Who can resist a good King Arthur story? I have to agree with my guest that the women in the classic tale often come off a little shrewish–possibly because the legend has traditionally been told by men–or is that just me? Author Kelley Heckart talks about what inspired her to approach the tale from another angle. And she’s giving away a free ebook!
Why I wrote White Rose of Avalon
by Kelley Heckart
There have been so many great books written about King Arthur and Avalon, so why would I decide to write one? I’ve found that all of the stories I’ve read on this subject only gloss over the romance and love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot, and Gwenhwyfar. Most books focus on Gwenhwyfar’s betrayal to Arthur and paint her as a sinful woman. As a strong-willed female whose role models growing up were Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena Warrior Princess, and Joan Jett, this didn’t sit well with me. Why is the woman always to blame in an affair? Last time I checked, it takes two to tango.
The first book I read that focused on the women surrounding King Arthur was Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Finally, here was a book I could relate to, but it still didn’t center on the romance and love triangle. Also, in this story, it was alluded to that Lancelot and Morgaine were lovers. This sub-story intrigued me, and I decided to write something that would combine the Celtic mythology, magic, history, romance, and passion that I wanted to see in this legend.
Morgaine was another female character I felt was misaligned in the Arthurian stories. She is painted as the villain, but all she wanted to do was to save Avalon. Perhaps she lost her way and became too ambitious. Some will still see her as a villainess. I see her as someone who wanted something so badly, she was willing to sacrifice everything to get it. She is a flawed character, but I don’t think she is evil.
Lastly, I’ve never read a version of King Arthur with passionate sex scenes, so I decided to spice up the romance in this retelling of King Arthur and Avalon. I believe this shows the balance between my strong-willed heroines and the men who have captured their hearts.
Dare to be captivated by this sensual retelling of King Arthur and Avalon.
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Destiny cannot be altered.
With Britannia falling to the Saxon hordes, Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries, has no choice but to make a pact with the Christian monks. She promises to give them a High King who will unite the Britons against the Saxons if he takes a queen from the faery realm. Morgaine hopes this will restore the Goddess faith and return Avalon to its rightful place. She sends Lancelot to guard the future High King, but when a love potion falls into the wrong hands, all seems lost.
Gwenhwyfar is the only hope for the future, but betrayal, revenge, and forbidden love surround her, all of which could send both Britannia and Avalon into ruins.
A Sample of Rose of Avalon
This time, she pulled away, wrenching her hands from his grasp. “You have been gone for a long time, Lancelot. You do not know what is happening. The Christian monks are building a stone monastery on my island, on the sacred island that belongs to the Goddess and her followers!”
A deep, troubled crease formed on his brow. “But why seek revenge on Arthur?”
“He has renounced the Goddess and me! Mordred will be a warrior of the Goddess, and he will restore her power.”
He slowly, sadly shook his head. “I cannot be a part of this, Morgaine. I have sworn fealty to Arthur, and I will not break my oath. He is like a brother to me, and we fought side by side for many years. I hurt him deeply when I…”
Morgaine held up her hand to silence him, knowing the unfinished sentence had to do with Gwenhwyfar. She should have listened to Merlin when he had warned her of the treachery. “You do not have to be a part of this. I do not need your help.”
A tic pulsed in his tense jaw. “You don’t understand. I cannot sit by and watch you groom this boy to kill his father.”
“What are you saying? Are you leaving again?” She stared hard at him. “You always come running to me for help and then you leave. You leave because you have this…this need to rescue fair maidens and kings in despair. If you leave again, do not come back here.” Fuming, she turned her back on him.
“Do not forget that you were the one who sent me to Arthur. And when I wanted to stay on Avalon, you sent me back to him again.”
She whirled around to face him. “So, I am to blame now?” Morgaine shook with anger at his accusation. “You cannot comprehend what it takes for me to rule Avalon…the sacrifices…I must make choices that are for the good of all. I have done things…” She stared at him, anger heating her eyes. “I meant what I said. If you leave now, do not come back,” she hissed and turned her back on him again.
“Then I will not come back, if that is what you wish.” He spoke quietly in a sorrow-filled voice. “But know that you are the one I truly love, please remember that, my dark beauty.”
Her shoulders shook as bitter tears slid down her cheeks and landed onto the table crowded with crystals, goblets, and bowls of herbs. In a fury, she swept her arms across the table, and the contents crashed onto the floor. He had gone. This time for good. Lancelot’s loyalty to Arthur was all her doing. She had sent him to Arthur, and they had forged an unbreakable bond.
Any warmth she had in her heart withered and died.
Except for the tiny glimmer that her son lit inside her, the rest of her world was now a dark maelstrom of agony. Vengeance was her only recourse, her only solace.
Meet Kelly Heckart
“I write strong female heroines because I never wanted to be a helpless princess waiting for a prince to save me. I wanted to be able to save myself.”
Multi-published author Kelley Heckart writes romances with fantasy/paranormal elements set in ancient, medieval, and contemporary time periods. Her compelling stories reflect her passion for history, mythology, and the supernatural. Experience her fierce warriors and alpha males, bold women, otherworldly creatures, magic, and romance.
Her latest series, Shadow-walkers, is a contemporary paranormal romance series inspired by her time as a rock-n-roll musician. In these stories, the women are the rock stars.
When not writing or editing, she enjoys practicing target archery, and writing and recording music with her musician husband. She can be found online at www.kelleyheckart.com.