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Welcome to Sara Douglass Worlds

Welcome to SaraDouglassWorlds.com, the new cyber home of the extraordinary writer, Sara Douglass, originally located at SaraDouglass.com. Many of you will know (and I apologise in advance to those of you who are about to learn this) that on the 27 September 2011, Sara died of ovarian cancer after a long and extremely painful struggle. After her death, I was told that she had entrusted her literary estate and creative legacy to me.

sara-karen-in-nonsuch-gardensAllow me to introduce myself, my name is Karen Brooks and I was Sara’s friend for over twenty years – a writer and academic like Sara who was not only my beloved friend, but mentor and inspiration as well. Along with my husband, Stephen, I was Sara’s primary carer for the last nine months of her life. The best and worst thing I’ve ever done…

Humbled, privileged beyond words with Sara’s amazing gift, it has taken almost three years to resurrect her website after it became swallowed by red tape, ridiculous legalities and what appears to be a great deal of ineptitude on the part of various domain providers and hosts. Not even lawyers’ letters and emails, threats and promises could restore what was now rightfully mine – this precious legacy I’d been given. I despaired – I really did. But, just when all seemed lost, a woman named Gina (and new fan of Sara’s) swooped into my life and accomplished what I begun to think impossible. Due to her perseverance, incredible contacts, energy and knowledge (as well the generosity and support of my own website host and designer, Oliver from MediaBox), we now have saradouglassworlds.com and nonsuchkitchengardens.com to enjoy.

Thank you Gina. I cannot recommend this lady highly enough.

While I’ve made the decision to maintain nonsuchkitchengardens as a memorial site, this one is different in that not only does it contain some material you may not have seen before, I will be posting updates when relevant and invite you, Sara’s fans, to post your views and share your insights and pleasure in her work with each other. If you have anything you’d really like to know or see, please feel free to ask – though, be warned, asking doesn’t always guarantee the answer you might like 😉

I have also duplicated some material across both the Nonsuch site and this one as some things are too important not to – such as Sara’s Silence of the Dying blog post.

I hope you enjoy the SaraDouglassWorlds.com as much as Gina and I have enjoyed bringing it back. For those of you who knew Sara and her wonderful imagination, it’s a bitter-sweet experience revisiting your favourite places and characters, I know; for those of you who have only just stumbled upon her work, I envy your voyage of discovery.

Whoever you are, old fan or new, you are a friend and I warmly welcome you to the worlds of the wonderful Sara Douglass. May you soar with the stars.

Karen Brooks
8th April 2014
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Goodreads: The Betrayal of Arthur

betrayal-of-arthur-2013-cover“This is a wonderfully interesting book that examines history and characters of the Arthurian legend. Written in a very accessible style, Douglass carefully outlines the origins of the legend, especially examining where the various elements came from. The various character analysis are most interesting, concluding that Merlin and Arthur are actually, given what they are commonly understood to be able to do and their role in the legend, rather dismal failures. This fascinating book will interest those with knowledge of the Arthurian legend and an inquisitive mind.”

Review by Ernest on the Goodreads website.


On the 6th of February 1998 Sara wrote on her personal website “I’m working on my non-fiction Arthurian book at the moment. It is a book that investigates the betrayal theme within the legend. Fantastic. All to do with sex and incest and medieval penances. The arthurian tale is a very medieval tale in its images and in its strong moral overtones, and it is fascinating to read some of today’s novels and see how authors struggle to ‘modernize’ an epic that is so medieval it has almost lost relevance for today’s world.”


The Betrayal of Arthur was originally published in 1998. Pan McMillan re-released it on 1st October 2013 in electronic format, you can download it from Momentum here.

SMH: Writing was fantasy novelist’s own escape

sara-douglass-smh-obitSara Douglass, 1957 – 2011

Sara Douglass was the pre-eminent Australian author of epic fantasy and the first author to show that an Australian could have worldwide success from writing fantasy. Her books sold almost a million copies in Australia alone, and far more internationally, with many translations.

She was born Sara Warneke on July 2, 1957 in Penola, South Australia, to Robert Warneke, a health and weeds inspector, and his wife, Elinor (nee Lees). A notable ancestor was the 19th-century spiritualist Robert James Lees, who claimed to have identified Jack the Ripper.

The Warnekes moved from the family farm to Adelaide when Sara was seven and she was sent to Methodist Ladies College. She began writing at school and came second in a national essay competition. Despite showing academic promise, she followed in what she described as a ”female family tradition” of nursing.

She worked as a registered nurse in Adelaide for about 17 years and completed a BA, then a PhD in early modern English history, both part-time at the University of Adelaide. Many of the manuscripts of her best-selling fantasy novels are held in the Barr Smith Library at the university.

In 1992, her PhD completed, she left nursing for a lectureship in mediaeval history at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus, and published one book of history as Sara Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller in Early Modern England (1995).

Later, under her pen name of Douglass, she also published a study of the King Arthur legend, The Betrayal of Arthur (1998).

Warneke found academia stressful and uncertain, and again she sought a way out of her employment and returned to writing, completing several unpublished novels, including Mills&Boon-like romances that were rejected for being too dark.

Then, in a move she would describe as ”almost by accident” she turned to writing fantasy, hitting her literary stride with Battleaxe (1995), set in the imaginary world of Tencendor. Like J. R. R. Tolkien, she found a background in mediaevalism the perfect training for writing in the epic fantasy genre.

Middle Ages history informed the imaginary sword and sorcery realms of her novels, and made them credible, lived-in worlds.

Once Battleaxe was accepted, her publisher, HarperCollins, requested a pseudonym because Warneke would mean relegation to the lower shelves of bookshops, She chose Douglas, the name she would have had if born a male, with the added ”s” to feminise it, mediaeval-style.

Now in her niche, she completed more than 20 novels. She was formidably prolific, especially since genre expectations for epic fantasy mean trilogies and books that can exceed 200,000 words.

Battleaxe was the first book of the Axis trilogy, followed the next year by Enchanter and StarMan.

The latter two books were joint winners of the 1996 Aurealis award for best fantasy novel, followed in 2001 with another Aurealis for The Wounded Hawk.

Two later series, The Wayfarer Redemption and Darkglass Mountain, revisited Tencendor. She also wrote several independent historical fantasy series, The Crucible trilogy and the Troy Game series.

Despite the pace and volume of her writing, she never compromised her authorial standards.

Advised to move to Ireland for tax reasons, Douglass preferred the cool climate of Hobart, where she restored a historic house and garden. Although she was an intensely private person, she maintained contact with her fans via email, bulletin boards and her website.

She stopped only when she was receiving hundreds of messages a day; she was generous with advice, and encouraging, to aspiring fantasy writers.

In 2008, Douglass was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the disease that had killed her mother. She produced some remarkable writing about her disease, including a blog entry, The Silence of the Dying. It drew a strong response, both online and when reprinted in newspapers.

Despite her illness, Douglass saw through the editing process of her final novel, The Devil’s Diadem, and although too weak to read, she saw advance proofs of her first short story collection, the recently published The Hall of Lost Footsteps.

Sara Douglass is survived by her siblings, Christine, Paul, and Judy, and her carers during her illness, Karen Brooks and her husband, Stephen.

©2011 Lucy Sussex / Sydney Morning Herald.

This obituary originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and was syndicated throughout the Fairfax Media network. 

SMH: Late author’s lasting legacy

sara-in-office-featuredSara Douglass was world-famous for her novels, but her blog about dying, featured in the Sunday Times, captured WA’s attention.

She sparked a flood of letters when her controversial blog entry, The Silence of the Dying, featured in the Sunday Times last year. And now she has found peace.

Award-winning fantasy author Sara Douglass had her ashes scattered over her gardens at her home in Tasmania on Friday after passing away from ovarian cancer, aged 54. (September 30th, 2011)

The former South Australian nurse turned medieval history lecturer shot to international fame with her Axis Trilogy.

A collection of short stories, The Hall of Lost Footsteps, was finished just before her death and will be published in November (2011).

Douglass, whose real name was Sara Warneke, gained unexpected attention mid last year when her blog was featured in Sunday Times , giving a raw, funny and honest account of dying.

It included how the well-meaning drown people in soft toys, cards and empty platitudes, while the seriously ill are forced to cheer up loved ones. Assuming loved ones still want to visit, that is.

“Our collective attention span for someone who is ill lasts about two weeks,” she wrote. “After that they’re on their own. From my own experience and talking to others with bad cancer or chronic illness, I’ve noticed a terrible trend.

“After a while, and only a relatively short while, people grow bored with you not getting any better and just drift off. Phone calls stop. Visits stop. Emails stop. People drop you off their Facebook news feed. Eyes glaze when you say you are still not feeling well. Who needs perpetual bad news?”

“I have begun to notice death all about me,” she also noted. “I resent every celebrity who ‘has lost their long battle with cancer’. Oh God, what a cliché. Can no one think of anything better? It isn’t anything so noble as a ‘battle’ gallantly lost, I am afraid. It is just a brutal, frustrating, grinding, painful, demoralising, terrifying deterioration that is generally accomplished amid great isolation.”

The response was enormous, and Douglass told The Sunday Times she was greatly warmed by the outpouring of emails and feedback.

“Incredible,” she emailed later about the huge response. “And such a shame. As a society we deal with death very badly. I am glad if I could help – and shed light on just what one person goes through.”

The author is survived by two sisters and a brother. They posted a tribute online recalling her as “possessively private” and someone “who could see a funny angle to most situations”.

Douglass’s close friend of 20 years, and carer for the past nine months, Karen Brooks, wrote this week: “She seemed to find inner peace. She died, as she lived  on her own terms, in her own time. Her death was quick.”

Brooks spread the author’s ashes “over her beloved garden with her cats and a bottle of bubbly as witnesses”.

She also shed some light on Douglass’s final days, which the author had always said she hoped would be spent at home.

“The final days were, by her choice, in a palliative care ward in Hobart,” Brooks wrote in a tribute. “Despite what she wrote in her forthright and amazing blog, ‘The Silence of the Dying’, Sara chose not to die at home.

“After two weeks in hospital and then just over two in palliative care, she made the decision, despite everything being set in place (care teams organised, doctor ready, and I was to move in with her), not to return.

“I think it was emotionally too hard for her – the distancing from her old life had begun. The palliative care ward was comfortable, the ambience was warm, the staff caring, frank and compassionate: just like Sara.”

Douglass’s five adored cats, featured regularly in her blogs, will be adopted by Brooks and her husband, Stephen.

Read The Silence of the Dying blog post here.

This article was written by Sheryl-Lee Kerr and originally appeared in The Sunday Times, the Sunday edition of perthnow.com.au.

The Sara Douglass Official Fan Page

Editors Note: This was the last post on the news section of the saradouglass.com website before Sara’s passing.


I have finally succumbed to Facebook and have started up a fan page there. It will be the easiest way to contact me, and to catch up on news of forthcoming books etc etc etc. You can find me listed as Sara Douglass, Official Fan Page (the other Sara Douglass page is run by Tor and I can have no input there). Celebrate the 15th anniversary of BattleAxe by becoming a fan!

The Author Tour

I am often asked what it is like to head off about the world promoting one of my newly-published books. I think most people assume they’re enormous fun and that authors look forward to them with bated breath and massive enthusiasm.

I used to think that, too …

Meeting readers is always a great deal of fun, and generally very rewarding.

But author promotional trips are generally not always the best means for either reader or author to make acquaintance.

The trip is paid for completely by the publisher. That means they want to get value out of the author; they want to sell books, after all. So days are generally packed with events and with people to meet (not readers, but people connected with the publishing industry, or booksellers, or agents … not readers as such).

What does ‘packed’ mean?

Well … imagine being in a different city every day. You rise at 4 am so that you can fly to whichever city you’re meant to be in that day. You arrive at a hotel completely exhausted (because you’ve been up late the previous night), if you can get to your room then you might have time for a shower and change, and then by early afternoon it is off to the events for the day.

Usually this will include book signings and bookstore promotional events. I enjoy these the best of anything connected with touring. Your get to sit down, signing books and chatting to readers generally isn’t very stressful (and usually very interesting), and people bring you things to eat and drink.

I like book signings. *grin* They can be strange, though, because just occasionally someone can line up for hours just to tell you how much they dislike my books. the fact that they might dislike them doesn’t’ fuss me, but I am amazed they felt the need to take an afternoon out of their life to make a point.

And bookstore events are great because sometimes parents bring in babies that have been named after your characters – I love that!

Okay, so we’ve established that I like book signings. the down side to them is that generally they are very rushed, and that the publicist is intent on dragging me off somewhere else.

That ‘somewhere else’ will almost always have to do with publicity, which means either a television studio or a radio station, or perhaps a sit down in a hotel lobby with a journalist.

I don’t mind radio interviews, but I loathe television interviews. That’s mainly because in a television studio, very particularly for a live show, guests are herded like cattle, you don’t get to meet the host until ten seconds before the interview commences, and you have no idea on earth what they’re going to ask. That means there you are on a live show and almost always the host throws you The Most Unanswerable Question in existence.

Then, once they’re done with the interview, the host turns away, you’re hustled off and the next guest hustled on … and it is just the most dehumanizing experience.

Radio interviews can sometimes be like that as well, but generally radio interviewers spend some time with you before hand, perhaps establish what they’d like to talk about, establish a rapport … and some of the live radio interviews I’ve done in studio have just been absolutely fabulous.

Of course, I could be sent back to my hotel room where I can be sat at a desk for six hours and do phone interview after phone interview after phone interview.

That can be absolutely horrendous. No matter how enthusiastic you may have been about your book at one point, by the time you’ve done all the writing and editing and proofing you never want to see it again, and having to do a publicity tour when you’re enthusiasm for a book is at its lowest ebb isn’t such a good idea!

Also, you may be promoting different books in different countries. It hasn’t been unknown for me to get off a plane, get in a car with the publicist, ask her desperately which book it is I am supposed to be talking about here, and does she have a copy on her – and if she does, then I desperately read the blurb on the back cover to remind me what the book is about!

So imagine between three to six weeks of this, living out of a suitcase, days running from 4 am to midnight, seeing only the inside of television or radio studios and hotel rooms and bookstores, and nothing of the city or country you’re actually in, and by the time I have finished I am literally ill with exhaustion and stress.

So the next time an author doesn’t appear particularly friendly at a book signing, just remember that they’re probably totally exhausted and thinking only of home.

Non-American authors tend to regard the American tour with complete horror – it is known as the most difficult place to tour in because of the nightmarish scheduling .I actually now have it stipulated in my contracts that I do not have to tour. I have become so ill and so exhausted, I just can’t do them any more.

It is better to go to a conference to meet and chat to authors – everyone has more time, no one is rushing off somewhere, and there is usually a bar close handy.

©2006 Sara Douglass Enterprises

Fantastic Reviews: Author Interview with Sara Douglass

Sara Douglass, pseudonym of Sara Warneke, is the best selling fantasy author in Australia, with a dozen novels to her credit. Using her training as an historian to invoke periods beyond the standard medieval European setting so familiar to fantasy readers, Douglass is helping to expand the boundaries of genre fantasy. Her work is just beginning to receive the attention it merits in the United States. Tor Books has recently published four of her novels, including Hades’ Daughter, the first book in a projected four-volume series called The Troy Game, which spans the past three thousand years of recorded history.

Hades’ Daughter was a nominee for this year’s Aurealis Award for best Australian fantasy novel of the year, along with The Crippled Angel, the third book in Douglass’ Crucible Trilogy. This comes as no surprise. Douglass is a two-time winner of the Aurealis Award, and in the award’s eight-year history, Douglass has never not been nominated in the best fantasy novel category.


Fantastic Reviews (FR): A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald said that some new writers want to be the next Tolkien or J.K. Rowling, but “the canny ones want to be the new Sara Douglass.” How gratifying is it to be held in your homeland as the model of success?

Sara Douglass (SD): I haven’t seen that article, but that comment has made my weekend. So, yes, it is gratifying, although now I’m starting to look over my shoulder.

…..

FR: You tried your hand at straight romance before turning to fantasy. Why do you think your talents are so suited to the fantasy genre?

SD: I tried my hand at a great deal of things before I started on fantasy. I tried fantasy because I had a really good research background in pre-modern worlds (not just medieval) and that made me very comfortable with the genre. I knew how people lived and thought in a pre-modern setting, how landscape, for instance, is the major factor in determining a society’s religion as well as economics and politics. And it was fun. What else can I say?

FR: Thank you very much for taking the time to respond!

SD: A pleasure!


©2003 Aaron Hughes / Fantastic Reviews. To read the full interview on the Fantastic Reviews website please click on this link.

Suite 101: Interview with Sara Douglass

This interview appeared at my old Suite101 site a few years ago that I thought I would share again. Sara Douglass is a Fantasy author with interesting and varied books. She is an Australian author with a unique voice in the genre. Her books are vivid tales with compelling characters, interesting themes and gripping plots. Among her many books she is best known for the Wayfarer Redemption series consisting of: The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter, StarMan, Sinner, Pilgrim and Crusader. Many of her other books take place in this world or are set in other worlds she has created.


Many new Fantasy authors from Australia have been adding their unique voices to the genre. Sara Douglass in one of these authors. Though established in Australia and Britain, her books only appeared recently in the United States. Her books are vivid tales with compelling characters, interesting themes and gripping plots. Tor books published the first three books of her series consisting of The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter and StarMan which is part of the Wayfarer Redemption of six books. The first book of the Troy Game, Hades’ Daughter, is available now. More information about Ms. Douglass can be found at her web site: http://www.saradouglass.com

Debbie Ledesma: How did you decide to become a writer?

Sara Douglass: Because I enjoyed it, and because I had trained as one. Writing was something I had always done well, and something I had always been at ease with, since I was a child. I always wrote: I kept diaries, I penned letters, I wrote novels, theses, lectures, talks, articles, non-fiction books. I don’t think I ever ‘decided’ to become a writer. I just did it as a part of my daily life.

DL: What books are in your future?

SD: The final three books of The Troy Game! Beyond that I haven’t thought.

DL: Thank you very much Ms. Douglass for this interview.


©2003 Debbie Ledesma / Suite101.com. To read the full interview on Debbie Ledesma’s personal website please click on this link.

Internet Writing Journal: A Conversation With Sara Douglass

sara-douglass-2000On her news page in 2003 Sara said of this interview:

here’s one more interview online at the Internet Writing Journal: it is one of the best set of questions I’ve ever been given, so it was an enjoyable one! My answers have been edited a bit, so if sometimes something doesn’t quite make sense … well … (how’s that for an excuse?).


Bestselling author Sara Douglass is a household name in her native Australia. And with the release in the United States of The Wayfarer Redemption series and her new series, The Troy Game (Tor), she is now being enthusiastically embraced by American audiences, as well.

Born Sara Warneke (Douglass is her pen name), in 1957 in Penola, a small town in the south-east of South Australia, Sara grew up with her parents, two older sisters and older brother on a sheep farm called Gundealga. She loved the farm and hated leaving when her family moved to the capital city of South Australia, Adelaide, when she was seven. She did most of her growing up in an old bluestone Victorian house in the suburb of Malvern, surrounded by books. She attended the Methodist Ladies College, which she says “was gentle, gentile and caring, and totally oblivious to the social revolutions of the sixties.”

Her life took a cruel turn when her mother died after a long and brutal battle with ovarian cancer. After her mother’s death, Sara concentrated on school and began to write. She came in second in a national essay competition on the life of horses in the circus, rodeo and racing. After graduation, at the insistence of her father and stepmother, she took up the family tradition of nursing, which she found that she despised. After seventeen years of enduring the stressful profession, she went back to school, while nursing part-time, eventually receiving a Bachelor of Arts and a Ph.D. in early modern (16th century) English history at the University of Adelaide.

She took a position as lecturer in medieval history in La Trobe University, Bendigo, which is in central Victoria, Australia. Although she loved the study of ancient history and the university, the interdepartmental politics of academia was anathema to her. So she began writing again, turning out what she calls “several really awful novels, a couple of not bad ones, and then one day, sat down to begin BattleAxe. I knew by the time I was about 100 pages in that this was the novel that was going to do it for me, if any novel was.” She finished the book and sent it off to a literary agent that she found in the Yellow Pages. The agency accepted her as a client after six months, and six weeks after that HarperCollins offered her a contract. Her editors asked her to change her last name so that her books wouldn’t be stuck on the bottom shelf in the bookstores, and Sara Douglass was born. Her first book, BattleAxe, (as it was called in Australia) began the series set in the land of Tencendor and was an immediate hit with both critics and readers alike. The Axis Trilogy begins the adventure into Tencendor. It tells the story of the enigmatic Axis, BattleAxe of the Seneschal, his mysterious and dangerous origins (if he is allowed to assume his full heritage he might as easily destroy the land as save it) and his heart-rending love for two woman, Azhure and Faraday. The Axis Trilogy won the prestigious Aurealis Award in the category of Best Fantasy Novel. Recently introduced in the United States by Tor, the series will be published as six books: The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter and StarMan are now available, with the other three books in the series (Sinner, Pilgrim and Crusader) scheduled for release starting in 2004.

Sara’s work is known for its vivid and complex characterizations, powerful emotion and richly descriptive fantasy worlds. Her work is intense: the battles are brutal, the passion is dangerous and the characters are never either all good or all bad. She does not write lighthearted, flimsy stories in any way, yet there is a witty and wicked humor which underlies her writing. Her newest series is The Troy Game, a four book series, which begins with the recent release, Hades’ Daughter. The Troy Game is a historical fantasy covering 3,000 years of British history, tracing the bizarre tale of the establishment of the Troy Game on the banks of the Thames in 1100 BC and following it through to the conclusion of the Game during World War II. Hades’ Daughter begins intriguingly with the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Ariadne helps Theseus defeat the Minotaur, thinking they will live happily ever after. But Theseus abandons the pregnant Ariadne, who curses Theseus. Ariadne, the Mistress of the Labyrinth, destroys all but one of the labyrinths, thereby setting in motion the destruction of the ancient world.

Publisher’s Weekly says of Hades Daughter, “In this dazzling start to a new trilogy, Australian author Douglass…. once again combines mythology, fantasy, magic and romance to produce a consistent, well-rounded story full of seriously flawed characters both abhorrently evil and enthrallingly empathetic.”

Sara lives in Bendigo, Australia in her beloved Ashcotte, a Victorian home with fabulous gardens and a resident ghost. When she’s not writing, you might find her working in her garden, attending to her popular website or curled up with a good book. She spoke with us about Hades Daughter and her evolution from medieval historian to internationally bestselling novelist.

What role did books play in your life when you were growing up?

USA-wayfarer-redemption-1st3coversThey were my life! I had a terrible childhood (not so terrible as some, but terrible enough). Books were my only escape (as was school) from a family life that was sometimes too much to bear (and having said that, I must also say that this was no one’s fault — our family was the victim of circumstance and an over-keen adherence to Victorian morals of silence and in-expression). But the one terrific thing about my childhood was the family home which was so stuffed with books you can’t even imagine. There were books lining the walls. There were books stuffed under the sheets in the linen closet (and often on top of the sheets). There were trunkfuls of books in the back room — and there were even books in the toilet. My family was a sad remnant of a once grand Georgian and Victorian English family (someone got drunk, went bankrupt, and now Queen Lizzie owns our old family plot!!): some of those sheets had been woven by my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother in the late eighteenth century … and among the stacks of tarnished silverware and moldy chandeliers (I have to waffle a bit here — the grand chandelier that once hung in our entrance way lobbed into my house here in Bendigo a couple of months ago, and once I had cleaned off the 45 years’ worth of mould and dust I discovered a beautiful — but very heavy — gem. I had it hung yesterday, and now I type very grandly under my beautiful Venetian crystal chandelier!).

Where was I? Ah, yes, the books. We had seventeenth century Portuguese books of poetry propping up the buckets under the leaking roof. We had nineteenth-century midwifery books (must have been where I got my fascination for childbirths gone wrong!). We had first editions, fiftieth editions, pamphlets, leaflets, maps, atlases, seventeenth-century books of prayer, climbing guidebooks, tractor manuals, rug patterns, sewing guides, stuff everywhere. I read it all. Thousands of books, and I swear I read them all. (Except those too moldy to read, or those involved in essential household tasks like propping open doors and holding up buckets.)

If you were told you could magically spend a week in a past time period, where would you go and what would you do?

sara-whitecollar-lampWell, London, of course. But when? There are two periods that I just can’t choose between: the victory celebrations in London at the end of the war in Europe in 1945, and one of the great ceremonial celebrations of the medieval period — say, Henry V’s triumphal re-entry into London after his famous victory of Agincourt. That would truly have been something. I chose victory celebrations because that would put both London and Londoners at their best — and also allow me to get a glimpse of the rich and powerful. For both 1945 and 1415 (I think it was!) there would have been a week of celebrations and gaiety that would have been splendid and so much fun.

Of course there was also that wonderful day when a bunch of drunk Vikings hooked their long boat up to one of the piers of London Bridge in the late Dark Ages, rowed and rowed for all they were worth, and pulled London Bridge down. During their victory celebrations one of their bards came up with that lovely verse that is now sung by children, “London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down!”. (Bet you didn’t know to what that nursery rhyme referred to!) What a blast! (grins)


©2003 Claire E. White / Internet Writing Journal. To read the full interview on the Internet Writing Journal website please click on this link.

Dark Moon Rising: A Morning with Sara Douglass

Sara Douglass’ Wayfarer Redemption series came on like a storm in March 2001. What U.S. readers only then discovered, lucky Aussie fans had known for 6 years! Tencendor, a magical world of wit, wisdom, and wonder, holds all the allure of Robert Jordan’s nameless world and is much more tightly written.

So far, we’ve seen only the first three books here in the U.S., known abroad as the Axis Trilogy. The next trilogy, has no firm release dates, but is tentatively due out yearly through 2007.

In the dark of morning on a freezing winter Saturday, in Ashcotte village, Bendigo, Sara sat down to pen these responses to our questions. She had, she reports, had her coffee but was as yet too bored and lazy to have her shower and prepare for the day. The introspective quality of her winter lassitude makes for delightful reading. Curl up with a steaming cup and enjoy.


ASM: How would you describe yourself as a person?

SD: Very down to earth, rather blunt, consider life too short to tolerate fools, wicked sense of humour, soft and (surprisingly) romantic heart. And organised. Very very organised. I love lists. I love putting things in rows. At the moment I am about to move back into my office after a year (groan) of renovations, and I have all these magnificent new bookcases and cabinets, and I am going to have the time of my life organising things and putting things in rows …

I get this organisation mania from my mother, who, when she suspected she was dying, organised our entire family’s life into lists which we subsequently lived by and from for the next 5-6 years. “Where’s the Black Book of Lists?” my father would cry in desperation when we needed to know in what direction our lives should go. She also baked Easter and Christmas fruit cakes for the five years following her death (we religiously dampened them with sherry every few months) – now that’s what I call being organised. This meant we had the bizarre situation, eventually, of my father’s new wife having to serve up food prepared by her long-dead predecessor.

ASM: What are you working on now? And when will we see it here in the US?

SD: At the moment I’m working on a 4 book series called The Troy Game. The Troy Game is a labyrine enchantment that was – according to myth or to true history, depending on who you read – used in the founding of London by refugee Trojans during the late Bronze Age. (Yes, there’s my obsession with London re-emerging.) The series spreads over time from the late Bronze Age to the Blitz during World War Two. The first book, “Hades’ Daughter”, is in the production line as we speak and will be out in the USA in January next year (following publication in Australia this year). Thereafter the books will be released at yearly intervals in Australia at least, finishing the series in 2005, and hopefully there will be a similar publication schedule in America.


©2002 Allie S. McKnight / DarkMoonRising. This interview originally appeared in Dark Moon Rising online magazine in August 2002. To read the full interview on the Dark Moon Rising archive please click on this link.