Today we welcome a fellow debut medieval romance author, Karla Tipton. Karla's story, however, has a special twist--it's a time travel. Hi, Karla. And congratulations on your first novel, which was just release, Aug. 22.
“Rings of Passage” is a time travel romance, but there are other genres blended in, including fantasy and history. It’s actually in the “alternative history” genre, because I twist real events to my own ends.
A magic ring carries actress Anise Wynford through a time vortex from 2013 to fifteenth century England, where she falls in love with King Richard III – the last Plantagenet king. With a diary containing clues to her own mysterious past, once belonging to the father she barely knew, and a copy of Shakespeare's play, "Richard III," Anise must learn to survive in a medieval world devoid of modern conveniences.
As Anise and Richard fall in love, the Welsh wizard Owain Glendower conspires with the King's enemies to cast Anise as a traitor, at the same time conjuring ancient magic to thwart the King and put the Lancastrian claimant, Welshman Henry Tudor, on England's throne.
As the moment of the Richard's death approaches in the final battle of the Wars of the Roses, Anise must find a way to defeat the political and supernatural forces seeking to destroy him, and rewrite the events of history so she can be with the man she loves.
What drew you to this story?
I learned about Richard III many years ago when my best friend Kathie insisted I read a classic mystery story, Josephine Tey’s “A Daughter of Time.” It’s entirely based on research into Richard III’s history, done by a cop laid up in a hospital bed, but it’s very suspenseful. What I found out through reading this book is that Richard III was not the bloodthirsty tyrant who killed his nephews, the “Princes in the Tower,” as portrayed by Shakespeare. That was all Tudor propaganda. There is only some thin circumstantial evidence that connects Richard to the crime.
Delving deeper, I found out about the Richard III Society, which was founded in the 1920s to reassess Richard’s reputation through research. Last year, the society collaborated with the University of Leicester on the excavation of Richard’s remains from underneath a parking lot. Richard had been unceremoniously buried at a priory not far from the location of the Battle of Bosworth Field, where he died in 1485. In a total coincidence, the publication date of “Rings of Passage” was the anniversary date of Richard’s death.
Richard was an honorable king who got a bad rap. He suffered much loss in his life – the deaths of his young son, his wife, the brother he was closest to. He was a just and progressive king, passing laws that served the people. He tried to do the right thing, but got caught up in the intrigue and politics of the Wars of the Roses. Richard was also incredibly brave, a true medieval warrior. He took a great risk at that last battle by riding his horse straight for Henry to cut him down and end the challenge to his reign. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and he lost his own life. He’s a tragic hero. What’s not to like?
Put that way, one must agree. It’s interesting to see the other perspective for someone whom history was condemned. Would you share an excerpt?
Love to. Let me set it up for you. Anise is wearing a magic ring which gives her the power of empathy.
Someone was following her. Her pulse quickened. She bolted up the stairs – up and up, into the darkness. Twenty steps and a landing. Another twenty-three steps and a landing. More steps. At the top, her way was blocked by a wooden door.
Her pursuer was not far behind. She held her breath and tried the door – the knob turned. She closed the door behind her.
A fire burned in the hearth. Had it been the room’s owner following her? All her fears might have stemmed from something entirely innocent. If he came in, how would she explain herself?
Anise froze at the sound of someone at the door, her blood pounding in her ears. She heard receding footsteps and she trembled with relief. She thought it best to remain here awhile before trying to find her way to the main corridor. As her eyes adjusted to the firelight, she noticed small details of the room, and realized it looked a trifle… familiar.
Oh, God! She had to get out of here. These were the king’s apartments!
She grasped the door handle and yanked – and her heart nearly stopped. Dropping into a curtsey, she lost her balance and collapsed to the floor. The king grasped her shoulders firmly and pulled her up.
Anise stared into his dark eyes, her words frozen on her tongue. “Y-Your Grace..! I-I'm...”
“You're lost,” Richard finished. “I know.” The corner of his mouth twitched.
Anise flushed when his eyes ran over her. He released her, satisfied she could stand on her own.
“Again.” She knew she must be white as a sheet, but clamped down on her fear, scarcely believing he was not angry.
He smiled tiredly.
“I wasn’t feeling well, Your Grace. And when everyone looked at me in the Great Hall…” Quit stammering, you fool! “I-I couldn’t breathe. I had to get out of there.” Anise felt the tears building. She took a breath and managed to push them back. “I heard someone following me. I was frightened, Your Grace. I ran up this stairway, into your room. If I’d known it was you…”
Richard’s expression clouded, as though he did not believe her.
“I don’t blame you for not trusting me,” she said miserably. With the back of her hand, she wiped away the one tear that had slid down her cheek. I’m not going to cry, dammit.
Her words seemed to trouble him. “You misunderstand me, m’lady. I fear what you say must be true – someone was following you. I did not come to my rooms by the stairs, but by another way.” He paused. “I am disconcerted only by this knowledge – not because I harbor any suspicions, for I do believe you speak truthfully.”
Richard stared at her so intently that Anise looked away, her heart in her throat, her face hot. Why was he so kind to her? More to the point, why did make her so breathless?
His expression softened. “You're as pale as a shade, m’lady. Sit by the fire.” It was an order, not a request. Anise found a chair by the hearth. He left for a moment and she heard the sound of liquid being poured. The king placed a cup in her hands. “Drink this. Maman tells me ’tis a balm to the nerves.” After a moment, he added, “That you found my rooms ’twas fortunate. Many at court are not kindly disposed toward me, or my guests. It might have gone ill, should you have wandered to other parts of the castle.”
He stood very close to her now, gazing at her with an expression she could not read. When Anise met his eyes, she could barely speak, somehow managing, “Thank you, Your Grace.”
She remembered how he had gripped her shoulders before realizing who she was. He was a warrior. He could be dangerous. But the intensity she saw in his eyes now was not violence.
It was passion.
Oh, my. It sounds terrific. I can't wait to read it. What’s your next project?
The novel I’m working on now is “DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS” a time-travel-fantasy-historical-murder-mystery romance, set in 1910. There’s a magical and very hot romance at the heart of this story. It’s sort of like Harry Potter for adults. The heroine Martie learns from her dying grandmother that she’s a wizard. Martie walks through a magic mirror and straight into the arms of a wizard, Alastor, who has beastly manners and an animal magnetism to match. This couple definitely has chemistry. The hero Alastor is a beta male, who happens to be a very sexy wizard. Because of their inherently magical bloodlines, there are some, literally, out-of-this-world love scenes. Martie and Alastor clicked from day one. I’m excited about telling their story.
What one tip would you offer writers?
Trust the creative process. If you have read enough classic and pop culture literature, and you continue to improve your writing, the bubbling cauldron of influences inside you will produce good stories and plots. Don’t force it. Make an outline if you must, but don’t hesitate to veer off the path if it leads elsewhere – because the magic is in the “elsewhere.”
How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line?
I’m a romantic minded person, so the stories I want to write are usually based on a relationship. The difficult circumstances the couple has to face to be together is what intrigues me. I love the fish-out-of-water situation of a time traveler, and matchups between a modern woman and a pre-modern era man. I enjoy writing about couples who, despite their different backgrounds, end up as a great love story. So I start with setup in mind, and usually a historical person or two. I already know my ending. The middle I figure out as I go along.
Special place you like to write?
I write on a laptop in a cushy reclining chair by the fireplace with my feet up.
Challenges with finding writing time?
I live alone, so that’s not an issue. But I do have a full-time day job, and I play guitar in a classic rock band, and have to practice sometimes! So I have to manage my time closely. If I get caught up writing a story, though, I will go with that wave of inspiration, and all else goes by the wayside.
Now there's a story I know everyone would love to hear--playing guitar in a classic rock band. Next time you stop by, please tell us more about that.
Here's where you can find Karla online.
Please visit me at www.karlatipton.com and my social media sites
Karla's fan page
Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads Author Page:
karla.dawn @ karlatipton.com
Karla's fan page
Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads Author Page:
karla.dawn @ karlatipton.com
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rings-of-passage-karla tipton/1116818306?ean=2940148525912