Today, I get to introduce you to another of my wonderful and talented Wild Rose Press sistahs, Judith Sterling. Judith writes medieval romances, and I’ll admit, I haven’t read a lot of that genre. But after reading a little about her new release, The Cauldron Stirred ( Guardians of Erin, nook 1) I am certainly going to rectify that!! Meet Judith and then stick around for a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from The Cauldron Stirred.
Judith, the Author
- What drives you to write? An instinctive urge that’s always been with me. I wrote my first story when I was three years old. By age nine, I was writing chapter stories and elaborate scripts for my dolls to act out. Of course, I played all the parts!
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write medieval romances, The Novels of Ravenwood. During college and grad school, I studied in England, Scotland, and Sweden. I jumped on every opportunity to explore castles, monasteries, and other medieval buildings throughout Europe. The older the structure, the better! In ruin after ruin, the whispers of the past seduced me; in particular, 12th-century England. There’s also a touch of romance in my young adult paranormal fantasies, the first of which is The Cauldron Stirred.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Mostly historical romance set in the British Isles. I love England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and my first degree was in history.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I write most weekdays but try to devote my weekends to family and relaxation. It’s good for the soul and for my lower back!
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in front of a window in my bedroom. When I need a break, I look outside at the 17th-century Witch House across the street. Salem, Massachusetts isn’t a bad place to write. This is Hawthorne country!
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I prefer quiet, but with 13-year-old twin boys, that’s a rare luxury!
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?Sometimes I listen to music—film scores mostly—but I also like quiet. It might sound strange, but oftentimes, music plays in my head without the need for an outer source.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? The Cauldron Stirred (the YA paranormal fantasy) was partly inspired by travel in Ireland and paranormal events in my own life.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot, and I always use old-fashioned pen and paper for brainstorming and outlines. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how and why inspiration strikes. If I sit in front of blank paper with my pen poised above it, images and ideas just start to flow. Sometimes they’re connected to my own experience; other times, not. But sitting there ready and waiting seems to signal my muse.
- What 3 words describes you, the writer? Passionate, empathetic, wistful.
Judith, The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! During grad school, my Hindi professor loved the sound of my voice. He recorded me singing, then took the tape home to India, where he played the songs for his family and his pet cow. Does that qualify as unusual? If not, I can tell you I’ve always been a magnet for the paranormal. And I’m cool with that!
- Who was your first love and what age were you? I was infatuated with a classmate when I was 10 years old, but in terms of real love, I’d have to say my husband! We met when I was 31—and he was 25—and from day one, we knew we belonged together. He was well worth the wait!
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….That’s hard to answer, but off the top of my head, I’m torn between two: (1) my first day in Killarney; (2) the day (night, actually) when my family and I investigated the paranormal in Gettysburg.
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? I rarely wear makeup anymore, so I guess I’d say moisturizer.
- What three words describes you, the person? Loving, compassionate, adventurous.\
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Either “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence or “Come Sail Away” by Styx.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Nancy Drew, and we’d solve a spellbinding mystery together. I loved those books when I was younger!
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound – howling wind
- Least favorite sound – motorcycles
- Best song every written – a tie between Mozart’s Symphony #25 in G minor and “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas
- Worst song ever written – Hard to say, but I’m not fond of country music.
- Favorite actor and actress – Christopher Lee and Katharine Hepburn
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – Eleanor of Aquitaine. She’s a fascinating figure from the High Middle Ages, and I’d love to see her world through her eyes.
- What turns you on? Halloween, the sound of rustling leaves, stormy skies, ruins, ancient stones, classic movies, intelligence, humor, contemplation of the unknown, travel, foreign languages, and delicious food!
- What turns you off? Violence, bigotry, false accusation, hot weather, and reptiles.
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I’ve had fewer first dates than most of my friends, and probably most women! I honestly don’t remember.
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Exploring a historic site on a cool, cloudy day with my loved ones, followed by good food and a great movie.
Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.
At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.
But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.
The night air was deliciously cool. Moonlight and darkness held equal sway over the backyard thanks to the shifting clouds. I dashed across the lawn and halted in the exact spot where Aengus had stood. Panting, I looked around, willing some kind of clue to materialize.
The ruins in front of me darkened as large, heavy clouds swallowed the moon whole. The wind tugged at my long, loose hair and pajamas. Tiny raindrops spattered on my nose and cheeks. I turned my palms to the sky, and cold rain pelted them.
“Great.” Intending to return to the house, I swiveled around.
I gasped. My right hand flew to my chest. “Aengus?!”
The man himself stood an arm’s length in front of me. “Why are you here?”
“You scared the crap out of me!”
The strident sound came from the ruins. I whirled around and stared at the dark keep.
Aengus grabbed me from behind. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. I reveled in the feel of his taut body, of his warm flesh against mine.
Suddenly, everything changed. The rain stopped. The wind died. The entire landscape was bathed in the soft hue of twilight. Breasal Castle looked brand spanking new, just as it had during the bizarre dream in which I brought Aengus to the cottage. But this time, I knew I was awake.
Dumbfounded, I gawked at the medieval magnificence before me. I had no idea what had happened and no desire to pull away from his embrace.
His lips brushed my right ear, sending a shiver down my spine. “This way.”
His right arm released me, and his left slid down to my waist. Maintaining body contact the entire time, he steered me toward the stand of oaks on our right.
Once sheltered by the trees, he turned us around so we faced the castle.
“Are we hiding?” I whispered.
“Why? And what just happened?”
“I can’t say.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
Until that moment, I’d forgotten I wore pajamas. Now I was acutely aware of it. Satin was pleasing to the touch, but something told me my attire had nothing to do with his grip on me.
I looked up at him. “Not that I mind, but why are you holding me so close?”
His hand tightened on my waist. “It’s necessary.”
“I don’t suppose you can explain that, either.”
With his gaze locked on the castle, he shook his head. He pressed his right forefinger against his mouth in a silencing gesture. Then he pointed up at the keep.
High on the battlements, the black-haired woman from my dream—and from Branna’s painting—paced back and forth. Her hair whipped about her pale face and slender frame.
She paused beside a gap in the crenelated wall and glared down at the fairy mound. Her colorless lips curled into a sneer. Then her human form morphed into a dark shadow, which fragmented into what seemed a million black particles. They swarmed into the air and shot across the twilit sky, disappearing into the distance.
I took a deep breath. “So she’s real.
He nodded. “She’s real, to be sure. Come.” With his arm still hooked around me, he led me out of the woods and toward the fairy mound.
Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin. Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons
You can connect with Judith here: