  What she endured without not only ever giving up hope, but to come from it shining and making history with so many beautiful and intellectual contributions…..ah, I am speechless.

Q:  What was the most surprising part of her life that you came across in your research?

A: The sheer amount that she was able to accomplish as a 12th century woman with such inauspicious beginnings. Her public “career” only started at the age of forty-two when she first started to write about her visions, and yet she managed to write nine books on subjects ranging from theology to botany to cosmology to human sexuality. She wrote an entire corpus of sacred music, including the world’s first liturgical drama and proto-opera. She went on four preaching tours in an age when women were forbidden to preach. She was a mighty reformer, castigating her male superiors in the Church for their corruption. She founded two monastic communities for women in an age when most monasteries were founded only by princes and bishops. She developed her own system of holistic medicine still practiced in modern day Germany.

Q:  How do you feel that men in the Catholic church still regard women such as Hildegard?

A: Shortly before her death, Hildegard and her nuns were the subject of an interdict, or collective excommunication, due to their disobedience to the Archbishop of Mainz—they refused to disinter a supposed apostate buried in their graveyard. For Hildegard it would have been an unforgivable sin to desecrate this man’s Christian burial no matter what her archbishop said. For this act of insubordination, Hildegard nearly died an outcast and excommunicant. This put her in a hauntingly similar position to her modern day sisters, the nuns and sisters in the Leadership Council of Women Religious who are facing a Vatican crackdown and stand accused of doctrinal errors and radical feminism. Pope Benedict took a very harsh stand indeed against these women. I hope they fare better under Pope Francis, but the outcome of this debacle remains yet to be seen.

Having said that, there are very strong and brilliant women in the Church who are adored by the laity even if they are not always supported by the male hierarchy. I view women like the controversial author and theologian, Sister Margaret Farley, professor emeritus at YaleDivinitySchool, to be a modern Hildegard.  

Q:  Was Hildegard a feminist and believe in the notion of the divine feminine, or do we deduce that based on research? Can you talk about that a little?

A: Traditionalists will argue that Hildegard was conservative in many respects and will claim that she has been unfairly appropriated by feminists and by New Age spirituality. She never called for women priests, for example. But Hildegard lived in a golden age of monasticism, when an influential abbess could wield considerably more power than the average parish priest.

 But even the most conservative commentator can’t erase the Feminine Divine from Hildegard’s visionary theology. As Dr. Barbara Newman writes in Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard’s Theology of the Feminine, Hildegard’s Sapientia, or Divine Wisdom, is drawn directly from the scriptures—from the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament in the Catholic Bible. Thus, Hildegard’s theology proves that there is nothing “new agey” about the Feminine Divine within Christianity. 

Masculine imagery of the creator tends to focus on God’s transcendence, but Hildegard’s revelations of the Feminine Divine celebrated immanence, of God being present in all things, in every aspect of this greening, burgeoning, blessed world. Hildegard’s Sapienta creates the world by both encompassing it and dwelling inside it.

O power of wisdom!

You encompassed the cosmos,

Encircling and embracing all in one living orbit

With your three wings:

One soars on high,

One distills the earth’s essence,

And the third hovers everywhere.

Hildegard von Bingen, O virtus sapientia

Q: Why do you feel some people take offense to women (or men) being feminists? What is your take on women’s issues, advocacy, rights, etc.? Who are some women role models from the modern ages?

A: I find it very sad that even in the 21st century some people still object to the fact that women are actually humans and deserve the same human rights as men. I dearly hope humankind can evolve into true equality. Any strong woman, whether a political figure like Hilary Clinton or an intellectual like Hannah Arendt or a great writer and truth teller like Toni Morrison creates a path that other women can follow. Spiritual women like Sister Joan Chittister or Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chodron create sacred space and a lineage for their sisters to follow. 

Q:  What else have you written about that readers might enjoy?

A: Daughters of the Witching Hill is based on the true and heartbreaking story of the 1612 Pendle Witches, cunning women and healers caught up in a witch hunt. This took place where I live in Lancashire, Northern England. I board my horse on land once owned by the magistrate who persecuted these people.

Q:  What other women from history have you thought about detailing in a book?

A: I’m working on a new novel, The Dark Lady’s Masque, which explores the life of Aemilia Bassano Lanier (1569–1645) who was reportedly the Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The highly cultured daughter of an Italian court musician, she was also an accomplished poet and the first English woman to publish a collection of poetry under her own name.

Q:  You have such an eloquent writing voice, how do you perfect your books? How long does it take to write them?  Do you use an outline or write freely?

A: Thank you for your kind words! It takes me ages and ages to finish a book. Illuminations took about four years. I work with a rough outline, then write, write, and rewrite! The first draft was twice as long as the published version. 

Q:  What other activities outside of writing do you enjoy?  If you say reading, what books do you enjoy?

A: I spend lots of time with Miss Boo, my opinionated Welsh mare. Riding is a huge passion but also just hanging out with horses. I’m currently reading Nancy Bilyeau’s book The Crown, about a Dominican novice drawn into a conspiracy in Tudor England.

Erin comments: Horses are lovely! And Nancy’s The Crown and The Chalice are superb reads!

Q:  Where can readers and writers connect with you best?

A: Via my website, www.marysharratt.com and my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mary.sharratt.1

Q:  Where can Illuminations be found for purchase?

A: At any good bookstore or online via Amazon and other online retailers. Illuminations is available in trade paperback, ebook, hardcover, and audiobook.

Erin:  Thank you so very much, Mary, for stopping by for an interview with me. It was an honor and I hope to read many more books by you in the future! Have a great Holiday season!

Mary: Thank you so much Erin! I really enjoyed talking to you about my favorite 12th century powerfrau!

ILLUMINATIONS, Synopsis~

IlluminationsPublication Date: October 15, 2013
Mariner Books
Paperback; 288p
ISBN-10: 0544106539

Skillfully weaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Illuminations brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.

Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was expected to live in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned, disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. But Hildegard rejected Jutta’s masochistic piety, rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died, Hildegard broke out of her prison, answering the heavenly call to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.

Praise for Illuminations

“An enchanting beginning to the story of the perennially fascinating 12th-century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. It is easy to paint a picture of a saint from the outside but much more difficult to show them from the inside. Mary Sharratt has undertaken this with sensitivity and grace.”
—Margaret George, author of Mary, Called Magdalene

“I loved Mary Sharratt’s The Daughters of Witching Hill, but she has outdone herself with Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen. She brings one of the most famous and enigmatic women of the Middle Ages to vibrant life in this tour de force, which will captivate the reader from the very first page.”
—Sharon Kay Penman, author of the New York Times bestseller Time and Chance

“I love Mary Sharratt. The grace of her writing and the grace of her subject combine seamlessly in this wonderful novel about the amazing, too-little-known saint, Hildegard of Bingen, a mystic and visionary. Sharratt captures both the pain and the beauty such gifts bring, as well as bringing to life a time of vast sins and vast redemptions.”
—Karleen Koen, author of Before Versailles and the best-selling Through a Glass Darkly

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0544106539/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/illuminations-mary-sharratt/1110919627?ean=9780544106536
Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Illuminations/Mary-Sharratt/9780544106536?id=5724163155978
Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780544106536

Author Mary Sharratt, Biography~

???????????????????????????????The author of four critically acclaimed historical novels, Mary Sharratt is an American who lives in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed Daughters of the Witching Hill, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

She also lived for twelve years in Germany, which, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen.

Illuminations won the Nautilus Gold Award for Better Books for a Better World and was selected as a Kirkus Book of the Year.

For more information please visit Mary’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Link to Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz6DAIX6Szk

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/illuminationsvirtualtour

Illuminations Tour Banner FINAL

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Join in My Discussion with Kim Rendfeld, Author of Middle Ages Fiction The Cross and the Dragon

Today I have an interview with historical novelist Kim Rendfeld.  She’s published The Cross and the Dragon with Fireship Press, which is a novel of the Middle Ages (during the early years of Charlemagne) with a extremely courageous and endearing protagonist. I’ll be posting the review tomorrow. Until then, hope you have some time to read the discussion Kim and I had about writing, the Middle Ages, research, and getting published.

9781611792270-CrossandDragon-small2

Erin:  Hi, Kim! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We are happy you’ve stopped by today to share your love of historical fiction and all things about being a writer. How are you enjoying this wintery weather?

Kim Rendfeld:  Thanks for having me, Erin.  This winter seems to be overcompensating for the extremely mild one we had last year. Fortunately, my houseplants are blooming or sending up buds to remind me winter won’t last forever.

Well, the groundhog says Spring will be right around the corner, so let’s hope!  Let’s sit back, enjoy some tea (since we’re both in colder states!!) and get to know one another.

Q:  Your novel, The Cross and the Dragon, takes on historical legend during the Middle Ages.  Having a second degree in History myself, I’ve taken courses on the Middle Ages.  Seemingly a time of legend and romantic endeavors that are quite entertaining to read and watch, I know from my studies that it was also a time of horrid living conditions and multiple wars. Do you think this is why legends and stories came about?

A: Regardless of the age we live in, we want to escape our reality from time to time, and storytelling around the fire is the oldest form of entertainment. In stories, we can make the world as it should be. Heroes surmount their challenges. Villains get their just deserts. It’s a universal wish.

Throughout history, stories were also used as propaganda, and the Middle Ages is no exception. To illustrate my point, I’m going to use a spoiler, so readers who would like to avoid it should skip ahead. The 778 ambush at the Pass of Roncevaux by Christian Basques was such a disaster for the Franks that it was not written about while King Charles (Charlemagne) was alive. Fast forward a few centuries to the time of the Crusades, and an anonymous poet transforms the event into a heroic stand against overwhelming odds in the form of a Muslim army.

Q:  Where did you come across the legend you base your novel around? Can you explain to us the legend and how it inspired your book?

A: There are a few spoilers in this answer, too. I encountered the legend behind Rolandsbogen in a guide book during a family vacation in Germany. Rolandsbogen is an ivy covered arch on a high hill overlooking the Rhine. The legend is that Roland (Hruodland in The Cross and the Dragon) built the castle for his bride and went off to war in Spain. The bride heard false news that her beloved had been killed at the Pass of Roncevaux. She took a vow chastity and joined the convent on nearby Nonnenwerth Island. Roland returned too late. Heartbroken, he spent the rest of his days at his window in Rolandsbogen, trying to get a glimpse of her as she went to and from prayers.

This story would not leave me alone until I sat at my chair and started writing, even though I knew little of the real Middle Ages.

Q:  What do you think really defined love during the Medieval times? How has romance changed today?

A: In an age of arranged marriages to build wealth or alliances, medieval folk might have been happy if the husband didn’t beat the living daylights out the wife and the wife was faithful to the husband. Still, primary sources that focus on politics and battles reveal hints of affection in a married couple.

A pair of rare sentences in the Royal Frankish Annals describe Charlemagne’s return to Francia after months in Italy: “The same most gracious king reached his wife, the Lady Fastrada, in the city of Worms. There they rejoiced over each other and were happy together and praised God’s mercy.”

A few years later, Charles sent a letter to Fastrada before a war with the Avars. Among other things, he refers to her having an infirmity and asks her to write to him more often and tell him about her health. It gives meaning to his greeting her as his “beloved and most loving wife.”

Even though Charles and Fastrada lived 1,200 years ago, their sentiments–joy when reunited, worry about your spouse’s health–are remarkably similar to modern times.

Q:  What do you feel is the main message within The Cross and the Dragon?  If not a message, what do you hope the reader leaves with when they complete your novel?

A: I hope readers will understand not only how much times have changed, but how much human nature remains the same. Although their world view and expectations of marriage differed from ours, medieval folk felt the same emotions we do. They grieved, they loved, they felt joy and anger.

Q:  Who was your favorite character to write about and why?

A: For this book, it’s Alda. There is so much to like about her. She’s intelligent, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. But I what I most admire about her is her courage.

Q:  How did you research your novel? What avenues did you take, how were discoveries made, and how much time was involved?

A: In an age when few people could read and even fewer could write, this era lends itself to a dearth of information, but fortunately some people did write a few things down for us. Even though the authors are biased and don’t always let the facts get in the way of their stories, I love primary sources, and I owe a great deal to scholars who’ve translated and interpreted them.

It’s hard for me to say how much time was involved. I spent a few months reading, but as I started writing, I would constantly find that I needed to look something up. Even as I neared the end of my revisions, questions would pop up such as whether bishops at the time wore miters (they didn’t).

Q:  What is your writing process like? Do you form an outline or write at will? Do you set writing goals?

A: When it comes to fiction, I plunge right on in. I’d get stuck on an outline if I started with it. I wrote an outline partially through the process, only to throw two-thirds of it away. My writing goal is to spend at least an hour a day working on the story. If I set a word goal, I’d get so flustered on not making my numbers, I’d choke.

Q:  How long did it take you to complete your novel?

A: Like the question about research, this is not an easy one to quantify. I spent a year or two with the earliest draft of the manuscript and thought it was done. After year or so of unsuccessful queries, I joined a critique group who kindly told me otherwise. Two more years of revisions, and again I thought it was done and tried to interest an agent or editor. For several years, I would revise the manuscript whenever I got a useful rejection.  If I had to total up the time, I would estimate five years or so. However, I also had a full-time job.

Q:  You have a day job and a family. How did you make the time for such as accomplishment as writing a novel?

A: My stepdaughter is grown and has children of her own, so my husband and I don’t have small children to look after or teenagers to chauffer. Still, finding time to write is my biggest challenge.

I am blessed to have not only a very supportive husband, but one who cooks. I often squeeze in time to write in the evenings after I’ve fed the cats and on weekends. Part of my time to write comes at the expense of housekeeping and some sleep. I don’t watch a lot of TV and have a few yet-to-be-watched episodes of Downton Abbey on my DVR, and I’ve had to refrain from getting into lively but time-consuming discussions on Facebook.

Q:  What did you learn about yourself through the writing process and with the completion of the book?

A: Despite the problems our society faces these days, I truly am grateful for what we have today. I like our instant communication, women’s rights, mostly scientific medical care, and my morning coffee.

In finishing the book, I proved to myself that I could create something that required that kind of discipline and commitment.

Q:  How did you begin the process of publication?

A: If you can’t stand rejection, don’t try to get published. I am not kidding when I say I have enough rejection letters to paper a good-sized walk-in closet.

After I had finished revisions based on feedback from my critique group, I queried agents and a few editors. An editor I met at a Historical Novel Society conference wrote a useful rejection letter, which led to more revisions, and more queries. I finally found an agent in the fall of 2007, and the manuscript was revised again. Still, she was not able to sell it, and the relationship ended.

You know that definition of insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results? In 2011, I knew I needed to do something different. That something was then entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, where I finished as a quarterfinalist.  My consolation prize was a favorable review of the unedited manuscript from Publishers Weekly. The endorsement itself was wonderful, but it gave me a boost in self-confidence when I really needed it.

I queried a few more agents and Fireship Press, an independent publisher I had read about on another author’s blog.  Fireship liked the manuscript, and I could not be happier with the way the book turned out.

 

Le 25 décembre de l’an 800, à Saint-Pierre de Rome, Charlemagne est couronné empereur par le pape Léon III. Sacre de Charlemagne

Sacre_de_Charlemagne

Q:  How do you feel about the book publishing industry in today’s society? How does it help and/or hinder the historical fiction genre?

A: I am concerned with large-scale publishing being concentrated in fewer hands. It is not good for society for only a few corporations to control anything, whether that’s airline travel or information. The Big 5 (or whatever the correct number is these days) is less and less willing to take a chance on a new voice, a new story, or a new setting, historical fiction included.

Too many authors see their choice as either the Big 5 or self-publishing. There is a third alternative, the small press, the choice I made. I am grateful that my independent publisher, Fireship Press, was willing to take a chance on a story set in an uncommon era and uncommon place.

In my own experience with the small press, I had much more control than I expected over the process. The title is mine. I was able to have readers weigh in on the image that graces the cover—and they have great taste.

Q:  You and your husband have also worked in the journalism field.  What do you feel makes Journalists successful when they cross over into fiction work?

A: The time and space constraints of journalism taught me to get to the point. Maturing in the field taught me to be more concerned that my readers understood what I was saying rather than be impressed with my cleverness.

I also learned to question my sources and so-called conventional wisdom. Where is this information coming from? When was this written? What is the writer’s motivation? This mindset is especially useful in historical research, where the primary sources are fresh and colorful but not always accurate.

Q:  Do you have plans for a sequel and/or separate novels? If so, please share with us.

A: I am polishing a companion novel, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar, set in the same time period. Here is my latest version of the blurb:

Can a mother’s love triumph over war?

Charlemagne’s 772 battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her husband died in combat. Her faith lies in the ashes of the Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. And the relatives obligated to defend her and her family sold them into slavery, stealing their farm.

Taken in Francia, Leova will stop at nothing to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her honor and her safety. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family.

Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon Christian and is Sunwynn’s champion—and he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.

Q:  Who inspires you as a writer? What are some of your favorite books, movies, or the like?

A: As a teenager, my favorite fiction was the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I admire how he can make an imaginary world seem real. As an adult, I owe a lot to my critique partners in the Lafayette Novel Group, one of whom was Roberta Gellis, who has written mysteries and romances set in the Middle Ages. Roberta helped me transform my characters from people in period clothing to true medieval folk.

Q:  Favorite food your husband fed you to keep you eating during your writing process?

A: I was so obsessed with getting finished I can’t remember what my husband cooked for me, except for linguine with a meat and tomato sauce. Most of the fare was typical of what we normally eat.

Q:  Where can readers connect with you?

A: Readers can connect with me on my website (www.kimrendfeld.com), my blog www.kimrendfeld.wordpress.com, Facebook (www.facebook.com/authorkimrendfeld), Twitter (www.twitter.com/kimrendfeld) or Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/Kim_Rendfeld).

Q:  Please let us know where your books are available for purchase?

A: The Cross and the Dragon is available in print and e-book at Amazon U.S., U.K., and Canada as well as Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Kobo, Indigo, and other outlets.

Erin:  Thank you so very much for joining us and sharing on our site today. We hope you will stop by again and wish you the best of luck!

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The Cross and the Dragon Synopsis~

9781611792270-CrossandDragon-small2A tale of love in an era of war and blood feuds.

Francia, 778: Alda has never forgotten Ganelon’s vow of vengeance when she married his rival, Hruodland. Yet the jilted suitor’s malice is nothing compared to Alda’s premonition of disaster for her beloved, battle-scarred husband.

Although the army invading Hispania is the largest ever and King Charles has never lost a war, Alda cannot shake her anxiety. Determined to keep Hruodland from harm, even if it exposes her to danger, Alda gives him a charmed dragon amulet.

 Is its magic enough to keep Alda’s worst fears from coming true—and protect her from Ganelon?

Inspired by legend and painstakingly researched, The Cross and the Dragon is a story of tenderness, sacrifice, lies, and revenge in the early years of Charlemagne’s reign, told by a fresh, new voice in historical fiction.

Kim Rendfeld, Biography~

KimBookPhotoSmallerKim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon.

She grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English, with a minor in French. If it weren’t for feminism, she would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and now fiction.

 Kim was a journalist for almost twenty years at Indiana newspapers, including the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, The Muncie Star, and The News and Sun in Dunkirk, and she won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She gets paid to agonize over commas and hyphens, along with suggesting ways to improve writing, and thoroughly enjoys it. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition.

Kim lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats.  They have a daughter and two granddaughters, with a third due in May 2013.

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