I have historical fiction author, Paula Lofting, on the blog today. Paula is going to share with us her inspiration behind her fabulous series…
Sons of the Wolf
Sometimes the enemy is closer and far more shadowy and dangerous than any battle or war…
Sons of the Wolf is a series set in the years leading up to the end of Anglo-Saxon rule when the ineffective and indolent Edward the Confessor sits on the throne, indulging in such pleasures as hunting, feasting and praying, whilst his leading earl, Harold Godwinson administrates the kingdom for him, working hard to ensure the safety of England against those who would attack her.
Against this backdrop, Sussex thegn and king’s warrior, Wulfhere, is caught up in a feud with his neighbour, Helghi, who casts his covetous eyes over Wulfhere’s homestead and plots the downfall of his family. When Lord Harold demands that the two enemies end the feud by wedding their son and daughter, Wulfhere fights to extricate himself and his beloved daughter, Freyda, from the bargain he has been forced into entering, without compromising his honour and loyalty to his lord.
Can Wulfhere save Freyda from Helghi’s evil clutches and remain true to his lord?
Will Helghi’s evil intentions stop at Freyda or will he want more of what Wulfhere has than is daughter?
Books have always been more than just words on a page and paper in a binder, for living inside those pages, is the magic that exists inside all of us. Everyone has within them the power to create anything they wish – worlds with all kinds of amazing wonderments: islands, cities, undulating hills; snow-capped mountains surrounded by lush forests with their hidden magic; sun-reflected lakes; waterfalls that cascade into deep blue lagoons that stretch into rivers that snake through valleys of green marshy slopes. I could go on, but it would take forever to list all the amazing things that a story or a fairy tale brings to our imaginations. These were the places inhabiting my mind as a child finding escape and adventure in a book.
I was a huge bookworm. I remember Dad would take me to the library on a Saturday, and I spent ages there, looking at the books and grabbing the ones with covers that caught my eyes. I would choose books by Rosemary Sutcliffe, C.S. Lewis and anything that looked fascinating with a historical element and I especially loved stories about dragons, faraway places, and animals that could talk, like in Rupert Bear.
By the time I was a teenager, I had discovered one of my most favourite authors. I was still reading books by Rosemary Sutcliffe, stories I adored. She kindled the spark that would one day turn into a fierce love of all things past. But by now, I had found Leon Garfield, who managed to captivate my imagination, and took me from the post Roman-British world of Rosemary Sutcliffe to the streets of London in the 18thc. Sutcliffe and Garfield both wrote books in historical settings for adolescents, and these books were extremely erudite for my tender years, even for a seasoned reader, but oh how they sparked my imagination, leaving me to fulfil my desire for more, by creating stories of my own which I would write down in an exercise book. I went on to read and discover many more wonderful authors as I grew older.
Like most avid readers, I wrote a lot. One day I started on a post Roman-Britain epic about Ambrosius Aurelianus, that I never got around to finishing, but wrote 500 pages or so by hand. By the time I was in my 20s, I’d lost my aspirations of writing forever when I sadly chose to forget ever being a writer because, a) I thought I wasn’t good enough b) I would never be able to afford a typewriter that was worth its salt, and c) life events took over.
It was not until a lot of water and hardship had gone under the bridge that I reached an age where I was in a position to actually do something about my dream of writing a historical novel. After dealing with some personal issues, I found myself at college learning to use a computer which opened the door to a lot of things for me. For some reason, I’d stopped reading for a while and when I started again, I realised my old passion for history and books had never gone away, remaining in a corner of my mind for years, just waiting for me to call to it again. I’d lost the impetus with the post-Romano book, so I decided to find a period I could write about that hadn’t been written about much before. I explored the medieval era and gained interest in the 12th – 15th centuries.
To keep a long story short, I began my journey to writing when I was training to be a nurse, but it wasn’t until a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings that I found my new obsession. I was so affected by that day, all I could think about for days was what happened to those ordinary men a thousand years ago and the injustice of it all. I craved to have more knowledge, and no other dynasty would do. My heart was firmly stuck in the 11thc. Inspired, I found myself joining a re-enactment society which doubly enhanced my research of this period. Nowadays, I see it this way, what can my writing bring to my re-enacting.
The book that was to become my first baby was written in 6 years. 3 of those years coincided with my nurse training. It was the longest book ever, something like 320,000 words which I eventually made into two books. I decided that because it had taken me 6 years to write as it was, I wasn’t going to waste more time trying to find an agent and then waiting more years whilst they looked for a deal for me, that’s if I even managed to find an agent! Someone recommended an assisted publisher, which was not the best decision I ever made, due to the cost I was never going to recoup in sales. In those days, I was naïve and too eager to get my book published. I would not pay to publish again. My book was called Sons of the Wolf and was set in the years before the Battle of Hastings and was centred around a character called Wulfhere, the thegn of Horstede who owned the land almost a thousand years ago in a village near to where I live in Sussex. I read about him first in a book by David Howarth, 1066: The Year of The Conquest. I looked him up in the Domesday Book and decided that he would be my main character, creating a family for him and a backstory. The only thing known of him was that he held the village of Horstede (now called Little Horsted) and 5 hides of land and his property of ploughs and oxen, how many tenants he had owing service to him. The story I created for him becomes entwined with those of the historical characters, Harold Godwinson, and Edward the Confessor, being just two. It is a family saga in which we follow both the fortunes of Wulfhere and his lord, Earl Harold, and their families. Later I was to republish Sons of the Wolf and its’ sequel, The Wolf Banner under my own publishing imprint, Longship Publishing. I am much happier working under my own company with like-minded friends whom support each other and also publish under the name. I am currently working on the third in the series, Wolf’s Bane.
For me writing is a hobby, something to do in my spare time. It’s an escape, something I can do to bolster my self-esteem and help me get these wonderful characters and their doings out of my head and into their world. I work in quite a stressful job and it allows me to relax and do to people the things I couldn’t do to them in real life! I my writing I can go where I want to, be who I want to, and be part of the past, whichever past I would like it to be. I wish it could be my sole profession, but alas, that’s not possible right now. But who knows, maybe one day I will sell enough to establish myself part time. We will have to see
Links for Purchase
About the author
Born in Middlesex, Paula emigrated as a child with her family to South Australia where she went to school and grew up. There she discovered her imagination and love of books. She returned to the country of her birth, the UK, and now lives in Sussex. She is a psychiatric nurse by day, re-enactor with Regia Anglorum by weekend, and a writing demon by night and in her spare time.
Paula’s advice to newbee writers:
"It’s a big world that writers live in, with lots of competition. This is what I tell myself, write for enjoyment, don’t write to make money. Write for yourself, regardless of what is popular and selling; for if you don't write what you love, then how can you expect others to love what you write."