March 29, 2013

{Giveaway} Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: March 1, 2013 | Matador (Self-Published) | 376p

Matthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother’s nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour – a death sentence more or less.

Matthew arrives in Virginia in May of 1661, and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his tale of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything Matthew’s insistence that he is an innocent man leads to him being singled out for the heaviest tasks.

Insufficient food, grueling days and the humid heat combine to wear Matthew down. With a sinking feeling he realises no one has ever survived the seven years of service – not on the plantation Suffolk Rose, not under the tender care of the overseer Dominic Jones.

Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife, a God’s gift who has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die, and so Alex Graham sets off on a perilous journey to bring her husband home.

Alex is plagued by nightmares in which her Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. She sits in the prow of the ship and prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, to let her hold him and heal him before it’s too late. God, however, has other things to do and what should have been a two month crossing becomes a yearlong adventure from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free?

First of all, thanks to Michelle and Marie for hosting my blog tour and allowing me to post on their blog. For my previous posts on this blog tour, please visit Bippity Boppity Book , Oh, for the Hook of a Book! and Flashlight Commentary.

Inspiration is a fickle thing. It’s not as if you can sit down at your computer, crack your knuckles and say, “right; it’s 19:00 p.m. Time for some serious inspiration.” Generally, my brain will blank out entirely when faced with an expectation to be creative. “Nope,” it will say, shrinking away to sulk in a corner, “I don’t feel like it.”

Instead, my brain tends to go into overdrive in the most unsuitable situations. Like at work; there I am in an intense discussion about Accounting Standards when the female auditor breaks off to fiddle with her hair bun, and just like that I know this is exactly the posture Alex would be sitting in when Matthew enters their little bedroom, and then … Phew! It’s an effort to revert to the intricacies of warranty accounting when your whole head is ablaze with images of Matthew and Alex, snatches of their dialogue flying through the air.

Like many writers, I’m also afflicted by “night inspiration”. I should be sleeping, but suddenly Alex is whispering things in my ear, her voice urgent, and I jerk awake, grope for the pad I always keep by my bed and write as she dictates. I’ve become very good at writing in the dark, as my husband protests loudly should I turn on my bedside lamp to see my scribbles.

Nowadays I trust myself to be able to carry on from where I left off the following evening, confident that at some point the creative juices will flow as needed. It didn’t use to be that way, with me so scared that the half-baked idea in my head would vanish if I didn’t commit it to paper immediately. This lead to a lot of disrupted nights, to marathon stints at my computer that had my family grumbling it was a very LONG time since I cooked them a meal.

When writing historical fiction, inspiration must be bolstered by researched facts. No matter how inspiring that scene with the fork is, you have to cut it if your book is set in any period prior to the late seventeenth century (except if you’re in Italy) as the fork was simply not invented then. And yes, Mr Gorgeous and Ms Feisty look absolutely wonderful together on the Chesterfield – but there were no such sofas in those times when men wore hose and codpieces, so either his costume or the interior will have to go. As an avid reader of historical fiction – as well as a writer – I know just how irritating I find those little anachronisms, and so I try really hard to ensure they don’t appear in my books. Having said that, I’m sure there will be a knowledgeable reader out there who will have the kindness to inform me that beeches didn’t exist in Scotland in the seventeenth century (HA! Caught that one myself) or that … whatever.

Writers that get the inspiration and the research to match can at times create awe-inspiring, magical novels that transport the reader to this other time, other place with the minimum of effort. That is what all writers want to achieve, we want to take our readers by the hand and submerge them in a bubble of imagined reality that will allow them to share in our characters’ adventures and woes. Some excel at it, like Sarah Dunant, Sharon Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick to name a few. (This is why their books are the most dog-eared, most worn, of all the books on my bookshelves.)

Inspiration for the Matthew and Alex books come from various sources. I’ve had a hang-up on the seventeenth century since years back (I know; somewhat strange, but there you are). I have always wanted to time travel, which is why Alex gets to do it on my behalf. Not that she is always adequately grateful at having had this opportunity – well, unless I threaten to whisk her back to the here and now, leaving Matthew behind. Most of all, inspiration comes from Matthew and Alex themselves.

Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn't let go. Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love - always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn't been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side.

At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn't want her any different, for all that she was half-heathen and a right handful. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day?

Still, dear reader, it isn't always easy. At times Alex thinks he's an overbearing bastard, at others he's sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and ... She is his woman, he is her man. That's how it is, that's how it always will be.

About the Author
I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical - both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred. 

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am - I have achieved my dream.

Giveaway:  One paperback copy. Open internationally. To enter, leave a comment below with your contact info. Spread the word via Twitter or Facebook and you will get one extra entry. Just be sure to share the link to where you shared in your comment (or a separate comment is okay too). Last day to enter is Friday, April 12. Good luck!


  1. Enjoyed this post. This novel sounds fascinating. I've added it and the book A Rip in the Veil to my wish list. So anxious to read them both. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Interesting post, and I like the blurb for your book. janesteen (AT) hotmail ( DOT) com

  3. This book sounds like such a great read!

  4. thank you for the giveaway!!
    definitely a book i would read!!
    shared on my FB wall:

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  5. Thank you for the giveaway. I shared on twitter:

    and facebook:

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  6. Thanks for sharing. Would like to read this one very much.


  7. I would love to win this! Sounds really interesting.

    lafra86 at gmail dot com

  8. Thanks for the give away. would love to win.


  9. I shared on face book.


  10. I would love to read this book. I shared on FB and tweeted as well.


  11. Thanks for the giveaway! This sounds like a great book, thanks.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  12. Added to my TNR and WL. Sounds like a great book.


  13. This book sound like one I would really enjoy reading.

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

  14. I'm crazy about the 2 books in this series. I can't wait to read the first two. I'm also so happy to have met Anna, a new Author for me.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  15. Great post, Anna, your books sound fascinating - pleased to enter the giveaway and just off to tweet this link.

  16. Duly tweeted, Anna.


  17. I love early American historical fiction. Please include me.
    seknobloch (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. Sounds like an awesome book. I would love to win it.


  19. Wow...this sounds so good too.

    I am loving looking around your blog. :)

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog


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