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The Coffee Pot Book Club Presents "The Year We Lived" by Virginia Crow

Please welcome back to the Tavern the lovely and talented Virginia Crow! We're celebrating her new release, The Year We Lived! Grab a cup of mead and let's take a peek into Virginia's intriguing story...


A Message from Virginia Crow

The Power of a Name

I’ve always had a fascination with names. It doesn’t matter what book I’m writing, the names I give my characters are always significant. And this was exactly the case with The Year We Lived too.

This story actually began in a dream more than two years ago. I had a dream about a young couple meeting in the concealment of the reedbeds, and forming a naïve partnership. At the time, I was keeping a pictorial diary, and so my first attempts of writing the story down were actually all pictures. To begin with, the main character was only called “Little Sis”.

Over the years, I’d formed an idea for a certain storyline but it had never managed to find the right direction. Now, suddenly, I had it! Over the next few days, my sketch-a-day diary began to become filled with the images of my characters from this new book. Beside each image was a word or two to explain it (always handy to know what on earth you’ve been drawing at one o’clock in the morning!) and virtually all of these were names.

Some of the names came together naturally. For example, the Burgundian brothers Henry and Philip were logically taken from the French monarchy. But some of the names just didn’t sit right. I knew I wanted my mysterious figure from the reedbeds to have an earthy name. He had begun his live as Thomas but that didn’t put him in the right time and class as he needed to be. Consequently, he became Dunstan. The people of the Hall had to have a mixture of names, as here we had Danish, Saxon and Norman influence. So we had Robert, Sweyn, Matilda and Alric representing the eclectic background of the hidden settlement.

Ultimately, the last person to get their name was “Little Sis” – the pivotal character. I went through quite a few different names, knowing it had to be an Anglo-Saxon sounding name, and something her brother could abridge. I wanted the relationship between the brother and sister to be embodied in the nicknames they gave to one another. I’ve always found an affectionate name says an equal amount about the caller and recipient. Eventually, I settled on Edith, with her brother calling her Edie.

So, read on, Readers, and keep your eyes peeled for those names... None of them are there by accident!

It is 1074, 8 years after the fateful Battle of Hastings. Lord Henry De Bois is determined to find the secret community of Robert, an Anglo-Saxon thane. Despite his fervour, all his attempts are met with failure.

When he captures Robert’s young sister, Edith, events are set in motion, affecting everyone involved. Edith is forced into a terrible world of cruelty and deceit, but finds friendship there too.

Will Robert ever learn why Henry hates him so much? Will Edith’s new-found friendships be enough to save her from De Bois? And who is the mysterious stranger in the reedbed who can disappear at will?

A gripping historical fiction with an astonishing twist!

Available from these online retailers


Meet the Author

Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together such as her newly-published book "Caledon". She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book!

When she's not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music, and obtained her MLitt in "History of the Highlands and Islands" last year. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John O'Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 3rd year this April.

She now lives in the far flung corner of Scotland, soaking in inspiration from the rugged cliffs and miles of sandy beaches. She loves cheese, music and films, but hates mushrooms.

Connect with Virginia here


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