Happy Medieval Monday! I just finished reading Jennifer Ivy Walker's thoroughly medieval, thoroughly mesmerizing romance The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven. Steeped in medieval legend, I thought it an obviously perfect subject for Medieval Monday and that it would be interesting to learn about the author's literary life. Following is our interview, Literary You, then information about the book, tantalizing excerpt included, and my review.
For more of our magnificent, Medieval Monday, be sure to visit authors Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis. They always have something beautifully medieval to share.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
I enjoyed stories about medieval knights and ladies, such as tales of King Arthur, Lancelot, and Robin Hood.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
I love paranormal, medieval, and historical romance!
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
I discovered I had a knack for writing when I was eleven—the same year I started studying French. I realized I had a passion for the French language, history, literature, and culture as well.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
A short story about my cocker spaniel in seventh grade.
That is just too sweet.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
Growing up, I lived far from friends, so Nature was my companion, and being alone a lot fostered my imagination. Later, I learned to sew and make jewelry, so in addition to writing, I create other things as well. As a French teacher, I used creative instructional methods—such as puppets, Theater in the Classroom, music, art, history, and literature to enhance my students’ learning.
6) What’s your writing space like?
I redecorated a spare bedroom, furnishing it with light aqua French antique furniture, huge pink roses, and lots of plants in the two sunny windows.
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write?
Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset? I prefer to write during the day when it’s quiet and peaceful.
8) Congratulations on the publication of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven. What a splendid book! How did you put it all together and how did you come up with the idea for this new series?
When I earned my MA in French literature, I discovered the medieval legend of “Tristan et Yseult”. I have always loved Arthurian myth, and when I discovered that Tristan was a Knight of the Round Table and friend of Lancelot, it gave me the idea to do a paranormal fantasy adaptation of that medieval French legend, incorporating the French version of Arthurian myths.
You have done so seamlessly.
9) I realize that you’ve just published a new book and I know what that takes. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have another story waiting in the wings?
Yes, The Lady of the Mirrored Lake -- book 2 of my trilogy-- will be published on January 23, 2023. The conclusion of the trilogy, entitled The Emerald Fairy and the Dragon Knight, is expected to be published in April 2023. I have nearly completed another novel, Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle, which I hope will be selected for the “Christmas in the Castle” series that my publishing company, The Wild Rose Press, is launching.
It all sounds amazing!
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
As a high school teacher, I used puppets to illustrate the medieval legend of “Tristan et Yseult”, which my advanced students read as part of our study of the Middle Ages. We used to listen to the soundtrack of the French musical “Tristan et Yseult”, and we would watch the French version of the film with James Franco and Sophia Myles.
I always took my students each year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play I had written, Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête, an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of Tristan et Yseult and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a magical Celtic fairy and a dangerous, wicked witch.
My debut novel, The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven--the first of a trilogy-- is a paranormal fantasy retelling of that same medieval French legend, interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldly elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic.
Thank you for sharing your time and talent. I’m looking forward to reading The Lady of the Mirrored Lake. Wishing you continued joy and success.
Thank you very much! Merci beaucoup!!
In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks.
Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?
L’ Amour Fou
Taking another gulp of ale, Tristan turned to Lancelot and searched his knowing eyes. “I don’t know if she even exists, Lancelot, but I want a woman who makes me feel alive! I want her kisses to arouse my passion, her heart to sing to mine. I want a muse to inspire my song, a lady to whom I would pledge my sword—and my life.” Tristan shook his head and sighed. “Is such a love even possible?”
The First Knight of Camelot responded with a sad smile. “It is indeed possible, Tristan.” Lancelot turned his pensive gaze to the vast expanse of sea. “In French, we call such a love l’amour fou--a passion so intense… it can drive you mad.”
Lancelot glanced back at Tristan, a forlorn smile reaching his intense blue eyes. “When you find such a woman, Tristan, the love she gives you fills every empty hollow in your soul. She completes you; she invigorates you; she thrills you. And, when you consummate such a love, the exquisite blend of the spiritual and physical realm will satisfy you more than the finest wine or the greatest victory in battle. The love she gives you with her body will transport you to the stars, and you will never experience a greater joy.”
And, though he smiled, Tristan saw that the First Knight emanated loneliness, suffering, and sorrow. As Lancelot returned his gaze across the faraway sea, Tristan knew that the White Knight of Avalon longed for the beautiful blond queen of Camelot
About the Author
Enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic, Jennifer Ivy Walker always dreamed of becoming a writer. She fell in love with French in junior high school, continuing her study of the language throughout college, eventually becoming a high school teacher and college professor of French.
As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, "Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête"--an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of "Tristan et Yseult" and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.
Her debut novel, "The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven"--the first of a trilogy-- is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a retelling of the medieval French romance of "Tristan et Yseult", interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldly elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic.
Explore her realm of Medieval French Fantasy. She hopes her novels will enchant you.
I’ve just returned from a magical land, from the mists of Avalon and the company of Tristan and Iseult, Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake, and the Tribe of Dana (Tuatha de Danaan), to name a few. Jennifer Ivy Walker has woven a beautiful, truly magnificent tale of good and evil, magic, legend, and romance.
I’m not sure if I can choose a favorite aspect of this extraordinary book. The lore and legends are treated respectfully, lovingly, but new threads are added, creating a new story. Then there's the reverence that the (good) characters hold for nature and its healing powers. The book partly reads as a flowing treatise on clean-living, medieval-style. You can taste the freshness of the foods, smell the fragrance of the forest and herbs, and feel the peace of the surroundings – until it’s all disrupted.
The evil in the book is scary and pervasive. Both Tristan and Issylte have lost all that was dear to them. But how are their fates entertwined? I’m not going to ruin it for you here. But I don’t think it will come as a surprise to say that Issylte is forced to leave her homeland because her wicked stepmother, the Evil Queen, wants her dead.
The Evil Queen and her cohorts are deadly and relentless. I would say that there’s no rest at all, but that wouldn’t be true. The author weaves peace, beauty, and healing with murder, avarice, and treachery.
It’s amazing, and I can hardly wait for the next in series. For a delicious plunge into medieval lore, legend, and romance, do yourself a favor and pick up The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker.
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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