Friday, 8 March 2013

We Sat Down For a Chat...with Katherine Roberts

An International Women's Day and Carnegie 2013 longlist author post wrapped into one! What more could we ask for?

Myths and magic, knights and horses, and strong girl characters abound in Katherine Roberts' fantasy Pendragon Legacy series. It is another creative and adventurous development of the Arthurian legend. The first book in the series, Sword of Light, has been nominated for the Carnegie medal 2013. Today, Katherine tells us what inspired her to create a central female character for her stories and offers some further reading suggestions. There's a fantastic horse illustration by her too!

Katherine Roberts:
"I love Arthurian fiction, but I was always more interested in the girls’ stories than those of the knights, who seemed to get all the fun.

There are some strong women in the legends:
  • Morgan Le Fay, who uses witchcraft to plot against Arthur.
  • The beautiful Guinevere, Arthur’s queen, who later falls in love with Sir Lancelot.
  • Brave Igraine, Arthur’s mother, who gives up her baby son to Merlin for safe keeping.
But none of these women had real adventures like the men. So I decided to invent one who did.

Rhianna Pendragon and her horse Alba (by Katherine Roberts)
Her name’s Rhianna Pendragon, and she’s the secret daughter of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Raised by the elves in enchanted Avalon, where Merlin spirited her away as a baby, Rhianna grows up riding a fairy horse, and later learns how to fight with her father’s sword Excalibur. When her dark cousin Mordred kills King Arthur in battle, she leads the knights on a quest to find the four magical “Lights” that have the power to restore her father’s soul to his body. She’s a bit of a tomboy, but also a bit romantic since she cares for her Avalonian friend, Prince Elphin. In fact, with her long red hair that more often than not has twigs stuck in it, she’s a bit like me when I was a girl!

Some other books to try if you are a girl/woman who likes the Arthurian legends:

Women of Camelot by Mary Hoffman
A beautifully illustrated book of short stories, based on the well-known version of the legends by Sir Thomas Malory.

The Enchantresses and The Three Damosels by Vera Chapman
Two collections of novellas based on the Arthurian stories, and where I first came across the idea that King Arthur might have had a daughter.

Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley
A long, romantic adult novel told by several of the Arthurian women."

You can read Little M's reviews of Sword of Light and Lance of Truth.
Katherine Roberts is a Branford Boase winning fantasy writer. You can find out more about Katherine Roberts on her website.
Rhianna and her friends Elphin, Cai and Arianrhod (by Scott Altmann, cover artist)


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