Whenever I meet Shelley Wilson – whether that’s in person or online – I’m always in awe of what she achieves. Today it gives me enormous pleasure to hand over Linda’s Book Bag to Shelley as she introduces her latest book, The Last Princess in a super guest post.
The Last Princess was published yesterday, 24th May 2022, by BHC Press Books and is available for purchase directly from BHC Press, on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Google Play, Kobo and Apple Books.
The Last Princess
Northumbria, 866 AD
Edith still has much to learn about the art of ruling a kingdom, but when her family is murdered, she’s faced with the challenge of staying alive.
As a young woman in Anglo-Saxon England, Edith finds it hard to be heard above the Eldermen who are ripping the kingdom to pieces, but nothing can prepare her for the arrival of the pirates and the Vikings. Torn from her homeland and sold into slavery, she’s determined to survive at any cost.
Finding allies in the unexpected and enemies closer to home, Edith clings to her dream of returning home one day to reclaim her throne and to exact revenge on those who harmed her family.
Early Praise for The Last Princess:
“This fast-paced historical novel builds on an obscure Anglo-Saxon king’s life to tell an empowering tale of a girl’s journey to fully embrace a new world, a new culture…as she grows into her own as a warrior. Edith’s fierce and often violent quest for revenge is juxtaposed with lovely, life-affirming moments of friendship and love in an engaging first-person narrative.” – Kirkus Reviews
“I LOVED this quick fantasy read. I can’t wait to share with my students once I get a copy.” – Dawn, Teacher & Goodreads Reviewer
“WOW! I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it! This story is absolutely amazing.” – Rebecca, Goodreads Reviewer
Introducing The Last Princess
A Guest Post by Shelley Wilson
I love joining Linda on her amazing blog and scaring her half to death with talk of werewolves, vampires, and things that go bump in the night. I was over the moon when she agreed to let me hang out with her again, although after I chat about my latest release she might never invite me back!
Hmm – I’ll wait until I see what you have to say! I know you and your scary stuff Shelley…
Are you ready to set sail for an epic adventure?
Go on then!
My new release, The Last Princess, was published through BHC Press (24th May 2022). You’ll be happy to hear there are no supernatural creatures in this one. However, I do chop off quite a few heads with an axe or two. Sorry, Linda.
Why doesn’t that surprise me Shelley? Dare I ask, what can we expect from The Last Princess?
In The Last Princess, you’ll meet Edith, a feisty Anglo-Saxon princess who loses everyone she cares about in the first chapter, before being dragged off by pirates and sold to a Viking Jarl as a slave – and you thought you were having a rough day!
I take it Edith doesn’t take this lightly?
Edith might have dealt with a lot but she is the daughter of a king and that drives her desire for revenge. She wants to get home and punish the man responsible for killing her family and trying to kill her. Unfortunately, she is now in a foreign land working as a slave for a Viking Jarl and his family. Even more confusing is Leif, the handsome son of her owner who seems to enjoy teasing her.
The fact she is a princess and heir to the throne of Northumbria remains her secret. As far as Leif and his family are concerned she is a lowly slave with a knack for getting into trouble and saving the life of the Jarl’s youngest son.
Over time, Edith warms to the Vikings and this is reciprocated as she is given a mentor to train her on how to fight. Solveig is a shield maiden who takes no prisoners. She is moody, tough, and funny, and although she is always quick to put Edith in her place, the warrior and princess build a strong bond of friendship.
As this is a Viking story I’m sure you can guess what’s coming. Yep, epic battles, plenty of blood, gore, and axe fights, longboats and invading armies, and a smidge of romance.
Actually, despite you decapitating folk, I love the sound of The Last Princess Shelley. So where did you get the idea for The Last Princess?
The story inspiration for The Last Princess came from my love of genealogy and a DNA test I did. The results showed my DNA is 38% Scandinavian and with my overly active imagination I put two and two together and came up with ‘I’m descended from a Viking!’ The characters began to bubble up in my head after that and Edith’s voice was pretty loud.
Actually, I can definitely accept you’re descended from a Viking!
As with all my YA novels, my main character is a young girl with as many challenges as I can physically throw at her, but with an inner strength that needs to be teased out by her supporting characters.
I love exploring themes of loyalty, family, friendships, and confidence, and I hope Edith’s story resonates with my readers.
Solveig is probably my favourite character as she is feisty, sassy, and strong willed – everything I wish I’d been as a teenager.
Certainly everything you are as an adult!
What research did you do?
Moving from fantasy and supernatural stories to historical fiction has been an adventure in itself. I adored the research process for The Last Princess, heading off to York and Northumberland in my campervan to visit sites and learn more about the Viking raids.
Writing about a specific point in our history means I can’t just make stuff up this time. I needed to explore an authentic timeline that included real Anglo-Saxon places and people. The clothing, weapons, and customs needed to be investigated thoroughly, and I spent hours reading books and articles, and watching documentaries on Viking history.
The favourite part of my research was visiting Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland which plays a big part in this novel. In The Last Princess, the castle is a wooden fort but still stands proud on its rocky plateau where there has been a stronghold for over 1,400 years.
I think Northumberland is quickly becoming one of my favourite places to visit. My daughter accompanied me on my research trip, and aside from me embarrassing her by pretending to be an invading Viking running up the sand dunes, I think she was as impressed as I was. We’ve returned twice and have another trip booked later this year.
I might see you there in our motorhome. I love Northumberland.
Standing on the beach facing the North Sea and imagining what it must have felt like seeing the Viking ships on the horizon was inspiring. Our visit included a day trip to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne where we saw the world-renowned Viking Raider Stone and learned more about the Viking raids of 793 AD.
I’d love to go there.
I chose to set The Last Princess in 866 AD when the Great Heathen Army captured York. It meant I could integrate this large force into the story.
Researching this book was a lot of fun and I’ve already started working on an idea for a future Viking novel. Perhaps I’ve set sail on an epic adventure of my own?
I bet you have Shelley! Thanks so much for introducing The Last Princess to us. Those who are on Twitter can find out more using the following too:
@ShelleyWilson72 #YA #NewRelease #TheLastPrincess #BHCPress #Vikings
About Shelley Wilson
Shelley is an English multi-genre author. She has written nine young adult/middle-grade supernatural, fantasy, and historical novels, a children’s meditation book, and six motivational self-help titles for adults.
She is a proud single mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, UK. Shelley loves travelling in her VW camper searching for stories. She also enjoys paddle boarding, Tudor and Viking history, supporting Leeds United, and obsessing over to-do lists!
You can find out more on Shelley’s website, by finding her on Facebook, Twitter @ShelleyWilson72 and Instagram or via her publisher.