The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.
For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little dos anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.
Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.
You’ve based A Daring Sacrifice a little bit on the Robin Hood story. What drew you to this medieval tale?
I’ve always loved tales about underdogs rising up against injustice. The story of Robin Hood encompasses such an element, where the poor are unfairly cast from their homes, forced into hiding, and must rely upon their fearless leader to fight for their rights. Instead of a nobleman leading and fighting for the needs of the underdogs, I decided to add a twist and have my heroine, a displaced noblewoman, be the leader of a band of poor outcasts. As a skilled archer, she’s gained a reputation as the “Cloaked Bandit” doing her best to protect and provide for the people she’s grown to love.
What’s the story about and who are the main characters?
The feisty heroine of the story is Lady Juliana Wessex who has been living in the forest, hiding from her tyrannical uncle who believes she was killed along with her father. Little does he know that the Cloaked Bandit, who has been robbing him and other noblemen at knifepoint and with a well-placed arrow, is really Juliana, the rightful heir to Wessex.
The dashing hero of the story is Lord Collin Goodrich who is one of the three knights that vied for Lady Rosemarie’s hand in An Uncertain Choice. After returning home from his failed attempts to win Lady Rosemarie’s hand in marriage, he’s bored, lonely, and ready for another adventure.
During a hunting expedition, adventure lands behind him on his horse in the form of a quick and daring thief. Compassionate at heart, Collin lets the thief and his accomplice escape and even aids them by giving them more than they ask for. Sensing all is not as it seems with the young thief, Collin tracks the duo and discovers Lady Juliana, the beautiful red-headed neighbour he’d once known in childhood.
Collin challenges Juliana to stay on his estate for a week, in order to prove to her that members of the nobility are not all evil and hopefully convince her to give up her dangerous thieving ways. In return, Juliana challenges him to come live among the poor peasants for a week. Accepting the duel brings about more challenges than either anticipated, especially as they learn they must sacrifice more than they’d ever imagined.
A Daring Sacrifice is written in first person. How do you determine what voice to use, and why did you want Juliana and Collin to tell their story?
I write all of my adult novels in third person. But in the young adult genre, first person is very popular. I think first person appeals to teens because it allows them to relate a little more intimately with the main character. They feel as if they’re one step closer and on the adventure right along with the characters, getting inside their heads and bodies and emotions. And let’s face it, teens are in an especially emotional time of life. Being able to connect emotionally to a character is important.
For all those reasons and more, I decided to write my YA series in first person as well. It’s a little tricky when switching between the hero and heroine’s POV. So my publisher decided to do different fonts to designate between the hero and the heroine’s POV. So when you see that in the book, it’s not a mistake. It’s intentional!u
Why Middle Ages/Medieval Times? What draws you to that particular era?
I’ve always loved fairy tales, castles, knights, and damsels in distress. I love the chivalry, honour, and
courage that are so often displayed during that time. And I really like how stark and different their way of living was. It’s SO different than how we live that it’s fascinating.
Additionally, I love that the Middle Ages was filled with so much danger not only from wars and battles among kings and lords, but also due to the elements, harsh living conditions, and diseases. It was a time for plagues, dungeons, torture, and all the stuff that makes for a good plot!
The concept of sacrifice is a big part of the book. Why did you choose to focus on that?
Most of the time, we’re conditioned by the world around us through advertisements, commercials, magazines, movies, TV, and even social media to focus on ourselves. We’re bombarded with messages that draw our attention to what we should buy next, what we should wear, how we should feel, where we should go, etc.
It’s all about making sure we get our needs met. First. And foremost. The world tells us our personal satisfaction is the most important thing and that we should do whatever it takes to be happy.
Unfortunately, that kind of mindset follows us into our dating relationships. All too often we want to have a boyfriend to make us happy. We want someone to make us feel good, look popular, or keep us company.
Even more unfortunately, when that type of self-centered mindset follows a couple into marriage, wedded bliss soon turns into a wedded battle as each person vies to get his or her needs met through the other person. A Daring Sacrifice is my attempt to re-introduce this long-forgotten and little-used idea of self-sacrifice back into dating relationships.
A Daring Sacrifice ends with one of the knights in mortal danger, a cliff hanger for the next book in the series. Can you tell us a little bit more about the third book?
For Love and Honor is the third book in the series and gives the final knight his happily-ever-after. However, as you know from the cliff-hanger at the end of A Daring Sacrifice, he has to work extremely hard to gain his true love as well as save his life and those of the people he loves.
I had a lot of fun writing the heroine of the third book. She’s a little quirky and not quite as beautiful (aka more normal!) as the ladies in the first two books. She’s also hiding a secret, a “blemish” on her skin that could brand her as a witch if anyone ever sees it. During the Middle Ages, the time of the Inquisition and extreme religious intolerance, even the slightest mole, birth defect, or blemish could easily lead to accusations of witchcraft. The times were dangerous, and of course, I just love putting my characters right into the middle of the worst possible danger. Cue: evil cackle.