Monday, January 7, 2013

Blog Tour {Q&A and Giveaway} — "Éire's Captive Moon" by Sandi Layne

Éire's Captive Moon (Éire’s Viking #1)
by Sandi Layne

Hi, everyone! I'm thrilled to share Sandi Layne's new release, Éire's Captive Moon. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the ARC back in October. Today, I get to share my interview with Sandi Layne about Éire's Captive Moon's characters. My love for the each of them is one of the things that astonishes me most about this book. They are charismatic, consistent, and so well written that I can’t help but like them even when I feel I shouldn’t. While I knew who the “enemy” was, my heart was torn. Like history, not everything—if anything—is black and white, whether pertaining to theology or mythology, one country or another, one man to the other.

Sandi Layne delivered a spectacular, action-packed book that not only encompassed such a theme in her Historical Fiction novel but also showed a journey with authenticity. It wasn’t simply history, but what could be a version of an untold story, rich with details. I recommend it to anyone who loves history with a dash of Romance and, maybe, a little Fantasy-esque feel. As a lover of all three genres, I've put Éire’s Captive Moon on my favorite shelf.

Continue reading to learn more about Sandi Layne and Éire’s Captive Moon's characters.
Then enter to win a signed copy of this exciting book!

Your character Tuirgeis is also known as Turgeis the Devil—the First of the Viking Conquerors of Éire, the Founder of Dublin, and, to this day, one of the most hated men in the history of the Emerald Isle. He was so likeable in Éire’s Captive Moon despite some of his actions that it’s hard to believe he could be the same man. Was that a goal in your characterization of him—to have him culpable yet charming? If so, why?

Great question! I firmly believe that history is told by those who prevail, leaving the “other side” up to interpretation. With Tuirgeis, I am choosing to have him (in this first book) a solid man and a good leader. I don’t see him as charming, necessarily, but reasonable and fair-minded. He grows determined to conquer, though, (for reasons of his own as the series progresses) and will become more ruthless as he has to control more people. Most leaders of men have many great qualities that inspire loyalty, in my study. There are always people who will vouch for them. I am choosing to approach Tuirgeis in this light. I mostly wanted to present him as a foil to Agnarr in this novel, to some degree, and as a good leader that had already earned the respect of his men so he no longer had to prove anything.

Will Tuirgeis the Devil make an appearance in book two? And do you think the readers might come to dislike him?

He does not play such a large role in book two. Book three, though, brings him in as one of my “narrative voices” so his inner motivations will be much more clear. How my readers will handle his historical power grab will be up to them. For him, it is a positive thing. Mostly.

There’s very little known about him before he settled in Ireland. Did that affect your characterization of him in any way?

It allowed me the freedom to mold him as I wished, really.

His name can be spelled multiple ways: Turgesius, Turgeis, Tuirgeis, Turges, and Thorgest. What helped you decide on “Tuirgeis”?

It has been so many years (well over a decade), I cannot remember the resource, but Tuirgeis was the first way I saw it spelled and so my imagination flew with that spelling and I couldn’t find it in my head to change it.

Aside from Tuirgeis, are any of your other characters historical figures? Because I’ll admit—after reading Eire’s Captive Moon, I was so intrigued with all the characters, how real they felt and were intertwined, that I researched each but got nothing.

In Éire’s Captive Moon? No, Tuirgeis is the only truly historical figure. More will come into (some) play as the series progresses.

What influenced your characterization of the female protagonist Charis? She’s so strong, not only as a character and a woman but in her conviction. She’s unrelenting, almost … righteous.

Charis has some odd parts to her. She’s not entirely human and she knows that, but she has no sense of what that other part is, for sure. Since she chooses to believe in no kind of supernatural sway in her life, that puts her at odds with herself, to a degree. As she grew into whom she is in the books, I made her firm in her belief in the concrete, because she could trust it implicitly. This made her strong, but somewhat unbending, too. She’s always been this way, in my head, even when she was a character from a centuries-earlier time. :)

Éire’s Captive Moon isn’t an Historical Romance—it’s Historical Fiction—but there is an underlying love triangle between Charis, the Vikingr Agnarr, and the Irish prince Cowan. Both men differ in temperaments. Did you know whom Charis would choose from the beginning or only as the story developed?

Yes. Though I may have entertained different ideas as I wrote (flexibility is good!), I had the ending in sight as I finished the second proper chapter of this story.

Prince Cowan was educated abroad and a Christian. His faith is admirable in the face of adversity, though he might seem passive or even traitorous to his homeland and people. How does his faith reflect 9th century Ireland and you personally?

Oooh, another grand question, ma’am. Cowan is a multifaceted kind of guy. He was raised in a Christian home and, as the second son, was encouraged to go the scholarly route as compared to the king-making route of his elder brother, who will be king after their father. He has studied the Scriptures in their original languages, as opposed to only in Latin, so I like to think he has absorbed some of the original concepts. (Hey, I get latitude, too, yeah?) I tried to have him act in accordance with his understanding of a slave’s behavior as illustrated in Scripture and so on. These values were taught in homilies of the day. He is still willing to fight and kill (and die) if need be to protect himself or those he cares for, so he’s no pacifist, but he is trying to do what he feels is “right” as he can understand it. As far as how he reflects his people, I think he is a well-educated and broad-thinking man, with much more “worldly” experience due to his travels than those who never leave their villages. So his personal perspective is influenced by exposure to different cultures and is probably much more fair than the average 9th Century Éire-man.

And reflecting me? Well, I’m a Christian, so I’d like to think I do the same. *smile* Not the whole Swordfighting 101 (though I have learned how to fight with a battle axe in practice) but I’m not a pacifist, either.

Something to remember is that the Christianity of these elder times doesn’t have the same flavor as it does today, and the values of that time in terms of society are not the values we hold in the 21st Century. I tried to keep Cowan as 9th Century as I could, given his varied experiences.

Despite Agnarr’s deeds, I adored him. He’s deep, full of life, strength, and a sense of adventure and purpose while still being a responsible leader to his men and people. From the very first scene, I pictured Vladimir Kulich’s portrayal of Buliwyf in The 13th Warrior. What was your inspiration for Agnarr?

First, yes, this is the man in my head when I picture Agnarr. :) I really like The 13th Warrior and studied Beowulf in college. I knew what Agnarr had to look like when I began thinking of my Northman Protagonist and Buliwyf was just there. I didn’t have an inspiration, per se. I knew who he was and what place he had to fill in the story and worked it so that he was that person. Confident, arrogant, sure of his place in his world, but also feeling that something is missing from it, even if he can’t say so exactly. And I wanted him to look like a warrior hero, too, in my head. Solid, muscular, scarred, with a body-confidence that stems from the repeated experience of knowing that what he asks of himself, he can do. And when things don’t go his way...? Well, he deals with it.

If the following four characters each had a motto, what would it be?

Charis, the healer, widow, and captive — All for Éire and her children.
Agnarr, the Vikingr lord and warrior — Hjarta ok kraftr. (Heart and power)
Cowan, the Irish prince and Christian — All things, under God.
Tuirgeis, the conqueror with the mysterious past — Af vísdomí er sigr. (From wisdom, victory.)

Your characters are individually flawed yet endearing. How do you balance between the two, avoiding a Mary Sue/Gary Stu?

Why, thank you. I read a lot of the poetry of the time and studied the mythos of the different belief systems, so I had an idea of the bedrock upon which to build my main characters. I wanted them to sound like they grew where they lived, and the heart of a people is in their language and songs, so that goes into the shaping of my characters as well, since they serve largely as representatives for their culture and time. And when you see someone as they might see themselves, it’s easier, I think, to see them as individuals and not as prototypes. Does that make sense?

Best advice when creating characterizations?

First thing is to remember, I think, is that your characters don’t have to just be, they have to do. There is a lot of involvement in the creation of a character and one has to remember that there is a plot in the story, too. So the characterizations should have some focus on how the character will perform the plot in mind for them.

Also, characters will always make sense to themselves when you are in their heads. Give them a backstory that supports how you see them. Whether you create this backstory first or after you decided whom you need for a story, make sure it’s solid. It never has to put in an appearance in the plot, but the backstory for each main character needs to be understood so that you, the author, know about their childhood, how they felt about their society as they grew up, if they were ever in love and with whom. What about their family background and socioeconomic status? Did they have pets? What kind of tolerance do they have for disruptions and why...and so on. This is why I give seminars to my furniture about my characters. I have to have these kinds of things firmly in my head as I write about the characters. My readers never need to know most of the details, but they appreciate the person who emerges from them.

Whew. I kind of went on there. Sorry!

No, it’s great! You give seminars to your furniture about your characters, huh? :) Thank you so much for allowing me to read an ARC of Éire’s Captive Moon and dig into your characters. Congratulations and well wishes on your release! *hugs*

Éire’s Captive Moon (Éire’s Viking #1)
Sandi Layne
Publication: January 10, 2013, The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Genre: Historical Fiction

Amazon TWCS
Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of Sandi Layne’s Éire’s Viking Trilogy, brings you to the unsettled era of the early Viking raids along the coast of Éire—today’s Ireland.

A wounded refugee from the violent Viking raids on Éire’s coast is healed so well by Charis of Ragor that Agnarr captures the moon-pale woman for his own and takes her home to Nordweg to be his slave.

Also captured is Cowan, a warrior gifted with languages. He is drawn to the healer of Ragor and finds himself helpless before her. In more ways than one!

Through the winter, Charis plans a fitting vengeance upon her captor for the men he killed. She also prepares to return to Éire and the children she left behind.

But will her changing feelings interfere with these plans? When two men vie for her heart, will she give way before either—or both?


Having been a voracious reader all her life, Sandi Layne never expected to want to write until the idea was presented in a backhanded manner. Once the notion occurred to her, though, she had to dive in the deep end (as is her wont) and began by writing historical fiction. She has since written more than twenty novels—most of which will never see the light of day.

Sandi has degrees in English and Ministry, has studied theology, spent years as an educator, has worked in escrow and sundry other careers, but research is her passion. She won an award for Celtic Fiction in 2003, but as well as history, she is also fascinated with contemporary research and has self-published several novels in the Inspirational Romance genre.

She has been married for twenty years to a man tolerant enough to let her go giddy when she discovers new words in Old Norse. Her two sons find her amusing and have enjoyed listening to her read aloud—especially when she uses funny voices. A woman of deep faith, she still finds a great deal to laugh at in the small moments of the everyday and hopes that she can help others find these moments, too.



Be sure to stop by the participating blogs for more reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways during Eire's Captive Moon's blog tour!

January 5: Saritadreaming – Interview, Review, and Giveaway
January 6: Sherry Gomes – Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway
January 7: Storeybook Reviews – Exclusive Excerpt
The LUV’NV – Character Q&A and Giveaway
January 8: Brian Lee (Rel8tivity) on Goodreads – Review
January 9: Fresh Fiction – Review
January 10: Italian Brat’s Obsessions – Author Guest Post and Giveaway **Book Release Day**
Sydney Logan – Author Spotlight **Book Release Day**
January 11: Bookworm Brandee – Author Guest Post
January 12: Celticlady’s Reviews – Review
January 13: Your Entertainment Corner – Review
January 14: My Fiction Nook – Interview and Giveaway
January 15: Waiting on Sunday to Drown – Review
January 16: Roxanne Kade – Character Interview
January 17: Pebble in the Still Waters – Review
January 18: Random Thoughts – Review
January 19: A Place for My Writing – Interview


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me and for the fantastic interview! :)

    1. You're more than welcome. I had a blast. Thanks for taking to the time to answer my questions, even the ones we didn't post ;). Looking forward to book two!