Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today: Edale Lane is an Amazon Best-selling author and winner of Rainbow, Lesfic Bard, and Imaginarium Awards. Her sapphic historical fiction and mystery stories feature women leading the action and entice readers with likeable characters, engaging storytelling, and vivid world-creation.
Lane (whose legal name is Melodie Romeo) holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, a master’s in history, and taught school for 24 years before embarking on an adventure driving an 18-wheeler over-the-road. She is a mother of two, Grammy of three, and doggy mom to Australian Shepherds. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Lane now lives her dream of being a full-time author in beautiful Chilliwack, BC with her long-time life-partner.
Enjoy free e-books and other promotional offerings while staying up to date with what Edale Lane is writing next when you sign up for her newsletter. https://bit.ly/3qkGn95
Thanks so much, Edale, for joining me!
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Edale Lane: I like to write in third person with more than one POV, so we get a more in-depth look into each of the main characters. Readers will find a blend of description, dialogue, and action in my books, and being a former schoolteacher, I hope my readers will learn at least one new thing in each book. I write historical fiction with a fantasy twist and mysteries—both historical and contemporary.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
EL: My first published Edale Lane work was the short story “Mr. X and the Blackmailed Female,” a piece in an anthology; later, I expanded it into the first Wellington Mysteries volume, Daring Duplicity. My first Edale Lane novel was Heart of Sherwood, a gender-bent retelling of the classic Robin Hood story. Both Heart of Sherwood and Daring Duplicity have been well received, won awards, and are along with Sigrid & Elyn: A Tale from Norvegr Book 1 my best sellers to date.
JSC: What is your writing Kryptonite?
EL: What am I supposed to be doing? Promoting, creating ads and graphics, cooking, cleaning, answering the phone, checking e-mails, walking the dog, taking my partner to work, doing the shopping… oh? Did you ask a question? Yeah, right—getting distracted by life things. How I love writing retreats when I can go away, lock myself in a room, and forget the world for a weekend!
JSC: What inspired you to write Legacy of the Valiant? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?
EL: Book one in the series, Sigrid & Elyn, was an enemies-to-lovers action/romance. I really enjoyed writing it but decided it would be interesting to fashion each tale around a different trope, this one being a hero’s journey. I also wanted to feature characters with physical limitations. Being extremely nearsighted, I have depended on corrective lenses all my life. So I wondered what it would be like for someone who couldn’t see well long ago before glasses were invented. The biggest challenge I faced was in creating the romance elements. According to ratings and reviews so far, readers have been satisfied with the outcome.
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in Legacy of the Valiant, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
EL: I wanted to create an exciting and inspiring story of characters overcoming the odds to make their dreams come true while giving the readers a glimpse into the pre-Viking era. One theme of this book is “all legends spring from a seed of truth.” As a historian, I’ve learned that much of what we call myths and legends originated with actual people or events and stories created to describe aspects of the world the people at the time could not explain. As the reader accompanies Solveig and Kai on their adventures, you may first think you are reading a fantasy novel full of Norse mythology; by the end, I hope you see it as believable history.
JSC: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
EL: I love most of them, but if I had to choose, it would be Kai. She’s a small woman with tremendous dreams and a never-say-die tenacity. She is both courageous and humble, works hard, and heeds the words of her spiritual teacher. Scrappy and kind-hearted, people don’t look at her and think, “there’s a hero,” yet it’s exactly who she is.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
EL: As I answer these questions, I only have one—Rory, a twelve-and-a-half-year-old Australian shepherd whose long-time partner, Skye (my other Aussie) passed away earlier this year. However, we are expecting a new puppy this summer if all goes well.
JSC: We know what you like to write, but what do you like to read in your free time, and why?
EL: I listen to audiobooks! Why waste time while driving, going out for a walk, or doing housework when you can be listening to a book? I enjoy listening to the same genres I write—historical, fantasy, and mysteries. But lately I have added a complement of lesbian romances into the mix, hoping to learn to write a better romance, and, well, because there are some great ones out there to love.
JSC: Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
EL: Snakes. I don’t mind spiders either, but as mentioned, my eyesight isn’t the best, and I like to be able to see what I’m up against. Snakes are bigger, easier to pick up and move around, easier to identify the poisonous ones, and they can’t crawl down my shirt without me noticing.
JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!
EL: I’m currently writing Homecoming in Murder, Lessons in Murder Book 6, but will be in the editing stage by the time you read this. (Reprise in Murder, book 5, just released in May) I’m in the planning phase of War and Solace, A Tale from Norvegr, which should be out in early fall of this year. Then I’m also partway into another collection of Wellington Mysteries, which will hopefully make it to print before the end of December. I’ll be surprised to get more than that completed in 2023, but don’t be surprised if you see Queen of Murder, another in the Lessons in Murder series. So many stories, so little time!
And now for Edale’s new book: Legacy of the Valiant:
All legends spring from a seed of truth.
Humble Kai aspires to become more than the petite, inconsequential young woman her community sees. Persistence pays off when the village holy leaders reveal a prophecy—Kai might actualize her dream of being a hero if she completes three seemingly impossible tasks.
Princess Solveig, descendant of the famous shieldmaiden Sigrid the Valiant, believes she was born to accomplish great things, but her poor eyesight, weak constitution, and lack of physical expertise hold her back. Convinced she can never realize her ambitions, Solveig settles for living vicariously through her warrior girlfriend.
The appearance of a dangerous jötunn wreaking havoc in the kingdom brings the two would-be champions together. Solveig feels both threatened and skeptical when Kai arrives in her father’s great hall with a “magic” sword, claiming she’s there to save the day after more promising protectors have failed.
With many lives at stake, will rivalry push Solveig and Kai apart, or will they inspire each other to realize the greatness both women desire to achieve—and to survive the coming battle?
Gear up for action and the dramatic storytelling of Edale Lane in this hero’s journey sapphic Viking historical romance. If you like to root for an underdog, experience epic world building, and enjoy women with swords, you’ll love Legacy of the Valiant, the second book in the Tales from Norvegr series. Buy your copy today!
“Tell us the story of Sigrid and Elyn,” Leiknir urged. Eager, round eyes peered up at his father, Torsten, as he added another log to the fire. Its flames danced just far enough away to avoid catching the twig roof of their lean-to ablaze.
Kai nestled close to her girlfriend, Tove, under the shelter of the shed.
“Aye, son, tales you never tire of hearing,” Torsten replied in good humor. “To the west, in the misty land of Norvegr, arose twin heroes Sigurd and Sigrid, as tall and blonde as Swedes, and almost as brave,” Torsten added with a wink, which prompted Leiknir to giggle. The boy squeezed in between Kai and his father and pulled up a woolen blanket.
Kai felt a sense of contentment in her life as Tove wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She pulled her closer and twirled Kai’s long flaxen braid impishly. With a grin, Kai glanced up into Tove’s playful eyes, set in a square face framed by light-brown tresses. Her lips were full and inviting, and Kai reveled in kissing them, but this was not the time. She loved stories about Sigrid and Elyn even more than Leiknir did.
In mesmerizing fashion, Torsten recounted story after story: how Sigrid had wrestled the great brown bear, ridden on a whale’s back, rescued a princess, and fought courageously on the battlefield. Then the mighty Elyn was introduced to the narrative, which included the stories of how she and Sigrid had been trapped in and later escaped from a troll cave, uncovered a malicious plot, and made peace between warring factions. The saga continued with the two magnificent shieldmaidens’ voyage to the Russ, where they discovered a priceless treasure sealed in an underwater cavern. To show their good will, they shared the spoils with the native inhabitants of the region, thereby gaining loyal allies. Torsten added their adopted daughter, Ingrid, to the tale. She had grown up to become the most beautiful woman in Sogn and had married the king’s son, Asbjorn Bloodaxe, who had recently assumed his father’s title.
Torsten related one incredible adventure after another, even an unbelievable tale of a voyage west to a green island, where the women discovered strange musical instruments and battled a tribe of men who wore skirts. When the moon was high in the star-studded sky, Torsten moved on to the newest part of the story—the portion that tugged at Kai’s heartstrings.
“Sigrid and Elyn shared a love as fierce as their swords, and neither man nor beast could defeat either valiant shieldmaiden,” he recounted. “Alas, ‘twas a sickness that brought the beautiful, flame haired Elyn to her grave. The older of the pair, Sigrid, was heartbroken at the thought her beloved may not share the same world as her in the afterlife, so at fifty-five years of age, the hero set out on a quest to find Bifröst, the rainbow which bridges the realm of Miðgarðr to Ásgarðr and the court of the gods.”
Kai twined her fingers with Tove’s, wishing for the connection to carry her through the end of the tale.
“Sigrid consulted a völva, who told her the gods move the bridge daily to keep mortals and jötnar from using it. At Sigrid’s urging, she employed her seiðr to part the veil between worlds and see where Bifröst would be in one moon’s time. Acting on the vision, the hero traveled far to the north, past the line where no trees grow, and did battle with a colossal white bear to access a cave, where she came upon the foot of the legendary pathway to the dwelling of the gods. Though Bifröst’s red stripe burned as fire, Sigrid pressed on. Yet once she had crossed the rainbow bridge, she found the god Himinbjorg standing guard lest anyone pass uninvited.”
“Sigrid would not be turned away,” Leiknir announced with confidence. “She told Himinbjorg who she was and demanded to make her case before Odin.”
Torsten smiled and ran a rough-skinned hand over his son’s head, mussing his hair. “Indeed. Nothing would stand in her way. Sigrid made a plea before all the gods to place Elyn with the slain warriors because, even though she had not died in battle, she had earned the same right as anyone who had. They agreed on one condition.” He held up a finger and scanned his small audience. “Who recalls what she must do?”
All three cried out, “Kill Jabbar the Giant!”
“Hey!” Torsten mocked dismay. “If everyone knows this story, why do I bother telling it?”
They laughed and Kai responded, “Because we love to hear your version best.”
Torsten winked and touched her soul with his smile. “Jabbar was the meanest, nastiest jötunn in all the nine worlds, and he happened to be hiding out in ours. He had been causing a lot of trouble and none wished to fight him. However, no reports of the disasters this biggest of giants had caused could quench Sigrid’s zeal. She battled him for three days and three nights, creating rumblings throughout the earth. At last, she defeated the monster, but not before he had delivered to her a mortal wound. The Valkyries came for her and when they brought her to Odin’s Hall, Elyn was already there waiting for her.”
“Did all that really happen, Father?” Leiknir asked in disbelief. “And if she and Jabbar killed each other, who was there to bring back the report?”
Torsten stirred the fire with a stick and gazed upward at the multitude of shining stars. “Many are the things we have not seen with our eyes, yet we know them to be true,” he said. “Can you see the air, or merely its effects? Can you see love, or is it something invisible you feel inside? Have you visited the far-away lands the travelers tell of, or do you accept their word about scorching deserts of sand and strange animals who dwell not in our forests? Who can say if Sigrid really crossed Bifröst and reasoned with the gods? We know Elyn died, and Sigrid would not rest until she secured a way their souls could remain together until the fateful day of Ragnarok. Is this not how you would like to believe the story ends?”
“I suppose so,” he answered and bowed his head.
Kai’s gaze followed Torsten’s heavenward, and she pondered the twinkling lights above. The thickest mass of them seemed to form a road—no, a bridge—stretching to some faraway place. Could this ribbon of stars be Bifröst, and were Sigrid and Elyn up there somewhere feasting at Odin’s table, enjoying rousing battles each day, exchanging stories with Thor and Tyr? She wagered they could teach the Valkyries a thing or two.
“I wish they were still alive so I could meet them,” Tove said. “I’ve met women who have taken up a spear or an axe to defend their village, but never a real shieldmaiden or a woman jarl.”
“Me too, but I know what a fearsome foe illness can be,” Kai murmured. “At least Sigrid could use her sword against the giant; what chance did Elyn have to defeat an unseen enemy inside her own body? I like to believe they are up there together even now.”