Today we're joined by author Sarah Hegger, whose Sweet Bea is out this week. Sweet Bea is set during the medieval period, renowned for its knights and chivalric behavior. The realities of that time, however, are at odds with the fictional accounts, but Sarah thinks that shouldn't deter us from hoping to find our own knight. She's here to talk about why the knight myth might have started in the first place, and why we shouldn't ever stop hoping for a knight of our own. Thanks for joining us, Sarah!
One of the things that always draws me to the medieval period is the myth of the knight. The shining, conquering hero, who will vanquish all villains, cling to his code of honor and look totally yummy while doing it.
Okay, now I know that in reality they were mostly just thugs with big swords who ruled by fear and ran around thwacking things. Let’s just let history have a word here where in 1379, Sir John Arundel arrived at a convent and got them to agree to put him and his armed retinue up for a few nights. Sir John and his men reciprocated by looting the nunnery, storming the nearby church and stealing the newly married bride. They then raped her, kidnapped the nuns and took them out to sea and threw them overboard.
Which begs the question, how does the fantasy of the knight in shining armor keep going against this sort of evidence?
I am going to go out on a limb here and speculate for a bit. The time I set Sweet Bea in was the England of the infamous King John. Who married a girl, who might have been as young as twelve but most put at about fourteen, and had children with her. Thus, ignoring the expectation that one waited for a few years when the bride was that young and causing huge outrage amongst his barons. And lest we forget, his deliberate starving to death of the wife and children of William de Braose.
Put yourself in England at this time; lawless, corrupt, and rife torn. The barons were angry with the king and the kingdom had been left in dire financial straits by the former King Richard and his wars.
Coincidence that this is the time when the Robin Hood legend starts to put in an appearance? I think not!
For every article I can find that suggests Robin Hood was nothing more than myth, I can find an equal number suggesting he is, at least partly, based on a real person. There is agreement however that he appears in ballads and stories as early as the thirteenth century as a yeoman vigilante and then grows with time into the legend of a dispossessed nobleman fighting injustice.
My point is this, we all hold out for a hero in some way or another. Medieval folk, when we put aside the swords and chausses, step away from the castles and all the other paraphernalia, were people just like us. They lived and loved, grieved and struggled, bickered and bitched and needed their heroes just like we do.
Life was tough and when it got its toughest, in came a rule breaking, death-defying champion of the poor and downtrodden. Hell yeah!
Of course we still love our knights. We look to stories of them to remind us of hope and give us faith in the goodness of men. When we look around us and see such an overwhelming deluge of grim reality, is it any wonder we open a book and allow it to transport us to that ‘once upon a time’ place.
It’s why I started reading medieval romance and, for sure, why I write it. I’m not saying that a contemporary hero has any less impact on the happily ever after front, but the knight has it all built in. He comes loaded with a power punch of nobility, strength, integrity, courage and out right Alphaness.
Although, in honesty, I have to point out that Garrett, the hero of Sweet Bea, is not an actual knight. But he is one at heart, the place where it counts the most.
Learn more about or order a copy of Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger, available now:
Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.
Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.
She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.