Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Author Mary Anne Yarde

19 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Mary Anne Yarde

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

The ink has dried on Amandine’s death warrant. Her crime? She is a du Lac. All that stands in the way of a grisly death on a pyre is the King of Brittany. However, King Philippe is a fickle friend, and if her death is profitable to him, then she has no doubt that he would light the pyre himself. Alan, the only man Amandine trusts, has a secret and must make an impossible choice, which could have far-reaching consequences — not only for Amandine, 
but for the whole of Briton.

Today I would like to welcome author Mary Anne Yarde:

Tell us about your latest book

As a child, I adored the legends of King Arthur and his Knights. I grew up near Glastonbury, England, where the story of King Arthur is woven into the very land itself. Many times I have witnessed Glastonbury Tor rise from the Fata Morgana — the mist — and every time I see it I am enthralled. It is so easy to believe the stories of Arthur when set against such a backdrop.

After Arthur's tragic death, the story comes to a sudden halt. No more is heard of Arthur's famous Knights, and all we are left with is a whispered promise, that when Briton is in peril, Arthur and his Knights will ride again.

I wanted to explore what happened after the death of King Arthur, and I came up with The Du Lac Chronicles series. So let me take you on a journey back to 6th Century Briton and together we can go on an adventure to find Arthur’s Knights.

In my latest release, The Du Lac Princess (Book 3 of The Du Lac Chronicles), the Knights Code of Chivalry, which High King Arthur and Lancelot du Lac wrote, has been thrown on the rubbish heap. It is every man for himself. But amongst the chaos, there is one woman who refuses to bow down to tyrants. Lady Amandine du Lac was mistakenly left behind by her kin during the uprising against King Budic du Lac. Now she faces a life of scorn and ridicule because she so happened to be on the losing side. But Amandine has an inner strength that even she was unaware of. No matter what they do to her, no matter what they say, she will remain loyal to her kin and to the man she loved with her whole heart.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I always write in the afternoon, usually between one and four. I do have a rather strict routine that involves copious amounts of tea, so the kettle has to be within easy reach! I always listen to music when I write, and what I listen to depends on what I am writing about. It can be anything from James Horner to For King and Country! I am a bit of a perfectionist; I do a lot of rewriting, and I cannot go on with the story until I am happy with the scene I have just written. Once I am satisfied with what I have done, I will continue — one paragraph at a time.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Stephen King hit the nail on the head when he said...
'If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.'
I don't think I can add anything to that other than don't give up.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

I do lots of different things to raise awareness of my books. I love Twitter, it is great for networking, as is Facebook. I am also a prolific blogger. I have two blogs of my own — Myths Legends, Books & Coffee Pots, and Mary's Bookcase. I also belong to an author community blog — Our Author Gang — which is great fun. I have had success with email marketing, and I have sold a lot of books using this method.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

I think my greatest discovery while researching the Du Lac Chronicles was when I stumbled upon Saint Sampson of Dol. I had never heard of him before, but he was one of the seven saints of Brittany, and he had the most extraordinary life. He founded many monasteries, and of course, he had a skill for unearthing the demonic and sending it away. He even saved a King from being poisoned! He really fascinates me.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The most challenging aspects of my series so far, had to be my portrayal of Merton Du Lac in The Du Lac Princess. He is a warrior, a very good one, but his life is changed forever by a physical disability.

His disability was inspired by two of my dearest friends. Both of my friends were very fit, very healthy, one was a swimming and trampoline coach, and the other was a football referee. They were both diagnosed with scoliosis within a couple of years of each other, and it came as a real shock because they had both thought they had trapped a sciatic nerve or done some other such mischief. They had no idea that they had anything wrong with their spine.

After diagnosis, I was surprised by how quickly the spine curved and got worse in both their cases. We are talking not years, but months. I always thought that scoliosis was a slow process, but in their case, it wasn't. Their lives changed. They went from being able to do everything, to struggling to do simple everyday tasks. 

As a friend, I felt powerless because I couldn't make it better for them. But what they needed from me wasn't necessarily a sympathetic ear, although of course, they had that, they wanted me to treat them as I have always treated them. Their disability does not define them; it is just a part of them. Unfortunately, one of my friends has experienced discrimination because she is in a wheelchair and it really breaks my heart. But it got me thinking, if she is experiencing discrimination in this day and age, what would it have been like a thousand years ago?

It would have been terrible. Scoliosis wasn’t understood properly and treatment was experimental at best. For a warrior such as Merton, it would have been very hard to come to terms with. My friends were both really keen to help me portray the disability. But, like all illnesses, scoliosis is different for everyone; no two cases are the same. The scenes that I wrote are a reflection of the personal experience of my friends. They are not a sweeping generalisation of the condition. It was certainly a challenge to write, but I am very glad I wrote it.

What are you planning to write next?

I am currently writing Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles.

Mary Anne Yarde
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About the Author

Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood. At nineteen, she married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions. Mary Anne Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. Find our more at her website and follow her on Twitter @maryanneyarde.


  1. Thank you so much for inviting me onto your fabulous blog! I hope you have a lovely Christmas.

  2. Lovely interview, Mary Anne and Tony!

  3. I heard a lot of good about Mary Anne and her books. Thanks for this!


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