Interview with Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre
This interview is designed for your hero or heroine to tell readers about himself or herself.
Tell us about yourself, please.
I am the second son of Comte Hugh FitzWalter, by his second wife, Comtesse Margaret. Formally I am called Sir Robert, but my kin and closest friends call me Alain. The “de Bellencombre” choice of surname refers to the village in which I was born, Bellencombre, in Normandy. My sword is pledged to the service of Duke William of Normandy, now styled King William of England by God’s grace through his victory at the Battle of Hastings. I fought in this battle too, as did my younger brother Étienne—though it shames me to admit that I was unable to save him from death at the hands of a ruthless Saxon foe.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
In failing to protect Étienne, I failed our mother too, for I had sworn upon my own life that I would guard his. Now I face a royally commanded marriage, when all I would rather do is live and die by the sword, and I fear that I shall not be able to protect my bride either. As a means of dealing with my doubts, I have assumed the guise of a squire to scout the lady, her lands… and the mysterious reports of hellish beasts and sorcerous acts that the king’s regent has ordered me to investigate.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
The moment my eyes beheld my bride, her sweet angelic beauty made me forget all my fears and doubts. And yet she seems to harbor grief and secrets—and perhaps even doubts and fears—of her own. As a scout, I am accustomed to ferreting out secrets, and so I shall learn hers, for I want nothing more than to kiss away her grief and transform her tears into joy.
What would that person say about you?
Lady Kendra would say that I am far too bold for a “squire,” for when I am in her presence I am sorely tempted to act outside propriety’s bounds. Thus far, I have restrained myself to offering her the gift of a single red rose, but I fear even that was too brash a gesture, for it caused her to flee my presence. I shudder to think how she will react when I confess my deception, but as God is my witness, I shall do whatever it takes to make amends and earn her forgiveness.
If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
My older half brother, Philippe FitzHugh, has ever feared that I covet the title and lands he inherited from our father. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but he has never believed my assurances, and he has undercut me at every opportunity—even to the point of luring my first fiancée into his bed. If I ever see either Philippe or Marie in this lifetime, it shall be far too soon.
Why are you happy (or not happy) with the way your story ended?
Ah, fair reader, that is for you to discover. I shall not spoil it for you except to say that Kendra and I are both happy with our story’s ending… though it did not come without terrible peril to our honor, our lives, and even our very souls.
About the Writer
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels. She has been a published novelist since 1999, beginning with the original editions of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0671020412) and Liberty (writing as Kimberly Iverson, HQN Books, Harlequin, ISBN 0373771347).
YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
Snow in July began in 1999 as a collaboration with a longtime writer-friend, Patricia Duffy Novak. The plan was for her to write Alain’s viewpoint while I contributed Kendra’s scenes, and we were going to alternate between them. When life challenges prevented Patricia from continuing, she gave me her blessing to finish the story, but since she had already written about three chapters’ worth of Alain’s scenes, it took the longest time for me to understand and internalize his character.
Why did you choose this character for the interview today?
I had already conducted an interview in Kendra’s perspective and wanted to let Alain have his say this time.
When writing the book, what did you discover about this character that surprised you?
The biggest surprise to me was how fast he fell for Kendra; initially I had planned for the process to take longer for both of them. But once he became smitten, then his central internal challenge revolved around when and how he would reveal his true identity to her, which became a more interesting storytelling choice while still balancing the sexual tension between them.
Why should readers who haven't picked up one of your books before give this one a try?
Snow in July is a stand-alone story, so there’s no need to worry about having missed backstory from another novel, and there’s no pressure to invest in some unknown number of sequels. It’s a fun read with a lot of heart and soul, it’s not graphic and so it’s even suitable for teens, and it’s a great introduction to my style and the type of epic, legendary stories I love to create.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for your interest in and support of my work!
About the Book
Title Snow in July
Genre Historical Paranormal Romance
Author Kim Iverson Headlee
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG-13 for combat violence and brief intimacy
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.
Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.
Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.
BOOK TRAILER: http://youtu.be/vFsaD1jCLLU
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