Interview with Jacqueline Church Simonds

What prompted you to write this book?
I've always loved King Arthur stories. I adored Disney's "The Sword and the Stone" as a kid, THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, Mary Stewart's Merlin series, and of course, THE MISTS OF AVALON -- which the Anya books are sort of an offshoot from.

Anya's story had been rattling around in my head for some years, before I wrote it down.
This deals with a Goddess. Is it anti-Christian?
No. However, those who have a very literal interpretation of the Bible will probably not like this book.

This "deity" is very much a part of Anya's life, intervening in specific moments.

At the time this book is set, Christianity is on the rise, and Celtic worship is on the wain. Writers love conflict, and I'm no different in this.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was 7. I was very serious about writing in my teens, through to (my first try at) college.

Then I sort of stopped writing. Life seemed more interesting.

I went back to college in my 30s (I recommend going back to college at any age!) and started writing again. I had some small success with a city-wide short story contest (honorable mention. Whoo-hoo!), and did some other submissions.

After I graduated, I wrote CAPTAIN MARY, BUCCANEER. This started me on a path that led to becoming a publisher, a book distributor, and now a publishing consultant/book shepherd.

I was very busy with that until about 5 years ago, when I got quite ill. When I felt better, I thought: What do I actually want to be doing. WRITING. the ANYA books were from that.
What are you working on next?
THE MIDSUMMER WIFE is due out in 2018 from Vagabondage Press. It's a contemporary fantasy that grew out of the ANYA books. Ava Cerdwen must help the other Heirs of Camelot to save a Britain that was mysteriously nuked.

There will be 2 other books in the series: THE SOLSTICE BRIDE and MISTRESS OF THE ROSE MOON. Both are completed in draft form at this time.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the 60s in Phoenix, Arizona. There were big orange trees in the backyard, and I used to spend my whole day sitting up in my favorite tree, dreaming my days. [To my mind, kids don't have enough alone and quiet time.] I loved to read, and would grab any book. I read unsupervised by the time I was 11 -- so instead of reading kids' books, I was reading adult novels. This may be why I favor writing adult situations.
Published 2017-12-03.
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Books by This Author

Anya: Lady of Drunemeton
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 24,910. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
After Merlin’s death, Anya struggles to continue on. Then King Arthur returns, and the two become lovers again. He is killed, and Anya realizes her path is to raise the sons of Merlin and Arthur, and also her daughter Arianrhod, according to the Goddess’ plan. She builds their legacy for The Time Foretold. (The Book of Anya, 4)
Anya: Merlin's Woman
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 26,170. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Anya, bearing Merlin's child, is ejected from Camelot. She and Merlin hatch a plan to steal the Sacred Chalice of Avalon - to disastrous results. (The Book of Anya, 3)
Anya: King Arthur's Mistress
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 23,470. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Anya, the healer of Camelot, attends to King Arthur's wounds after a battle. She comes to know and love him, while also falling in love with Merlin. (The Book of Anya, 2)
Anya: Healer of Camelot
Price: Free! Words: 26,160. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Anya, a high priestess of the Rus, is kidnapped and arrives in Avalon, then Camelot, where she falls in love with Merlin and seeks to fit in at Camelot.