From Sydney Williams’s Princes & Kings Meet Llywelyn

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today. 

Thank you for having me. It is a pleasure to be here. 

Tell us something about where you live: 

I live in Gwynedd Wales in Great Britain in the 13th century. It is cold, and wet. Wales has the most rain for all of Britain. I live in a castle with servants, where the source of heat is a fireplace in every room which the servants keep going all the time to make sure none of us freeze. Beyond the castle there is a small town and beyond that a village that  supplies everyone with food. To keep the castle safe from people breaking in there are a  number of guards that patrol the grounds dressed in armour and carrying pikes and swords. 

Is there anything special about your name? Why do you think you were given that name? 

I don’t know if there is anything particularly special about my name. I was named after my grandfather, Llywelyn the Great who was ruler here until he died at a ripe old age. Maybe my parents named me after him because they thought I shared some similar characteristics with the old man. I have never asked my parents about it though so I don’t know for sure. 

Do you have an occupation? What do you like or dislike about your work? 

I am a warrior and I am the ruler of Gwynedd Wales.  My job is to help keep the people of the land safe from  invaders. I love being able to help my people, but having to deal with the small day to day   problems of the people can  feel a little tedious sometimes. 

Who are the special people in your life? 

I am very close to my family. I always looked up to my grandfather and my father is very like him. My mother is kind and noble and she has always taught me to trust my instincts. I love my younger brothers, Dafydd and Rhodri.  Dafydd is very witty and is very mature for his age and Rhodri  is sweet.  My older  brother, Owain, is an interesting person. He is very hot headed and often speaks when  it would be better to keep  quiet. It is  probably because he is so    passionate. He has never had any trouble making himself heard. Now my uncle on the other hand, well I wouldn’t say I am close to him. My uncle, Dafydd, is a strange man. I never really know where I stand with him and so I have never been  able to trust him. Oh, and I can’t forget my man-servant, Olan. My father found him at an orphanage when he was a child and brought him back  to the castle to be my servant and companion. He is my only  true  friend and I can talk to him about anything and everything. Even things I can’t talk to my family about. 

What is your heart’s deepest desire? 

My heart’s deepest desire is to do the best I can for my family and my people. 

What are you most afraid of? 

I think what I am most afraid of is letting people down. 

Do you have a cherished possession? 

The one possession I cherish above all is my horse, Arling. I found her wondering in the woods when she was no more than a few months old and I took her back to the castle and trained her myself. She has carried me through many battles over the years  and is my closest companion next to Olan. 

What do you expect the future will hold for you? 

I don’t know if that is  a question I can answer. I  am sure i will  still be a warrior. I never expected to become the ruler of Gwynedd. Being a warrior has its elements of danger, but being a ruler has even more. The future of any ruler is unknowable. All I can do is do my best to   keep from falling  into trouble so I can continue to take care of my  people to the best of my abilities.

Thanks for telling us a bit about yourself!

In the year, 1240 Ad, the land of Gwynedd Wales found  themselves without a  leader when their king, Llywelyn The Great, died at a ripe old age. The natural successor to the king was his son Dafydd,  who took on the job  of ruler after his death.   Soon after taking on the job he was forced to sign a treaty with the king of England and send his brother Gruffudd and his nephew Owain  to England to be imprisoned in The Tower of  London in exchange for keeping his land and his title. His other nephew, Llywelyn, became the new head warrior after his father’s imprisonment, traveling the country and patrolling the borders to the north and the south. 

            After four years imprisonment in The Tower of London, Gruffudd died while  attempting to escape his tower cell, and his son Owain was released  by the king himself. He wanted Owain to help him start a civil war in Gwynedd. Meanwhile after finding out about his brother’s death from a letter sent by his nephew Owain, Dafydd declared war on England. Prompting Owain to escape Winchester Castle where he had been recovering from  his time in prison to find  his brother Llywelyn and help him in the war between England and Gwynedd. 

During the  course of the war, Dafydd was killed  in battle, leaving the Welsh army without a leader.  Being the brave and noble man that he was, Llywelyn called the men to him and with his leadership they   managed to send the English packing. With the new weight of responsibility thrust upon his shoulders Llywelyn, rode home at the head of the army to find that his world had changed. Now not  only was his father gone, but his mother as well  and the land of Gwynedd was once again without a leader. It became clear that the best  man for the job was  Llywelyn himself and he decided that there was nothing else to do but to become the new ruler. He would do anything to keep his people safe, even if that  meant taking on a responsibility that he felt he was to young for. He would never abandon his people for anything and let the English take everything from him. 

Sydney has a big imagination and has been writing and performing from a young age. After going blind from Leukemia at the age of three, she found release from the medical part of her life through her music and her writing. In high school she excelled in English and history and after she left school she continued to write and to create her music. She formed her band, The Undercurrents with her best friend and drummer, Alex Nacci at the age of 22 and has been playing music with the band ever since.

Her book, Princes and Kings, is her first professional novel and it is book one of the historical fiction series she is writing titled, A Rose in A Thorn Bush about the last king of Wales. She was introduced to her main character in high school and with the encouragement of her Business Abilities coach she finely decided to write his story. Splitting the story into three books. Sydney has always enjoyed reading historical fiction and has found it an interesting genre to write in. After her series is finished she plans to continue writing about different historical British characters for as long as she can. Being Welsh on her father’s side and Scottish and English on her mother’s Britain is a place that interests her greatly and she has enjoyed writing about one of its characters. Giving her a chance to explore her heritage in a fun and exciting way and she looks forward to sharing her passion for the genre and the history of the British Isles with the world.




Meet William Parker from Gail Kittleson’s Land That I Love I Love

Hello, Mr. Parker. Albert Fritz of the Fredericksburg Standard—so good of you to take the time for an interview with me today. I hear you are new to our area, straight from Nottinghamshire, England. Welcome to our isolated corner of Texas!

How do you do? Pray do not let my accent put you off—one might think me a bit standoffish at first. Being a butler in the 1920’s and 30’s for an important figure in our city required a rather formal exterior.

Hmm…did this cause you problems here in the United States? 

Since I traveled with my employer’s grandson, the way was paved for us in New York city. Our time there and the long train ride provided a taste of the many dialects and personalities in this large country. But when we arrived in Texas Hill Country, people surely saw us as an oddity.  

Still, they welcomed us with great kindness—greenhorns like us needed a lot of help. For one thing, it was nearly winter, and we had no harvest to rely on. 

The area’s isolation surprised us somewhat. We knew we were bound for an agricultural locale, but Loyal Valley is…ahem…quite distant from any major city. Our first visit to a church three miles away made all the difference. 

From one member, we might purchase a regular supply of milk and cheese. Another had an ample egg supply, and a third just butchered, so we purchased enough hams and beef to last the winter. Having reliable food sources close at hand, we entered our first cold season. 

Is that cows mooing—you must have developed your own herd? 

Oh yes, as soon as possible. You see, I come from a long line of cheesemakers. Soon, we acquired laying hens, too. Let me show you our barn. See here—even a small horse for Donnie, Everett’s son, plus geese and ducks galore. 

And out there, behold the orchard Everett cares for. The trees produce plenty of fruit and nuts. He makes jams and butters to sell and has developed a good business. To the South, you will note . . . 

You have a garden—why, it’s enormous! 

Yes, with its produce and good pastureland for the herd, we have everything we need. If only our people back in Nottingham could say the same. 

Ah yes . . . what a terrible time in England right now, with the Luftwaffe bombing many cities.  So much danger and destruction. I imagine you listen to the war report on the radio nightly? 

Indeed. That plus newspapers and letters from friends back home keep us informed. Who would ever have thought this war would last so long?

Certainly not your American neighbors. Why, it’s been three years since the Pearl Harbor attack, and our boys still face such obstacles. 

Indeed they do. I daresay, did you hear that? I believe t’was my new prize bull, so I had best go and check on him. A right testy old fellow. He bears watching. 

Thank you for your time. So glad to see how well you’re adjusting to your new homeland. 

            Perhaps some did, but most accepted us immediately. We provided an interesting diversion, I suppose, but this area is so isolated, they soon came around. Since we arrived just before winter and had no vehicle, everyone realized our need. 

After missionary work in North Africa, Gail taught English as a Second Language and college expository writing. She and her retired Army Chaplain husband of forty-four years live in North Iowa where they enjoy grandchildren, gardening, and historical research. 

Dare To Bloom, Gail’s website, comes by its name honestly—it took time to acquire the courage to put her writing “out there.” Eventually, her memoir developed, which led to writing World War II fiction. 

Her Women of the Heartland brand honors the era’s make-do women and men, and includes eight novels, two novellas, and three non-fiction books. Despite daunting trials, her heroines and heroes embrace their strengths, contribute to the war effort and reveal the determination, loyalty, faith and tenacity so needful in our society today.

Gail hosts other authors on her Author Visits page and enjoys encouraging writers through facilitating workshops and retreats. @GailGkittleson@gailkittlesonauthor (Instagram)
Purchase link: