Eilean Donan Castle by DRW Photography

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Interview with Regan Walker

Me: Tell us about yourself

Regan; I’m a lawyer turned historical romance writer. I love the change. After a long, long sleep, my right brain is finally awake and thriving. I live in paradise…well San Diego is near paradise. And I’m near enough to the ocean that I see it each day on my walks with my Golden Retriever. I like to cook (but not too often) and my vice of choice is gourmet dark chocolate. Sigh.

Me: Tell us about your new book?

Regan; The Red Wolf’s Prize is my first medieval (after six Regencies!). Diving into the 11th century involved hundreds of hours of research but I loved it. I wanted to tell the story of what it must have been like for a highborn Anglo-Saxon woman to have lived through the Norman Conquest of England—and her lands and herself given to a powerful knight.

Here’s the short summary:

Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them.

Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.

Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.

As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?

I have a Pinterest storyboard for the book (https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/the-red-wolfs-prize-by-regan-walker/) and also a trailer I made myself (http://youtu.be/9X-M-vSrDsc).


Me: When you write, does your real life spill over into your book at any time?

Regan; I don’t think it’s possible for a writer to totally separate their life from their writing because we draw from not only our imagination but our life experience. And people we have known influence the characters we create. However, when one of my girlfriends called me to say she had just finished RACING WITH THE WIND and envied me my sex life, I had to laugh as I told her that all of the love scenes came from my imagination—and perhaps my wishful thinking!

Me: Do you think about a book of yours, being made into a movie, or not when writing?

Regan; Funny you should ask. One person who reviewed THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE said she thought it would make a good movie. I am very visual so I see the book unfolding in my mind like a movie I am not only watching, but experiencing. So, yes, I could see any of my books being made into a movie. I try to sweep the reader away for adventure as well as love.

Me: When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

Regan; Generally, I choose names carefully, but not always for their meanings. In THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE, all of the knights are named for knights who followed William the Conqueror to England in 1066, including the hero, Sir Renaud de Pierrepont. “Renaud” means ruler’s advisor and that is just the role Sir Renaud has in my story; his advice is valued by the Conqueror. The heroine’s name, Serena, I found in a 12th century source. I gave that name to my heroine rather tongue-in-cheek as it means “serene” and she certainly was not, at least not as a young woman.

Me: What made you want to write and also what made you want to write the genre you are writing?

Regan; I have always loved to write. Alas, my years as a lawyer did not present many opportunities for captivating writing. It was when I was between a government appointment and another job in law when I read a historical romance and loved it. (Unlike some women I came to the genre very late.) I was chatting with my best friend about the ending, telling her I thought it should have ended differently, when she exclaimed, “You must write one!” That conversation led to my first novel, RACING WITH THE WIND, book 1 in the Agents of the Crown trilogy, dedicated to my best friend.

Me: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Regan; Oh, there are a few. First up would be Virginia Henley, who has graciously read my books and given me a quote for each one. Such a wonderful author and her ability to weave real historical events into her love stories is really unsurpassed in my opinion. And weaving real history and real historic figures into my stories is always one of my goals. In THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE, William the Conqueror is a character. I did much research to try and portray him correctly. Then there were other authors, like Shirlee Busbee, Heather Graham and Penelope Williamson—all classic historical romance authors whose books continue to inspire me.

Me: Do you have any tips for our readers that might dream of writing?

Regan; Just get to it. Write the book; finish it. Then get some other writers to take a look at it. My critique partners and my beta readers make my stories better.

Me: Tell us anything you want?

Regan; Well, in May, I will have a new book coming out. It’s TO TAME THE WIND, a Georgian romance and the long-awaited prequel to my trilogy. I think it’s one of the most exciting ones I’ve written. Here’s the short description:


All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the thing his enemy held most dear... her.


The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

And, as you might know, I’ve got a Pinterest storyboard for it, too! (https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/to-tame-the-wind-by-regan-walker/)

Lady Serena of Talisand ponders her future, is to wed the new Norman Lord of Talisand. If you have not read any of her books then you really should. She brings out her characters and immerses you into her story so well you forget your reading and believe you are in the story.

It has everything you want in a book, Love, Mystery, Action. This really is an awesome book.


County of Maine, south of Normandy 1063

“Wolves!” Renaud de Pierrepont’s voice was a low hiss as the howl of a wolf pierced the thin night air, setting every nerve on end. The heat of the battle lust from the assault at Mayenne had worn off long ago. The wind blowing in gusts off the snow caused his sweat to grow cold.
Clutching his mantle tightly around him, Renaud glanced at Geoffroi de Tournai, riding beside him. The knight’s eyes were focused on the dark woods as if trying to penetrate their depths.
“The beast is close,” whispered Geoff.
Renaud’s horse tossed its head, sidestepping away from the rock outcropping in front of the trees. Reining him in, Renaud took off his glove and reached out to stroke Belasco’s sleek gray coat.
The predator howled again.
“Do I imagine it, Geoff, or are there more in the woods these last days?”
“’Tis the lack of game, Ren. The wolves suffer along with our men. No knight can fight without meat to sustain him.”
“Cheer up, my hungry friend,” encouraged Renaud. “The campaign for Maine is over. Duke William has his victory. We will soon return north to his table in Rouen where food and wine are plentiful.”
Geoff grinned. “And you can claim a share in the duke’s victory since ’twas you who provided the strategy that gave him his victory.”
“It was only a thought I had that appealed to him. He is the master of strategy.”
“’Twas more than that, Ren, and well he knows it. William values your advice as few others. ’Tis a fact he is a worthy master. Make no mistake, you will have your reward.”
“I am but William’s man, Geoff. Mayhap one day that will—”
Without warning the wolf leaped from the rocks and sank its claws into his hauberk, cutting off his words. Yellow eyes flashed as the beast bared its teeth and reached toward the pulsing vein that held his life’s blood. Gripping the fur of the wolf’s shoulders, he strained to hold the beast at bay.
The panicked horses screamed. His stallion reared, toppling man and beast to the snow-covered ground. Renaud hit the frozen earth with a heavy thud, his breath leaving him with the force of a fist in his gut. Gasping for air, he struggled to hold the beast’s snapping jaws away from his neck.
Geoff quickly dismounted and drew his sword but it was a fruitless effort.
Renaud and the beast rolled across the frozen ground, locked in a battle to the death, leaving Geoff no clear target.
Renaud grunted as his bare hand slipped on the wolf’s throat. The beast jerked its head around and sank its teeth into the flesh of Renaud’s wrist. He shouted his anger as pain burned through his arm and blood trickled over his hand.
For a scant moment, the wolf released its hold on his wrist allowing Renaud to grip the wolf’s neck below the snapping, snarling jaws.
Geoff circled the battling pair, looking for any opening to offer assistance.
Razor sharp claws raked Renaud’s hauberk as the beast sought to tear the flesh beneath.
Rolling on top of the wolf, Renaud delivered a crushing knee kick to its body. But the wolf’s desperate fight continued.
Drawing upon his remaining strength, Renaud straddled the thrashing animal. With an anguished battle cry, he jerked the beast’s head to the side and twisted the corded muscles of its neck.
The wolf’s neck gave with a crack. Its body went limp.
The battle was over.
Renaud gasped in the frigid air, his frosted breath escaping his lips in a rush, as relief flowed through him. His throat burned and his lungs heaved as he looked down upon the dead wolf still clutched in his hands. The smell of blood, like iron and earth, rose to his nostrils.
Mon Dieu!” He thrust the carcass away.
Geoff sheathed his sword and rushed to Renaud, kneeling at his side. “Here,” he said, handing him a cloth, “wrap this around your wrist ’til we can see to it properly. We had best be away. The scent of blood will draw more.”
Still breathing heavily, Renaud wrapped the cloth tightly around his damaged wrist and rose, brushing snow off his mantle with his uninjured hand. He whistled and his stallion turned toward him from where he pawed at the ground a short distance away. It seemed the animal was as eager as his master to leave the dark threatening woods.
Renaud strode toward his approaching horse with Geoff close on his heels. The woods had gone quiet, the jingling of their spurs on the ice-crusted snow the only sound.
He paused as a thought came unbidden. Turning, he looked past Geoff to the dead animal lying in the snow. The full moon’s light reflected off the white-blanketed earth revealing the copper tinge of the beast’s fur. An unusual red wolf.
“What is it?” Geoff asked.
“Bring the wolf. I may have a use for its pelt. Mayhap ’twill serve as a worthy reminder to any who cross me in the future. Their fate will be the same.”

The wolf will hunt for the jewel hidden among the stones, and if he finds it, his cubs will advise kings for generations.

—Maugris’ vision during the crossing to England, September 1066

Chapter 1

The North of England, spring 1068

Serena contemplated her reflection in the small silvered glass.
Soon I will be another woman. Soon I will have another life.
While she could not change her violet eyes or her curves of a woman full grown, her flaxen hair was another matter. Undoing her long plait, she let the loose waves fall below her waist to shimmer in the early morning sunlight streaming into her bedchamber through the open shutters.
With a sigh, she lifted her hand to touch the gilded frame of the silvered glass. She could still hear her father’s voice when he told her he had bought the extravagant gift from a Spanish merchant who claimed the Moors had made it. No one at Talisand had ever seen such a magnificent wonder before he brought it home to the manor. Tears came to her eyes as she remembered the look on his face, the warm smile reflecting his love.
Her father had been her protector and teacher, a man of great wisdom and a thegn dearly loved by his people. Deprived of his guiding presence, and with her brother in Scotland, Serena was all too aware she alone of her family was left at Talisand. Fear crept over her like a winter chill as she remembered the messenger who had come with a writ from the Bastard King.
She was to become the bride of the new Norman lord of Talisand.
Nay, I will not!
But how could she deny so fearsome a warrior as the knight they called the Red Wolf?
Serena’s brow puckered in consternation. And what would become of the other women at Talisand? Would not the Norman conquerors claim them as spoils? Peasants fleeing the advancing horde the year before had spoken of the knights’ villainy. Women were merely vessels to satisfy their lust.
Anger flared in her eyes staring back from the silvered glass. She would not have it! The young women of Talisand would not fall victim to the rampaging knights if she could help it.
But what choices were left? Some English women had taken the veil, but she was not suited to the cloistered life and that would not be a choice for the maidens at Talisand. But mayhap she could save the most vulnerable.
The door opened and Cassie, her handmaiden, entered with her mother, Maggie.
“’Tis ready, m’lady,” said Maggie, handing Serena a leather flask. “I have made ye the dye from walnuts.”
Serena accepted the flask and poured the dark liquid into a bowl.
“’Tis a shame to dye such beautiful hair,” remarked Maggie.
“She must, Mother, if she is to look the part of a servant,” Cassie insisted. “’Tis nay just her speech and her clothes that make her stand out. ’Tis her hair that tells all who she is—like a pale flame on a dark night.”
Maggie nodded, resigned. “Then oil yer hands and the skin around yer face, m’lady, before ye apply the dye. It will make yer hair brown like mine, but ye will have to add more as yer hair grows. And remember to keep yer hood up should it rain for water can make the dye run.”
“I will, Maggie, and thank you,” said Serena as she spread the oil on her face and hands.
Cassie oiled her own hands and began to work the dye into Serena’s hair. “I know the messenger said ye were to be the new lord’s wife, but it might be well ye are leaving. The tales of the Normans’ brutality are frightening. Ye must be safe.”
“To be sure,” echoed Maggie, “the Norman who comes isna a man yer father would have chosen for ye. Mayhap it will be easier for us to accept his yoke, knowing ye and yer brother are beyond his grasp and safe in me own homeland.”
“I could not bear to take a Norman as husband,” Serena said with firm conviction. Cassie poured the last of the dye onto Serena’s head and she let the dark liquid drip from the wet strands into the bowl. She was glad she would not have to color her brows. Like her lashes, they were already dark. “It is not enough the Bastard from Normandy has taken my father and my country. Now he would give my family’s lands to one of his knights.”
“If the traveling cottars’ words be true,” offered Cassie, “the one who now claims Talisand is one who fought with the Bastard at Hastings. He might even be the knight who slayed yer father, the thegn!”
“Yea, ’tis a hard time that has come upon the land,” said Maggie, regret showing in her eyes, the same vivid green as her daughter’s. Then shooting a glance at Cassie, she added, “When I think of the men the Norman lord brings with him, I fear for me own daughter as well.”
“I want to go with Lady Serena,” the flame haired Cassie blurted out while she squeezed the excess dye from Serena’s hair. “She will be saving me and the others from certain rape.”
Maggie smiled sadly. “Aye, but will ye be safe?” She handed the drying cloth to her daughter. “’Tis a long road ye travel. I worry for ye both. The woods are full of thieves.”
“Nay, Maggie,” insisted Serena. “The woods are full of fleeing Saxons.”
Cassie wrapped the drying cloth around Serena’s head. “Would it not be better for us to flee than to stay and fall prey to the Bastard’s men? Have we not heard the tales of their terrible deeds as they ravaged Wessex?”
Maggie nodded, her countenance fallen. “Aye, I have heard of the killing and the burnings. They even robbed churches. ’Tis a gift from God we have escaped such, and only because Talisand lies so far north. I pray the new Norman lord will not harm the villagers. They will now be his villeins, caring for fields that are his.”
“I will worry for you,” said Serena fighting the urge to stay even as she knew she must go.
“Ye must not worry about me and Angus,” said the cook. “The Red Wolf will need me to feed his men and Angus to keep his horses shod.”
Cassie nodded to her mother. “Aye, ye both will be needed.”

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Kimi, for an awesome interview. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Red Wolf's Prize!