MP-Catch us up on your series?
LR-The series begins with by Right of Blood, which was actually written as a prequel to My Brother’s Keeper, continuing on to In the Wake of Ashes. The series chronicles the life and adventures of William Fylbrigge, the second son of Lord Henry Fylbrigge, a wealthy nobleman in early 17th century Scotland. It is notable that he is the second son, born twenty years the junior of the his old brother, Thomas. As the elder son, Thomas had always enjoyed his status of ‘only heir’ to his father’s fortune. As was his “right of blood”, Thomas should not have had any issue of there being any younger siblings, as the laws of inheritance favored him as a sole heir, except for a 'troublesome' addition to father’s will — which left a large chunk of things to William, and excluded Thomas of much of his own inheritance until William reached majority. Because of this, when Henry died very soon after William’s birth, Thomas became the boy’s reluctant guardian who saw to his well being only in as much as he didn’t allow the boy to die. Another stipulation in Henry’s will made provisions for young William to be fostered by his good friend Lord Edward, the Duke of Stonehaven, upon the boy’s 12th year.
The story begins with William’s arrival at Stonehanven, and all of Thomas’ plottings against him comes to light. Also during this time, William finds his own footings in life, meets new companions, Sean and Laurel, and his introduction to “The Olde Ways” — the forbidden Pagan religion practiced in secret by much of the country folk.
By Right of Blood, is William’s rite of passage story, taking him from frightened, timid child to his adulthood and growing consciousness to the atrocities and injustices plaguing the countryside for those who are scooped up in the heresy hunts and witch trials.
My Brother’s Keeper picks up right where the first book ends. When we re-encounter William, he is at the top of his game, strong, popular and about to marry Lord Edward’s daughter, Mehlyndia. At this point, William is poised to inherit everything left to him in Henry’s will. Thomas must step up his game in order to prevent this, and takes a much more sinister approach to destroying his brother by using William’s reputation as a hero to the country folk against him. William finds himself the target of the heresy hunters, and all that goes with that. This book takes him from zenith to nadir turning rapidly from light humor to dark drama.
In the Wake of Ashes picks up five years after the conclusion of My Brother’s Keeper. William is a far different man at this point. He is literally half the man he was, having lost his memories and mobility as a result of his ordeal in the previous book. He and his family have been sent to New France, and the newly established colony of Port Edin, by Lord Edward, to give William an opportunity to restart his life, away from the perils of the heresy hunters and all that went with them. Unfortunately, his secret is discovered, and it is not long before the hunt is on once again.
At present, this is the last book in the series, however I am working on a fourth book that will complete the arc.
MP-How do research for you books?
LR-When I have the seed for the idea, and want to use a place or time, I start with history books, reference books about the day to day doing, clothing, food etc. I spend a good amount of time researching on the Internet. I find out what was happening in that time and place and try to just bring in the ‘flavor’ of the period, and not specific historical events. This leaves me free to keep the story strictly fiction without getting entangled in ‘true’ details.
MP-Tell us about William Fylbrigge?
LR-William is a good soul but naive in his belief that he can change the status quo. He wants to make the world a better place, but doesn’t ‘get it’ that even though he may not like how the world he lives in works, it’s better if he accepts what he can’t change. He does become a bit more cynical as he gets older — or more of a realist.
MP-Your series seems to go back to learn about William instead of forward like a normal series have you found that difficult?
LR-The only difficulties I had were in filling in subplots that would make sense in the later books. For the prequel, I knew where it would start and end, and only needed to fill in the middle. When I was writing My Brother’s Keeper, I always knew what William’s history was. In fact, I had written personal biographies for all of the characters so I knew them better. In the end, the difficult part of writing the prequel was more like fitting the last jigsaw puzzle pieces in place and making sure the overall picture made sense in the end.
MP-If you read your books in opposite order would that give away too much?
MP-I never thought of it, but you could read them backwards I believe and read about new things each time. I tried to write the sequel in such a way that it was a complete stand-alone story, with enough hinting around about the previous books that would intrigue the reader enough to go back and read it, but still have a satisfying story without it. The prequel could also stand alone, however I intended that one to continue, so there is that sense of “what happens next” left at the end of that one.
William Fylbrigge is ill prepared to claim what is his by right of blood and his place among the powerful clan he has been born into. His older brother Thomas doesn’t want to share what he thinks is rightfully his, secretly arranging to have the young lad killed in a convenient “accident.” William could lose everything, including his life.
Sean Wilbrun, the son of a common groomsman, transcends the barriers of his class and station when he is elevated to the esteemed ranks of guard for Lord Edward, Duke of Stonehaven. His first assignment, however, is not to wield a sword to protect his duke, but instead to attend to the newly arrived foster son.
William and Sean soon form an unlikely duo and a lasting bond as together they face Thomas’ accusations of murder and treason.
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