Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Friends with Lindsay Townsend

Our Friday Friend this week is LINDSAY TOWNSEND who was born in Yorkshire, England and still lives there. Lindsay studied medieval history at university, worked briefly in a library and married a librarian. She then began to write full-time. She has had 3 ancient world romances published by Siren Bookstrand, and 3 medieval romances published by Kensington Zebra. A fourth one has just been accepted.

HWH: Welcome to Heroines with Hearts, Lindsay. Let’s start at the beginning – tell us first when and why you started to write.
LINDSAY: I’ve been writing stories since I was a child, but started writing with publication in mind during the 1980s. It was poems at first and short stories, then my first novel, ‘Bronze Lightning.’

HWH: How easy or difficult was it to get your first book published?
LINDSAY: Hard. I wrote ‘Bronze Lightning’ and ‘Blue Gold’, both long books, without a contract, but managed to attract an agent and a London publisher. They decided that historicals weren’t selling, but how about using a modern setting? That book was to be ‘Voices in the Dark’, set in Italy, which came out in 1995, followed by ‘Night of the Storm’, set in the Greek Islands, the next year.

HWH: Some writers work from a detailed synopsis, others let the characters take them. What’s your method?
LINDSAY: I always use a working synopsis of several pages, but I find myself diverging from it if a better idea turns up during the writing.

HWH: How long does it take you to write a novel and how much editing do you do after your first draft?
LINDSAY: The Kensington medievals take a year because, although I do some pretty detailed research into the period, the plots are reasonably straightforward. The earlier romantic thriller/whodunits took longer because they had more complex plots and I needed to travel for the location research. As for editing – it’s a constant process of re-reading and checking back. My husband, who writes himself, is my next reader/critic, then off it goes to the publisher.

HWH: You’ve written a lot of historical romances. Have you always been interested in history and what’s your favourite period? Also, what kind of research do you do?
LINDSAY: I took a degree in medieval history and also have a fascination with the ancient Mediterranean world, so yes, history has always been a passion of mine. I like to research the detail and feel of living in a particular period, with the sometimes very strange attitudes and beliefs of the time. On top of that comes research into costume, locations, travel and communication problems and so on. It can be difficult for modern readers to appreciate how long it could take to travel anywhere or get anything done in the Middle Ages, how risky it could be to engage in a sexual relationship in an age of poor contraception, high childbirth mortality and fear of punishment (in this life or – worse – in the next), and even how far down an eleventh-century knight’s to-do list you have to go before you come to buffing up, nose-hair grooming and choice of moisturiser.

HWH: In what ways do you promote your books?
LINDSAY: On my main blog, Lindsay’s Book Chat (, at any number of online groups, with paid banners on historical romance websites, membership of sites like Authors Den and interviews like this.

HWH: What do you think are the essential ingredients of a good romance novel?
LINDSAY: Love, pace, colour, character, atmosphere and more love.

HWH: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received or read?
LINDSAY: The best writing advice was from a non-fiction book on writing by the romantic suspense author Phyllis Whitney. She said about research 'write about what you know, and if you don't know, find out'.

HWH: Please tell us about your latest release.
LINDSAY: My latest release is a third 'Knight' book for Kensington Zebra.

A KNIGHT'S ENCHANTMENT takes place during the turbulent reign of King John and features a young knight, Hugh, making his way through jousting, and an alchemist, Joanna. Both have relatives who are imprisoned by the corrupt bishop Thomas and they eventually join forces to free them. At first, they mistrust each other, especially when Hugh kidnaps Joanna and steals her away.

Here's an excerpt from the novel, showing a kiss with a difference:

A new look of challenge burst into Hugh's handsome, saturnine face. "May I claim a kiss, in fellowship and peace?"
“Of course, my knight.” Chaste embraces and kisses were part of the courtly game that she had instigated. And she could, after all, tease him: an added bonus.
A single kiss, she thought, kissing her fingers and extending her hand. “Here is your kiss. You need but claim it.”
“Before Beowulf does? Away, hound!” Hugh clicked his fingers and the dog approaching her padded back and jumped onto the bed, sprawling as his master rose. Joanna’s heartbeat accelerated as Hugh closed on her, her hand raising in a half-gesture of defense.
“Fear not.” He smiled down at her, touching the tips of his hand lightly against hers, trailing his fingers into the soft shadowed hollow of her palm. “A single kiss, ’tis all, and from you, Lady, enough.”
His large, battle-hardened hand drew up and down her narrow fingers, smoothing and caressing, his touch tingling her from her hands to her feet. He was smiling, his mouth curved and generous, his blue eyes soft as the down of ducklings. His fingers swept over hers again, swirling, tickling, making her whole spine prickle with delight.
“All this from a kiss?” he said softly, as she swayed a little on her feet. “How would we be if you allowed more, eh?”
Still smiling at her he lifted his hand away from hers, leaving it hanging in the air between them like the sacred promise of a saint, painted on a church-wall. He withdrew as deftly as a herald, backing from the chamber without colliding once with chest or stools or earthenware vessels, his eyes never leaving hers.

HWH: Thanks for visiting us today, Lindsay, and we wish you every success with A Knight’s Enchantment, and of course with all your future books.
LINDSAY: Thanks again, Paula, for having me at Heroines with Hearts!

Please visit Lindsay’s blog at, where you can find details of her books, plus reviews and buy links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and many other traditional and ebook stores.
Lindsay’s ancient world romances, published by Siren Bookstrand are:
Flavia’s Secret, set in Roman Britain and Roman Bath
Bronze Lightning, set in ancient Krete, Egypt and Britain
Blue Gold, set in ancient Egypt.
Medieval historical romances published by Kensington Zebra are:
A Knight’s Vow
A Knight’s Captive
A Knight’s Enchantment
The fourth ‘Knight’ is due out in 2011.


  1. Wow! That scene is wonderful, Lindsay. I have a feeling I could learn a lot from you.

  2. Lindsay,
    That excerpt of that kiss was sensational! I was held to the words and the descriptions...what a kiss that was, and not even on the lips!
    Very nicely done!
    Congrats on your new release! Love that cover!

  3. Beautiful scene, Lindsay. I'm anxious for the next KNIGHT book.


  4. Hi Lindsay,

    Sorry I'm so late checking in. It's been a hectic day.

    Loved the excerpt! Thanks for joining us at "Heroines with Hearts".

  5. Hi Lindsay, Lovely to see you here. Fascinating excerpt that encourages the reader ever onwards! So interesting to read how you had to change your historical novels into modern ones, I can;t begin to imagine how you did that but good on yer gal!

  6. Thank you so much, Ana, Renee, Destiny, Debra and margaret! Thanks again, Paula! it's been wonderful" And I love your super-pink blog, Heroines with Hearts!

  7. Hi Lindsay,

    Great interview. You write about a very interesting time in history. Loved the excerpt.



  8. Hi Lindsay, nice blog. I'm interested in Voices in the Dark and Night of the Storm, are they still available?

  9. LINDSAY--you are a wise woman with good ideas and writing hints. The excerpt is very good! I'm gettiing to the point that writing a long novel is too difficult--but aren't they satisfying when you finish? Keep up your wonderful work--Celia

  10. Hi Lindsay,

    Thanks for sharing your writing process. I like to see how other writers go about it.
    Great excerpt. Will have to put your books on my TBR list.