Monday, November 14, 2011

Author Interview: Emily Whitman + Giveaway! (US)

Please Welcome Emily Whitman!

Emily Whitman is the author of the historical fantasy Wildwing and the Hades/Persephone retelling Radiant Darkness. I am delighted to have Emily here today to share with us some pretty handy pieces of advice if you ever find yourself hurtling back in time!  

 There are NO spoilers here!

Handy Tips for Looking Like You Belong in 1240
by Emily Whitman

So, you’re planning a trip back to the 13th century. I know you’ll have an amazing time…. if you survive. People in warrior societies aren’t very comfortable with outsiders. Medieval knights were always on the attack, carrying away loot and holding each other for ransom. How do you think they paid for all those castles, horses, and suits of armor? If you want to survive, you need to look like you belong. Here are a few pointers for looking like a natural when you go swirling back in time to a castle in England, c.1240.

When you sit down to eat in the castle’s great hall, you’ll find a slab of bread in front of you. Don’t eat it! It’s not bread, it’s your trencher—a disposable plate. Go ahead, pile your food on it. Let it sop up all the juices. When you’re done, someone will collect the trenchers and give them to the poor. Do you want yours to be the only one with a big hunk gnawed out of it?

Of course you’ll be sharing that trencher with your table partner. You share your goblet, too, so make sure you wipe the rim. It would be appallingly rude to forget.

Don’t go looking around for a fork. You don’t have one. You have your knife (you did bring your knife, didn’t you?) and a spoon. Who needs more than that? You have perfectly good fingers. Just be sure to wipe them on your napkin. It is not polite to use the tablecloth.

You’ll want a few medieval phrases to toss around, like mayhap and anon. Verily is a useful all-purpose word. Be sure to call the castle’s courtyard the bailey. Here’s a handy vocabulary list.

Frankly, that last pointer was cheating a bit. If you really want to belong, you’d better practice your French. That was the language of the nobility in 13th century England.

If you must curse, do it Medieval-style, referring to God’s body. You might exclaim, “God’s knees!” or “God’s bones!” or “By God’s breath!” You can get fairly creative here. (Ladies, you might want to tone it down.)

I trust you know how to ride a horse. And you do like hunting, don’t you? Everyone at the castle likes hunting, especially with falcons. If you’re lucky enough to go riding with a peregrine on your wrist, make sure you put on that big leather glove or you’ll be screaming in pain. Show you know what you’re doing by launching the falcon into the wind. And don’t look so shocked when it brings down a duck, crane, or heron—that’s the point of the expedition. Roasted heron for dinner. Yum.

Bedtime? Don’t expect privacy. Even if you’re the lady of the castle, you’ll be sharing your solar, or bedroom, with your ladies and female servants. Let’s hope they don’t snore too much.

If you must fall in love, try to fall for the man to whom you’re betrothed, especially if he’s the lord of the castle. Don’t pay any attention to that handsome young falconer, no matter how calm and strong he is with those brutal birds of prey, how free and fearless you feel when you’re with him. Are you listening to me? Stop it at once! This isn’t wise!

Have fun—and best of luck for making it back alive. If, that is, you decide to come back. Who knows what you’ll do once the falcons start flying.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Emily!

How do you think you'd fare in 13th century England? Which tip is your favorite? I, for one, will be practicing my medieval cursing. By God's pinky!

HarperCollins is generously providing a copy of Wildwing for giveaway!

Info for the giveaway:
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • You must have a US mailing address
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • Your address is not required, but including it will help with sending the book out to you sooner
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen 
  • This giveaway closes on December 7th

Emily is also stopping by Ruby's Reads today!

Check out our Historical Fantasy Jubilee full schedule of events and giveaways!

Have you entered to win our prize pack giveaways?


  1. Great guest post! And Wildwing sounds fantastic - I'm definitely adding it to my TBR.

  2. I'm sorry I missed this book when it was first published because it sounds awesome! I'm glad I know about it now, and winning would be great but I'm still adding it to my own TBR pile!


  3. This is an awesome guest post. I'm totally going to start using "verily" in my everyday conversation.

  4. The falconer sounds delicious in a *hey can I lick you* kind of way. LOL! The Hubs rarely uses silverware and always carries his knife, so me thinks he would fit in grandly, mayhap. :D That cursing had me laughing so hard! God's pinky! HAHAHA!

  5. This is such a fabulous interview! I bet the trench is delicious after soaking up all those juices. What a shame that you don't get to eat it. At least the poor get something tasty though. Love the curse words too.

  6. Great interview! The curse words were funny! I can just imagine someone saying "By God's thumb nail". LOL!

  7. haha these tips were all so brilliant! the author has wit, which is a lovely and welcome addition :)

  8. Great tips for going back in time!
    I'd love to read this book!!


  9. I loved this guest post. It's brilliant and funny and totally makes me want to check out the author's books.

    When I go back in time, I'm getting a falcon for sure. Every time I read a historical fantasy where the character has a falcon, I'm like "Where's my falcon?"

    The most useful tip for me is the one involving bread. I had no idea that bread wasn't meant to be eaten.

  10. Pica, Wasn't it fun? I liked Wildwing and I can see you liking it too :)

    Elisquared, I hope you like it!

    Ruby, I want to work in "mayhap" :P

    Jen, You got that falconer pegged! He was a hottie :) I really need to work that sort of cursing into my regular vocabulary.

    Alison, I think the trench sounds good too. I can understand why the MC would try to eat it!

    Holly, hahahaha love it!

    Melissa, Emily Whitman really is funny, and that same humor was in the book a lot.

    Heather, It's a great book!

    A Canadian Girl, If you like this guest post then I think you'll like Wildwing! It has a lot of funny scenes that come from these tips. The MC had no idea the bread wasn't supposed to be eaten either :P I want a falcon too! They always seem really cool.

  11. thank you for the contest! this has been on my to read list for a long time!

  12. By God's kneecaps this was interesting! I had always assumed that a trencher was some kind of bowl that was shaped like a trough. Canny of the people back then to save time on washing the dishes!

  13. Carrie, You're welcome!

    Melora, hehehe I don't think medieval cursing will ever get old for me :P That's what I had thought a trencher was for the longest time.


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