Friday, February 20, 2015

Author Feature: Anna Markland and her Viking Roots Medieval Romance Saga

At the outset of my writing odyssey, I embarked on telling the story of a noble Norman family caught up in the Conquest of England. I subsequently wrote four series of books about the family and its offshoot branches. I am an amateur genealogist, hence my interest in ancestry and roots.

I then decided to turn my attention to the ancestors of these Normans. Who were they, and how did they establish a powerful province in what was then West Francia whose warriors eventually conquered England, most of Wales, parts of Scotland and then turned its attention to Ireland? (Not to mention Italy)

Of course, they were Vikings, those fierce, indomitable Scandinavians whose exploits changed much of the world.

The ones I was interested in came to Francia in 911 AD from Norway, led by a man named Hrolf Ganger, who subsequently took the name Rollo. It was from him that William the Conqueror was descended.

My Viking Roots series tells the tale of a man who came with Rollo and founded a powerful dynasty of his own.

The Rover Betrayed is the newly released third book in the series. It’s currently available for preorder on Amazon.

The hero is Magnus, the son of the original Viking to come with Rollo, Bryk Kriger (The Rover Bold).

Though recently widowed, Magnus is obliged to leave his grieving daughters to fight against Flemish incursions into Norman territory. He captures Judith, a Flemish noblewoman, and quickly loses his heart. But can he trust her not to betray him and his country to her powerful brother, the Count of Flanders.

I was born and educated in England, but I’ve lived most of my life in Canada. I was an elementary school teacher for 25 years. It was a rewarding career, financially, spiritually and emotionally.
After that I worked with my husband in the management of his businesses. He’s a born entrepreneur who likes to boast he’s never had a job!

My final “career” was as Director of Administration of a global disaster relief organization. I then embarked on writing a romance, essentially for my own satisfaction. I chose the medieval period mainly because that genre of historical romance is one I enjoy reading.

I have a keen interest in genealogy. This hobby has had a tremendous influence on my stories. My medieval romances are about family honor, ancestry, and roots. As an amateur genealogist, I cherished a dream (as do many) of tracing my own English roots back to the Norman Conquest—an impossibility since I am not descended from nobility! So I made up a family and my stories follow its members through successive generations.

One of the things I enjoy most about writing historical romance is the in-depth research necessary to provide readers with an authentic medieval experience. I based the plot of my first novel, Conquering Passion, on an incident that actually happened to a Norman noblewoman.

I hope you come to know and love my cast of characters as much as I do.

The Rover Betrayed (special preorder price)
Twitter @annamarkland

Excerpt: (Judith has swooned on catching sight of the Viking army. Magnus is carrying her.)

Magnus carried the distraught woman into the abbey, wondering how she’d known he was of Viking descent without his helmet. Perhaps because he was fair of hair she’d assumed.
If only the Flemish woman would stop screeching. The sure way to silence her came to him in a moment of clarity. He sat down on one of the benches half way to the altar, bent his head and clamped his mouth over hers.
Her eyes flew open. She stopped squirming.
Her lips were surprisingly sweet and her skin smelled faintly of wood smoke. It reminded him of home. Her body felt right in his arms now she’d calmed, though she was still panting.
He dragged his eyes away from her heaving breasts and met her gaze. Something in those startled green depths kicked him in the gut and spiraled into his shaft. He deepened the kiss, running his tongue along the seam of her lips.
Her breathing slowed and her skin warmed. The fear in her eyes turned to puzzlement. She parted her lips.
Desire flooded Magnus’s body. He itched to explore her mouth with his tongue, but doing so would frighten her. He sensed she was still a maid, unused to men. He licked the tip of her tongue, elated when she didn’t withdraw. He kept his eyes locked with hers, making sure he hadn’t alarmed her.
His shaft turned to granite when she moaned, deep in her throat, and swirled her tongue over his bottom lip.
Whatever plagued his throat chose the moment to resume its tickling. He eased her away from his body as a coughing fit racked him. She looked at him strangely, but then she too coughed.
He reached into his gambeson for the flask of apple brandy, hesitating as he uncorked it. There wasn’t much left. Her eyes were watering. He steadied her shoulders with his hand, and lifted the flask to her lips.
She pulled back when the aroma of the fumes hit her nostrils. “Drink,” he insisted, pointing to his throat. “It helps.”
She put her hands around the flask and took a sip, then as he’d known she would, squeezed her eyes tight shut and grimaced. But the coughing stopped.
She smiled weakly. Desperate to keep the smile on her lovely face he searched for inspiration, then drew two of Ida’s linen squares from inside his tunic. He handed her one and blew his nose on the other.
She gave him the flask, then dabbed at her nose.
He took the last swig of brandy. The fiery liquid cleared his head. He tapped his chest. “Magnus,” he said.
She furrowed her brow. “Judith,” she replied in a husky voice, handing back the linen square.
The sight of Ida’s handiwork in another woman’s hand broke the enchantment. His daughters hadn’t yet accepted their mother’s death. He was part of a war party and she was his hostage. Her brother would pay a hefty ransom.
He shook his head, placing her on the bench beside him. “Keep it,” he said, coming to his feet. “Stay here. There is no escape.”


  1. Thanks for sharing more about what inspired your Viking Roots Medieval Romance Saga, Anna! The Rover Betrayed sounds fantastic. :)

  2. This one sounds like a winner, Anna. And that cover. Love it!

    1. I was pleased with the cover too, Nancy. Steven Novak is a gifted designer.

  3. Can't wait to read this one, Anna! Tweeted as well.

  4. Anna, your excerpt is very enticing. I'll have to read more, for sure.
    What a great series,

    1. Thanks Sylvie. I'm happy with the way the series turned out. I probably could have gone on to 4 or five books, and I might revisit the theme later. Too many other projects in the meanwhile!

  5. I love how you incorporate true events in history into your books, Anna. Besides an enjoyable read, we learn along the way :) Love the cover, by the way.
    Jacquie Biggar

    1. Thanks, Jacquie. For a pantser history is a great help; it gives us a framework to hang our stories on! And the larger than life characters who actually existed!

  6. I love your story. I am the genealogist in my family. Loved the excerpt! Shared.

    1. It's an addictive hobby, as I'm sure you know, Ella. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing.

  7. I love reading your books. I feel as if I'm learning about history while enjoying a romance.

    1. Thanks, Pat.
      I love doing the research that goes into my books.

  8. Congratulations on the upcoming release!