‘The Order of the White Boar’

Welcome! To all new members of the Order!

The group of friends who have sworn lifelong loyalty – to each other and to their good lord, King Richard III.

Read about their adventures in The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man (out 26 May 2018). The paperback and ebook can be ordered from Amazon at myBook.to/WhiteBoar and mybook.to/TheKingsMan, from Blurb at http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8167813-the-order-of-the-white-boar and http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8770224-the-king-s-man or by contacting AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.

The Order of the White Boar follows the adventures of Matthew Wansford, 12-year-old page to Duke Richard of Gloucester, at Middleham Castle and in Westminster, from the summer of 1482. The King’s Man picks up the story in the spring of 1483, as the Year of the Three Kings unfolds . . .


Order Of The White Boar_3d-book            The book on white background

And don’t forget, if you and/or your young people enjoy the book, please leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads or elsewhere – thank you!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The invasion of England, 4 June 1487

England has experienced many invasions over the centuries – some successful, others repelled; some well known, others less so. In the latter category is the final act of what became known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’.

I’ve written about the Battle of Bosworth many times, in both fiction and factual posts. That was of course a successful invasion – by a half-Welsh, quarter-French pretender to the English throne, backed by the French crown in pursuit of its own agenda. It led to the English crown passing from the longest-lasting and most successful dynasty in England – the Plantagenets – to an almost unheard of (till then) family – the Tudors. (Which of course gives the lie to any suggestion that England hasn’t been successfully invaded since the Norman conquest in 1066…)


Richard III of England, prior to his defeat at Bosworth

With the Tudor propaganda message that the battle led to the unification of the houses (and white and red roses) of York and Lancaster, Bosworth is often incorrectly viewed as the end of the ‘Wars of the Roses’. But a later battle, almost two years later, is a more accurate end point. And that battle came following another, this time unsuccessful invasion, on this very date 533 years ago.

On 4 June 1487 a small army landed on English soil to challenge the right of Henry Tudor (now King Henry VII) to the throne. It had sailed from Dublin, and was made up largely of disgruntled Yorkist followers, Irish soldiers and a party of German mercenaries supplied by Maximilian, king of the Romans, and his stepmother-in-law, the dowager Duchess of Burgundy. Otherwise known as Margaret of York, the Duchess had been sister to two kings, Edward IV and Richard III, aunt to a third, Edward V, and was now aunt to a queen – Tudor’s wife, Elizabeth of York (though he hadn’t yet got round to crowning her…)

Margaret of York - Wikipedia

Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy

Just who was the focus of the invasion is still open to debate. The army was led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln – nephew of those two kings, Edward and Richard, and cousin to both Edward V and Elizabeth of York. When his uncle Richard III was killed, John was the de facto heir, following the death of Richard’s little son Edward the year before; despite the subsequent death of his wife, Anne, in March 1485, Richard had not yet clinched a planned new marriage to either Joana, infanta of Portugal, or her counterpart in Spain, Isabel, let alone produced another heir of the body. Yet John of Lincoln was not the person on whose behalf the invasion was mounted – he was there to lead the army for someone else.

That person became known to later history as ‘Lambert Simnel’. But that name was part of a story that took several months to coalesce – into what became the ‘official story’ of the Tudor histories. That official story tells of a ten- (or eleven-?) year-old son of a joiner in Oxford called Simnel (or was he an organ-maker, or a baker, or a tailor? – the early histories contradict one another, and also there are no records of any such person by that name in the city at that time). The boy was supposedly plucked from his family home by a priest and taught all the manners and accomplishments of a prince of the realm so that he could impersonate Edward, earl of Warwick – another of Edward IV’s and Richard III’s nephews (who, conveniently, was already safely imprisoned in the Tower of London on Tudor’s orders). And then, having persuaded Margaret, Maximilian, the Yorkist nobles, the Deputy Lieutenant of Ireland, and even one of Tudor’s own heralds, that he was the said prince, the boy was crowned Edward, King of England and Ireland and Lord of France at Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin on 24 May, before being carried off to England by the Yorkist plotters as a figurehead for their invasion. And once the invasion had been thwarted, this innocent little boy was rewarded with a job in Tudor’s own kitchen – turning the spit…

Lambert Simnel - Wikipedia

The Dublin King, so-called Lambert Simnel, being carried from his coronation

That official story is full of contradictions and holes, and many increasingly doubt its likelihood for all sorts of reasons. The Dublin King by John Ashdown Hill and, particularly, The Survival of the Princes in the Tower by Matthew Lewis both outline the many inconsistencies in the story – and its development through 1486 and 1487. They also put forward the various candidates for the real person who was the pretender to the throne at the heart of the invasion. If you’ve read my novel The King’s Man you may have an idea of who I think he was – or may have been. And also you may have an idea who is at the centre of the novel I’m currently writing about the affair, provisionally titled ‘King in Waiting’.

Image may contain: sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

Piel Castle, Cumbria

But putting to one side all the speculation about who so-called ‘Lambert Simnel’ may have been, the facts that we do know about the invasion are still of interest. On Monday 4 June, the Yorkist army made landfall on what is now tiny Piel Island, off the southernmost tip of the Furness peninsula in Cumbria. They disembarked from their ships in the deep-water harbour sheltered by the great sandbar of Foulney, watched over by the red sandstone Piel Castle. The owner of the castle, the Abbot of nearby Furness Abbey, may have been there to greet his new-crowned king, and likely other local supporters, such as Sir Thomas Broughton, although he may already have joined the young king in Dublin – along with many other Yorkists unhappy at the rule of the new Tudor regime. Then the army set off across the saltmarsh towards the higher ground of the Cumbrian fells.

Image may contain: sky, beach, outdoor, water and nature

The Sands

According to local tradition, they spent that first night camped on Swarthmoor, near Ulverston, and then the route taken beyond that is open to conjecture. Did they march north through the difficult terrain of the fells, or perhaps risk a crossing of the Sands of the Kent estuary and Morecambe Bay? While a dangerous undertaking, with local guides it was possible to cross the Sands safely even with herds of livestock and carriages: as late as the nineteenth century there was a regular stagecoach route across, so such a crossing by an army with all their equipment and beasts of burden was entirely feasible. From there, gathering more loyal supporters, the army travelled north, then, via Sedbergh, into the west-to-east crossing of the northern Pennines where Garsdale leads into the familiar lush landscape of Wensleydale… I say familiar because this was the heartland of support for the previous king, Richard III, who had spent some of his youth there, at Middleham Castle, when in the household of its previous owner, his cousin, Richard, Earl of Warwick ‘the Kingmaker’ – and later made it the primary home of his wife and son.

Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, tree, plant, grass, outdoor and nature


It’s also where the first of my books telling the story of King Richard, The Order of the White Boar, is largely set. The fictional characters through whose eyes that story is told therefore know the dale well – and those who remain will likely feel a sense of relief to be back in such familiar surroundings after their travails since the fateful days following the Battle of Bosworth. Alongside them, also, on this march through northern England, is not only John, Earl of Lincoln – once the chief man in the Council of the North hereabouts under his uncle Richard – but also Francis, Viscount Lovell, once loyal friend and courtier of King Richard, and now a driving force behind this attempt to reclaim the throne for the House of York. Two previous attempts at rebellion by Lovell and his supporters had failed, but with a crowned king, a sizeable army, continental backing and more local supporters, such as the Scropes of Bolton Castle and Masham and Thomas Metcalfe of Nappa, flocking to them, he must have felt this invasion stood a chance.


Middleham Castle

Incredibly, by Friday 8 June, the army had reached Masham in North Yorkshire, from where King Edward sent a letter to the mayor of York requesting support and entry to the city. The army had covered 70 miles of difficult terrain in just four days – a remarkable feat by any standards. Sadly the request to enter York was turned down and the Yorkist army turned southwards. Several skirmishes were won by the Yorkists over small forces loyal to Tudor, which led to the Earl of Northumberland – loyal now to Henry Tudor, despite being imprisoned after the Battle of Bosworth – retreating back north of the city. York then declared its belated support for the new king. But the change of heart came too late: the Yorkist army had by 15 June crossed the River Trent and camped close to the village of East Stoke, not far from Newark.

The following day came the battle that brought this invasion to an end. At least 4,000 men died on the Yorkist side – the Irish and most of the English were given no quarter, although any surviving German mercenaries were allowed to leave the country. The Germans’ captain, Martin Schwartz, died alongside John Earl of Lincoln and Thomas FitzGerald, brother to the Deputy Lieutenant of Ireland. What happened to Francis Lovell is unknown, though stories abound: was he seen escaping, wounded, over the river? Did he eventually retreat up to Scotland? Or did he limp back to his one-time estate at Minster Lovell and die there – where a skeleton was found, bricked up, centuries later? (As the estate no longer belonged to him, this is perhaps the least likely outcome…)

Minster Lovell Hall - Wikipedia

Minster Lovell (Wikipedia)

And the young ‘Dublin King’? An eleven-year-old boy later named as ‘Lambert Simnel’ was found alive on the battlefield and taken into Henry Tudor’s royal household as a kitchen boy. But the initial report by a herald stated that the boy’s name was John… and two years later Irish lords brought to Tudor’s court, failed to recognize him as the young man they had crowned king at Christchurch. Had the royal herald sent to Dublin in early 1487 to investigate been correct when he described the ‘adolescent’ he met as someone who might well have been a Yorkist prince? Perhaps we will never know just who the ‘Dublin King’ was. But had his invasion succeeded, he would no doubt have become the true King of England too.



Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Setting the Stage for the First Crusade, 1096-1099 – guest post by Mary Ann Bernal

I’m delighted to welcome on to my blog today fellow historical fiction author Mary Ann Bernal.

Mary Ann is on her blog tour for her latest novel, Crusader’s Path, ‘a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade’ – a fascinating period in history – and one that takes place across a wide sweep of what was then, to Europeans at least, the known world – from Normandy to Constantinople to the Holy Land.


Here Mary Ann tells us a little about the circumstances and the unfolding of that crusade…

Setting the Stage for the First Crusade, 1096-1099

During the Eleventh Century, the Roman Catholic Church held considerable influence throughout Christendom, despite the East-West Schism of 1054 caused by political and theological differences between the Latin West and Greek Eastern Orthodox Church.

Violence, lawlessness, famine, and poverty existed across the European continent. Peasants were at the mercy of the warring nobles craving wealth and power. A significant disparity prevailed in a social hierarchy where landowners set the rules, giving little hope for commoners to rise above their station.


Pope Urban II*


The authority of the Pope, also known as the Bishop of Rome, had waned over the years. Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, clashed with Pope Gregory VII over papal authority. Pope Urban’s predecessor, Pope Gregory, excommunicated the errant Emperor. Military clashes ensued, and the victorious Henry installed the Antipope, Clement III, as the Bishop of Rome.


Alexios I*

Alexios I, the Byzantine Emperor, needed help in thwarting the Seljuk Turks harassing his kingdom. Fearing the fall of his capital city, Constantinople, Alexios requested Pope Urban’s assistance in vanquishing the infidel.

The Call to Arms

Pope Urban saw the request from Alexios as a means to reunite the Latin West and Greek East. Additionally, by channelling the violent knights’ and mercenaries’ thirst for fighting towards a common enemy, the followers of Islam, he kept unchivalrous warriors from pillaging the European countryside. Besides, a successful campaign would strengthen the Papacy, enhancing political power and dominance over kingly rule. And freeing Jerusalem from Muslim control would secure his place in history.


Urban II preaching*

Pope Urban II was a charismatic and intriguing man. In all probability, he was calculating and manipulative, necessary traits to retain control of the Papacy, defeating his enemies with skilful finesse.

The Council at Claremont had been called to address abuses within the Catholic Church. The assembly decided many canons, renewed earlier legislation, and settled lawsuits at its conclusion. However, Pope Urban piqued the curiosity of the religious elite and common people when mentioning a great speech on the day before the attendees’ departure.

In an open field, the eloquent preacher spoke of atrocities committed upon Christians by the Muslims. Pope Urban maligned the Saracens oppressing Christians, his speech cleverly fashioned to incite the crowd. He offered salvation, giving hope to the hopeless, calling upon rich and poor alike to embark on a righteous war. Pope Urban promised a full remission of sins if people died during the journey or on the battlefield. The chant Deus Vult, God wills it, echoed throughout the crowd.

Pope Urban’s successful oration created the armies of the First Crusade. Although religion was the driving force, the nobility and lowly knights sought land and wealth. They would give no quarter since the Church condoned killing.


The Armies

Peter of Amiens took Pope Urban at his word, leaving without paying heed to logistics – a coordinated campaign, led by princes and noblemen, acquiring manpower, provisions and money, a lot of money to pay the soldiers, and purchase supplies along the route.


Peter of Amiens*

Known as Peter the Hermit, the lowly monk preached to the peasants from Claremont to Amiens before setting out to Cologne, following the Rivers Rhine and Danube, reaching Constantinople before Pope Urban’s officially sanctioned army. Known as the People’s Crusade or the Peasants’ Crusade, the ill-fated collection of pilgrims failed to reach the Holy Land, most perishing on the road to Nicaea.


The First Crusade*

The peasants risked everything to reclaim the Holy Land for God, proudly wearing the Cross. They were ill-equipped, mostly farmers, men, women, and children. They left behind land they did not own, carrying meagre possessions with them, believing Pope Urban’s words about attaining salvation, their sins forgiven.

Peter could not control the unruly mob who ravished the land with such ferocity that it sent chills down the spines of the Turkish people when word reached their ears of the rabble’s murderous deeds.

The Princes’ Crusade consisted of four main armies, leaving Europe in August 1096, the planned departure date, and several months after Peter’s Army of Peasants. To the aristocracy, fighting for Christ was an honour, elevating their standing within the hierarchy, commanding respect and awe from the masses. While saving souls was the catalyst, attaining wealth in a land flowing with milk and honey, controlling centres of trade, satisfied their ambition.

trumpet blast

Crusaders arrive in Jerusalem*


The First Crusade was a holy war that had the blessing of God, according to Pope Urban. The Commandment, thou shall not kill, was ignored when fighting the infidel. In retaliation, the Muslims raged a Holy War against the Christians. The apoplectic war of the two faiths continues to this day.

The First Crusade saw the establishment of the Crusader States and the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller military orders. The role of the Roman Popes progressed in secular affairs. Alliances deteriorated between the Latin West and Greek East. Subsequent crusades failed to keep Jerusalem under Christian control.


I could not help but wonder if Pope Urban would have condoned a Holy War if he knew the ramifications of his deeds. Just as I wonder whether Catherine of Aragon would have given Henry VIII a divorce if she had known Henry would become the Church of England. Who in history has ever considered the consequences before acting? Just thoughts to ponder.



Crusader’s Path 

by Mary Ann Bernal

From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Heeding the call of His Holiness, Urban II, to free the Holy Land from the infidel, Etienne follows Duke Robert of Normandy across the treacherous miles, braving sweltering heat and snow-covered mountain passes while en route to the Byzantine Empire.

Moved by Peter of Amiens’ charismatic rhetoric in the streets of the Holy Roman Empire, Avielle joins the humble army of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Mentz, the peasant Crusaders do the unthinkable, destroying the Jewish Community. Consumed with guilt, Avielle is determined to die fighting for Christ, assuring her place in Heaven.

Etienne and Avielle cross paths in Constantinople, where they commiserate over past misdeeds. A spark becomes a flame, but when Avielle contracts leprosy, Etienne makes a promise to God, offering to take the priest cowl in exchange for ridding Avielle of her affliction.


Crusader’s Path is available from:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Crusaders-Path-Mary-Ann-Bernal-ebook/dp/B084F3PGRQ

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crusaders-Path-Mary-Ann-Bernal-ebook/dp/B084F3PGRQ


Mary Ann Bernal

mary anne bernalMary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her latest endeavour is Crusader’s Path, a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Connect with Mary Ann: Website • Blog • Whispering Legends Press •  TwitterFacebook.


Website: http://www.maryannbernal.com/


Blog: http://maryannbernal.blogspot.com/


Whispering Legends Press: https://www.whisperinglegendspress.com/


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBritonandtheDane/


Twitter: https://twitter.com/BritonandDane

Thanks to Mary Anne Yarde of the Coffee Pot Book Club for arranging the blog tour

*Picture credits:

Pope Urban II

Alexios I 

Urban preaching

Peter of Amiens

Crusaders arrive in Jerusalem

Map of the First Crusade




Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A busy week – including virtual launch for ‘Yorkist Stories’!

I have been rather quiet again of late, owing to work commitments, but there’s a busy few days coming up…
First up on Sunday 31st May I have another very special guest on my blog – this time the fabulous Mary Ann Bernal talking about her latest release, ‘Crusader’s Path’.
Then on Sunday afternoon from 3 pm we have the online launch for ‘Yorkist Stories‘, the fantastic new charity anthology compiled by Michele Schindler to raise funds for Medecins Sans Frontieres. I’ll be hosting from 3.30 and as ever there will be lots of chat, competitions and freebies!
Come along and find out all about my fellow contributors!
And later in the week, on Thursday 4th June, I’ll be taking part in the latest Historical Writers Forum Blog Hop – featuring momentous events in history. Can you think what it was that happened on 4th June that I’ll be writing about? 🤔✒️👑📚
Hope to see you at all these events!
Loyaulte me lie

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new charity anthology of ‘Yorkist Stories’: an interview with Michèle Schindler

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to discover that a piece of flash fiction I’d submitted, ‘Confinement’, had been accepted into a new charity anthology compiled in double-quick time by fellow author Michèle Schindler to raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders during the current global Covid-19 crisis. I’m pleased to welcome Michèle on to my blog today to talk about this collection of short stories about major players in the Wars of the Roses, a little about herself and her fellow contributors, and her fascination with a certain Viscount Lovell…



Alex: Thank you for coming on my blog today, Michèle. You’ve just published a new anthology of short stories by authors inspired by major players in the Wars of the Roses – entitled Yorkist Stories. What gave you the idea?

Michèle: I just really wanted to do something to help in this situation we’re all in right now. Since I’m diabetic and therefore in a risk group, I couldn’t do anything physical to help – make purchases for others at risk, or even donate blood. So I tried to think of something else I could possibly do, and since the one thing I think I’m actually any good at is writing, I thought, why not use that for good? And why do it alone, when working together is more important than ever before? So this idea was born.


Alex: I’m all for collaborative working – especially as you say in these difficult times. Tell us a little more about yourself. What sparked your interest in English medieval history?

Michèle: I’ve always been interested in history, but my specific interest in English medieval history began with a homework assignment when I was around seventeen or so. I was supposed to research the history of Canterbury, for my English class’s field trip there. When I did that, I came across Thomas Becket, and he just fascinated me, so I began researching. Through him, I started slowly getting to know the many, many fascinating people living in England in the Middle Ages. Until finally, I encountered a little-researched man who lived in the fifteenth century, who became my special favourite.

Alex: Your own story in the anthology turns the spotlight on that ‘little-researched man’, namely Francis Lovell. Many will know him as the loyal friend of King Richard III, who appears in my own books so far as a fairly peripheral character (although in my work-in-progress we get to see a little more of him…) He’s far from peripheral in your own work as you’ve recently published a full biography about him: Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide. What is it about Francis that drew you to him?

Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide by [Michele Schindler]

Michèle: I first came across him when reading a biography about Richard III. It was a fairly sympathetic one, I believe David Hipshon’s. He won me over to Richard’s cause in around 2010 or 2011, but more importantly, he briefly mentioned a close friend called Francis Lovell who died fighting for Richard’s cause even after Richard was dead. I was intrigued and tried to find more information about him, but there was hardly any. That didn’t seem right at all. In fact, it almost seemed as if I was called to be the one to remedy that, and so I set about the task. The more I found out about him, the more I loved him – and I still feel as if finding and sharing information about him is something I’m called to do. Most definitely, it is something I love to do.

Alex: King Richard appears in several of the stories, but unlike recent charity anthologies, Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, he’s not the main focus in Yorkist Stories. Apart from Francis Lovell, which other historical figures feature in starring roles?

Michèle: There are stories about John Howard, who became Duke of Norfolk very early in Richard’s reign, and Richard’s niece Elizabeth of York, and his illegitimate daughter, Katherine Plantagenet. There is also one about Margaret of York, Richard’s sister, and even about a man most Ricardians rather dislike: William Stanley.

My hope was to see the Yorkist cause from as many points of view as possible, and I hope that everyone’s fabulous stories have made this possible.

Alex: I was delighted to be asked to contribute a story – in my case a piece of flash fiction inspired both by the current pandemic crisis and of course by King Richard himself. Can you tell us a little about your other fellow authors?

Michèle: The first person I asked was a close friend of mine, Robin Kaye – without his enthusiasm for the idea and agreement to write a story, the book wouldn’t have gone ahead. He’s a psychologist with a great interest in history.

After he agreed, many others I asked also did so. Fellow authors such as yourself, Marla Skidmore, Jennifer Wilson, Joanne Larner [all of whom contributed stories to Grant Me the Carving of My Name and/or Right Trusty and Well Beloved…; see previous blog posts], Joan Szechtman, Jessie Prichard Hunter and, as well as personal friends of mine who share my obsession with history and the Wars of the Roses, such as Elizabeth Celeone and Stephanie O’Neill. And of course, several amazing and talented people I met either online or in real life through conversations about the Wars of the Roses: Maria Grazia Lucrezia Leotta, Doris Schneider-Coutandin, Valery Alliez, Brian Wainwright, Kit Mareska, Terri Beckett and Wendy Johnson [the last four of whom also contributed stories to Right Trusty and Well Beloved…; see previous blog posts].

Alex: This is your first foray into self-publishing. How did you find it? Tell us how you compiled the anthology.

Michèle: The compilation was the easiest and most fun part of it. Thankfully, I was sent only really good stories, that did not require me to do much by way of editing/finding mistakes (and any typos and editing errors still found inside the book are naturally mine).

Getting it uploaded was much more difficult, and I have to thank Jennifer Wilson in particular for helping me with one problem that I couldn’t tackle – page breaks. Eventually, it all worked out more or less fine, but technology is not my strong suit, and wasn’t so while working on this project.

Alex: You’ve written both fiction and non-fiction about the period of the Wars of the Roses (with a new book on the way about King Richard’s brother-in-law the Duke of Suffolk and his nephew John, Earl of Lincoln, who also features in my own work-in-progress). Which type of writing do you find most satisfying and why? Do you have plans for more books – of either type?


Tomb of 2nd Duke of Suffolk and his wife, Wingfield Church (image from Wikipedia)

Michèle: I love writing both fiction and non-fiction, so that is a hard question to answer. If I really have to choose, though, I would say writing non-fiction is more satisfying. There’s something incomparable about finding out some tidbit about a person or an event that was previously unknown and being the one to write it down and share it with the world.

Less melodramatically, I like evidence and as such, writing books based on research and good evidence appeals to me.

That said, my sister keeps trying to convince me to write a book about Francis’ wife, Anne Lovell, to make her better known and try to correct at least some of the many misconceptions that exist about her. Since, sadly, not enough is known about Anne to make such a book a non-fiction one, it would have to be a novel, and maybe this is a project I will tackle in the future. And I would definitely love to write more non-fiction books, for example one about Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who I think is due a new study of his fascinating life. And another about William Stanley, a man who holds the dubious distinction of being disliked by both supporters of Richard III and those of Henry VII, but who was an interesting and, during his lifetime, very well-liked man. He deserves a balanced look at his life. And perhaps also a book about the FitzHugh family…

As you can see, I’m full of ideas.

Alex: What made you choose Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders to receive the proceeds from sales of the Yorkist Stories? Do you have any personal connection?

Michèle: It was clear to me from the first that, given that authors from several countries would be contributing to this anthology, the proceeds would have to go to an international organization.  Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders seemed to me the obvious choice. I have no personal connection, really, but I have admired them since I learned, as a diabetic child, how they try and treat children like me in even the poorest countries. I have never stopped admiring the courage of those working for this organization, and naturally I wholeheartedly support their mission.

In the current crisis, I can’t think of any organization that would be a more deserving recipient of whatever proceeds this anthology earns.


Alex: One final question: given the strange times we’re living through, how is your day different to usual? Have you resorted to anything ‘quirky’ to help you stay sane, or get you (and your family) through the days?

Michèle: Germany is rapidly moving out of lockdown at the time of writing and my work as a language teacher has started again, so that currently, my days are not very different from usual. When this project was started, though, I spent nearly all my time writing feverishly, to the point of writing nearly 80,000 words in the first three weeks of lockdown. By hand.

It helped me a great deal to have something, anything, to do during those days, but I am afraid I didn’t really do anything quirky.

Alex: Many thanks for coming on my blog today, Michèle – and best of luck with with the anthology. I  hope that I will be announcing a virtual launch for it very soon, as I’m sure readers will be keen to find out more about the book and the authors who have contributed. Loyaulte me lie!

Yorkist Stories: A Collection of Short Stories about the Wars of the Roses can be bought via Amazon: https://t.co/NkXMka20L1



Michèle’s biography of Viscount Lovell – Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide – can be found at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lovell-our-Dogge-Viscount-Regicide-ebook/dp/B07VF9KGVN/

Michèle can be found on social media at:


on Twitter at:  @FLovellInfo



Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

‘Young Richard in Burgundy’ by J.P. Reedman – guest post

I’m delighted to welcome on to my blog today fellow Ricardian author (among her many talents!), J. P. Reedman.

J.P. has just published the third book in her series I, Richard Plantagenet, telling the story of King Richard III through his own eyes and words. Unusually, the new book, The Road from Fotheringhay, is a prequel to the first two – responding to demand from readers, J.P. decided to tell of Richard’s tumultuous childhood.

Here J.P. shares with us one of the most traumatic turning-points of young Richard’s life – and an extract from The Road from Fotheringhay.

Road from Fotheringhay

Young Richard in Burgundy

Just after Christmas, on 30 December 1460, Richard Duke of York left his castle of Sandal to confront a Lancastrian host. No one knows why; some thinks he was lured out by talk of a Christmas truce. The move was a disaster. Richard was killed in the ensuing fray and his 17-year-old son Edmund slain on the bridge into Wakefield, some say by ‘Butcher’ Clifford taking revenge for a father dead at St Albans.

The terrible news soon reached Richard’s wife, Duchess Cecily, in London. Hastily, she sent her two youngest sons, Richard and George, from her side to hide in the house of a woman called Alice Martyn. But soon more grave news arrived. The Queen, Margaret of Anjou, was marching on London with a large host. Cecily feared that her sons’ youth might not be enough to protect their lives.

So Cecily sent them away on a fast ship to Burgundy. Richard was eight, George eleven.

It was a gamble. Phillip, Duke of Burgundy, was trying to stay neutral in regards to the political manoeuvring in England. He did not want to seem to be favouring the Yorkist side—especially now that these children’s father was dead, his head spiked on Micklegate in York. There was no pomp and ceremony for the brothers’ arrival in Burgundy. They were taken by carriage to an abode of Philip’s illegitimate son, Bishop David, in Utrecht. This may have been his palace in the town, but since David was embroiled in a row with the townsfolk that was turning ugly, it is more likely they went to his castle just outside the town, Duurstede. This castle was undergoing renovation at the time and was a strong but possibly uninviting place at the time for the two little boys.

All of that was to change, however. When, a few months later, the boys’ eldest brother Edward defeated the Lancastrian forces at Mortimer’s Cross and Towton and seized the throne, there was a quick change of attitude from Duke Phillip. Richard and George were swiftly brought to his grand palace at Bruges for an opulent celebratory feast. This was doubtless of some splendour, the Burgundian court being known for its lavish displays. During the famous Feast of the Pheasant, there had been an elephant, twenty-four men hidden in a pie, and metal animatrons on the table. Whatever Phillip did for the sons of York, it must have been wondrous to the two boys who had left England as the children of a ‘traitor.’

Now they were ready to return to England—as princes.





…the Duke called us to him and we proceeded a little further along the gallery. Other maps swirled by—I saw the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and Adam and Eve naked and unashamed in the garden. There was a labyrinth with a half-man, half-bull raging at its heart, and the tall Pillars of Hercules at World’s End.

“Now,” said Duke Phillip, “something a bit different. My collection of orloges.”

George and I glanced at each other, confused once more.

“Clocks and other oddments,” said the Duke.

George and I crowded in to see. At home, we mostly still used hourglasses or the sound of ringing bells to mark the hours, although a few of the religious houses had mechanical clocks. Before us, were rows of astrolabes, a bronze cock that crowed noon and midnight with the use of a bellows, a sundial set in crystal, and—Phillip’s obvious pride—a gilded brass clock shaped like a cathedral with spires rising several feet into the air. On its face was a roundel with hands that went around by means of springs, ticking off the hours.


George and I bent over and stared and the Duke joined us in watching the hands of Time, as entranced as any child.

Then, suddenly, he stood back and clapped his hands. “Enough of viewing my little keepsakes. A banquet will be held in your honour, my little Lords. You will find amazement at what you will see, and I have no doubt you will then go to Edward, your kingly brother, to tell him how fine Burgundy is, and how perhaps, now, a new alliance can be forged.”


J.P. Reedman was born in Canada but has lived in the U.K. for nearly 25 years.
Interests include folklore & anthropology, prehistoric archaeology (neolithic/bronze age Europe, ritual, burial and material culture), as well as the Wars of the Roses and other medieval eras.

Reedman is the author a speculative archaeological fiction epic using a proto-King Arthur in the era of Stonehenge called THE STONEHENGE SAGA and four very successful novels about Richard III, I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET, PARTS 1 to 3 and Sacred King – the latter being a unique fantasy based on Richard’s death and return in 2012! A number of shorter works are also available on Kindle and in Print.

The Road to Fotheringhay and its sequels, I, Richard Plantagenet: Tante le Disiree and Loyaulte Me Lie, along with J.P.’s other books can be bought via Amazon:



J.P.’s author page



Road from Fotheringhay



Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Latest #Lockdown #AuthorReading – a second extract from ‘King in Waiting’ by Alex Marchant

In my latest lockdown reading, I was prompted by hearing the first cuckoo of the year up on the moors a week or two ago to share with you a scene from my work-in-progress ‘King in Waiting’, the third book of the series The Order of the White Boar.

The scene was inspired by a previous walk on the same moor a year ago, when a cuckoo appeared to be leading me – or was I pursuing it? Either way, it kept popping up ahead of me for the best part of an hour – or at least its call did, and occasionally it fluttered into view, before flying off into the distance…

As with last week’s reading, if you haven’t read The King’s Man, there is the possibility of *spoilers*…

Enjoy! 😊🐗📚


The previous reading from Chapter 1 of ‘King in Waiting’ can still be found at:

and the two readings from The Order of the White Boar, Chapter 1 at:

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘The Road to Liberation’ – interview with the authors #VEDay75

Following yesterday’s commemoration of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) on its 75th anniversary, and on today’s Europe Day, a celebration of all the years of peace in the heart of the continent, I’m proud to host an interview with the authors of The Road to Liberation, on their blog tour to launch this collection of six individual novels in one. So a huge welcome to Marion Kummerow, Marina Osipova, Rachel Wesson, J.J. Toner, Ellie Midwood and Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger.

unnamed (1)

These USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning  authors offer a fascinating range of perspectives on the global conflict that ended in Europe in 1945 – after six long years. They hail from various countries – Germany, Russia, Ireland, the USA – and their books (as the blurb says) ‘will transport you across countries and continents during the final days’ of the Second World War, ‘revealing the high price of freedom—and why it is still so necessary to “never forget”’.

While my own writing has focused on a far earlier era, and I was myself born a generation after VE Day, the Second World War and its lessons have always loomed large for me. My parents were both intermittent evacuees from the East End and south London and I was brought up on tales of the hardship they and their families and friends endured. My father remembers watching Battle of Britain dogfights over the Kentish hopfields. He also returned with his mother and sisters one morning from sheltering all night in a tube station to discover their family home destroyed during a night of the Blitz. His father spent four long years in the Middle East before returning months after VE Day, when finally demobbed. My mother’s father, not being fit for service overseas, was a volunteer policeman and spent nights patrolling London’s streets, helping those in distress – or helping prevent the crime that still occurred, despite legendary wartime camaraderie. Though he and my grandmother also reminisced about the good times they had, making the most of being a young couple in the city while their evacuated children weren’t around!

There are so many fascinating  stories from those times, and so many lessons to learn, among them, for me, the importance of co-operation between nations and peoples in maintaining the peace that was won with so much difficulty and heartbreak. And my guests today have many stories of their own to contribute.

I asked each of them about their inspiration for their novels, about their research, the most difficult aspects of their writing abut this period, and why people continue to be so fascinated by the Second World War, even so long after its end.

Over to my guests!



Alex: Thank you all for joining me on my blog today. First of all, I’d like to say what a fascinating collection of stories The Road to Liberation contains. What inspired each of you to write about World War II?

 J.J. Toner: I read a book about how poorly trained the German agents were and worked out that the Abwehr (German Intelligence) was working in secret to undermine the Nazi regime throughout the war. That was enough to get me started.

Ellie Midwood: I grew up on my grandfather’s war stories. At school, I began studying it myself, collect books, documents, memorabilia. Finally, in my early twenties I began writing about it and never stopped since. World War II and the Holocaust have so many topics to write about, so many different issues to investigate, I feel I’ll never run out of material. But I guess what attracts me the most about it is human nature: resilience of regular citizens, ordinary people turning heroes overnight, strangers helping each other, soldiers sacrificing themselves for their people – it’s all incredibly fascinating and inspiring, even though, if course, it’s never an easy subject to write about. But it’s definitely worth it, if we don’t want history repeating itself.

 Rachel Wesson: I can’t bear the thought of it all happening again. For us to learn from history, we must first understand it.

 Marion Kummerow: It was such a pivotal time in our history that brought out the best and the worst in people. When faced with extreme circumstances, people have to reach deep inside themselves to make decisions. It’s those decisions, the way how people cope with adversity, that fascinates me.

Marina Osipova: For me, it’s personal. It runs in my blood. Growing up in the Soviet Union, I was raised in an atmosphere of respect and genuine admiration of the Soviet people who shed their blood to save my country from Nazi enslavers. As a writer, I want to tell the whole world about how my countrymen suffered and endured but came out victors. In the words of Svetlana Alexievich, the Nobel Prize winner, “They had Stalin and Gulag, but they also had the Victory.”


Soviet Second World War memorial, Kiev, Ukraine

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger: My family are refugees of WWII and I grew up knowing that they had barely made it out of Europe alive. I grew up in a diaspora of Ukrainian-Americans, many of whom believed they would return to the “old country” as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed. Well, that did not happen right away. By that time, the first generations of Americans were deeply entrenched, married to Americans, and living a dual life between the old and the new. I, however, always knew that I would somehow return to the “old country”. That “somehow” turned into Austria, the country where my mother was born in a displaced person’s camp, and that “somehow” was by returning to the WWII over my historical fiction.


Eternal flame, Kiev

 Alex: How many hours do you roughly spend researching each story?

 J.J. Toner: Weeks and weeks, sometimes months. For Liberation Berlin, my contribution to The Road to Liberation, I probably spent a 5–6 weeks in research, closeted in my writing cave.

Ellie Midwood: I don’t usually measure my research by hours, but by research sources I use. Usually, it takes 5 to 10 books for each story (non-fiction, of course, and preferably either written by scholars or people who actually lived through the events I’m presently writing about) plus whatever additional historical material I unearth from electronic archives. I’d say, it takes weeks, sometimes months, but to me historical accuracy is everything, so I don’t mind doing it at all.

Rachel Wesson: Depends on the story but usually about a hundred or so hours.  More if I really enjoy the topic and end up down a research rabbit hole!

Marion Kummerow: Lots. I spend hours researching the most mundane details, and then don’t use them in my story.

But I go to great length to make my stories historically accurate. I even bought an “archive subscription” to a communist newspaper for my new series Berlin Fractured, which takes place during the Berlin Airlift right after WWII.

nov2009-jan2011 164 (2)

 Marina Osipova: To be as close as possible to the truthfulness of the events depicted in my books, in hours’ equivalent, it can take weeks for me.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger: I think the calculation must begin with months. Magda’s Mark began as a short story and I needed four weeks for that first version, which now brings readers to the middle of the novel. I needed another two months and a trip to Litomerice, where my novel takes place, plus another four weeks, to finish it.

I’ve learned to discipline myself but let’s take the example of the scene where Magda is learning to dry shoot. It took me three hours to get that scene right. I knew well enough that the partisans had no bullets to spare, so how else could a woman learn to shoot a gun? And that’s just one itty-bitty scene… I’ve spent an entire day trying to find the right kind of movie camera that one of my characters uses in another book, and which takes place in 1938. It meant also watching YouTube videos about how to load the camera and what kind of film it was and everything. And although that camera will play an important role for her later in the book, the scene I needed to write was no more than four sentences at the time…


Litomerice, Czech Republic. Source: Wikipedia

Alex: What is the most difficult aspect of writing fiction set in World War II?

 J.J. Toner: I write spy and adventure stories; for me, the most difficult aspect is avoiding the horrors, the holocaust, SA brutality, Gestapo torture, rapes, gratuitous waste of the lives of innocents, the unconscionable devastation inflicted by the Nazis on families, communities, countries and whole races – including the German people. I try not to disregard these unpleasant facts but refer to them in my writing without going into too much detail.

Ellie Midwood: The emotional one, I’d say. I felt it especially deeply when I was writing about the Holocaust – you get so involved with your characters and you live through those horrifying times and events along with them, it starts getting to you and puts you in a dark place, emotionally. Usually, after finishing a Holocaust book, I need at least a few weeks to mentally recover before I can start writing again. That’s actually the reason why I always take breaks between writing Holocaust novels – it’s just too tough psychologically.

Rachel Wesson: Remaining true to historical fact while still writing a story readers will enjoy. There was so much horror perpetrated by both sides, you have to make a judgement how much information to include in the story. You don’t want to minimize the suffering but you don’t want to glorify it either.


Commonwealth war grave cemetery, Normandy, France

Marion Kummerow: For me it’s the emotional drain. I have to immerse myself into my character to see the world with their eyes, and given the topics of my books, this is exhausting. In Stolen Childhood, my contribution to The Road to Liberation, I’m writing partly from the point of view of a 4-year-old girl. Since I have a daughter about that age myself, I was more than a bit challenging to imagine what my heroine Mindel had to go through.

Marina Osipova: Accuracy. An extremely difficult task. In the ocean of information, it’s difficult and comes with enormous responsibility. Especially in the last years when more and more records that had previously been hidden from the public and scholars get declassified (and this is true of the Russian archives).

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger: Not offending anyone. That’s my short answer. With Magda’s Mark, I’ve tackled a tough subject: a young woman, and a gentile on top of that, who is chosen by the Jewish family to be their son’s sandek during the bris (the circumcision in this case). I ran the story by four Jewish people to make sure it was not only accurately described but that Magda being chosen for this important role was plausible. I got the thumbs-ups and go-aheads but not without the raised eyebrow or two…

Alex: Why do you think World War II fiction continues to be such a popular genre?

 J.J. Toner: It’s not really a single genre. For some readers, I suppose there’s a morbid fascination in the horrors; others enjoy tales of romance set in difficult and trying circumstances; there are military-heads who like to read about battles and weaponry; for my readers, WWII fiction provides an ideal setting for the thrill of danger, the suspense and intrigue of espionage.

Ellie Midwood: Because now that so many archives are open, more and more stories that were never told continue to resurface, and particularly because all these documents are now available online. Another factor, in my personal opinion, is that from the black-and-white type of stories (us vs. them, like it used to be just after the end of the war), more and more “grey,” complex stories keep resurfacing that make people reevaluate the events of the past, ask certain questions anew, wonder what moved people to act the way they did on both sides, question the motives of certain world leaders and weigh their consequences. There’s just so much to this genre that it’s impossible to run out of subjects to investigate, at least in my eyes. It looks like that our readers share this opinion, which is, of course, absolutely amazing. The more we learn from history, the higher the chances that we won’t repeat our mistakes again. That’s the reason why we’re so grateful that people keep reading our stories.

Rachel Wesson: I think many of us have first degree relatives who lived through those years. We may have grown up with their stories or in my case, listened with only half an ear and now they cannot tell me, I want to know more.

Marion Kummerow: Personally, I think, it’s now long enough in the past to actually become “history”. Most survivors and eye witnesses have passed and the next generations have finally overcome the global trauma WWII presented and are ready “to talk about that” again.

 Marina Osipova: I think it’s personal for every reader. Some want to preserve the memory of family members who took part in or lived through WWII. Others, understanding that the modern situation in the world is unsustainable and explosive and, in some aspects, reminiscent of the time before WWII, (perhaps subconsciously) try to find an answer in the past to what is now happening here. Can the story repeat itself? In another new form.

nov2009-jan2011 170

The Home Guard. Re–enactors at Haworth’s annual 1940s weekend, keeping memories of WWII alive

 Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger: Because we still have living relatives or people we know who were directly impacted by it, and though it is a disappearing generation, we are still deeply connected to it. We’d like to believe we’d learned a life-long lesson and we have. A life-long lesson. But even now, I see that younger generations are not as moved by it or cannot relate to it. I see interviews with WWII survivors who express horror over the exponential growth of more extreme right-wing groups. “Wake up!” they say. And to whom? Who is really listening? That’s why I write, in hope of keeping that relationship to our history alive.

WWII is also the great allegorical tale, the good vs evil was so clearly drawn and yet, and this is where it gets juicy and something I tackle in Magda’s Mark, it wasn’t really all so clear cut. We’re discovering, ever more, the three-dimensional sides to the stories. Authors are writing about different perspectives that make us stop and think, “Aha, it wasn’t all black and white. It wasn’t all about the good guys vs the bad guys.” My husband, just the other day, was listening to an interview about how American enterprises thoroughly benefited from Hitler’s regime and that was one of the reasons they did not take up arms against him in the beginning. War – hey, folks, are you listening? – is the greatest economic enterprise! Where there is war, there is a bloody trail of money…!

This is the kind of stuff that makes my blood boil and makes me want to write these stories… there were no clear lines about who was “good” and who was “bad”. Take down a notch, take it to the personal level, and we as authors can reveal the complexities involved.  We still have enough access to those personal stories and that’s what I think hist fic authors of this genre try to bring to life; the individual impacts made make it that much more relevant.

Alex: Many thanks to you all for answering my questions today, and every success with the book!

The Road to Liberation: Trials and Triumphs of WWII: A Collection

By Marion Kummerow, Marina Osipova, Rachel Wesson, JJ Toner, Ellie Midwood, and Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger



The Blurb:

Riveting stories dedicated to celebrating the end of WWII.

From USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors comes a collection filled with courage, betrayal, hardships and, ultimately, victory over some of the most oppressive rulers the world has ever encountered.

By 1944, the Axis powers are fiercely holding on to their quickly shrinking territories.

The stakes are high—on both sides:

Liberators and oppressors face off in the final battles between good and evil. Only personal bravery and self-sacrifice will tip the scales when the world needs it most.

Read about a small child finding unexpected friends amidst the cruelty of the concentration camps, an Auschwitz survivor working to capture a senior member of the SS, the revolt of a domestic servant hunted by the enemy, a young Jewish girl in a desperate plan to escape the Gestapo, the chaos that confused underground resistance fighters in the Soviet Union, and the difficult lives of a British family made up of displaced children..

2020 marks 75 years since the world celebrated the end of WWII. These books will transport you across countries and continents during the final days, revealing the high price of freedom—and why it is still so necessary to “never forget”.


Stolen Childhood by Marion Kummerow

The Aftermath by Ellie Midwood

When’s Mummy coming? by Rachel Wesson

Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods by Marina Osipova

Liberation Berlin by J.J. Toner

Magda’s Mark by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger


The book is available at:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA


About the authors:

Marion Kummerow:

Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to “discover the world” and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she’s now living with her family.

After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. Unrelenting is the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. It’s a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Marina Osipova:

Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.

Rachel Wesson:

Rachel Wesson is Irish born and bred. Drawn to reading from an early age, she started writing for publication a few years back. When she is not writing, Rachel likes to spend her time reading and playing with her three kids. Living in Dublin there are plenty of things to do, although the cowboys and Indians of her books rarely make an appearance. To chat with Rachel connect with her on Facebook – authorrachelwesson. To check out her newest releases sign up to her mailing list.

J.J. Toner:

My background is in Mathematics and computing, but I have been writing full time since 2005. I write short stories and novels. My novels include the bestselling WWII spy story The Black Orchestra, and its three sequels, The Wings of the Eagle, A Postcard from Hamburg and The Gingerbread Spy.

Many of my short stories have been published in mainstream magazines. Check out EGGS and Other Stories – a collection of satirical SF stories. I was born in a cabbage patch in Ireland, and I still live here with my first wife, although a significant part of our extended family lives in Australia.

Ellie Midwood:

Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, The Girl from Berlin. Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.

In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger:

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. In 2005, she self-published a historical narrative based on her relatives’ personal histories and experiences in Ukraine during WWII. She has won several awards for her short stories and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ends up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

Thank you to Mary Anne Yarde @maryanneyarde for organizing the blog tour and interview

unnamed (1)


Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments