Monday, December 15, 2008

In the Manor with Karin Tabke

Okay, I'm SO excited to announce that we have Karin Tabke with us today, talking about book two in the Blood Swords series about a brotherhood of medieval Norman knights and the ladies who fall for them. Karin has graciously answered some of my questions, and she's excited to field more questions from you guys. So feel free to comment and leave her a question,or glowing praise for the Blood Swords! There's nothing an author loves more than to chat about ther characters, especially hunky alpha knights!

And, make sure you check out the contest at the end of the post!

Charlotte: What made you want to write a medieval series?

I’ve always loved the drama and turbulence of the era. Men were men women were women and nothing was PC. William the Conqueror has always intrigued me and well, what’s better then having a bunch of guys just like him vie for love and acceptance in a world where bastards were looked upon as less than whole and had to work three times harder to carve a place out for themselves and their lady loves?

Charlotte: What was the inspiration for the Bloodswords (how did they come to you)?

I knew I wanted to write a series, and I knew my boys were all dark tortured souls, and I knew they were all going to begin their professional careers as mercenary knights earning their livelihood by selling their swords to the highest bidder. What I didn’t know was who they were as brothers. On my blog I put the call out for help with a title for book one of the series, which at that point had not been fully developed. Anyway, one of the commenters mentioned the term blood sword in her suggestions for a title and it was like a light bulb exploded in my brain! The series came to life and in minutes I hammered out my thoughts, sent them to my agent and editor and they both loved it. Voila! The Blood Sword legacy was born.

Charlotte: It's amazing how the smallest thing can be a ground breaking moment for a writer.Ideas can be inspired by the most innocent of things. I love how your readers helped you reach your 'aha' moment! See, readers, NEVER discount your importance in an authors life!

Charlotte: The men in this series are very strong and sexy, and I think, a product of their era as well as their pasts. Was this consciously done when you began the series?

No, I naturally write alpha heroes. That they didn’t have to apologize for it back then made it so exciting to write I could hardly stand it. Today there are so many tightropes to walk but back then? Hell, no! Boys were boys and they did boy things and it was what it was. Love that!

As an aside, this is one of the things that made me fall in love with the series. There are no 'fake' rakes/or mercenary knights here. Karin has made them what they are, but most importantly, the reader can understand their motives. By weaving in their pasts, and keeping them true to themselves and the other knights, their ways are understandable and sympathetic, and that to me works so well. As a reader, I do not like hearing how rakish, or mercenary, or tough, or sexual a character is, but then never seeing or hearing it through the work. It always seems to me that the author is 'afraid' to walk that line between PC behavior, and the way it acually was. Kudos on taking that path!

Charlotte:How challenging is it to balance the strong females you write about, yet still keep them historically accurate for the period?

What many people don’t realize is, women had power back then. Lot’s of power. They could own land, they could inherit land. Of course once William installed the feudal system in England a lot of that changed, but woman had to be smarter than the men, and manipulate and rule behind the scenes. To me there is nothing weak in a woman of that era understanding what was expected of her, i.e. an arranged marriage, then using a powerful husband to her advantage. No hissy fits over having to marry the old lord next door, not when it brought you status and security, and he could give you children. I get bugged when I read historicals and the lady has a fit when she has to marry the man her parents have chosen, as opposed to wanting to marry for love. Um, from the day they were born both men and women of noble blood knew what was expected of them, and generally they went along with it.

Charlotte: I understand that your heroine in Torment, Lady Tarian, is based on someone in history. Can you tell us how you came by the information and a little about the person?

Actually Tarian is not based on any historical figure but her parents were actual people. Her father Swein Godwinson, eldest son of Godwine, father of Harold who William defeated at Hastings for the throne of England, was a naughty man. He was impetuous, greedy, gave no care to protocol or decorum, he was the bad boy of the family. So bad was Swein he kidnapped Edith Abbess of Leominster and held her captive for almost a year and well, had his way with her. He was, he proclaimed, in love and would have her to wife. Both Kind Edward and Swien’s family renounced him, calling him nithing, which was the lowest of all insults. Finally, after almost a year he relented and let Edith go. So, I asked myself, what if there had been a child born of this most unholy union? What if it were a girl, and what would her life be like? What would she be like? And Tarian was born. She continues to fascinate me. I want to be Tarian Godwinson when I grow up.

Charlotte: The series takes place after William of Normandy conquers England, and the land is still not completely ‘settled’. I’ve been highly impressed, and frankly, in awe of the effortless weaving of history through the first two books of the series. How daunting is your research and what is your ‘formula’ for balancing accurate history with an engrossing plot that moves along?

I have always been fascinated by this time in history, and while I have a decent working knowledge of the era and the players I have soooo much to learn. But it’s a labor of love. One of these days, I’m going to England and never coming back. As far as the plots go, they are all based on what was going on at that time. The series is chronological as to events. And since it was such a tumultuous time, I’m having a field day!

Charlotte: The freaky helmet device that Tarian is forced to wear in the dungeon, (described in the excerpt from yesterday) was it real, or just a figment of incredibly brilliant fiction? (totally creeped me out, and the visual of it was outstanding!)

lol, honestly, both. When I wrote that scene, I saw her in this contraption. But I asked myself, why did she have it on? She was in a dungeon; no one could hear her screams, what was the point? As you know by reading the story Tarian used her words to keep her rapist at bay, humiliating him to the point he had difficulty rising to the occasion so what could he do to shut her up and at the same time humiliate her? Hence, the helmet and bridle. But I had a feeling these things had been used before, and sure enough there is a device called a scold’s bridle. The Scot’s called it a brank. Its sole purpose was to shut up an annoying woman. Of course, I had to make mine more demonic. ;)

Charlotte: I know this is like picking favorite child, but you had to know it was coming….do you have a fav knight? Or one who makes you want to know him more?

I do have a favorite knight. When I was writing MASTER OF SURRENDER, it was Rohan du Luc. I fell harder for Wulfson de Trevelyn in MASTER OF TORMENT. Stefan de Valrey in MASTER OF CRAVING made me want to jump into a time machine. 

Can I jump aboard that machine, because ya know, Stefan is my faaaaav!!!

Charlotte: Who was, or is, going to give you the most difficult time writing his story?

Thorin. And that’s all I’m going to say.

ya know, this totally surprised me. I would have never thought that Thorin would give you a hard time, but noW I have to admit I'm intrigued...

Charlotte: What is your favorite scene in Master of Torment, and why did you enjoy writing it?

I had so many. Too many! Sheesh that’s a real hard one to answer. Ok, I loved the meet scene, the first and second one, then the first seduction scene ;), then the scene in the ruin when Wulf and Tarian take out the Welsh, then the sword fight with her uncle, then the scene later when she sews up his thigh, then the scene when Wulfson goes after Tarian and they end up at the monastery, when Tarian goes with all the Blood Swords to Dunloc. The one where Wulf is captured broke my heart, but the scene that got to me the most was the last battle scene in the river.

Charlotte: Master of Craving is next (and GAWD! I LOVE that title) That’s Stefan’s book. Can you tell us a little about him, and his heroine?

Stefan is the quiet-still-waters-run-very-deep guy. He is more of an observer than a playa, but once he’s bitten the still waters rise and he finds himself in a place he never thought he’d be. He has a hard time understanding his feelings and coming to terms with his inability to treat Princess Arianrhod as a conquest. That she is a Welsh princess betrothed to a great Viking jarl creates a problem. This story is based on the David and Bathsheba story. Talk about unrequited love!

You are such a tease!! I swear, before this week is over, I'm wringing an excerpt, no matter how small, out of you for Master of Craving. After this little tidbit, I'm even more eager to read his book. I think I'll send Lord Craven Moore over to you, he's very good at persuasion! lol!

Charlotte: Gotta ask, is he going to be as darn sexy in his book as he appears in the others?

Of course! My boys don’t come any other way!!!

Charlotte: You gave us a tantalizing taste of Rhys with Brighid (Tarian’s step-sister). Are they going to get their HEA’s and when can we expect it?

Let’s just say Rhys and Brighid will have their story but it will be one wrought with seemingly insurmountable hurdles. And frankly, I’m not sure if she is the one for him. Especially with what I have in store for them. I’m not so sure Brighid will be able to forgive Rhys for an act he commits in the name of duty to his king.

Ooh, I like this, and hope you're writing fast! I'll be needing Rhys' book soon!

Charlotte: Who’s up next after Stefan in Master of Craving?

I think Rorick, but Ioan might be going back to Ireland. King Murchad of Dublin harbors Harold’s two sons, and we all know after MASTER OF TORMENT, how William feels about any surviving Godwinsons…

Great answers, Karin, although I'll admit that you're the Master of Tantalize and Titillate! lol! Which, is a pretty good intro into our Masters contest. So here goes...

Simply tell us what you'd like one of these Knights to be Master of (to make you happy) and you'll get a copy of Master of Surrender or Master of Torment. The sexiest, and the funniest will win a book each. So, put on those thinking caps and get creative! Lord Craven Moore and his special guest will announce the winner Thursday at 8:00pm ET. When you post a comment, if you're posting for the contest, just type in 'Masters Contest' so we can keep tabs of contest entries between comments!)

Good luck everyone. And now the salon is open to Karin!


sarabelle said...

I think I am going to be selfish and I want to choose:

Master of Menage. My thinking is why settle for 1 if you could have 2 of these hot sexy Knights worshiping you.

Happy Holidays to all.

p.s just dreaming here but maybe even Lord C could jump in a time or two :)

Anonymous said...

I am more than happy to jump in from time to time. My sword is as worthy as those of the Blood Swords!!!


Kristina Cook said...

LOL, Sarabelle!!

Well, thank goodness for the Kindle--it's such a wonderful thing for those of us who crave instant gratification--I just bought the first two books in the series, and can't WAIT to start reading!!!

Karin, thanks again for joining us here at LIT!

kimmyl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimmyl said...


I'm going with:

The Master Sword.
His most powerful weapon for general usage,with exception to his Gilded Sword.

I couldn't resist this one. LOL

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Kristina, wait till you read the opening in the first book, when they're in the prison! Good, dark stuff. I was pretty much sold from then on. Oh, and then the description of them riding to the castle, that was great too....could totally see them n my mind and they were a bunch of HAWT knights!

Pam P said...

Karen, this is one of my favorite time periods for romances, have that first book on its way to me now.

Masters Contest:

I'd love one of these sexy guys to be Master of My Soul.

Genella deGrey said...

Squeee! Karin! I need to finish my Victorian before I jump into this time period!


Karin Tabke said...

Keep those Master of titles coming. I haven't titled book four yet!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Okay, seriously, how are gonna top Master of Craving????

Jane said...

Masters Contest- I want a Master of Persuasion. He'll probably be able to get me to do anything for him and vice versa.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

This is for Rhys' book, and it's not a Master of, but I'm thinking this title could sell like hotcakes....

Master My Body......yep, that's for Rhys. Now I gotta think up one for Warner...

Genella deGrey said...

Master Contest:

Master of Seduction.


Amanda McIntyre said...

I love these titles! And whew your covers make my palms sweat!

I love this time period Karin ;) There are such wonderful stories of passion and lust, power and pride.

Our guest title offeringa have been really inventive!!

Can I call on your guys next time I'm stuck with a title? ;)

How many are in this series,Karin and what would you like to do next up in your writing?


Amanda McIntyre said...

oooh good one, Genella! Master of Seduction!

You guys are good!


who is pacifying a pouting Lord Craven-Moore who is mumbling something about the fact that, HE TOO, "is good."

Karin Tabke said...

MASTER OF CRAVING is pretty hawt... My editor is the brains behind the MASTER titles.

I like Master of Persuasion, Jane.

Master My body! naughty, Charlotte.
Master of Seduction is another good one, Genella.

Amanda, I've been really happy with the covers. My editor loves this series and has been very involved in everything, and I think her passion for it shows in every aspect. I'm really fortunate.
I hope to write each Blood Sword's story, that would; be 8 in all. the next wave would be the next generation or maybe a century later. Next up in my writing is hopefully a lusty, dark romantic suspense series I hope to sell soon! And tell CM, we know he's good too, but he must be a good boy and share the blog with the other bad boys.

Karin Tabke said...

MASTER OF CRAVING is pretty hawt... My editor is the brains behind the MASTER titles.

I like Master of Persuasion, Jane.

Master My body! naughty, Charlotte.
Master of Seduction is another good one, Genella.

Amanda, I've been really happy with the covers. My editor loves this series and has been very involved in everything, and I think her passion for it shows in every aspect. I'm really fortunate.
I hope to write each Blood Sword's story, that would; be 8 in all. the next wave would be the next generation or maybe a century later. Next up in my writing is hopefully a lusty, dark romantic suspense series I hope to sell soon! And tell CM, we know he's good too, but he must be a good boy and share the blog with the other bad boys.

flchen1 said...

Wow, that was a terrific interview, Karin! I'm pretty horrible at history, so I don't know much about this time or what life was supposed to be like, but these knights and the women who master them sound like fabulous reading!

To make sure I have it straight, the first three books are written (I can buy the first two, right?) and you've got some others in the works? Do you know how many you've planned? (I'm a little crazy about making sure I get the whole series, preferably in order!)

flchen1 said...

Masters Contest:

Master of Clean?
Master of Clutter?
Master of the Scrub Brush?
or maybe just
Master of Fire (if we torch it all, we won't have to clean it, right? ;))

Can you tell what's on my mind these days? Argh!

Amy S. said...

Master of my body

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Well, since Thorin is going to give Karin a hard time writing his story, maybe he should be the Master of the Scrub brush???

Caffey said...


How about 'Master Of Mine' :)

Love these! Bit hello Karin! These sound so awesome!! I love that there will be many to enjoy! I wrote both titles down. I'd love to be in for these.

Now going to put on my thinking cap on more titles!

flchen1 said...

LOL, Charlotte, about Thorin's possible title!

flchen1 said...

Masters Contest:

- Master of Desire
- Master of Sin
- Master of Ecstacy (although that's sounding a little over the top ;))
- Master of Escape (Houdini?)

Boy, this is why this isn't my day job! ;)

Pam P said...

Master at Play
Master of Deceit
Master Exhibitions - lol

sarabelle said...

Masters Contest

Master of Intimate Beings.

Master of Diaper Changing (thats my shot of humor)

Master of Persuasion

Master of Promiscuity

Master of Secrets

Amanda McIntyre said...

"Master of Desire" is the name of a Celtic Spice Anthology novella I have coming out for Samhain! I love that title ;)


Amanda McIntyre said...

Master of Will
has some interesting connotations ;)

Can you give us perhaps a sneak peak into the chracter of this particular knight?

And frankly, I wouldn't mind a horde of house-cleaning knights to come visit my humble castle ;)


Karin Tabke said...

Some of these titles will make it to my editor! and flchen1 I'll take Master of Clean right now!
And, yes the first three books are written. I'll begin book four just as soon as I figure out who the hero is. So many hunks to chose from! Book four will be the last contracted book. Hopefully this spring my editor will want some more. But that depends on numbers.

Sigh, Amy, Master of my Body...

Hey Caffey, how are you? Thanks Pam and Sarabelle, I'm compiling a list!

Amanda, Master of Desire about says it all. a sneak peak into which knight? Book four? Not sure who it is yet. But he's hunky. :)

Jane said...

Masters Contest:

Master of Pleasure
Master of Bliss

flchen1 said...

Masters Contest:

- Master of Longing
- Master of Expectation
- Master of Anticipation
- Master of Virtue

Karin, if you find Master of Clean, could you send him over my way when you're through with him? ;)

kimmyl said...

Master titles:

Worshipful Master
Master of Temptation
Wicked Master
Sinful Master
Master of Scandal
Master of Defiance
Rebellious Master
Master's Command
Master's Captive
Pleasures of my Master or My Master's Pleasure

Master in Disguise
Master of Desire

Karin Tabke said...

flchen1, i'm afraid that once i snag MASTER of CLEAN he will only be polishing my knobs...

those are some fine titles Kimmyl, thanks. :)

Genella deGrey said...

So Karin - Master of My Knobs?


I'm totally kidding.

flchen1 said...

LOL! I guess I'll have to keep an eye out for his brother or cousin then, perhaps Master of Neatness or Master of Tidiness or possibly just Master of Laundry ;)

flchen1 said...

Masters Contest:

- Master of Innocence
- Master of Honor
- Master of Purity

sounds like he's some sort of knight... ;p

Jane said...

Masters Contest

Master of Rapture

Karin Tabke said...

roflmao! Genella! Thanks for the laugh! MASTER OF MY KNOBS, indeed!

Ok, here's the deal flchen1, you can have him when i'm out of town. but, you must promise not to bribe him. and he cleans best on his knees...

I like Master of Rapture, Jane!

Edie said...

Great interview! I'm looking forward to Master of Craving. I know it's going to be awesome!

flchen1 said...

Masters contest:
- Master of Discretion
- Master of Manipulation (maybe that's not so good...)
- Master of Truth

- Master of Abs...

Boy, the brain's just not cooperating! ;)