Linda Windsor's book have long been on my shelves and are ones I have read numerous times. Healer commences her new medieval series and is captivating. Meticulous research and engaging characters make this a satisfying read. I hope this insight into Brenna & Ronan peaks your interest in this dramatic story.
Over to you, Linda:~
Brief physical description
Brenna is tall and slender with raven hair and blue eyes. Ronan is tall, well-built but not muscle-bound, with dark auburn hair, brown eyes.
Brenna amazingly looks like my new daughter-in-law. The cover came just as I was headed to the rehearsal dinner and I was dumbfounded by the resemblance. You can see her on the cover of HEALER as well as Ronan. Although, the Mentalist’s female star (Robin Tunney) could do.
I had imagined Ronan looking less round-faced or innocent than the cover, which to me resembles the Highlander. I wanted a handsome face, but one etched from the harsh life he’d led. I’m reminded of Agent Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) of Criminal Minds,
Strengths and weaknesses
Brenna’s strength, hands down, is her faith and ability to lean on reason, eventually, over her emotions. Her determination to see good in everyone is an asset, but also a liability. Her innocence from being forced by her mother’s prophecy to hide from both her enemies and her own clan make the opposite of my pessimistic, distrustful hero.
Ronan is a strong leader, but a life of bitterness has rubbed off on him. He trusts no one, but himself, and has a love-hate relationship with his demented father. Though raised in the faith by his late mother, he doesn’t believe in or is angry with God. Hope is a luxury he can’t afford…until he meets Brenna and she turns his world right-side up.
Brenna has a gift with animals, including her pet wolf. She can gentle wild creatures. She also has the gift of prophecy.
Ronan has little use for animals/pets, except for his horse.
Your inspiration for the character
Both have been percolating in my brain for a long time—as in before I switched from secular to inspirational novels in 1999. I am fascinating by healing and natural medicine, which in the Dark Ages was considered nature magic. That led me to research dark age magic which was mostly proto-science and medicine versus dark magic involving the use or aide of spirits/demons. I hope I’ve defined the two well in the story.
Background to the story
It begins with a prologue where Ronan’s father, jilted by Brenna’s mother to marry his best friend, attacks the Gowrys keep and slaughters all of Brenna’s family. Only Brenna and her nurse escape, thanks to her Christian mother Joanna’s second sight. As Joanna dies, she warns the O’Byrne chieftain that her seed with divide his house and bring about a peace beyond his wicked ken. Twenty years later, Tarlach O’Byrne and his clan still hunt Joanna’s daughter for fear the prophecy might come true. Brenna is forced to remain in hiding from them and her own clan, who’d have her lead them to certain death to avenge the massacre against the stronger enemy. How can she fulfil her mother’s prophecy under those conditions, when she is no warrior but a healer?
But there is more to this than a jilted suitor gone mad. I was inspired by Norma Lorre Goodrich’s nonfiction Arthurian books that suggest the Celtic church/Grail Church had been matching descendants of King David through the royal Irish line to those of Joseph of Arimathea in the British royal line. The hope was for another Messiah-like figure such as Arthur to lead, spread and protect Christianity. Joanna was of the Arimathean or apostolic healers of Avalon, Jesus’ family and friends, who brought Christianity to Britain in the first century according to tradition. The O’Byrnes came from the Davidic Irish royals descended from the marriage of Tamar, daughter of Judah’s last king) to the Milesian High King of Ireland in the sixth century BC. According to Goodrich most of the Arthurian characters were a result of this holy (or not) matchmaking.
She also states, as many Arthurian scholars do, that arthur and merlin are titles held by more than one man. The Arthur and Merlin of the romantic tales would have had to have been over a hundred years old to have participated in all the events/battles accorded them, so this makes sense. Actually, in the early Dark Ages, it was forbidden by penalty of death to call an important leader by his or her given name, hence the titles.
The Arthur in my story is a verified historical figure who bore the name and the title. I believe he was the last arthur. And readers will see Merlin as they’ve never seen him—a druidic Christian priest and scientist called Merlin Emrys, who is often confused with the wizard Merlin Sylvester of Taliesin’s Gododdin, who went mad after his patron of Gwynnyd was killed in battle. (I have an extensive bibliography in the back as well as a glossary of terms and traditions, so that the reader might separate history from fantasy on their own.) Many Dark Age traditions are woven into the story itself.
Brenna’s calling as a healer bids her take in a wounded warrior who was ambushed and left for dead. Healing this broken soul comes as easy as loving him for the lonely Brenna. How can she know she’s taken in her deadliest enemy?
When Ronan realizes he is in his enemy’s lair, he pretends to be a travelling mercenary. But he soon sees that Brenna is no shape-shifting wolf witch as his father claims, but a pure heart that holds no malice toward him or his clan. She’s too good to be true and too innocent for him not to protect…and love.
This Grail church may get a second chance to unite the line of kings with that of the priests/apostles with Brenna and Ronan, if his family—or hers--doesn’t kill them first.
Linda ~ I'm thrilled that you are writing Medieval fiction again and am highly anticipating the remaining books in the trilogy. Thanks so much for sharing in such detail about Healer and your research.
On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Cathy Bryant's Dani Davis and Steve Miller from her contemporary romance, Texas Roads.