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Times of Turmoil

October 2023 Author Interview



Times of Turmoil

By Anna Belfrage

 

Theme: Time Travel 

Author Bio:

 

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history, romance and writing. Anna always writes about love and has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. Anna is presently hard at work with her other medieval series, The Castilian Saga ,which is set against the conquest of Wales. The third instalment,  Her Castilian Heart, was published in 2022, and the fourth and final one will be out in 2024. She has recently released Times of Turmoil, a sequel to her time travel romance, The Whirlpools of Time.



Some thought starters – why time travel?

Why? Because it allows for a modern commentary to aspects of the past that would be taken for granted by anyone living in that era

Also, it allows this writer to pretend she can actually drop back in time for a peek at how things were then . . .

It also allows for additional conflict. A modern woman  of color flung into a distant colonial past may find it very difficult to conform/accept the standards of the time.

 


Blurb:

It is 1718 and Duncan Melville and his time traveller wife, Erin, are concentrating on building a peaceful existence for themselves and their twin daughters. Difficult to do, when they are beleaguered by enemies.

Erin Melville is not about to stand to the side and watch as a child is abused—which is how she makes deadly enemies of Hyland Nelson and his family.

Then there’s that ghost from their past, Armand Joseph Chardon, a person they were certain was dead. Apparently not. Monsieur Chardon wants revenge and his sons are tasked with making Duncan—and his wife—pay.

Things aren’t helped by the arrival of Duncan’s cousin, fleeing her abusive husband. Or the reappearance of Nicholas Farrell in their lives, as much of a warped bully now as he was when he almost beat Duncan to death years ago. Plus, their safety is constantly threatened as Erin is a woman of colour in a time and place where that could mean ostracism, enslavement or even death.

Will Duncan and Erin ever achieve their simple wish – to live and love free from fear of those who wish to destroy them?



EXCERPT

She should probably have kept her mouth shut. But Erin Melville wasn’t the type of woman who turned the other way when a big, hulking brute of a man chose to punish a scrawny boy in the middle of the street. Especially not when the asshole was using a whip on the child. So she waded in.

“Stop!” 

“This is no matter for you to meddle in,” the man snarled, bringing the crop down in yet another vicious strike across the boy’s narrow shoulders.

Erin shoved him. “He’s bleeding!”

“As he should! A worthless, useless servant is what he is!”

Servant? The boy was at most twelve—or so she guessed, given his size. Too thin, the linen of his worn shirt clinging to a knobbly spine and bony shoulder blades.

The man raised the crop. Erin placed herself between him and the boy.

“Move!” He was sweating, the broken veins on his nose and chin looking almost purple against the red of his skin.

“No.”

“Fine,” he sneered. “I dare say you’ve tasted a crop once or twice, hey? Once a slave—” He broke off on a yelp.

“Best not finish that,” Duncan said, blue eyes flashing. Erin smiled at her husband, received a frown in return. She sighed inwardly. Inconspicuous, she reminded herself, you should always strive to be inconspicuous. Well, so Duncan thought at any rate, hemming and hawing when he verbalised that she did not need to bring attention to the fact that she was a woman of colour. Not something to be flouted in a day and age where anyone with less than lily-white skin was suspected of being a slave, at least here in the American colonies.

In Erin’s opinion, just being a woman was something of a trial in the year 1718. There were definitely days when she longed for her other life in the twenty-first century. Until she remembered that had she not fallen through time in 2016, she’d likely have been burned to a crisp in the fire engulfing her home. Discreetly, she took a couple of deep breaths, attempting to calm her thundering pulse: a time traveller, an impossibility, that’s who she was, and should anyone find out . . . well, being a woman of colour would be a walk in the park in comparison! She swallowed, took yet another breath and redirected her attention to her husband and the man with the crop.

“There’s no hiding it, is there?” the unknown brute sneered. “Look at her: where did you find her? In one of the French colonies? After all, everyone knows those Frenchies are happy to fornicate with their slaves.”

“As are the English colonists,” Duncan retorted. “But my wife is not—has never been—a slave.”

“No? Her skin says otherwise.” The brute laughed. “Should I find her alone, I’d claim her as mine and—” Whatever he had intended to say became a loud gurgle.

“Careful,” Duncan said, releasing the man to double over and gasp for breath. “Anyone touches my wife best be prepared to meet me at dawn—to die.”

Erin tuned out the continued argument and sank down on her haunches beside the boy instead. A hand to his back reassured her he was breathing, but he was shivering violently. From the way his fists were knotted, his eyes squished shut, she guessed he was very much conscious, probably just waiting for the next blow. And the next. She frowned, encircling one bony wrist. He jerked. Sunken cheeks, deep purple shadows under his eyes, old bruises mottling what she could see of his skin—this boy was living through hell.

“He needs help,” she said, standing up. “The boy,” she continued. “We must help him.”

“We?” The big man shoved forward. “You won’t be touching my property.”

“Your property?”

“He’s indentured,” Duncan explained.

“And that allows him to mistreat him? Murder him?”

“Nay, that it does not,” a deep voice said from behind them.

Erin recognised the Welsh lilt to the voice and offered the speaker a deep curtsy. “Mr Lloyd,” she said, noting out of the corner of her eye that the big bastard scowled at the substantially smaller David Lloyd.

“I’ll not have you meddle in this,” the man growled.

“No?” Lloyd prodded the prone boy with the tip of his shoe. An elegant shoe, as black as the stockings that disappeared into black breeches that matched the black coat, the skirts falling almost to Lloyd’s knees. “I fear I must, Hyland Nelson.” He pulled himself up to his full height, which effectively had him reaching this unknown Hyland’s shoulder. “I’ve told thee before, have I not? Thou cannot mistreat an indenture like that.”

“He’s mine to do as I please with,” Hyland objected.

“Ah, but that is where thou art wrong, dear Hyland. Even an indenture has some protection under the law, and thou knowest me: I am a great believer in the law.” Lloyd rose on his toes. “And the law says that if thou were to, let us say, maim this poor lad, permanently cripple him or, God spare us, kill him, then thou would pay the ultimate price.”

“You’d hang, Nelson,” Duncan clarified.

“He needs discipline!” Nelson roared. “He’s an ungrateful little bastard who shirks work.”

“Maybe if you fed him, he’d have the strength to work,” Erin said, receiving a warning blue look from Duncan. What? She crossed her arms over her chest. “That boy is starving.”

Duncan studied the child, a deep wrinkle forming between his brows.

“What is it to you?” Nelson demanded. “I’ll make sure he gets enough to survive, but more than that makes him hard to handle.”

“Ah. So thou art starving him into obedience.” Lloyd gave Nelson a disgusted look. “Most ungodly, Hyland Nelson. No, we cannot have that.”

“We can take care of him,” Erin said, leaning down to brush at the boy’s hair. He shrank from her touch, and her heart twisted.

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