A couple of weeks ago, Colorado author Linnea Tanner came out to the store for a book signing! We were excited to meet her and her historical fantasy romance series, Curse of Clansmen and Kings! We sent her some follow up questions about her and her novels that we hope pique your interest in these lovely books!
- Your series, Curse of Clansmen and Kings, is set in a Roman-occupied Brittania. With Arthurian overtones and some Celtic mythology, the world of your books is historical and magical at the same time. What drew you to this historical period in particular?
The historical period in the series spans from 24 AD through 40 AD, just prior to the Roman invasion and occupation by Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. Even though the Arthurian legends take place about 500 years later, the Celtic mythology and magic are similar. Although Julius Caesar never occupied Britannia during his military expeditions to Britannia in 55 BC and 54 BC, he demanded tribute and hostages who were raised in Roman households. Rome continued to influence the politics of the Celtic tribal rulers. Archaeological findings suggest that there was a Roman military presence in Britannia to protect the empire’s interests prior to Claudius’ invasion. Hence, the political situation for tribal rulers in Britannia was similar to Queen Cleopatra in Egypt. They were client rulers who enjoyed relationships with Rome that were essentially harmonious but unequal. Thus, the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series is based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but with a Celtic twist. The female protagonist is a Celtic warrior princess/queen, and her lover is the great-grandson of Mark Antony. In the series, their forbidden love drives the events leading up to the Roman conquest of Britannia.
- Catrin’s story is full of magic, adventure, romance, intrigue… It defies genre, in all the best ways. Was there a particular genre (romance vs fantasy vs historical, etc) that you were aiming for when writing, or did you let the story go where it wanted? Was there a particular genre that inspired you?
I agree that Catrin’s story defies genre. I originally wrote the series to fit into the genre of historical romance with strong elements of adventure and political intrigue. However, with the dearth of historical accounts of the Celts, the story evolved into fantastical elements to reflect their beliefs and culture through mythology and magic. I consider the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series to be a historical fantasy because the world-building is based on historical settings. Ultimately, I allowed the story to unfold where it wanted.
- Catrin’s mystical Druid powers are magic, but they’re historical, too, in a way. Do you have a favorite fact or bit of trivia about the historical Celts and Druids? Did it make it into the books?
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Druids is their belief that the soul is immortal and can transmigrate between different animal species. Julius Caesar wrote that Celtic warriors did not fear death because they believed in reincarnation and that their souls would occupy another body after death. I expanded the concept of the soul to explain Catrin’s mystical abilities to shapeshift, to enter a raven’s mind, and to summon forces of nature from the Otherworld—the world of the dead. The soul is fluid while the physical body is solid. The ability of two souls to reside in one body is a twist in Book 2: Dagger’s Destiny
- Looking at your website, we have at least two more books in Catrin’s story to look forward to. Did you always know this story was going to be a series? Did it expand in unexpected ways? Do you expect it to conclude in five books, or is there more in store for Catrin and Marcellus?
Initially, I envisioned the series to be a trilogy. The series expanded into five books after I received feedback to start the series earlier so the reader can better understand the political intrigue and Celtic culture. The first two books, Apollo’s Raven and Dagger’s Destiny, introduce the readers to the world of the Celts in Britannia, where the star-crossed lovers meet. The ending of Book 2: Dagger’s Destiny and the beginning of Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture were the start to the original series. The storyline of my next book, Skull’s Vengeance, is metamorphosing into a different plotline to reflect what has happened in the first three books. Although I have a definite ending in mind, there are other stories that can spin off. One is a prequel from the point of view of Catrin’s oldest sister, Vala, who provides a different perspective of the family dynamics before the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series begins. There will be offspring from the relationship of the star-crossed lovers who will have their own stories about the invasion of Britain and the upheaval of Roman emperors
- Is there a moment in your past that you can pinpoint as the moment you wanted to be a writer?
The desire to be writer began in childhood. I’ve always churned stories in my head, which I now realize helped me to cope with difficulties in my own life. Even though I had a fulfilling career in pharmaceuticals, the passion to become a writer took hold of me. I semi-retired in 2010 and pounded out my first book in four months. Since then, I’ve honed my craftsmanship by taking workshops and by seeking feedback from editors and critique groups. My debut book, Apollo’s Raven, in the series was independently published in 2017.
- What is your quirkiest writing habit?
I create my first draft by writing it out by hand. A tidbit I learned from another author is handwriting connects to the creative parts of your brain; whereas, typing on the computer connects to the analytical areas. While I’m writing by hand, it’s easier to get into my characters’ heads and tell their stories. I then type the handwritten draft on the computer and edit, using analytical skills.
- What author, dead or alive, would you most want to have dinner with?
This is a difficult question to answer with so many talented authors. Diana Gabaldon comes to mind. Her Outlander series defies genre and broaches taboo subjects. She says, “Books have a mind and a voice of their own. And a successful book is one that talks to the reader.” She has inspired me not to hold back on a story but allow it to unfold freely.
Thanks so much Linnea! We look forward to many more Catrin stories!
Readers, if you missed out on Linnea’s event in January, not to fear! She’ll be back in summer for another event, most likely in conjunction with Bookstore Romance Day! We’ll have more information for come summer.
And you can order her books on our website here.