It started 3 000 years ago. It ends now. Who survives the final confrontation?
According to Helle Madsen, being the protagonist of a time-spanning epic love story has some things going for it, primarily Jason Morris. Because seriously, meeting up with your fated lover after 3 000 years apart is not bad—at all. Unfortunately, where Jason goes, there goes Sam Woolf, yet another very, very ancient acquaintance—with the fundamental difference that Sam is not into Happily Ever After. He’s into destruction, more specifically of Jason and Helle.
Helle may believe in second-chance love, but she sure doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Okay, she didn’t believe in stuff like that until she met Jason Morris a year or so ago. By now, she has accepted that sometimes impossible things are quite, quite possible—like an ancient princess being reborn as an ambitious financial analyst.
Finding Jason was like finding the part of her that had always been missing—a perfect match. But handling Sam Woolf, the reborn version of their ancient nemesis is something of a trial. No sooner do you have him well and surely beat, but up he bounces again. Sheesh, will it take an oak stake to permanently rid their lives of him?
Sam Woolf is a powerful adversary. Too powerful, even. Jason and Helle will need help from unexpected quarters to finally bring this tangled, ancient love-and-hate triangle to some sort of conclusion. Question is, will they survive the experience?
Buy Online: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads
What makes this author tick?
When I signed up for this tour, my excellent tour host Lisa Munley from TLC told me I was free to write about whatever I wanted in my guest posts. Err…
“Why not interview yourself?” she suggested, and that had me going “Err…” again. Seriously, who would find it even remotely interesting to find out stuff about me? I blame my reaction on the fact that I’m Swedish—in Sweden, tooting your own horn is NOT approved of. Nope. We have a firm “who-do-you-think-you-are” approach to our fellow men and women (at least if they’re Swedish) so even the more successful among us will somewhat bashfully downplay what we’re good at.
Since my initial reaction, I have reconsidered somewhat, which is why I am now happy to share some insight into what makes me tick. I’ve already shared one of them with you, namely my nationality. Whether that qualifies as interesting or not, I’m not quite sure. Sometimes, people think that us Swedes are an uninhibited lot who bounce about half-naked and have lots and lots of sex—especially if we’re women. Sorry to tell you that is a huge LIE: Most Swedish people are shy. Most Swedish people will happily swim naked, sit in the sauna naked but will NOT bounce about half-dressed and as to all that sex, Swedish sin, dear peeps, is an export article rather than a thing we partake of locally. But we do have beautiful, endless forests. We have silent lakes that shimmer with trapped sunlight as the sun sets. We have stately moose, we probably have lots and lots of trolls (John Bauer saw them everywhere) and when the fogs lift from our meadows, fairies sparkle and dance for an instant or two before they quickly hide away.
Despite being Swedish, I am a major, major tea drinker – unusual in the country that ranks second when it comes to coffee consumption in the world. (Only the Finnish peeps drink more coffee, which they call Kahevi). ( like my tea black, no sugar, no lemon. With my tea, I like cake. These days, my intake of cake is severely restricted. You see, the third thing about me is that I have recently lost 50 kilos. That’s like 110 pounds, give or take.
“How did you do that?” people ask.
“By not eating all that much,” I reply. Duh! Let me tell you, there was nothing easy about doing this. In fact, it is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life and I am very proud of myself for having achieved a leaner, meaner—err, healthier—me. The more relevant question is “Why did you do it?” I had to. It was lose weight or end up permanently immobilised, which served as a very good motivator, let me tell you! Along the way, I have become something of a health-freak. I do, however, consider chocolate to be a staple in a healthy diet. Yes, dear peeps, I am a chocolate-addict, which, IMO, adds some balance to my otherwise obsessively healthy life.
When I am not guzzling tea or writing books (more about that later) I am also a passionate walker. I love walking. My imagination takes flight as I walk, and over the course of my two hour jaunt I will be everything from a medieval knight to a dying queen (very briefly. After all, she died…) to a 19th century woman locked away in an attic to an intrepid heroine prepared to die to save her man. Let’s just say I have a lot of fun during my walks—plus I burn enough calories to be able to indulge in…taa-daa…chocolate!
Mind you, my imagination does not only go into active mode when I walk. It is very much a permanent feature in my life. It is my imagination that has me dreaming up stories like the one about Jason and Helle. They met for the first time three thousand years ago. She was eight, he was twelve, and while they were both too young to fully comprehend what love was, they instinctively recognised their other half in each other.
Obviously, it would be a dead boring story if that was all there was to it. “They met, they fell in love, they lived happily ever after” – that does not a story make. So instead, I have Jason and Helle torn asunder in that first life. I have them suffer, I have them experience betrayal, utter anguish and painful death. Phew. I had a serious one-on-one with Ms Inspiration when we got to that point. After all, I want my characters to achieve some sort of contentment. None of that in this story, not with all that blood, all that loss…
“Ah,” whispered my imagination, “so let’s give them a second chance.” Which is how Jason and Helle meet up again in the here and now. He remembers every single one of all those fruitless lives he’s spent looking for her, hoping for a chance to make amends and love her as she deserves. She has no memories at all—until his presence prods some of them into vague dreams and half-snatched images. Add to this the fact that my imagination came up with the BRILLIANT (I know, I know: I am not acting as a good Swede should, tooting my horn like that!) idea to have their ancient nemesis show up as well. And guess what? Sam is as determined to destroy them this time as he was last time round…
As a consequence of all that imagining, my Jason and Helle story became a series called The Wanderer. The third book, A Flame through Eternity, has recently been released and here we have Sam using all his (considerable) dark powers to tear my loving couple permanently apart. Supposedly, A Flame through Eternity is the final instalment in the Jason and Helle story, but one never knows. You see, I fall in love with my characters and end up with a permanent case of “what will happen next to them?” This is why I write book series. So far, I have written three: other than The Wanderer, I have a nine-book series called The Graham Saga featuring the reluctant time-traveller Alex Lind who ends up at the feet of the 17th century escaped convict Matthew Graham and goes on to lead an excessively exciting life in 17th Century Scotland and Maryland. ( “I haven’t enjoyed a time-slip book so much since Diana Gabaldon’s fabulous #Outlander series” says one reviewer, which has me hop-scotching for like two hours) I have also authored a four-book series called The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England with the honourable and handsome Adam de Guirande doing his best to navigate the cesspits of medieval intrigue that plague the court of Edward II. (“Perfect, in every sense” says a reviewer which makes me dance on the spot until I am blue in the face)
I’m guessing by now you’ve worked out I’m a bit of a history nut. I love submerging myself (and my readers) in the past. I love combining my invented characters with real-life people, I adore disappearing into a rabbit-hole as I research my periods. I emerge eternally grateful that I didn’t live back then, because life was harsh, it was often short and it was severely lacking when it comes to tea and chocolate. But still…there are moments when I wish I could at least pop in for a brief visit.
I am also an avid word collector. As I am fluent in three languages, I have a lot of words to choose from, but some of the English words I find very beautiful are “ubiquitous”, “twilight” and “incandescent”. My favourite words tend to vary depending on my mood—and what I am presently working on. If I am writing a story set in the 13th century I suddenly find myself saying words like “samite” or “destrier” out loud. And then I spend like half an hour wondering if I pronounced them the way my characters would…
I suppose the tenth thing you should know about me is that I am very productive. But then, is that really relevant? No, I think my tenth thing will be that I try very, very hard to be kind. I have this naïve belief that if more of us made an effort to live according to the golden rule— “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”—this world of ours would be a nicer, fairer place. Something to aspire to, at least.
So there you have it, dear reader. I give you Anna Belfrage who is a wannabe kind Swedish tea-drinker turned health-freak with a chocolate-addiction and who takes long walks so as to set free the imagination that spawns her book series, most of which feature history and a love of words. Does that make me sound interesting or just somewhat weird? Well that, dear reader, I leave up to you!