Well Christmas is well and truly done, so we shall be moving on into the New Year, but before we do, we have one more festive offering for you in the form of a Christmas interview with lovely Penelope Wallace.
If you haven’t read her debut novel, We Do Not Kill Children, we highly recommend that you check it out.
Penelope Wallace Christmas Interview
Your favourite day of Christmas from the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”?
A: The lords a-leaping and ladies dancing would make for a good ceilidh or barn dance.
If you had to be Scrooge or the Grinch, which would you be?
A: I am always Scrooge-ish about Christmas beginning too early.
Tell us about this book. Who did you write this book for?
A: “We Do Not Kill Children” is a not-too-dark story of murder and intrigue, in a pseudo-medieval setting with gender equality. I wrote it for people like me, who find swords and honour enthralling, don’t understand technology, like women to have roles other than love interest, and don’t want to read about rape.
What is your favourite part about preparing for Christmas?
A: Possibly opening cards and guessing who they’re from. Also seeing family.
Is there a central message in the book?
A: There are two: heroism is the daily trudge as well as the dramatic leap; and every criminal justice system needs a Court of Appeal.
What is your favourite Christmas Tradition?
A: Carols, and presents.
What is the most important idea you share in your book that will add value to the reader’s life?
A: Possibly to treat people as individuals, and not stereotype them, eg by gender or appearance.
Who is in charge of cooking Christmas dinner in your house?
A: Definitely not me. Normally my husband.
If you could compare this book with any book out there we might already be familiar with, which book would it be and why?
A: Fold “Brother Cadfael” into “Song of Ice and Fire” and add feminism.
If you could spend Christmas anywhere, where would it be?
A: At home is good.
Why did you start writing?
A: It is the obvious way to preserve and develop the strange images and story-lines in my head. Maybe.
Do your characters celebrate Christmas?
A: They certainly do, and you can watch them doing it in the epilogue of “We Do Not Kill Children”.
Will it be a White Christmas?
A: Probably not.
What is your favourite Christmas song?
A: “God rest ye merry” and “Hark the herald angels sing” are excellent carols. If you mean secular song… how about “There’s only one more sleep till Christmas”?
When do you decorate your tree?
A: As late as possible, before Christmas Eve.
Which movie do you watch every Christmas?
A: The classic “Muppet Christmas Carol” (see above under “Song”) but “Love Actually” is also frequently watched.
Do you have a favourite book that you always read over the festive period?
A: No, but I sometimes read Milton’s “Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”.
We Do Not Kill Children
“We do not kill children; we do not commit rape; we do not take pleasure in torment.”
Dorac Kingsbrother was one of the King’s Thirty in the kingdom of Marod. That was before he was found guilty of the murder of Lord Gahran’s three children. Though Gahran was a traitor, his children were innocent. The code of the King’s Thirty leaves no room for such a barbaric act, and for this heinous crime Dorac faces a life in exile.
The shame of such a sentence is something that Dorac can’t brook, and so he sets off on a journey to the Old Stones, the place where those that seek death meet their end. Followed by Gormad, a child in search of adventure, Dorac is not alone on his final journey.
But not everyone believes that Dorac is guilty. Gemara Kingsister, head of the Six, investigates the murder of Gahran’s children; though there is more at stake than the life of a lone warrior in this, the first of the Tales from Ragaris.