Discovering a new author to read is always enjoyable, and it's even more fun to find one who is just starting out in the publishing world because it brings the promise of new stories or books on the horizon. My guest today in My Writing Corner is Jennifer Ivy Walker whose first book has just been released this fall.
As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, "Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête"--an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of "Tristan et Yseult" and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.
Her debut novel, The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven--the first of a trilogy-- is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a retelling of the medieval French romance of "Tristan et Yseult", interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldly elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic. Let's find out more about Jennifer.
What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?
I find book promotion through social media to be the most challenging aspect of being an author. It requires perseverance, dedication, and creativity—but takes away the time necessary to continue writing.
How do you come up with your plots?
The plot of my trilogy is a retelling of the medieval French legend of “Tristan et Yseult”, interwoven with dark fairy tales from the Breton Forest of Brocéliande and Arthurian myth related to mystical, medieval French lore.
Tell us about your road to publication.
As a high school French teacher, my advanced students always read the medieval French legend of “Tristan et Yseult” as part of our study of the Middle Ages in France. I took my students to the state French competition each year, where they performed a play I had written, “Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête”, a blend of the medieval legend and the French fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast”. Last summer, I had an epiphany—to transform my French I play into a trilogy. The result is a paranormal fantasy adaptation of the medieval French legend, interwoven with Arthurian myth and dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, birthplace of Merlin, Lancelot, and the Lady of the Lake.
My debut novel is entitled, “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven”, so when I discovered The Wild Rose Press, I knew I had found the right publishing company!
How about a blurb for “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven”?
In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks.
Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?
Let's get an excerpt:
Taking another gulp of ale, Tristan turned to Lancelot and searched his knowing eyes. “I don’t know if she even exists, Lancelot, but I want a woman who makes me feel alive! I want her kisses to arouse my passion, her heart to sing to mine. I want a muse to inspire my song, a lady to whom I would pledge my sword—and my life.” Tristan shook his head and sighed. “Is such a love even possible?”
The First Knight of Camelot responded with a sad smile. “It is indeed possible, Tristan.” Lancelot turned his pensive gaze to the vast expanse of sea. “In French, we call such a love l’amour fou—a passion so intense… it can drive you mad.”
Lancelot glanced back at Tristan, a forlorn smile reaching his intense blue eyes. “When you find such a woman, Tristan, the love she gives you fills every empty hollow in your soul. She completes you; she invigorates you; she thrills you. And, when you consummate such a love, the exquisite blend of the spiritual and physical realm will satisfy you more than the finest wine or the greatest victory in battle. The love she gives you with her body will transport you to the stars, and you will never experience a greater joy.”
And, though he smiled, Tristan saw that the First Knight emanated loneliness, suffering, and sorrow. As Lancelot returned his gaze across the faraway sea, Tristan knew that the White Knight of Avalon longed for the beautiful blond queen of Camelot.
What is your next book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
My latest book, “The Lady of the Mirrored Lake”, is book 2 of “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy. I came up with the idea by researching French myths and dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande.
What are you working on now?
I have completed “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy. Book 3, “The Emerald Fairy and the Dragon Knight”, will be published soon by The Wild Rose Press. I am currently writing “Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle”, the story of a French Viking princess who faces a forced marriage to a man she loathes and the chivalrous knight who vows to win her hand by triumphing in the perilous Yuletide Joust.
How do you develop characters?
When I was a high school French teacher, I won a prestigious scholarship from the National Endowment of the Humanities to travel to the south of France and participate in Le Festival d’ Avignon —the world’s largest Festival of Theater, which attracts 500,000 performers each summer to the Provençal city.
As a result of my month-long immersion in French theater, I performed in plays, observed classical tragedies, outlandish comedies, puppet shows, musicals, comédy-ballets—every type of theatrical genre.
Since I had always taken my students to compete in the state French competition-- where we performed French plays--I implemented the acting and theatrical skills learned through Le Festival de Théâtre as I taught them to interpret roles in French literary classics such as Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Corneille’s Le Cid.
That same theatrical creativity is the inspiration for the characters in my novels. I envision my story from the perspective of that personnage and develop his or her feelings, actions, and thoughts in the same way I learned to interpret characters through theatrical performance from Le Festival d’ Avignon.
Thank you ,Jennifer, for being my guest today on My Writing Corner. If you'd like to know more about her books, you can explore Jennifer Ivy Walker’s realm of Medieval French Fantasy at the links below. She says she hopes her novels will enchant you.
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B0B91R2MJZ
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wild-rose-and-the-sea-raven-jennifer-ivy-walker/1141977954?ean=2940186736387&fbclid=IwAR3DwraRnElU-XxxDXI-iVIItQ4X3HPeHlx7sS3l8fugfrthoIsfftXRUpk
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22671046.Jennifer_Ivy_Walker
Any comments or questions for Jennifer?