Blog Tour ~ Inspiration behind a novel ~The Shield by C J Bentley

 

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Book Summary

People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again.
A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who’s searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960s, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost – anywhere and at any time – to its original owner?
With the help of a beautiful yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend. The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward III, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.

The inspiration behind the writing of The Shield

When writing “The Shield” the memory that as a young girl and whilst fishing for small fish in the local stream close to where we lived, a friend and I found a shield in the silt at the bottom of the stream. As there were just the two of us and it was very heavy we, having identified it, returned it to the silt. The idea for the book was then firmly lodged in my brain waiting for the correct time for me to write about what might happen if it had been found and kept. Therefore the period really chose me rather than my choosing the period. It had to be a time when shields were used and so from researching when to pinpoint Sir Kay, (it was always going to be Sir Kay) losing his shield in battle against villains, I felt compelled to find out when was a particularly lawless time in English history and I had plenty to choose from.

King Edward the third’s reign with his constant fighting against the French, Welsh, Scots and his barons drew me towards further research, when I further discovered he and his Queen were married in York Minster and held their court at York when they travelled to the North, discovering that their son was born in 1330 I decided to set this story in 1340, thus the young Prince Edward was ten years old and therefore the same age as the main protagonist.
It all very strangely seemed to fall into place as I was researching. The Battle of Sluys, where Edward’s English navy fought the French fleet and won, was an important battle of the time as it saved England from another French invasion, the first being 1066. The shields secret was to help warn Edward of the coming battle to make sure the English won. I did ‘bend time’ a little as the battle is recorded as taking place in June 1340 and my story takes place at the start of the school summer holidays towards the end of July. As the story takes place in two periods of time, the sixties when the girl is growing up and 1340 where she is taken back to have her adventure then my ‘bending’ of the time period by a month I felt was vindicated.
During the summer months we live in France, close to ‘La Route de Richard Coeur de Lion’ in the Limousin, a very beautiful area of France. Being on his route down to the south coast of France where he sailed to the crusades in the Holy Lands, it is an area full of Richard the Lionheart’s staging castles, some built by his great grandfather Henry the second and some by Kings of France. The castle at Chalus is where Richard was fatally injured by an arrow fired by a cook who worked in the castle kitchens. Not a very glamorous way for the great soldier to die.
We have found large worked stones in our garden, (but now utilised in our house) that previous owners from the past collected from the ruins of the local chateau. It never ceases to amaze me of the ability of the stone masons to face these stones and carve intricate markings on them with the basic of tools. If I take a walk from our hamlet to the next one, you pass ancient and interesting buildings with Templar markings on their walls as the Templars and the Hospitaliers were everywhere in this area in years gone by. Living with all of this history on my door step and being naturally curious and with so many medieval buildings in villages surrounding where I live, this has obviously had an effect on me. I read books on that period of history about Richard the Lionheart and the life he led as a great soldier, away from home as a young man fighting in wars overseas and as a man who was unsure of his sexuality, his hatred for his father and love for his mother. The more I read about the time the more curious I become and may even research and write more about that period in the future, although Richard was not the greatest of the Kings of England, even though Hollywood might portray him as a handsome and charismatic man the truth was very different. Most of his time as King was spent abroad with the actual time of his reign in his Kingdom being recorded as a matter of months.

The Shield can be bought from Amazon

Author  C J Bentley 

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About the author: Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has travelled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.

The author can be followed on Facebook, Twitter , and her author website.

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