Capturing Eire’s Moon: An interview with Sandi Layne
I have a special treat for all the reader of Random Thoughts today. My good friend Sandi Layne has just released Eire’s Captive Moon through The Writer’s Coffee Shop. I am lucky enough to be a participant in her blog tour in promotion for this most excellent book. (I will have my review of the novel up soon, but don’t wait for my thoughts – go buy it now.)
I am delighted to see my friend get so many positive reviews and comments about her book. She has been a friend of mine for many years and it is a joy to see this happening. She is an excellent writer and an awesome person that deserves this credit. I am a bit biased, since we’ve known each other for 14(ish) years or so, but I am not overestimating her abilities.
Take a moment out of your day and read what Sandi has to say.
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I guess a Fresh Prince of Bel Air rap doesn’t work, huh? Okay, so I was born and raised in Southern California, where I learned to play with languages, went to public schools, and got two degrees from local universities. My avowed areas of study are English and Christian Education Ministry. My avocations include … oh, a lot of things, including ancient civilizations. Big surprise, I know.
Why did you start writing?
Because God, in his infinite wisdom, kept me mostly awake for thirty days with story ideas that filled a notebook. When I decided to try writing them, I was able to sleep. And I did. And then I started to write and found that, lo and behold, night terrors which had plagued me since I was eight years old – - – vanished!
Whom do you consider your main writing influences?
This is hard. Wow. Anne McCaffrey. Stephen King. Francine Rivers. Eric Flint. And maybe a little Jane Austen and Julie Garwood.
What are your favorite genres to read?
Oh, it varies. I love to read history. Flat out history. Ancient civilization, non-fiction, etc. I enjoy fictionalized history, too, and historical romance. I like “space opera” of the David Weber variety. I enjoy epic, multi-book sagas of discovery like The Earth’s Children® series by Jean M. Auel. On my Kindle, there’s some Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton, too, as well as old-fashioned romances by Georgette Heyer.
What Genres are you most comfortable writing?
Romances I think come most easily to me.
Why did you decide to write a historical epic like Captiv…er Erie’s captive Moon? *laughing* ÉIRE’S Captive Moon…
(Edit: I obviously didn’t know how to spell Eire, so she corrected me. Heh. – WCB)
I wanted to do this after I read Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization. I had an idea for a story about a prince who was a scholar/warrior who loved a woman of Éire…but then I had a dream about a fight taking place in the snow, where there were vikings, but the man defending the village wasn’t a Viking. And…yeah.
What interests you about this time?
What doesn’t interest me? lol The social intricacies, the laws, the manufacture of clothing and houses. The education systems in different areas. The interpretation of Christianity in different regions. The development of the languages. It’s all so, so fascinating.
How is this book different from the other books you’ve written?
I have written a lot of inspirational romances, so this is a departure, there. Rather than contemporary dips into relationships, this was a diving into a different time and place. It was a big adventure.
How much research do you put in to this book and the upcoming sequels?
As much as I can without going to locations personally. I spend hours upon hours looking up things. The moon’s cycle, the historic names of rivers, the types of herbs particular to a certain region, the church liturgical calendar.. If there is a detail in the book, I probably spent time finding it. It’s like an addiction.
When reading this book, I was reminded of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Although the subject matter isn’t the same, since Bradley dealt with the time of King Arthur, the historical tones were similar. However, Bradley’s view of men seems to be pretty dim in Mists while the women characters hardly seem realistic, even for the time. Your book isn’t like that, though it speaks of a time before suffrage movement and women’s liberation. How do you keep your female characters real without making all the male characters come off as simple-minded barbarians? As a man, I really appreciate that my gender isn’t all about grog, war, and becoming one (Biblically speaking) with all the women.
Why, thank you.
As a romance writer, I have taken a lot of time to study the male of the species. I have interviewed them, listened to them talk, observed them, studied them. I want to understand men as they understand themselves, insofar as I can. This enables me, I think, to write a good romance hero and to write credible men in my books. Not that every man will see himself in every male I write, of course, but I do try to write men that feel manly.
Of course, my research has shown me that a lot of men are very interested in, ahem, knowing women Biblically.
Is there a difference in how each gender perceives this novel? I know I loved the battle scenes in the book and was surprised you could write such great scenes.
Thanks! *laughing* When I was writing this, my elder son was very much interested in how the story progressed and he remains interested in the series to this day. So a teenaged guy digs this book, and I count that as a kudo.
A battle scene is like any scene, really. You have to be able to see it and make it happen reasonably. I also blocked a lot of those out with my husband, who is trained in hand to hand combat as well as with weapons.
I have been happy that there are men out there who have given this book a shot. I think many of the women see it as a not-quite-a-romance but they enjoy the book for what it is, too.
I know that this book was previously released as Captive Irish Moon. What prompted you to rerelease the book under a new name?
Well, when it was picked up by TWCS, I told them about the series I had in my head that had this book as #1. And as I talked it out with myself and my sister, I came to the conclusion that the books in the series should have similar-ish titles. Captive Irish Moon didn’t really work with the books that follow, so I went with what I’ve got now.
When did you decide to create sequels to this book?
Originally, I had in mind the trilogy, years and years ago. A story sequence that would tell, in miniature, the story of the Vikings invasion of Ireland, including the initial forays, the way the invaders wanted to come and bring their culture to Ireland but instead married locally and became Christians, and how Tuirgeis usurped the high kingship. It’s just that I didn’t write them all, at first. Now I am.
Do you have any of your other books in print?
I do, indeed. You can see some of the available titles on my Amazon Author’s page
What would you recommend to my audience?
I’d recommend they ignore the price for Garrison’s Girl. Just…ignore it. Thank you. Otherwise, your readers might very well enjoy this title. lol My husband likes Silent Music and An Unexpected Woman (contemporary inspirational romances). The latter, however, is no longer available as it is under contract with TWCS and will be released this summer.
Do you have any writing advice for any budding and/or veteran writers in the audience?
Write. Write. Write. Read. Make it a priority every day if you want writing to be your vocation. Don’t try to make the first draft perfect – you can get bogged down seeking perfection. Just finish the first draft. It’s called “first” because there will be more. This is good; it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer if you have to rewrite. We ALL do. So finish that first draft and relish the feeling of accomplishment. Then take a deep breath and go make it amazing.
I’m glad you took the time to answer these questions. Thank you for stopping by my humble corner of the interwebs. Is there anything else you’d like to say before you go?
Thank you so much for having me! You’re a charming host and I’m making off with your Toblerone. (Edit: She doesn’t know I keep my Toblerone under lock and Key. I know how she is… No one steals my bar of..Dang it. It’s gone. *sigh* – WCB)
As I said before, it’s an honor to have Sandi visit my page. I hope she will do it again sometime!
Buy Eire’s Captive Moon by clicking here. It’s worth the read and you should buy many copies for your friends as well.
Interested in learning more about Sandi Layne?
Visit her website and read her thoughts on a number of subjects by clicking here.
Check out Sandi on Twitter by clicking here.
Visit her Facebook Author’s page by clicking here.
Also, visit the page of Sandi Layne’s publisher at The Writer’s Coffee Shop to discover other wonderful authors by clicking here.
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