A long time ago, when I was still in my teens, I went with a friend and her family for a walk in Derbyshire, in England.
Derbyshire is in what is known as The Peak District, and is composed of moorland hills, valleys, cascading water falls and small villages. It is especially lovely when the heather is out, turning the hills purple.
It is also the home of the bilberry.. This is a small dark fruit resembling a tiny blueberry. It grows on moorland, but it is difficult to pick because, unlike the blueberry, it grows on low plants. It’s back-breaking work. I think it has much more flavour than its cousin.
But that’s another story. Not the one I’m telling you.
As we walked, enjoying the fresh air and the wild country, we suddenly stumbled upon a ruined mansion. To me it looked as though it had been a Georgian building. We wondered about its story. There was no village nearby, so why was it where it was? And why had it been let fall into decay?
This picture stayed with me through many decades. I always had the thought of its story at the back of my mind. Then I became a teacher, got married and had children. Life became very busy, so the thought of this house disappeared from my mind.
Then I decided to take early retirement. It was then that I began writing. I began with fantasy, converting a D&D scenario I had written into a book, that ended as a series. Then I wrote two more and a recipe book.
I still hadn’t thought about this house, but it pushed itself to the forefront of my memory one day and I decided I’d better do something about it.
So began the saga of A Family Through the Ages.
The first thing I thought about was where to begin. As it was the house that was in my mind, I decided to begin with the building of it and had a rough idea in my head. Then I thought I would tell the story of the family who built it, but where to begin?
It was then that Adelbehrt made his appearance. He came to me as a child with ash blond hair captured by the Romans and brought to Britain as a slave. I’m not quite sure where he came from, but he insisted I write his story. Thus the first book of this series began. It is called Vengeance of a Slave.
Then I needed to move on. I needed to get my family from the York area to Derbyshire. I did this in the next book in the series, Jealousy of a Viking.
Helgha is a descendant of Adelbehrt. She is half Danish and half British, her father having come over with the Great Heathen Army that I wrote about the other week. Most of the so-called Vikings who lived in that part of Britain were Danes.
Helgha falls in love with Erik, the son of a jarl (Viking noble) in Jorvik (York). They cannot marry because of the difference in status. Erik must marry for political reasons, and when he does so, Helgha finds herself wracked with jealousy.
She does some pretty unpleasant things, as does Erik’s wife, who is jealous of Helgha, who has Erik’s love. It all turns out badly, and Helgha has to flee with her two sons by Erik where she ends up in Mercia, a part of central Britain where the Danes have no jurisdiction.
But all is not smooth here either. She has to undergo trials similar to those she met in Jorvik, and overcome her tendency towards jealousy.
Currently, Jealousy of a Viking is with the publisher so I will keep you informed as to what is happening with it. This one I describe as adult as it has some scenes that might upset some people.
If you wish to read Vengeance of a Slave, click on the title of the book, or the cover in the side bar. It is available in most formats, including audio and large print.
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