I’ve always been a writer and I had my first publication at eleven years old when I sent an article I’d written about the Spanish Riding School in Vienna to the girls’ magazine Diana.  It’s been a long journey from there to the publication of my first novel The de Lacy Inheritance. Along the way I’ve had lots of articles and short stories published in magazines and written three local interest books, but there’s something about being a novelist that makes you a ‘real’ author.
 The de Lacy Inheritance came about because of a legend I discovered when I was writing my local interest book Tales of Old LancashireThis old story, about a Holy Hermit who lived in a cave under the castle at Clitheroe captured my imagination.  I did some research to discover how much of it was true and found that the man was Richard FitzEustace who had contracted leprosy whilst on Crusade with Richard the Lionheart and who lost everything because of it – home, family, fortune, his standing in society as a nobleman and any chance of a normal life.

I felt compelled to tell his story, although I knew that writing a novel with a leper for a hero was going to be a challenge.  I also wanted to explore the attitudes of people towards disease.  In medieval times illness was often viewed as a punishment for sin and I began to wonder what sins Richard had committed, or thought that he had committed, to deserve such a fate, and what he believed he could do to redeem himself.  Then I added the story of Richard’s younger sister Johanna, who is also based on a real person, and her role in deciding just who should inherit the lands across Lancashire and Yorkshire after the death of Robert de Lacy.
 I was aware that the novel would not be easy to sell to a publisher.   My first plan was to self-publish it and try to sell it in the local area but the book was accepted by a small independent publisher, Myrmidon Books, and went on to be not only stocked in Waterstone’s but on their 3 for 2 tables during July.
Reactions to the book have been very positive and despite the leprosy most readers have found Richard FitzEustace to be an appealing person.  And there is some romance as well.  It’s not all gloomy.
You can read the first chapter on my website: www.elizabethashworth.com and there’s a growing archive about the de Lacy family and a slide show of some of the settings for the novel on my blog: www.elizabethashworth.wordpress.com

Just leave your comment  to enter an international giveaway! Win a copy of The de Lacy Inheritance by Elizabeth Ashworth. The name of the winner will be announced on Tuesday 30th November. Good luck!


~ Babs ~ said...

Great post Bhitwr(at)gmail(dot)com

Mystica said...

Please count me in for this giveaway. I didn't think leprosy was an "unsuitable" topic. The Island by Hislop was totally devoted to this subject and involved a saga of love, relationships and family and was a wonderful book.

Felicia said...

This is one of my top reads of the year. I'd love a chance to win a copy.



Lúthien84 said...

Do count me in for this giveaway. The premise of the story is interesting and I would like that Richard FitzEustace found the strength to live for himself or someone whom he loves.


buddyt said...

I t sounds like an unusual story and I would be interested in seeing how the author goes about handling the dread disease.

Please enter me in the giveaway.

Thank you.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

maribea said...

I love legends and i consider leprosy an important subject because there are many people who we treat as lepers!!! And we call ourselves modern!
My email is: maribea@tiscali.it

Anonymous said...

Great post, I'd like to win a copy of the book. Please count me in.

lizziedias said...

I'd love a chance to win a copy of this unusual story.
Thank you

Fanny/iz4blue said...

I always like a book with an unlikely hero/character at the center and even more when it's historical fiction


Elysium said...

Haven't read anything about lepers and this sounds interesting!

Please count me in!


Blodeuedd said...

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I read about it on Amy's blog :)
Nice post, and I do like the castle pic

blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Daphne said...

Please enter me!!


sw said...

I'm so happy the book is in print after all the trouble you went through to get it there! Good guys can finish first!

lesmissy1 AT yahoo DOT com

Miss Moppet said...

Sounds great, do please enter me!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your interest in The de Lacy Inheritance everybody - and thank you to Maria for offering me the opportunity to come and tell you about it.

Blodueedd - the picture is of Clitheroe Castle which features in the book. And the purple lion is the de Lacy arms.

Phylly3 said...

MG, I love your book giveaways! This one looks fantastic!
phylly3 AT gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read about leprosy. Thank you for including me. =)

tiredwkids at live dot com

Miss Moppet said...

Oops, forgot to include my email address.

misadventuresofmoppet [at] googlemail [dot] com

Suwaida said...

It was really interesting to see medieval social mores regarding leprosy in the third season of Robin Hood. That was quite possibly the best scene in that horribly-written episode. That and Guy of Gisborne. I read the first chapter about a year ago on the net when the novel was on the verge of being published. I'd really love to know more about Richard (both of them, LOL!)

Thanks Elizabeth and Maria!

Anonymous said...

I hope to read this book!!