Interview & Giveaway: The Oath by A.M. Linden

I have another fabulous interview for you all today! Please welcome A.M. Linden to Passages to the Past! She is curerntly touring for her new book, The Oath, and stopped by today to chat with us about it. Please don't forget to enter the giveaway! Hope you enjoy getting to know A.M. Linden!

Hello A.M. and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Oath!

It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I was born in Seattle, Washington but grew up on the east coast, coming back to the Pacific Northwest in my early twenties. I have undergraduate degrees in anthropology and in nursing, and a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, and I have had the privilege of working in a program for children with special health care needs for most of my professional life. Before I began what was to become The Druid Chronicles, my writing was all but entirely work-related. As much as I enjoy reading fiction, I didn’t think seriously about writing it until I was about fifty when I got the idea of writing something for fun. This led to sketching out a draft of the story’s outline. By the time that was done, the characters in it had me hooked. Realizing I would need to learn a lot more about the craft of writing if these characters, who seemed so real to me, were ever going to be real to anyone else, I began to take creative writing courses through my local community college. While I used parts of what I’d written in my original draft for the class exercises, I didn’t start to re-work the story until after I retired. Since then it’s been pretty much what I’ve done when I’m not carrying on the rest of my life.

What inspired you to write The Oath?

The nearest I can come to answering this question is that one day, when I was mulling over what I would write about if I ever tried to write a book, I got the quite vivid image in my mind of a Druid priest and a Saxon nun talking to each other in an underground chamber. And that was it—the entire five volumes of The Druid Chronicles grew out of my being curious about what they were doing there and what happened to them after that.

What research did you undertake when writing The Oath?

I began my research by going to my local bookstore and library, and augmenting what I found out about the history of Celts and Saxons in Britain with online resources. I’ve also had the opportunity and the privilege to travel to England, Scotland and Wales where I visited museums and heritage sites preserving the remains of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon cultures, and will say here that I hope I have honored the work of so many scholars and researchers in how I’ve told Caelym and Aleswina’s tale.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Oath?

It’s my hope that people will find as much enjoyment in reading The Oath as I did in writing it, and that they will finish it feeling that they have made the journey through Derthwald and Atheldom along with Caelym, Annwr, and Aleswina.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I have several favorites, but the one that stands out was the scene in which Caelym, Aleswina, and the book’s other main character, a middle-aged midwife named Annwr, are fleeing from their pursuers by boat and pass through a series of rapids. This scene, if you will forgive the pun, just flowed. Caelym, who was rowing the boat and fighting to keep it from capsizing, was in his element, thrilled—and totally enthralled—by the excitement; Aleswina was terrified and on the verge of being tossed overboard; Annwr had one hand on the rail of the boat and the other hanging onto to Aleswina, and somehow, as I was writing, I could feel the spray of the waves.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The most difficult scene to write was one that came at a pivotal point of the story when a crucial backstory is revealed. One of the book’s conventions is that members of the Druid cult who do something unforgivable are banished—and the once that happens it is not just as if they have died, but as if they had never been born. Caelym, who accepts this as an inviolable mandate, has to tell Annwr what happened without naming the culprit or acknowledging that she’d ever existed. Writing this scene involved coming up with coherent circumlocutions and prolonged use of the conditional past tense, while hopefully not leaving the reader totally confused.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I realized that I would have to become one in order to tell my characters’ story.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I started writing this series when I was still working full time and fit it in by getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 A.M. in order to get some undisturbed time in before my regular day began. I’ve since retired, but that’s become a habit, and early mornings remain the most productive for the creative “right-side” of my brain. Now that I have the freedom to spend more time writing, I do the nitpicky “left-sided” work—editing, re-writing (and re-re-writing) after I take a break for breakfast and a dog walk in the local park. By late morning, I’ve exhausted both halves of my brain, and try not to think about my characters’ problems for the rest of the day.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Convincing myself that making up stories about Druids and princesses is an acceptable way for me to spend my time. I haven’t so much overcome my doubts as learned to live with them.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Authors whose work has been inspiring to me include Ursula Le Guin, JRR Tolkien, Walter Brooks, Alice Walker, Hans Ruesch, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles Fuller, Edith Pargeter (Ellis Peters), and Margaret Atwood.

What was the first historical novel you read?

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilde

What is the last historical novel you read?

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

What are three things people may not know about you?

• That I was once in a puppet troupe.

• That I can recite The Cremation of Sam McGee from memory.

• That while my professional work has included a considerable amount of writing, the only time I have ever been paid specifically for putting words down on paper was as an undergraduate when I had a student job summarizing research articles about nutritional studies conducted on lab rats.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

The opportunity to immerse myself in a world long ago and far away.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

That’s an interesting question. While I’ve come to have a special connection with the early medieval period, I think I’m mainly drawn to books with engaging characters and story lines, and take these as invitations to become acquainted with times I’d not necessarily been drawn to before.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Together with my husband, I work in our yard, walk our dog, and cater to our cat. As COVID vaccination levels improve and case numbers fall, I’m looking forward to getting together with friends in person and listening to live music.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m in the process of finishing the fifth and final book in the series and am working to tie up all of the series’ significant loose ends.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today! I hope you enjoy the rest of your blog tour!

The Oath by A.M. Linden

Publication Date: June 15, 2021
She Writes Press
Paperback & eBook; 336 pages

Series: The Druid Chronicles, #1

When the last of members of a secretive Druid cult are forced to abandon their hidden sanctuary, they send the youngest of their remaining priests in search of Annwr, their chief priestess's sister, who was abducted by a Saxon war band fifteen years ago. With only a rudimentary grasp of English and the ambiguous guidance of an oracle's prophecy, Caelym manages to find Annwr living in a hut on the grounds of a Christian convent.

Annwr has spent her years of captivity caring for the timid Aleswina, an orphaned Saxon princess who was consigned to the cloistered convent by her cousin, King Gilberth, after he assumed her father's throne. Just as Caelym and Annwr are about leave together, Aleswina learns that Gilberth, a tyrant known for his cruelty and vicious temper, means to take her out of the convent and marry her. Terrified, she flees with the two Druids--beginning a heart-pounding adventure that unfolds in ways none of them could have anticipated.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


“Linden’s well-researched tale eloquently brings to life a lesser-known period of transition in Britain...The author has created a strong foundation for her series with well-developed characters whom readers can embrace...[a] layered, gripping historical fiction...”
--Kirkus Reviews

“Linden uses a fairy tale-like style almost as though this story has been passed down orally over the centuries. Though the kingdoms are fictional, Linden's tale draws on meticulous historical research, especially in her dramatization of the Christian persecution of the druids.”

"The story rolls along at a lively pace, rich with details of the times and a wide cast of characters....Those interested in goddess-worshipping religions will be drawn to the novel. Any reader curious about 8th-century Britain will enjoy Linden’s innovative focus on the little-known Druids as well as early medieval Christians. Her plotting, shifting points of view of the three engaging protagonists, and evocative writing style make The Oath a pleasure to read. Highly recommended!"
--Historical Novels Review

"The Oath urges readers along on a richly textured quest among the Saxons and Celts of 8th-century Britain. Young and rather humorously naïve Druid priest-healer Caelym swears to 'rescue' a damsel in distress who turns out to be neither a young damsel nor in distress. With a feminist slant, this engaging tale brings the conflict between Druids and early Christians to vivid life through sympathetic and well-rounded characters. I particularly enjoyed the ironic voice of the aging midwife Annwr. Brava!"
--Sara Stamey, author of The Ariadne Connection

"Thrilling historical fiction with heart and soul."
--Tim Pears, author of The West Country trilogy

"The Oath will appeal to a wide-ranging readership, reflecting Linden's rich imagination and gift for weaving tales within tales evoking the romance of medieval Britain. Vibrant, determined, and relatable characters with disparate ethnic and religious identities discover their own strengths, and each other's, as the intricate and engaging plot unfolds."
--Anne Marie Tietjen, PhD, clinical psychologist and instructor at Western Washington University

"Linden's knowledge and passion for history is soaked into every word of The Oath, combined with an obvious skill at storytelling. Linden succeeds at every level, but the world building is truly spectacular. Historical fantasy is hard to do well, but Linden makes it look easy. What could be dry details are presented so effectively that the world is elevated to almost being a character of its own. And in a cast of characters as well drawn as these, that's saying something. I can't wait to see what else this skilled author comes up with!"
--Bishop O'Connell, author of the American Faerie Tale series

About the Author

Ann Margaret Linden was born in Seattle, Washington, but grew up on the East Coast before returning to the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. She has undergraduate degrees in anthropology and in nursing and a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. After working in a variety of acute care and community health settings, she took a position in a program for children with special health care needs where her responsibilities included writing clinical reports, parent educational materials, provider newsletters, grant submissions and other program related materials. The Oath is the first installment of The Druid Chronicles, a five-volume series that began as a somewhat whimsical decision to write something for fun and ended up becoming a lengthy journey that involved Linden taking adult education creative writing courses, researching early British history, and traveling to England, Scotland, and Wales. Retired from nursing, she lives with her husband, dogs, and cat in Bellingham, WA.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 15
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Feature at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Wednesday, June 16
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, June 17
Review at Jessica Belmont

Friday, June 18
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Monday, June 21
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, June 22
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at With A Book In Our Hands

Wednesday, June 23
Review at Rajiv's Reviews
Review at Booking With Janelle

Friday, June 25
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 28
Review at Michelle the PA Loves to Read

Thursday, July 1
Excerpt at Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, July 5
Review at Bookworlder

Thursday, July 8
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, July 12
Interview at Reader_ceygo

Wednesday, July 14
Excerpt at The Cozy Book Blog

Friday, July 16
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at The Enchanted Shelf


Enter to win a paperback copy of The Oath by A.M. Linden! We have 2 copies up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on July 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Oath

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique