Sarah Woodbury - An Enchanting Ride to Medieval Wales
With over a million books sold to date, Sarah Woodbury is the author of more than forty novels, all set in medieval Wales. Although an anthropologist by training, and then a full-time homeschooling mom for twenty years, she began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded that she let them out. While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time at university. She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names. Sarah is a member of the Historical Fiction Author Cooperative (HFAC), the Historical Novel Society (HNS), and Novelists, Inc. (NINC). She makes her home in Oregon. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Daughter of Time.
Please give us a short introduction to what Daughter of Time is about.
Daughter of Time is about a young woman who has had some hard knocks in life. She time travels to medieval Wales with her young daughter and encounters Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales. The book is about their relationship, as they both grow in relation to one another.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
A reader writing a scathing review once said that Daughter of Time read like a love letter to Wales. Honestly, in some ways that’s fair, since I have been in love with Wales since I visited for the first time in college. But what I really was interested in was the story behind this tiny country and the people who called it home. How did they hold off the Saxons, and then the English, for centuries? What gave them that strength?
Tell us more about Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales. What makes him tick?
Llywelyn has given his life to defending his country. He’s proud, sure of himself, and also terrified of a future he knows is looming just ahead. He sees in Meg something that not only draws him to her but gives him hope.
What makes Meg so special?
Meg is an American girl, who underestimates her own worth. In that, she is little different from any other young woman except that she has started to believe in herself, first in the modern world and then more so once she travels to the medieval one. It is that solid core of her character that attracts Llywelyn.
Why time travel? What drew you to this genre?
With time travel you can change the past! In “our” history, Llywelyn was lured into an ambush by the English and assassinated. Few moments in history have had such long-lived repercussions in that his death ushered in 750 years of conquest and oppression of the Welsh people. The After Cilmeri series asks what if Llywelyn had lived?
Why did you pick medieval Wales as the backdrop for this story?
Medieval Wales isn’t really the backdrop at all. It is a character in and of itself. You couldn’t take this story and put it anywhere else because other than Meg, who is invented, the book is peopled with real historical figures and real events. I write books set in medieval Wales because of the history of medieval Wales.
How much research did this book require from you to make the historic details ring true?
I started reading about the history of Wales in college but didn’t start writing until nearly twenty years later. By the time I wrote Daughter of Time, I had a foundation of understanding, which has grown and evolved over my many years of publishing.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
I love developing complicated characters, whether that of Meg and Llywelyn or more minor characters like Anna, Meg’s two-year-old daughter, or my personal favorite, Humphrey de Bohun.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time! They are very stubborn that way. I don’t really plot. I definitely write more by the seat of my pants, which means my characters have a lot of leeway to send the story where I might not have originally intended.
You are an anthropologist by training. How has this influenced your writing?
Anthropology focuses on why people do what they do and are what they are. To me, history is anthropology of the past. I’m asking the same questions. I can’t ask people in real time, obviously, but to me the endeavor is much the same. My job is to translate this culture that is very far away—in time more than space—for a modern audience.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Write “Chapter One”!
I usually have some kind of outline and the first chapter of the book. From there, who knows what’s going to happen? That’s the fun, for me and for my readers.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
On a typical day, I write 1000 words. That’s four double-spaced pages. I focus on writing in the mornings and more “business” aspects of my career in the afternoon, so I can ensure that I write every day. I am also not good with taking time off!
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on the latest book in the After Cilmeri series.
Ebooks for all retailers: https://books2read.com/ap/xqN2WR/Sarah-Woodbury
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahWoodburyBooks
Videos in order: https://www.sarahwoodbury.com/making-sense-of-medieval-britain-videos/
A medieval man with an uncertain destiny, Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales, faces treachery and deceit at the hands of friends and foes alike. When Meg slips through time into medieval Wales, the pair must navigate the shifting allegiances that threaten the very existence of Wales.