Linda LeBlanc - A Fair Knight Slain

Linda LeBlanc - A Fair Knight Slain

Linda LeBlanc's favorite university classes revolved around cultural anthropology, igniting a desire within her to traverse the globe. With travels spanning 68 countries as of 2023, Linda's roots trace back to Denver, where she spent her formative years exploring the majestic Rocky Mountains. It was the allure of the Himalayas that beckoned her to Nepal, where she immersed herself in Sherpa culture. Venturing further, Linda led treks to the Everest Base Camp and chronicled her experiences with the endemic tribe in her work "Beyond the Summit: Everest Adventure and Romance."

Her expertise caught the attention of Jordan Romero's parents, who entrusted Linda with recounting their son's remarkable journey. "No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits" recounts Jordan's awe-inspiring ascent to the pinnacle of Everest at the tender age of 13. Despite Simon and Schuster attributing authorship to Jordan, Linda penned every word, with the acknowledgment page rightfully accrediting her as the true writer.

Intrigued by the vibrant tapestry of Renaissance fair culture, Linda spent a summer immersed in a village brimming with music, elaborate costumes, and colorful artisans. Inspired by her experiences, she crafted "A Fair Knight Slain: Murder at the Renaissance Fair." As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about this book. 

Please give us a short introduction to what A Fair Knight Slain is about.

A knight’s brutal death exposes political intrigue and romantic rivalries at a Florida Renaissance fair. Detectives Sara and Ryker are worlds apart. She’s a former wilderness adventure racer; he’s overweight and never left the city. Both are dealing with their own past traumas and estrangements. If the case goes unsolved before the fair ends in nine days, their boss will lose the mayoral election to a drug lord.

The village setting bustles with colorful Renaissance costumes, shops, and stages. Music and aromas fill the air. Sara and Ryker sort through a motley crew of suspects: knights, Scots, a crazed Viking, adulterous queen, blacksmith, falconer, belly dancer, and fortune teller.

After-hour parties in the Scot and Roma camps are rife with complex layers of deceit, power struggles, jealousies, rivalry, and romantic intrigue that intertwine suspects in multiple twists and turns.

Ryker goes undercover to find dirt on the drug lord. In the surprise ending, a shocking detail sends Sara in a perilous pursuit of the killer through the Okefenokee Swamp.

What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?

I worked at a Renaissance fair one summer and fell in love with the beauty, music, costuming, and excitement of the fair village.

Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.

Solving a knight’s death is the basis of the story. I wanted a knight with a slightly foreboding background and searched hundreds of stock photos until finding two that appealed to me. I sent them to friends for a vote and all agreed on my favorite.

The Renaissance fair seems to play a crucial role in the novel's atmosphere. How did you use the unique setting to enhance the overall mystery and engage the readers?

The village has so much color, sounds, and aromas that it comes alive. It provides a closed setting giving Sara and Ryker access to a multitude of unique characters interacting in powerful, exciting scenes that couldn’t take place elsewhere.

Tell us more about detective Sara. How did her past experiences shape her character, and how does it influence her approach to solving the murder case?

Sara‘s mother was an abusive alcoholic. Her father demanded she always be winner, but abandoned her at age ten. A survivor, she created a safe virtual closet to escape her mother’s abuse and kept the door closed to the world. She ran away at sixteen, emotionally strong, fiercely independent, and determined to be her dad’s winner. She applied those skills and endurance to tracking down the killer. Empathizing with two teenagers, she discovered the importance of relationships and left her door ajar for them.

Where does your fascination with different cultures come from?

In college, my favorite classes were cultural anthropology. I’ve always been fascinated by how much we’re all the same and yet so different. I’ve traveled to 68 countries seeking to learn more of the world and its people. I immersed myself in the Sherpa culture and learned about Buddhism. I helped them build 18 lodges, the first system in Nepal, and later led treks to the Everest base camp. Traveling, I’ve met so many interesting people and beliefs that enrich my writing. The nomadic culture of the rennies intrigues me. They’re free to follow their own paths of exploration rather than the confinement of societal norms.

What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?

Sara and Ryker were so different when they met. I had a lot of fun creating the banter and tit-for-tat as they got to know and care about each other. I also enjoyed writing the final chase through the Okefenokee Swamp.

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Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangents, refusing to do what you had planned for them?

My characters take off all the time. That’s the fun of writing. They become friends with minds of their own. I’ve had to go back and revise scenes to make them happy. The sad part of finishing a book is not being in such intimate touch with them.

What makes Ryker such a great partner to Sara?

Ryker‘s a perfect foil for Sara. He represents everything she isn’t and brings out the best in her. Both are haunted by childhood traumas and grow together while sharing them. He has an estranged daughter; she, an estranged father. They encourage each other to reconcile. His goal as a policeman has been to protect women. She’s always been independent but admits it’s nice having him around.

Do you plan out all the twists and turns in your stories before you write the book, or do some of it just "happen" along the way?

Some authors outline every detail of a book before beginning the first draft. I’m the opposite. I chose the setting, victim, and five to eight suspects with a vague idea of their motives. I knew how the book would end but didn’t plan the steps getting there because things inevitably change. I create scene by scene as the characters drive me and see where it goes. Images and clues appear when least expected. They continue building until I have a complex web of suspects with clear motives intertwined among each other in so many twists and turns that readers say they couldn’t pick the murderer until the surprise ending. To anticipate everything ahead of time isn’t feasible for me because my stories are fluid.

The after-hour parties in the Scot and Roma camps seem to be filled with power struggles and romantic intrigues. How do these dynamics contribute to the complexity of the murder investigation?

The after-hour parties are crucial. Sara and Ryker can observe character interactions in a free setting where their true selves emerge. Deceit, jealousy, rivalry, infidelity, power struggles are all on display in a manner not possible without pulling them together and giving them something to drink and argue about.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

Writer’s block. Here’s how I solve mine. Mother nature generally wakes me about 3:00 a.m. Coming out of a deep sleep, my mind isn’t cluttered with what I have to do tomorrow. I’m open to complete freedom of thought as I brainstorm the next character or scene, allowing images and dialogues to flow. They come in surprising ways and often pick up details I forgot to include earlier. I record everything on my phone’s voice memo; otherwise, I’d forget it all by morning. Focusing so intently produces a much richer result than if I were simply following an outline. When done, I go back to sleep and wake at 5:45 a.m. to be at the pickleball court by 6:30 and play 60-90 minutes before it gets too hot. For me, physical activity nourishes my brain and improves my writing. If I’m still stuck on something, I free my thoughts by walking in the evening and talking to my voice memo as friends smile when passing me by.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on Book 2 in the Sara/Ryker Mysteries that will climax in another unusual setting. I can’t tell you where without spoiling a surprise ending.

I’m also planning my next overseas adventure. I take my laptop with me to the far reaches of the world.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

Readers can email me or message on Facebook.

I post a lot about my trips. To find them, one needs to scroll down through amusing photos I share.

I meet with book clubs in person if within a reasonable distance or on zoom.

My email address is [email protected]


A Fair Knight Slain
Linda LeBlanc

Colorful, festive settings in a jousting arena, Roma and Scottish camps. Unique suspects: knights, Scots, Viking, belly dancer, blacksmith, and fortune teller. Complex layers of deceit, power struggles, jealousies, rivalry, and romantic intrigue intertwine them in multiple twists and turns. Surprise ending sends detective Sara after the killer in the Okefenokee swamp.