Monday, April 30, 2012

HF Virtual Tour: Author Interview with Rachael Pruitt

Today I'm excited to have Rachael Pruitt, author of The Dragon's Harp, here at A Bookish Affair for an interview.

Thank you very much for inviting me to your wonderful blog, Meg, and for your fantastic review of
DRAGON’S HARP! It’s a pleasure to be here.

1.The Dragon's Harp is the first book in a five book series. Can you tell anything about what to expect about the future books?

“ERA OF DRAGONS” second book, THE DRAGON’S BREATH, will continue Gwen’s coming of age and the final “face-off” with Ula & Eithnie. The relationship between Gwen & Lleu will deepen —but he is promised elsewhere & there is great danger for them both. Merlin also plays a big role in BREATH. And we do meet Arthur, but in a very unusual way. The following three novels will follow Gwen’s life as a young Queen and as a Priestess & develop her relationship with magic & the kingdom of the Faery. Her romance with Lleu & her later relationships with Arthur & Medrault will all be important—but not “all there is” to her character. And don’t worry, readers, Merlin will be by Gwen’s side throughout the series—and have several romances & tragedies all his own!

2. Why do you think Arthurian legend is still so appealing to readers today?

That’s a great question, Meg, & I’m sure there are as many answers to it as there are Arthurian fans
My own “take” is that the Arthurian legend is a magnet for everything we humans love in a great
story: believable & charismatic characters, epic heart-stopping romance, plenty of action, betrayal, and courage. At the same time, Arthurian characters reflect the type of tragedy we too often see in “real life”, in which fine good people experience great loss. Thus, Arthur’s legacy offers us catharsis as well— mixed with Merlin & Morgana’s magic. I’m sure this potent & unique recipe will continue to enchant new generations a thousand years from now!

3. The Arthurian legend has been tackled by many different authors in many different ways. How did you breathe new life into The Dragon's Harp?

I believe the Arthurian legend is very much like a big “sandbox” to which hundreds of writers bring their creative “toys”--and everyone contributes something new to the whole. This began, no doubt, with the original unnamed British bard who first told the story of a great war-leader who saved his people from conquest. The story has grown & enthralled readers & listeners ever since!

I’ve read many, many versions of the Arthurian legend—and am always on the look-out for fresh
interpretations. Yet, I had never heard or read of any author taking quite my “slant” to the well-known
characters of Gwenhwyfar (Welsh spelling of Guinevere), Merlin, & Vortigern. I promise to continue this fresh interpretation in future volumes in the series. When we advertise my “Era Of Dragons” series as “Arthurian Historical Fantasy for the 21st Century”, we are suggesting that my blend of historical & mythic research and my commitment to creating characters that resonate with readers today is fresh and believable—yet filled with Celtic fantasy as well. When I started to write DRAGON’S HARP, my goal was to offer readers a unique Arthurian series-- books that I, an avid fan of the genre, would like to read! I am thrilled to see readers responding so enthusiastically!

4. What was your research process like for this book?

Fortunately, I am an ancient history & folklore buff to begin with, because, even with that “leg-up” on the process, the research for “HARP” took me several years! Even though I knew I would be introducing fantasy elements to my story, Meg, I wanted to make sure that I was as historically accurate as possible—so researching was a fascinating challenge.

Very little is documented about the early Dark (or Middle) Ages in northern Wales, so, in addition to
books such as Wendy Davies’ excellent, WALES IN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES, I consulted archeological records, and books about the ancient Celts & Romans, as well as sources about Celtic mythology, religion (including early Celtic Christianity), & the fascinating Druids. I also considered information about the mythology & “life-ways” of other indigenous cultures to be somewhat relevant as I “built” Gwen’s world. Bottom line: I used all these elements to create as accurate a mythic & cultural setting as possible for Gwen, Merlin, & their family. If I have one qualifier it would be that, my world-building tends to favor the more ancient, more mythic Celtic realm & is not as reflective of the emerging Medieval culture Arthurian authors often use.

I’d be happy to share my “Author Notes” (which appear at the end of DRAGON’S HARP) if any readers are interested in more specific info about my research process & some interesting tidbits I unearthed

5. What 3 fictional/historical characters would you want with you on the deserted island?

I have to chuckle: I would love to visit with my own Merlin, Gwen, & either Gwen’s Grandmother,
Rhiannon or Gwen’s first love, Lleu

Beyond my own novel, I would enjoy spending “deserted island time” with:

1) Eleanor of Aquitaine (to me, Eleanor is one of the most fascinating women of all time—I’d love to get some pointers!)

2) Sir Walter Raleigh (although Raleigh had his “dark side”, especially in regards to his treatment of the Irish, he remains one of the most fascinating historical men I know of—the embodiment of chutzpah. Plus, with his ingenuity, I’m sure we’d get off the island in no time!)

3) Black Elk of the Sioux Nation (one of the most inspirational wisdom-keepers I have ever read)

Thank you again, Meg, for a wonderful experience visiting your blog! I wish you every enchantment.

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Wednesday, March 7th
Author Guest Post at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Monday, March 12th
Review at The Book Garden
Wednesday, March 14th
Author Guest Post at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Friday, March 16th
Review at Booksessed
Tuesday, March 20th
Wednesday, March 21st
Author Interview at Booksessed

Thursday, March 22nd
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Friday, March 23rd
Monday, March 26th
Thursday, March 29th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, April 2nd
Review at To Read or Not to Read

Tuesday, April 3rd
Author Interview at The Bookworm
Wednesday, April 4th
Review at vvb32 Reads

Friday, April 6th
Author Guest Post at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, April 11th
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at Book Girl of Mur-Y-Castell

Thursday, April 12th

Friday, April 13th
Author Interview at The True Book Addict

Monday, April 16th

Wednesday, April 18th
Review at A Novel Affair
Author Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Monday, April 23rd
Review at Always a Booklover

Wednesday, April 25th
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, April 27th
Author Interview at Always a Booklover

Monday, April 30th
Author Interview at A Bookish Affair


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