William Conquered 950 yrs ago…..A Sneak Peek into 1069 AD

Historical Fiction lovers, check out my blog….for a link to three FREE chapters that will take you into medieval 1069 AD.
To give you some background history, I have also posted a modern musical rendition (4 min) of 1066 AD that presents the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England.  You will be exposed to the famous Bayeux Tapestry that is 70 metres long, and is center stage on the video.  The tapestry is famous for the 70 scenes that were embroidered in eight colours, representing the Norman Conquest of 1066.
  Video credit ( HistoryTeachers)

Marinda Skynner aka L.M.Z. would like to introduce to you the talented Emily Murdoch of the United Kingdom.  She has a degree in History and English, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of York.    I have asked Emily a few questions about history and research in relation to her book seriesConquered Heartsset in 1069 AD.
The sneak peak is a link  at the end of this blog, where you can access Emily’s 1st 3 chapters of ‘Conquest’ FREE.
Conquests- Hearts Rule Kingdoms

Emily Murdoch

Q1.  Emily, does history really matter, is it relevant to the 21st century?

I think history really matters: without learning from the mistakes in our past, how can we apply that knowledge to the future? It frustrates me sometimes when people say that there is nothing relevant for us to learn from the medieval times. I mean, it was a time of huge political unrest, dramatic increases in literacy, greater understanding about science, religious movements trying to claim land by slaughtering the locals, and increased awareness of the world around us. That describes the 21st century just as much as it does the 14th.

Q2.  History can reveal the good, the bad & the ugly.  In your research for ‘Conquest’ did you find this to be true?

As a Brit, I’m conditioned to always support the underdog, so I approached the Norman invasion firmly on the side of the invaded Anglo-Saxon people. As I read more and researched more, however, it became clear that some of the Anglo-Saxons benefited, rather than suffered, through the change in government, and that many of the ‘invading’ Normans were just vagabonds or drifters that were drafted into William the Conqueror’s armies. Being able to pin down a ‘good’ side and a ‘bad’ side just isn’t possible in real life, and so that shouldn’t be possible in fiction either.

Q3.  Did you find it challenging to find the probable historical truth?

Every source is biased, prejudiced, lying, and omitting certain facts. When you can embrace that and start to consider why they are prejudiced, what they are lying about, and why they may want to avoid certain truths, that’s where the narrative kicks in. Even with something like the Norman Conquest, which could arguably have only two sides, what about the Anglo-Saxons who welcomed William vs the Anglo-Saxons that championed another? What about the Anglo-Saxons who wanted Harald Hardraadar? What about the Normans who wanted to return home and were not permitted to? There are always plenty of sides. As a historian, I can sometimes be frustrated by the lack of clear historical truth – but as an author, I relish those gaps! Those gaps are where I make my home.

Q4. How many perspectives of the same story do you consider before selecting a viewpoint?

I always try to use three approaches when I’m writing.  The first is as a historian, someone who wants the absolute truth and wants facts beyond all others.  That is the part of me that never strays from the path.  Secondly, I look at the story as a novelist, and try to find the tension, the drama, the humanity: the parts that will draw in my reader and make them desperate to not just know what happened, but why it happened.  Then thirdly I try to look at the story as someone who has no idea of the history.  Have I explained titles, and arguments between characters enough? Do I need more description to geographically place this?  Will that verbal insult make sense without any historical context?  It may seem like a lengthly process, but I like to think that’s why so many reviews of my book have commented on how easily accessible the history is.  I haven’t dumbed it down, just made it possible for someone with no knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons to walk in their world.

 Q5. It was 950 years ago that William the Conqueror of Normandy invaded England.  Have you gained a better understanding of 21st c. England through your research of your series?

I certainly understand a huge amount more of the day to day aspects that I didn’t even realize dated that far back. In England we have a Chancellor of the Exchequer because the Normans used a chequered table to calculate taxes. The first known juries were appointed over 100 years before William the Conqueror even set foot in England, and were imported by the Vikings – who also gave us fines instead of death for crimes committed. We live amongst medieval inventions every day, and I like to think that as I know their source, I can appreciate them more. After all, they’ve stood the test of time!

 Q6. In your research have you uncovered any of your family treasures or legacy ?

Perhaps not strictly my family, but an uncle who has married into my family has discovered that his roots go all the way back to King Ethelred the Unready – far beyond William the Conqueror! It’s kind of fascinating to think that so many of my ancestors lived unremarkable and yet intensely precious lives that show no record, and yet I may have been taught how to knit just as they taught their daughters 400 years ago. The strangest things continue down, and I think that parent-child relationship is something I’m fascinated by – something I explore in the sequel to Conquests. 



Emily’s book series Conquered Hearts is comprised of three novels:

Conquests which is the first novel,

Captives which is the sequel,

 Love Letters, a novella that bridges the two.

You can read them all separately, or get them bundled up into one.

Free- 1st Three Chapters of Conquest 

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