Monday, March 24, 2014

Medieval Romance author Kathryn Le Veque Talks About Ireland!

Joining me today is Kathryn Le Veque, author of over thirty Medieval historical romances. Today she is sharing with us Medieval Ireland from her research. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of BLACK SWORD, her latest release! (If you choose paper, it's mail to US and Canada only.)

Thank you, Regan, for inviting me to be a guest on your wonderful blog! I’m very honored to be here.

My area of expertise is Medieval England and Wales, between about 1066 A.D. until the reign of Henry Tudor. I find those 300-odd years so very fascinating, and I’ll tell you why: it was the period in man’s history when he was just coming out of the Dark Ages and trying to civilize himself with structured society and progressive thinking. There was much trial and error, but there were also successes. The Magna Carta is one. And there are such great historical tales there, too. One of my favorites is the story of Prince Edward (soon to be Edward I) and his escape from Simon de Montfort. It’s a jailbreak worthy of a Hollywood movie. But enough about my beloved Medieval England. Let’s move on to Ireland.

Ireland 1323 A.D., Black Sword Map
During the Medieval period, the Irish shared the same nemesis as did Wales and Scotland – the English, and more specifically, Edward I. Edward was all about conquest and subjugating other races, people, and islands. Sure, there was a good deal of conquest going on prior to Edward’s reign, but the late thirteenth century is when Edward really kicked it into high gear. He had several English subjects who were already overlords in Ireland and through them he waged a big push in his campaign of conquest. Most of the activity seemed to be in Wicklow, from Dublin south to Wrexford, and the O’Byrne and O’Connor clanns. There were lesser clanns, of course, but these were the big ones with thousands of members. Notice I spell ‘clan’ with two ‘n’s’? That’s because the Irish spelled it that way, yet another way to differentiate their family groups from the Scots.

Black Castle

So what was the difference between the Irish and the Scots or the English in battle? The Irish were kind of like the Welsh – they had a love of spears rather than broadswords, and they fought very lightly – in other words, without the bulky armor that the English wore. They enjoyed hit and run tactics. Where the Scots might wear tartan, the Irish wore a traditional garment called a leinte. It’s basically a long tunic. They moved swiftly and without massive numbers like the English did, and they didn’t employ things like siege engines during a battle. That’s a purely Norman device. Irish warfare at this time makes for some fascinating reading.

Black Castle ruins

That’s why I chose to center my latest novel, BLACK SWORD, around this period in time. Devlin de Bermingham, my hero, is a true Irish rebel – intelligent, cunning, and desperate to break free from English rule. I think there’s a misconception that Medieval Irish rebels were unorganized and barbaric. Neither was true; they simply had a different way of fighting – more like guerilla warfare than organized battles. It’s also worth noting that the Norman families that had taken pieces of Ireland around the time of the Conquest of 1066 A.D. were very much entrenched in Ireland at this time, yet the Irish natives hated them as if they had only just come to Ireland and stolen their lands. You had generations of English living on the same lands and in the same houses for two hundred years, yet they weren’t considered Irish. They were hated as Normans.

Devlin de Bermingham carried the surname of a Norman ancestor yet through his mother he was descended from Irish kings. Had that not been the case, he would have been just as hated in the land of his birth as the other Norman’s were.

I found Medieval Ireland to be wild and fascinating. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a SON OF BLACK SWORD someday to see how Devlin’s descendants are making out. I believe Medieval Ireland is another big subgenre with excitement and romance just waiting to be tapped!

Regan here...Thanks for being on my blog, Kathryn. And for all those of you who want to stay in touch with Kathryn, here's how:

Amazon Author Page


  1. Regan A great interview with Kathryn, Not many Authors can steal me away form My Highlanders only a handful. Kathryn Is one of that handful...
    Besides being a wonderful author she is a Wonderful Woman. I am Honoured to Know her & call her friend.

    1. Thanks for taking a look at Kathryn's post. I'm so glad you enjoy her medievals!

    2. Ann, I'm so honored that I can steal you away from the Highlanders! LOL! What a wonderful thing to say! I'm so glad you enjoy my books and I'm quite honored to know you as well. Thank you again for the kinds words!

  2. Beautiful interview Regan with Kathryn! I love her stories, she is so talented that her words flow and Black Sword was filled with beautiful emotions, so captivating!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Nicole.

    2. Nicole, thank you! I appreciate your kinds words so much!

  3. Yes, Regan, a wonderful interview with Kathryn, which does not surprise me at all considering all of your blogs and reports on books and authors I've seen of yours lately. You do as much research on the authors and their works as the authors themselves. So I really appreciate your post on Kathryn and the beginning (for me) of a love for Irish historical romances. I've been told I'm of Irish, Scots, English and French descent, so I probably have some of the hated Norman ancestry in me somewhere! :-) I look forward to reading Kathryn's Black Sword.

    1. Your ancestry and mine sound alike, Janice! Thanks for stopping by and participating.

    2. Janice, Kathryn has just informed me that you have won! I'll be posting you as the winner of Black Sword and asking you what format you want. Congratulations!

  4. Janice, thank you for commenting and I truly hope you enjoy Black Sword!