Elise Cooper: Where did you get the idea with the story?
Ashley York: I got the idea for Eyes of the Seer from a character in Curse of the Healer named Marcan. He’s a good friend of the hero. I think in general I find that creating a character that will be a good friend, sparks these very noble characters that deserve to have their own stories.
In Curse of the Healer, Diarmuid (the hero) is pretty convinced that his friend likes his sister but she has a lot of growing up to do. So Eyes of the Seer starts with that premise. The hero is in love with the heroine but she doesn’t even know he’s alive.
EC: How do you blend the intimate scenes into the story?
AY: A lot of the intimate scenes just happen between the characters on the page, I don’t plan them. Something will happen and there’ll be some answer that usually sparks something and before you know it – intimate scene.
EC: What do you want readers to get out of the book?
AY: That people a thousand years ago had the same feelings, insecurities, and desires as we have today. They’re not totally different creatures and they weren’t ignorant. They are actually pretty amazing at how much they were able to do without a lot of the information that we have today.
EC: Can you please describe your heroine and hero?
AY: Marcan is the ultimate hero: loyal, obedient, trustworth. As the best friend and second to the king, Diarmuid, his duty is to do what the king wants. He falls in love with the king’s little sister pretty early on but he’s older than her so he keeps his distance. Diarmuid is the typically mean older brother with Marcan always at his side, so Astrid tends to think of them as one in the same. That causes problems for Marcan since he wants her to eventually notice him, when she’s of that age. Instead, she treats him the same as Diarmuid.
Astrid is always wanting to please everyone, especially her mother. She’s at her beck and call from a very young age and even more so after her father dies. Her mother is not worthy of such loyalty and thinks only of herself. She manipulates those around her, including her daughter Astrid.
EC: Does the setting play an important role in the book?
AY: It does because of the limitations of the time. I try to stay true to the fact that this was a point in time where the Norsemen (Vikings) had already landed, taken over certain parts, and become incorporated into their society. It’s also before the Normans have really taken any strong hold in the area. They won’t be invading for awhile yet since they’re still busy trying to subdue the Saxons.
EC: Do you like writing about any particular era and if so which one and why?
AY: I like writing historicals that convey a period or some knowledge that I found fascinating. My first book, The Bruised Thistle, was about a Highlander who had been in the Crusades. The heroine is a child of a Norman titled gentlemen who sat that aside for his Scottish bride. When I continue with The Order of the Scottish Thistle, I will be working on a lesser known king – David I of Scotland – who is instrumental in starting the England versus Scotland dilemma. People know about Robert the Bruce and William Wallace but David is even more fascinating to me.
EC: Were you influenced by anything in your life that relates to the story?
AY: When I learned that people a thousand years ago weren’t stupid, that really changed everything. When I realized how smart they actually were – intuitively – I was amazed. So I suppose things that I learn show up in my stories.
EC: Why did you decide to write in the romance genre?
AY: I love romance. I always read romance. I see romance everywhere.
EC: Anything you might like to add?
AY: I hope readers will learn that you don’t have to know any history at all to enjoy my stories. I enjoy the research and recreating possible scenarios but I make the history a minor character compared to the totally relate-able character driven plot.
EC: Next Book?
AY: The next book in The Derbfine Series, is Daughter of the king. This story is about Brighit, the daughter of Sean and Thomasina (The Irish Warrior, The Seventh Son) and Darragh, the son of Tisa and Tadhg (The Seventh Son) Darragh is raised very strictly and Brighit is pretty much indulged by her father Sean. They are betrothed at birth, live far enough away from each other that they really don’t know anything about the other one, and have to join forces when something unexpected happens.