Linnea Tanner - Celtic Tales of Love, Magical Adventure and Intrigue
Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read and researched ancient civilizations and mythology, particularly the Celts reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids. For the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, she has extensively traveled to sites described within each book. As our Author of the Day, Tanner tells us about her book, Apollo's Raven.
Please give us a short introduction to what Apollo's Raven is about.
Apollo’s Raven, the 2019 winner of the PenCraft Best Book of the Year, is a Celtic historical fantasy that sweeps you into forbidden love, magical adventure, and political intrigue. British tribal kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. A powerful Druid has cast a curse that Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy King Amren. The king’s daughter, Catrin, learns she is the Raven and must find a way to break the dark prophecy. But she is torn between her love for a Roman hostage held under her charge and loyalty to her family and people.
What inspired you to write about a warrior princess who loves her enemy?
The warrior princess is inspired by Boudicca, a Celtic warrior queen who united the British tribal kingdoms in a rebellion against the Romans in 61 AD. The Roman Historian, Tacticus, writes that the Britons were accustomed to women commanders in war. The concept of a warrior princess who loves her enemy is based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but with a Celtic twist. Antony was brought down by his rival’s propaganda that he was a man of low morals who left his faithful Roman wife to be with the promiscuous queen of Egypt. Antony was also accused of “going native”—an unforgivable crime to the Romans. The theme of duty vs. love is explored in Apollo’s Raven and throughout the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series.
Why the Celts, what fascinates you about them?
The Celts are an enigma that left almost no written records. Known as fierce warriors, they were also fine craftsmen and religious people who inspired the legacy of King Arthur, Merlin, and western civilization. Women were often held in high esteem, unlike their Greek and Roman counterparts. To understand the Celtic culture and beliefs, you need to gain insight from their mythology and legends which were handed down through oral traditions. At the height of Celtic power in fourth and third century BC, they spread from Ireland to Turkey.
How much research have you done on the Celts and what was the most interesting aspect of this research?
As indicated above, Celts left almost no written history. Most of my research was supplanted by Greek and Roman historians and medieval writers who spun Celtic mythology into their Christian beliefs. Archaeological findings from this time period also helped fill in some of the gaps. One of the best historical account of the Celts is by Julius Caesar, who used the tactic, “divide and conquer” in his brutal conquest of Gaul. One of the most interesting aspects I discovered about the Celts is their belief that the soul is immortal and can reincarnate into different life forms. This belief is consistent with the concept of “transmigration of souls” taught by the Greek Philosopher Pythagoras, who believed the soul, upon death, enters a new body. I freely use this concept in Apollo’s Raven to explain Catrin’s mystical abilities.
Tell us more about Catrin. What makes her tick?
Catrin an adolescent women grappling with where she belongs in the world. Trained as a warrior, she grapples to understand the mystical powers she has learned from her raven guide and to explore her sexual awakening with a Roman hostage held under her charge. Like most teens, she is rebellious, yet vulnerable with volatile emotions. She struggles to find a way to balance duty to her family and people and love for the Roman enemy, Marcellus.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I earned a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in chemistry and have worked in biotechnology companies to develop new pharmaceutical products for life-threatening diseases such as cancer. As a result, I love reading about ancient medicinal treatments which I sometimes use in my books. Also, I’m a gardener and care for approximately fifty roses; my husband swears it is more.
Was there a single defining moment or event where you suddenly thought, 'Now I'm an Author,' as in—this is now my career?"
Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be an author and have created stories in my head. It was not until I semi-retired and could devote almost full-time to my passion of writing that I became determined to become a published author. You could say, I’m a later bloomer. But it’s never too late to live your dream.
Was there a particular character whose voice you found it easiest to write in?
Right now, it’s easiest to write from Catrin’s point of view, as the story primarily revolves around her. However, the story is epic in nature and it became necessary for me to write from various perspectives so the reader can understand the political intrigue among the various factions.
Have changes in your own life affected any of your characters?
The storyline reflects several changes in my life and obstacles I’ve faced as a woman. What fascinates me most about Celtic mythology is that women are reflected as both war and mother goddesses. To find balance in life, a woman must show the strength of a warrior to overcome obstacles, but still maintain her humanity to love and to care for others. The series will explore all aspects of what is means to be a woman.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I’ve set a long-term goal to write a book each year. Although I try to write consistently each day, there are times when I struggle with a scene because it doesn’t feel right. I’ll take a break from writing and put myself totally in the character’s head for a couple of days. Some of my best ideas and twists occur while I’m driving and taking a walk.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Setting a hard deadline to complete a book works better for me. I have up’s and down’s on wordcount per day.
Apollo's Raven is the first book of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Apollo’s Raven should not be considered a standalone book. The Curse of Clansmen and Kings series is intended to be an epic tale that spans from 24 to 40 AD. Each book in the series will focus on a specific theme and major conflicts during the time frame The primary characters, Catrin and Marcellus, will mature and dramatically change after each faces life-changing events that will forge their destinies. Book 2: Dagger’s Destiny and Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture have been released in what is anticipated to be a 5-book series.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Book 4: Skull’s Vengeance. As the title suggests, this book will focus on the acts of vengeance that lead to the political rise of Marcellus and Catrin in each of their respective countries. I’m also writing a novella about Vala, Carin’s older sister, who is a minor character that is not fully explored in the series.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can find out more about my work and upcoming events at my website: https://www.linneatanner.com/. If you subscribe to my newsletters, you will have a chance to win free books in giveaways and receive advance copies of upcoming books. You can also follow me at the following social media sites: