Bouncing Around The Middle Ages With Anna Markland

This morning, my guest is Canadian author Anna Markland whose keen interest in genealogy has led her to write medieval romance novels about family honor (or honour for our Canadian readers *g*), ancestry and roots -- love stories filled with passion and adventure.

Read more about Anna's book, Dark Irish Knight, below.

Thanks for having me on SlingWords today, Joan.

My pleasure, Anna. Tell us something about yourself.

After a career in teaching, I transformed my love of writing and history into what I hope is engaging works of fiction. Prior to tackling fiction, I published numerous family histories. One of the things I enjoy most about writing historical romance is the in-depth research required to provide the reader with an authentic medieval experience.
Bouncing Around The Middle Ages
by Anna Markland

I often add a proviso to the introduction of my books that if only my heroes and heroines had revealed their stories to me in chronological order, life would have been so much easier for my readers!

As it is, I have bounced all over the eleventh and twelfth centuries like a grasshopper. Each of my 13 books stands alone, but the common thread is a medieval family of noblemen and women from the Middle Ages—the Montbryces.

Why did I choose to follow one family through successive generations and branches? I am an avid genealogist and my hope has always been to trace my family back to the time of the Norman Conquest. I was born in England, but it is unlikely my dream will ever come true since I am not a descendant of nobility. So I made up a family!

When I began their odyssey, I quickly wrote 250,000 words! Then I realized—too many love stories, too many relationships, too much you know what!

So I split the novel into four, and produced the series, the Montbryce Legacy. They blend well because they were all written at the same time! I even used my genealogical software to create a family tree for the Montbryces. This way I don’t trip myself up! I now add a family tree in each book for the protagonists of that story, and readers love them!

Successive series have been offshoots of branches of the family. My current series, Montbryce-The Next Generation, focuses on three heroes with physical afflictions. Book 3, Dance of Love, features Izzy de Montbryce whose hands have been gnarled by rheumatoid arthritis. Imagine a warrior unable to wield a sword!

Book 1 (see what I mean about grasshopper mentality), Dark Irish Knight, is a new release. The hero, Ronan MacLachlainn, has been blinded in one eye. This book also features the legend of the selkie—something new for me as I don’t usually introduce any paranormal elements, although there is an aspect of the miraculous in Dance of Love.

Book 2 (slated for September 2013) will be entitled Silent Knights and will feature Adam de Montbryce who loses his hearing after suffering mumps as an adult, and his half brother Denis de Sancerrre, a dwarf. We first meet Denis in If Love Dares Enough and he appears briefly in Passion in the Blood and Dance of Love, but readers have been asking for him to feature in a book of his own.
My motivation for the themes is personal. I myself suffer from arthritis, my mother was debilitated by macular degeneration, and my grandson (Adam) is profoundly deaf. The dwarfism is an unknown factor for me, so I will enjoy the research into that aspect of the book. It’s daunting though!

If readers prefer to read in chronological order rather than trying to follow the vagaries of my creative brain, I have a handy list on my website.

My obsession with genealogy even extends to my pen name. Anna Markland was actually my 3g great aunt who died at the age of 15. She was not given a chance to experience romance, so I deemed it appropriate to use her name. (Fellow genealogists will understand completely my use of the word “obsession.”)

I hope those readers who enjoy series will get to know and love the members of the Montbryce family.

I will award a free paperback copy of Book One of the Montbryce Legacy, Conquering Passion, to a lucky commenter (US/Canada). Be sure to include your email address in your comment.

Takeaway Truth

Readers in the U.S. and Canada, leave a comment for a chance to win the paperback edition of an enthralling love story.


  1. Joan, what a great post. I love heroes who are not perfect. To me, that makes them even more heroic when they succeed. I've had heroes with a broken leg in a cast and a badly scarred face. I love that you have taken this concept a step further. I have known very shallow people who would not have given a physically marred hero a second glance. Those women have missed a great man.

  2. Caroline Clemmons ... You're so right, Caroline, and Anna Markland does this so well.