Friday, February 15, 2013

Interview: Ragnar the Murderer by Lily Byrne

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I am a mum, writer and editor living with my family in Southern England. It’s hard to remember what inspired me, I have just always been interested in history, and relationships/ romance, so why not put them together? I wrote a couple of Victorian historical romances but that era is so close to the modern age, I wanted to go right back into the past.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to see how people in different centuries dealt with the universal subjects of love, rejection, parents opposing your love etc. These things have happened since humans first appeared- what was it like in different centuries?

Please tell us about your latest release.

My latest release, ‘Ragnar the Just’, is with the same characters—Ragnar, Aelfwyn, Bjarni, Kjartan, Steinar etc—but this time an M/M romance, set in 10th century Britain where same sex relationships were far more taboo than in the 21st century.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

I search for names popular in the time period. I used various Viking and Anglo Saxon lists of names, and I must admit, I got rather carried away with names. Many people have said the names are confusing and unpronounceable, whereas I don’t think so. But its made me think that maybe I should stick to shorter, simpler names in future.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I just love writing Kjartan, he’s so naughty! He is the opposite of me, he will try anything, do anything. He does what he wants and other people have to fit in with him. I’ve always been a good little girl, doing the right thing, but he’s my alter ego, the dark side!

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

I found out really interesting things about Norse culture and 10th century England. There is a site, the Viking Answer Lady, run by Gunnora Hallakarva,which has vast amounts of information on the Norse, and another site, Regia Anglorum, which is a re-enactment society with loads of details about everything the Anglo Saxons did.
I could go on for hours talking about my research, I LOVE doing research, but I won’t. I was shocked the other day when I learned some writers don’t like researching!

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

I think they could all be read as standalones actually, as the three books all have explanations of what happened beforehand in the story. The third one is an M/M romance and was kind of meant to be a spin off, but my publisher included it in the series.

Do you write in different genres?

I started off writing contemporary drama about forbidden love, but I find modern life far less interesting than historical periods, so changed over to historical romance/ crime. I might go back to contemporary, but my publisher says my historical books are more interesting.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

Since I can remember. I’ve always written stories, I think my first was about a family saga about children around my age and their hamsters. I can’t imagine not writing, it’s a good escape, its therapeutic and to have my books published is my dream come true.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I am a passionate fan of motorsport, especially motorbikes. I have been to a few events at Brands Hatch and Thruxton and always watch MotoGP and Formula 1 on TV. I used to watch Superbikes but they aren’t shown on TV anymore… I even had a Rally driving experience for my birthday a few years ago, it was exhilarating. I jumped up and down with excitement on the spot for 10 minutes when I got home, I nearly fell through the floor!
I also love films, and watch as many as I can, and get into endless geeky discussions with my fellow fans about who starred in which film, who was Darth Vader’s father and such things.

What was the last amazing book you read?

Well I’m editing a book at the moment for my publisher, Taylor Street Books, but I don’t want to say the title cos it isn’t ready yet. Lets just say it’s a psychological thriller to do with Europe, World War 2 and good versus evil! It is an amazing book by a talented writer, watch this space!

What can readers expect next from you?

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a fourth Ragnar novel, but I wrote two last year so I’m a bit worn out at the moment, what with the editing and mummy duties. It would be about Ragnar discovering his real father (he’s illegitimate) and secrets to do with his past and ancestry. I may have to kill off a major character in this one as well, they didn’t live long in the 10th century…

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Always a Booklover –

Ragnar the Murderer
Lily Byrne

Publisher: Taylor Street Books

ISBN: 13: 978-1463698379

Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 40,000

A tale of love and treachery.

It is a time of uneasy truce, of two races living side-by-side, inter-marrying even, but forever on the look out  for treachery among their neighbors.

They meet, they bathe together and they consort. Life is short, fun is likely to be brief, and opportunity has to be seized wherever it can be found without unleashing long-held rivalries and carnage.

Then the youthful Dane, Ragnar, falls in love with Aelfwyn the Angle who is already promised by duty to one of her own village.

Ragnar and Aelfwyn's passionate love affair is a secret which will never be hidden for long, but theirs is not the 
only secret around.

When Ragnar finds himself charged with murder, he and Aelfwyn are forcibly parted. But is Ragnar really a  cold-blooded, cynical killer or is there a more sinister plot being played out?

Lily Byrne

I faffed around at writing for many years until I had my daughter, but becoming a mum seemed to kick start something in me: I realised that I now had a purpose and time was limited, so I must get on with it.

The winter of 2009 was severe and as I and my family live in a small village, we were house bound by unusually deep snow for southern England. So I settled down in my office (i.e. the corner of our bedroom) and began my first book, which was published in 2010.

I haven’t stopped writing since. I go through phases of planning my story, writing furiously, or editing it. It is much easier now my daughter is at school and I get a few hours of work done each day.

My daughter has truly been an inspiration to me: she has had severe health problems in her short life but is always smiling and laughing, planning for the future, full of ideas. Working at home writing and editing has been ideal, I love my life.


Lily Byrne said...

Good morning!

Sorry I didn't get here earlier, I had to run a program to remove a virus from my computer. Very bad timing!

Thanks so much for hosting me and my book, its my first blog tour so I'm in between excited and nervous!

Lily Byrne said...

I mean, bad timing on the part of the virus!

Jacoba Dorothy said...

Great interview. Loved hearing more about the author. Its always fun to see another side... and wow rally driving... how cool. Not sure I'd be that brave, must have been a rush though. Best of luck with your Ragnar series.

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lily Byrne said...

Thanks Jacoba! Yes, the rally driving was exhilarating!