Today, I’m delighted to welcome back Andrea Matthews to the blog, to tell us about her new book, Ride with the Moonlight.
Your book, Ride with the Moonlight is the second in the series. I always ask writers to share with me some of their historical research but hoped you could also explain whether this second book involved more or less research than the first?
Ride with the Moonlight did actually involve more research than the first book in the series, simply because there was very little involving time travel in it. As a result, most of the book was firmly planted in the sixteenth century. In addition, where Thunder on the Moor was concerned with an overall research of the period— who the border reiver was and what their lives were like — Moonlight involved more detailed research aimed at specific aspects of life on the sixteenth century borders.
Was there something in particular that you did have to research which you hadn’t realised when you began writing it?
Since I always intended to write the book as a series, I did continue to employ many of the sources consulted for Book 1 when it came to the general atmosphere for Book 2, though given that Ride with the Moonlight would delve more into the border laws and the men who attempted to enforce them, I did find myself turning to The Lord Wardens of the Marches of Scotland and England, by Howard Pease much more for Book 2. Another source I found useful as I delved into a more in depth study the everyday life on the Border was Strongholds of the Border Reivers: Fortifications of the Anglo-Scottish Border 1296–1603 by Keith Durham. I tend to be more of a visual learner, so I was delighted to come across the website of Finola Finlay and Robert Harris entitled Roaring Water Journal. Although their illustrations and descriptions are of tower houses built in Ireland and their set up of the structures is a bit different, it did provide a wonderful depiction of a peel tower.
There are some additional locations in Book 2 as well, so I needed to do a little more research regarding them. The characters venture away from the peel towers and spend some time in bastle houses and cottages, as well as the towns of Hexham, Bewcastle, Kershopefoot, and among the wilds of the Cheviots. Not only does the Historic Englandwebsite, https://historicengland.org.uk, have links to information on the historic buildings, such as the Moot Hall and Hexham Gaol, but The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings of Scotland has a number of brochures and booklets which cover such topics as 16th Century Outbuildings and Thatched Buildings in Scotland. This information was extremely helpful in researching various aspects that were covered in the book, from the scenes in the gaol to the time spent in Will and Maggie’s small cottage. There were other well documented websites that helped in my research as well, including one that was started by an organization entitled In Search of the Border Reivers, whose website, www.reivers.info contains a plethora of helpful information, including links to documents and other primary sources.
For book 2, was there a go to research book you relied on (if you don’t mind sharing).
The Steel Bonnets by George MacDonald Fraser remained a foundational guide for the period, though I did find myself consulting The Lord Wardens of the Marches of Scotland and England, by Howard Pease and the Historic England website quite a bit for this book, as well as the other sources listed above.
Will there be a third book, and do you think you will need to research something else for that?
There is a third book, which hopefully will be out the end of November, entitled Shake Loose the Border. Research is always an ongoing practice, and I am constantly looking for new books and websites to add to my bibliography. That being said, I did return to many of my original sources, to seek out specific facts or check some information. Steel Bonnets and the Lord Wardens mentioned above were heavily consulted once again, as was Forifications of the Ango-Scottish Border and www.reivers.info. Another book, I refer to from time to time is Border Raids and Reivers, by Robert Borland. Though it’s an older book I stumbled across on Project Gutenberg, it’s well done and informative and deals with some of the aspects I would be covering in all books of the series. As most of these books and websites deal with so many of the aspects of Border life, they have continued to be useful as the series moves on.
Of course, as the story unfolds, I’m always on the lookout for little bits and pieces, small traditions and interesting customs that can enhance the story as well. In Book 2, for example, one such legend was about the cornflower. You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean, but it has to do with it’s color and whether or not a lass returns a lad’s love. It’s just a little side note woven into the story, but I think it’s a wonderful touch of authenticity. In Book 3, Will and Maggie are officially wed, so it was fun to research all the different wedding customs and traditions that were in place at the time too. One thing I always look for in a book or website is a documented source. Even if it is fiction, I try to make it as historically accurate as possible.
In the latter part of Book 3, there is also a trip back to the twentieth century, so my research there only had to return to 1988 and consisted mostly of more mundane things like bus schedules and the current state of technology.
To read more about my historical research, you can check out my website at www.andrea-matthews.com
Thank you so much for asking my questions, and sharing your research. I always think the subsequent books in a series will not require as much research, and I’m always wrong. Good luck with the new book and the entire series.
Here’s the blurb:
After rescuing sixteenth-century Border reiver Will Foster from certain death at her family’s hands, time traveler Maggie Armstrong finally admits her love for the handsome Englishman, though she can’t rid herself of the sinking suspicion that her Scottish kin are not about to let them live in peace. What she doesn’t expect is the danger that lurks on Will’s own side of the Border. When news of their plans to marry reaches the warden, he charges Will with March treason for trysting with a Scot. Will and Maggie attempt to escape by fleeing to the hills, but when Will is declared an outlaw and allowed to be killed on sight, they can no longer evade the authorities. Will is sentenced to hang, while Maggie is to be sent back to her family. Heartbroken, she has no choice but to return to Scotland, where her uncle continues to make plans for her to wed Ian Rutherford, the wicked Scotsman who she now realizes murdered her father in cold blood. With Will facing the gallows in England, and herself practically under house arrest in Scotland, she continues to resist her uncle’s plans, but her efforts are thwarted at every turn. Will’s family, however, is not about to stand by and watch their youngest lad executed simply because he’s lost his heart to a Scottish lass. A daring plan is set into motion, but will it be in time to save Will’s life and reunite the lovers? Or will Ian’s lies prompt Maggie’s family to ensure the bond between them is forever destroyed?
Violence, sexual content.
This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited
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Meet the author
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America.
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