My dear friend Michelle Miles has a new release out today, ONE KNIGHT ONLY. I couldn’t wait to chat with her about it — and share it with you!
Devon Ellington: Tell us a little bit about how the book was inspired and developed.
Michelle Miles: It’s funny how this book came about, actually. I started it in 2005 as a straight historical romance (no paranormal elements). I always knew I wanted it to be set during a jousting tournament, so that part never really changed. My heroine was named Grace and she had a brother who, in the subplot, fell in love with her maid, Elyne. Grace’s romantic interest was a knight named Sir Drake, but the story never quite jelled. I stopped working on it for three years.
So in 2008, I picked up the story again but I actually started from scratch. Grace became Maggie Grace from present day and the brother was no longer in the story (poor guy got written out). Sir Drake became a minor character but the romantic subplot stayed—except this time Elyne was a faery princess and her love interest was a faery knight. My hero was now a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, Sir Finian. The story became historical with paranormal elements. I’d written the first three chapters…and then stopped again.
I got sidetracked with other projects and didn’t pick it up again until late 2010. I was now determined to finish the story that I’d started so long ago. I used elements from the original draft, just rewritten them to fit the current story. The setting at the tournament stayed the same but I’d cut a lot of the superfluous stuff at the beginning that no longer propelled the story forward.
My cast of characters now was a modern heroine who was a student of history (Maggie), a Scottish knight with a gambling problem (Sir Finian), and a faery princess with a bad attitude (Elyne). NOW I had a story!
DE: What kind of research did you need to do for the details of medieval Scotland?
MM: It’s actually set in northern England in a fictional town in the mid-1300s. 🙂 My Scottish knight/laird has gambled away his lands to the evil Earl of Litonshire. He has to win the tourney at Middleham to settle his debts and get back his lands free and clear.
I read a lot about jousting and tournaments. I have two books that were my go-to books for research which are The Medieval Tournament by R. Coltman Clephan and Knights at Tournament by Christopher Gravett. The latter is full of color and black and white illustrations on what tournaments looked like. They evolved from being practice for war to a more romantic idea of chivalry and love at court.
I searched for information on banquets and what they would have eaten, as well as dancing and other entertainment. Gambling was a big part of tournaments. I also had to do some research what types of games they would have played back then. Dice and cards were big (Hazard being the predecessor of today’s Craps).
My other two go-to books were Everyday Life in the Middle Ages by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Costume 1066-1990s by John Peacock.
DE: How does Maggie like living what she’s only read about/studied?
MM: It’s very exciting for her, especially because she gets to meet her idol, Sir Derron. She loves the sights and sounds of tournament and constantly wishes she has a way to record everything while she’s there. She’s a modern woman, though, and tends to forget how dangerous life in the Middle Ages can be for a single woman. She tends to get herself into a lot of trouble, especially because she wants to help everyone she meets. She takes an interest in Lord Litonshire’s sister and takes it as her personal mission to help her out of a bad situation.
DE: Tell us about the “snarky faery princess”. She sounds like lots of fun, too.
MM: I love Elyne! She is one of my favorite characters. She and Finn have a love-hate relationship. She thinks he murdered her love, Sir Derron. She doesn’t realize he was set up and she doesn’t believe him when he tells her otherwise. As a Fae, she’s quite old and has been around for a long time, watching the human race. She doesn’t much care for them, but as she gets to know Maggie, she befriends her and helps her out of tough situations, breaking strict Fae law and angering her mother, Queen Maeve. She also pines for Sir Derron, who doesn’t even know she’s alive.
I’m planning a second book that features Derron and Elyne. I’ve already plotted it and written the first 10,000 words so I hope to have it drafted soon.
DE: What else do you have coming out and are working on?
MM: I’m currently working on edits for Phoenix Fire, the story about a gladitrix and her assassin lover, which will be released with DCL Publications before the end of the year. I’ve just finished drafting a futuristic erotic which is the first of three books. I hope to have it polished and submitted within the next two to three weeks. I’m also working on the second Knight book. So I have a lot going on! 🙂
Thanks so much for having me!
A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!
Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.
Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.
Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance.
A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. Visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net to sign up for her monthly newsletter and read her daily blog, Ye Olde Inkwell.