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Hello, welcome to my blog:

As an indie author, I should love to share my ‘Anstey’s Kingdom’ trilogy with you:

Surviving Anstey: A Story of Love through Time and Space

Anstey’s Revenge: Will Love be Enough?

Anstey’s Legacy: No Greater Love

Enter a world of alien refugees, fleeing through time and space from war on a distant planet, trapped in Elizabethan England by an evil dictator… Meet Kat, who thought she was human and Thomas, who knows that she (and he) are not. I do hope you will want to engage with their dramatic story, one that defies all odds, and learn if Thomas can make that final commitment to his forever love.

And now you can also read Bess’s story (and Adz and Liss’s too) in The Children of Auriga: Love’s Legacy in Time and Space (Bess’s Story) and (from July 2022) the story of Elizabeth and Anstey… and how it all began,

https://www.amazon.com/author/susanandtheansteybooks


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Research for the Anstey’s Kingdom books. Posted 8th June 2022

For those who have read, or are reading my prequel to the Anstey’s Kingdom trilogy, here is reprinted information from the author’s note to Surviving Anstey, which will explain much about the sixteenth-century world in which my Aurigan aliens first seek refuge.

“This being a work of fiction, I do not need to remind readers that the characters created here are not intended to resemble any specific persons, living or dead, in the ‘real’ world. That said, I have mentioned people and places from a specific time and place – the Devon of Elizabethan England – in ways that are as factually accurate as I can make them. I have tried to be true to the life and times of that place, though I have necessarily played fast-and-loose with some dates and details, so a few explanations, acknowledgements and admissions are due to you.

The location of Anstey’s Kingdom is a composite of Lynmouth, Devon (for the harbour, the herring fishery that flourished there – between the mid-sixteenth century and the end of the eighteenth – and the rivers, cliffs, manor and caves of Eastern Lynmouth,) together with elements (the rocky islet and the tide) of Holywell Bay in Cornwall. Much information on Lynmouth comes from “The Historic Environment Record for Exmoor National Park” – available for study on the website exmoorher.co.uk. There is a splendid picture of the rocky islet and beach on the Holywell Bay page of www.visitcornwall.com.

When it comes to language, I have updated the refugees’ pre-programmed sixteenth century language set to be comprehensible to millennium minds. Where I have mentioned significant places, I have used the names as they appear on the 1579 map, which is reproduced in Todd Gray (Ed.) The Lost Chronicle of Barnstaple 1586-1611 (Devonshire Association 1998) – such as Barnstable for Barnstaple, Ilfraycombe for Ilfracombe, Lundye for Lundy Island (other contemporary variants that occur elsewhere are Ilfradiscombe and Lunday.) Thank you so much to the North Devon Record Office in Barnstaple Library for access to the North Devon Local Studies Library, which located much of interest for me relating to the period and place.

I am encouraged to believe in the colourful exploits of a variety of pirates who held Lundy for many years, and are well documented (another thank-you to the North Devon Record Office and also to the page “Lundy-part 2.” “A piratical past – Elizabethan times” on devonperspectives.co.uk accessed on various occasions, including 10th August 2019.)  I have, however, moved and compressed some of the dates, given that the threats to burn Ilfracombe and the time of the landing of Turkish pirates on the island occurred in 1625. The extent of the earlier pirate problem, and official responses to it, is highlighted in Lundy – Its History and Natural History (Longmans, Green and Co, London: 1925) 

… complaints made to the Government by shipowners and local authorities concerning piracies in the Bristol Channel became so constant that in 1608 a commission was issued to the Earl of Bath to inquire into the matter. He sat at Barnstaple and took the depositions of three persons there to the effect that merchants were daily robbed at sea by pirates who used Lundy as a place of refuge. This action appears to have borne fruit for on March 20, 1610, a commission was issued to the Earl of Nottingham to give authority to the Mayor and Aldermen of Barnstaple to send out ships to capture pirates. And a month later (April 17) the deposition was taken of a William Young, who had been made prisoner by a pirate Captain Salkeld, and escaped (Lewis R. W. Loyd, pp.116-117).

Other depositions detailed by Loyd include that of Nicholas Cullen (p.118), who claimed that “…Turks had taken out of a church in Cornwall about sixty men and carried them away prisoners. They continued in Lundy a fortnight.”

A variety of other sources exist detailing the taking of slaves by Barbary pirates, including the History page “British Slaves on the Barbary Coast (BBC.co.uk, accessed 10th August 2019 and earlier) and others listed on Wikipedia under the entries for “Lundy,” “Barbary Pirates” and “Barbary slave trade.”  The entry for “Lundy” suggests that “[s]ome captured Europeans were held on Lundy before being sent to Algiers to be sold as slaves.” (en.m.wikipedia.org, accessed on 10th August 2019 and on earlier occasions). This ties in with information on the Salé Rovers, under the leadership of the Dutch renegade Jan Janszoon, who apparently flew the Ottoman flag over the island. 

Having spent an amazing day on the island, thanks are also due to the Landmark Trust for more information on Lundy and for hiring a Tramper disabled buggy to me, in concert with the countryside mobility scheme, for my time on the island.   

The Fortescue Arms in the Barnstable of “Surviving Anstey” is now the Royal and Fortescue Hotel in Boutport Street, Barnstaple (yes, I have stayed there and admired the splendid ceiling – dated 9th July 1620 – now in the hotel bistro, but then in a building adjacent to the inn.) What I cannot guarantee is whether the coaching inn was there at the time in 1595 when certain of my characters travelled to Barnstable. Nor can I promise the Fortescue Arms was its name then, though the Hotel suggests that as the first known name of the establishment. 

For general information on the life and times of Elizabethan and Stuart England, I am indebted, in particular, to Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (Vintage Books, London: 2013.) Information on weaponry (particularly the arbalest, or Elizabethan crossbow) comes from the “Elizabethan Era Weapons” page on Elizabethan England life.com (accessed on 10th August 2019 and other earlier dates.)  The names of characters are drawn from sources such as Chris Laning (SCA: Christian de Holacombe, claning@igc.org) “Faire Names for English Folk: Late Sixteenth Century English Names” s-gabriel.org

Lastly, Elizabeth Norton’s The Lives of Tudor Women (Head of Zeus Ltd, London:2016) offers compelling evidence that giving birth could be a dangerous time in those days.

October 17th

I’m lazing along in the glow that comes from having my WIP become my latest novel: The Children of Auriga (Bess’s Story). This book began when my favourite first reader, Yvonne, told me that she would really love to read a book about Bess, Kat and Thomas’s adopted daughter, from the ‘Anstey’s Kingdom’ trilogy.

Bess’s story is a difficult one and comes with sensitivity warnings. Half-Aurigan and half-human, she met Thomas Alban in Anstey’s storehouse prison at the end of Surviving Anstey, having suffered things that no child should ever have to endure. Her growth into an accomplished young woman of eighteen-years, by the end of Anstey’s Legacy, is a testament to her courage. This sequel – initially set in the seventeenth century, some twelve years after the events depicted in that book – should have seen her comfortably hand-fasted with Edward and living in harmony with her younger sister and brother. However, Bess is not so lucky. Edward has grown cold and vindictive, Liss, her sister, has lost the power of speech, and Adz, the youngest, is (to use a phrase my grandmother always used about someone in his situation) going to hell in a handbasket. I hope you’ll read on, as these three siblings, plus Will, a human stableman, go on the run again. This time ending up on a strange planet, Avergne, some-where and some-when else entirely…

A reminder for anyone who was following the ‘Anstey’s Kingdom’ prequel in this blog: I am intending to publish this as a full novel in 2022 and I’m happy to gift my original followers with an e-copy if you confirm in an email that you would like one. My email address is susansbooks@susanjenniferhancock.com Alternatively, if you would like an early preview, I am looking for beta readers and could let you have a version to read by the end of this year.

No connection to anything, I just thought it would be nice to share a photo of a froglet rescued from the path of our garden mower. Oh no! Did it escape from The Living Waters below?!

Garden froglet

September 15th

Today I’m super-excited to be involved in a STORYTELLERS ON TOUR (@sot_tours) cover reveal for Dan Fitzgerald‘s soon-to-be released sword-free fantasy The Living Waters, first in The Weirdwater Confluence series. You have probably already enjoyed Fitzgerald’s fabulous Maer Cycle (see my reviews page for reviews of The Hollow Road, The Archive and The Place Below) so October 15th 2021 is the date to mark in your diary for your first experience of his new work (you can even pre-order now!) Without more ado, let these fabulous images speak for themselves!!

Book Cover Illustration: Karkki AKA Kittensartbooks (https://twitter.com/kittensartsboo1 & https://www.instagram.com/kittensartbooks/)
Book Cover Design: Jessica Moon of Shadow Spark Pub (https://twitter.com/jhlmoon)
Book Cover Illustration: Karkki AKA Kittensartbooks (https://twitter.com/kittensartsboo1 & https://www.instagram.com/kittensartbooks/)
Book Cover Design: Jessica Moon of Shadow Spark Pub (https://twitter.com/jhlmoon)

In case you’d like to know more about the man behind the books:

Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). The Living Waters comes out October 15, 2021 and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds arrives January 15, 2022, bothfrom Shadow Spark Publishing.  

He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music. 

Website: https://www.danfitzwrites.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanFitzWrites Goodreads: https://www.instagram.com/danfitzwrites

Shadow Spark Publishing: Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShadowSparkPub Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shadowsparkpub/

OK, can’t resist just one more picture:

Meet Gilea and Temi courtesy of @kittensartbooks

September 13th

Up until now, my blog has been sharing a prequel to Anstey’s Kingdom: the story of Kat’s mother Elizabeth and the original exodus from Domum-Orbis, the planet of her birth. This is now in the process of being expanded and edited and will shortly (December 2021) emerge as a completed novel. Some of the content is quite explicit and I don’t feel that it is suitable blog material. I have decided to stop posting further episodes here, but if you feel left in the air by not having the completed story you could become one of my beta readers and get the chance to view it early. Let me know if you would like to join the team and have access to the pre-publication manuscript. My email address for applying is susansbooks@susanjenniferhancock.com

I’m currently in the process of writing an essay on genre, so there will be something else to read on here shortly. I’ll just leave you with one of my photo’s: “Cat in a parsley pot”. Nothing at all to do with my books or my other reviews, I just couldn’t resist!

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