Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Megan Arkenberg interviewed me in Lacuna: A Journal of Historical Fiction about some very interesting questions. I'll give you the questions here; you must go to the interview for the answers!

Q. While The Circle Cast stands out from many Arthurian retellings in its thoroughly historical Irish setting, it also reminded me of two of my favorite Arthurian novels: Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, with its focus on the women of Arthurian myth, and Douglas Clegg’s Mordred, Bastard Son, with its focus on the hero’s childhood far away from Arthur’s Britain. Do you read a lot of Arthurian retellings? Did any of them inspire aspects of The Circle Cast?

Q. The source documents for Arthurian legend say practically nothing about the early life of any character but Arthur. With such a wide blank canvas, how did you begin shaping Morgan’s life experiences for The Circle Cast? What inspired you to choose Ireland as the setting?

Q. How did you decide on the historical period (approx. 400 CE)? Did you do a lot of research before beginning the novel, or did you gather details as you wrote?

Q. Some of my favorite passages in The Circle Cast are the ones about Morgan’s magic and her deep connection with the land. How did you develop Morgan’s magic system?

Q. Conflict between Christianity and the ancient religions of Britain appears frequently in modern Arthurian retellings. The Circle Cast presents a broad picture of both beliefs, with both heroic and villainous characters belonging to each religion. Morgan herself seems to feel that both religions can be valid ways of life; it is the individual believer’s goals and values that make one path a better choice than another. Is this the message you see emerging in the scenes at the Christians’ village? What do you think about Arthurian legend’s relationship to the conflict between Christianity and paganism?

Q. Can you tell us a bit more about your current and upcoming projects? Can readers expect another novel about Morgan le Fay, or any other Arthurian characters?

There's also a lovely 5-star review of my book:
For fans of Arthurian reimaginings, The Circle Cast is a must read, and even readers who have been disappointed by vague historical settings and authors more interested in defending their characters than developing them will find this novel a welcome departure from the norm. The Circle Cast is a quick read, but one that will stay with you long after the closing image .

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