Monday, July 27, 2015

Dinan, France, one of the settings in Ana's time travel romance

Ana chose Dinan as the setting for her time travel romance

I did lots of research before I started writing my time travel. When the Romans conquered England, bands of Celts relocated to Brittany, where their culture and language flourished. I am intrigued by Celtic history, of which there is scant knowledge, as it was an oral, not a written, culture. Lots of room for magic spells, which is how my modern heroine can be pulled back into her past life.

At the time of my story, the Little Duchess Anne (she was under 5 feet tall) was forced into a political marriage to King Charles of France. She hoped to save her province; Charles and his successors intended to conquer it. Modern French governments continued this policy, and Bretons still fight to preserve their heritage--even the right to teach their language in their local schools.

"The back of Dinan castle was embedded in the ramparts, the massive earthwork wall that surrounded the 900-year old city and had defended its inhabitants from hordes of Romans, Franks, Gauls, and most recently, the English. Dozens of round stone guard towers were spaced along the fortification, but those on the bluff overlooking the river had fallen into disuse as tenuous treaties and assassination had supplanted sieges and battlefield slaughter as the way wars were waged. 

Shaggy rows of hazel and berry brush thrived in the grassy yard between the sheer face of the castle and the armory. Once, this and all other arable tracts inside the fortress had been cultivated to guarantee a food supply when the city was besieged by attackers or by quarantined by plague.

Curbing his impatience, Jermande (my hero and the last Celtic priest in Brittany) meandered through the patch checking the ripeness of the bramble fruits. When he was certain that no one followed, he slipped behind the windowless armory and stepped through the shielding illusion he had set seven years ago around the guard tower that was now his home. It was an elementary legerdemain, but simple spells were often the hardest to break."

       Arwydd cantare, Jeanne Marie Maximillian Valois.” A deep, educated voice drowned out the prelate’s tirade and reverberated off the thick granite walls. The heraldic banners rippled in obeisance.
         Jermande de Montfort stood in the ceremonial entryway at the far side of the reed-strewn hall. The shiny gold torque around his neck declared his unassailable rank as a Brehon master, an arbiter whose judgments were law to all who followed the old ways. It was whispered that his brooch held the power to spark a sacred fire or bring a soul back from the dead.
          The embroidered hem of his scarlet robe billowed out behind him as he strode past the long tables and benches. Both his thigh-high black boots and his golden, knotted hair glistened with dew, as if he had just charged out of the Fôret de Brocéliande like one of good King Arthur’s knights. 
         “Arwydd cantare. Keep heart and cease not your prayers.”
         Jeanne wailed and sank to her knees.

         With a silent groan, he hoisted Jeanne to her feet. Time was precious as Angelique hovered between life and death. For his own reasons he wanted the girl to survive. “Your daughter's spirit still lives, but we must hurry."


  1. Beautiful. I love the picture of the river.

    I love doing research for my stories and learning new things.

  2. An intriguing taste of your story, Ana. I guess a book like this requires hours and hours of research. It puts the small amount I do into shame.

  3. As a historian by profession, I'm very aware of the amount of detailed research you have to do to write an authentic historical novel - and you have certainly done that, Ana! I'm looking forward to you completing this novel!

  4. Sounds wonderful, Ana. And so authentic!

  5. Thanks, everyone! I love doing the research--get lost in it. I love learning, too.
    My dilemma is this: My story opens in the present, where H&H meet. he recognizes her from past life. She rejects him and them goes back in time into her past life body with full consciousness of who she is in the present. She meets past life hero, learns who he is, falls completely in love and then to save her, he kills her. This is why she resists him in the present. Waking up, she has to find him and reunite with him.
    This is not how a typical time travel works, act wise. Do you think it can work like this? Or do I need to replot?

    1. No idea, but it definitely sounds intriguing.

    2. I think it's Self-publish material.

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