Not all book ideas spring full grown into an author’s mind. Indeed, most of the books I’ve written begin with a line or two of dialog, or perhaps just a situation. With The Herald’s Heart, the image that sprang to mind was that of a knight lost in a thick fog. A hideous wail fills the air, and for a moment a gap forms in the fog. A woman’s face fills the gap. She’s pale but beautiful and the knight wonders if she’s a phantom. So I had to ask myself who was the knight, who was the woman, what were they doing at that spot at that time, what events would follow, and why?
Over the years, I would work on this project then put it aside for books with actual deadlines and resume searching for The Herald’s Heart in between contracts. Before I found the real story that I was writing, the tale went through two other major iterations. My first drafts were titled, “Found in the Heart.” I knew without doubt the story was about finding what was true, i.e. ‘love’ in one’s heart. But the story did not stay that way for long.
As I explored my heroine’s character, I discovered she was a victim of identity theft. Proving one’s identity in the middle ages was very difficult. A person needed to produce witnesses and documents attesting to the truth of his or her claim that he or she truly was a certain person. Because the heroine’s family is murdered, and she is lost far from home, no one can witness her claim. So everyone doubts she is the woman she knows herself to be.
When all of that came to me, the story’s second iteration was born, “The Last Bride.” It’s a good title, and I may use it for a different book someday. But the entire reason for the murder of her family was to force her to become the bride of a local earl with a cruel reputation. He’d buried seven or more other wives.
Hence my heroine’s parents objected to the marriage proposed by their overlord the earl.
Then my hero pops into my head, completely lost in a fog. It allowed for a vaguely gothic opening to the story and was representative of his task in proving or disproving the heroine’s claim to be ‘the last bride’ of the cruel earl.
All of this combined to create a more complete picture of The Herald’s Heart in my mind, and thus the third and final iteration of the story was born. In truth, my hero herald had to find faith in his heart that the woman he was coming to love was not a liar, deceiver and potential murderess. Yes, murderess.
Remember that cruel Earl. Sometime after murdering her family, he met a gruesome death that could only have been murder. But who did it? It was writing the journey to discover the truth that rests in the heart that helped me and my heroine win The Herald’s Heart.
Excerpt: Find an excerpt from The Herald’s Heart here.
The Herald’s Heart
Her identity was stolen. He thinks she’s a murderer. Will love help them discover the truth?
When he ceased serving as one of King Edward I’s heralds, Sir Talon Du Quereste imagined he would settle on a quiet little estate, marry a gently bred damsel, and raise a flock of children. The wife of his daydreams was a woman who could enhance his standing with his peers, and certainly not an overly adventurous, impulsive, argumentative woman of dubious background.
When her family is murdered, Lady Larkin Rosham lost more than everyone she loved—she lost her name, her identity and her voice. She’s finally recovered her ability to speak, but no one believes her claim to be Lady Larkin. She is determined to regain her name and her heritage, but Sir Talon Du Quereste guards the way to the proof she needs. She must discover how to get past him without risking her heart.
About Rue Allyn
Award-winning author, Rue Allyn, learned storytelling at her grandfather’s knee. (Well, it was really more like on his knee—I was two.) She’s been weaving her own tales ever since. She has worked as an instructor, mother, sailor, clerk, sales associate, and painter, along with a variety of other types of employment. She has lived and traveled in places all over the globe from Keflavik Iceland (I did not care much for the long nights of winter.) and Fairbanks Alaska to Panama City and the streets of London, England to a large number of places in between. Now that her two sons have left the nest, Rue and her husband of more than four decades (Try living with the same person for more than forty years—that’s a true adventure) have retired and moved south. When not writing, enjoying the nearby beach or working jigsaw puzzles, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance.. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at Rue@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.
A Few Reviews
4 stars. “A gem for lovers of the medieval – 4 stars. In The Herald’s Heart, Rue Allen has given us a medieval novel that is out of the ordinary, with an unusual plot, strongly drawn characters, and gothic overtones, including a mad anchoress and a haunting.” Author Jude Knight
4 stars. “Atmospheric and Fast Paced. . . . a strong, plucky heroine and a hero who has it all. He is loyal, responsible, honorable, strong, handsome—and just enough of a clueless male to frustrate the heroine. The secondary characters are well drawn as well. . . .” Author Caroline Warfield
5 stars. “What can I say about a book that has suspense, love and spice. I loved it. I sure hope we will be able to visit them again in another book.” Marina Leonard, Amazon.com
“Great storytelling on Ms. Allyn’s part makes the centuries fall away . . . as each page comes to life. . . . A suspenseful mystery or two to solve!…and did I mention very passionate romance?” Reviewer Dianne, Goodreads