Shadows of Valor is my debut medieval fiction. I love historical stories. In fact, medieval weapons are fascinating to me. There are five I like very much and try to implement into my stories.
- Crossbow: Easier to handle than the long bow. The arrows shot from it could penetrate metal armor. Though crossbows were considered by knights to be a “cowardly” weapon because it didn’t require close-contact fighting, it was a most effective tool and one I would personally love to wield if I lived back then.
- Broadsword: A two-edged, 3-4 foot long sword favored by knights. It weighed between 3-5 pounds and was used in close-contact fighting. Coupled with the skill of the wielder, the sword could slice limbs or dismember heads in one stroke.
- Dagger: A simple weapon carried by just about everyone of every class. It was small and concealable. It’s multi-use as a weapon or tool for hunting and even eating food place it on my list of essential blades to have.
- Flail/morning star/mace: These three weapons are quite similar to each other, all usually having some sort of spiked ball(s) on the end of a long handle, sometimes swinging from a chain as well. I added them because they just look really COOL and they look like they could do some serious damage.
- Trebuchet: I LOVE this awesomely massive weapon of destruction, the ingenious device made possible through the use of a counter weight mechanism. It was used in full effect well up to the point of gun powder being introduced into Europe in the mid-13th century. My favorite movie scenes using trebuchets come from the high fantasy “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” directed by Peter Jackson. Awesome!
What is SHADOWS OF VALOR about and how did I come to write it?
Overview: Taking place in 1300 A.D. England, The Shadow (aka Sir Calan), a knight-spy working under the direction of King Edward I, hunts down and arrests smugglers who defy the law and evade paying their taxes. The Shadow’s duty is fueled by vengeance from a childhood experience against smugglers who used and murdered the innocent and poor. Dealing with society at its worst, The Shadow becomes cynical and struggles to reign in his desire to execute lethal justice before turning the perpetrators over to local authorities. He feels his soul turning black with hate in his continual fight against evil. A childhood acquaintance, Lady Elsbeth, enters his life years later, bringing light to his soul once again, but in an effort to keep his identity and duty secret, he must also deceive her. This creates distrust and uncertainty between them, not to mention her accepting another man as suitor. Smugglers infiltrate the castle and The Shadow must discover who they are before Elsbeth and others are hurt or killed.
I have always loved fantastical and historical stories about princesses, knights, pirates, Vikings, wizards, dragons, and anything adventurous in another time. I like to get lost in unknown worlds . . . places I don’t experience everyday. I chose 1300 A.D. England because I liked the clothing styles and King Edward’s wool tax that caused some people to smuggle their goods. This was a great backdrop for a story. I’ve always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when a bunch of adventurous medieval scenes started invading my head, I thought those would make a good movie or story if coupled with a good plot. But could I really write a full-length novel? I’d never done anything like that before. So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken.
Also drawn to the poems by Tolkien in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” I also wrote ballads into my story and composed the written music for them. I’ve included a medieval recipe in the book as well. My publisher gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.
Shadows of Valor will be released September 7, 2013 through Jolly Fish Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and Amazon and will be available in hard cover, paperback and e-readers (including Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, as well as any tablet, smartphone, or computer). I’m excited over the release of Shadows of Valor, and I hope people will love the story and my music as much as I loved writing and composing it.
Thanks again, Jeff, for hosting a wonderful blog and allowing me to take up a small part of it. Best regards and wishes to you in all your writing adventures.
Elsie Park’s contact information:
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Shadows of Valor at:
Barnes and Noble (available for pre-order)
To schedule a book signing, appearance, or interview, contact my publicist, Kirk Cunningham: firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.