Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Some History with Eliza Crewe

Today Eliza Crewe is here discussing her debut, CRACKED, as well as a bit of history of the Knights Templar.
Cover for Indian edition - I like it

Blurb: "Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it."

Cracked is quite possibly my favorite Young Adult book this year. Meda's character is as delicious as those tasty human souls. She's a monster, albeit one with some pesky human emotions and a bit of a conscience as well as a whole lot of questions about what she is.

Take it away, Eliza, and thank you for joining us today!

Thanks for having me!

History of the Knights Templar

Cracked is a typical novel depicting the battle of Good versus Evil with one teensy-tiny twist: It’s told from the perspective of one of the bad guys. I wanted there to be no question as to the moral leanings of my main character, Meda, so I made her part-demon--the epitome of evil. I naturally thought of making the good guys angels, but decided to make them human instead, because, frankly, writing purely good people is no fun! I wanted characters that were seriously flawed, who struggled with their good and bad side, and who made hard choices between what’s right and what’s wrong.

So instead of angels, the good guys are based loosely (so, so loosely) on the Knights Templar. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by them--I mean, what’s not to love? Warrior monks! Knights! The Holy Grail! Secret Societies! Friday the 13th! Plus they have a checkered history that worked well with the rather checkered characters I wanted to write.

I take a lot of liberties with the mythology of the Knights Templar, but some of the information that I present is rooted in truth--or at least, as best as historians can tell:

1. The original mission of the Knights Templar was to protect pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem.

When Europeans took control of Jerusalem during the Crusades, a ton of pilgrims decided to journey to the Holy Land. It was not a particularly safe time to be traveling, and the pilgrims were often robbed and murdered en route, so a French nobleman Hugues de Payens and his buddies set up a monastic order to protect them. Originally, there were less than a dozen Knights Templar.

2. The Templars took vows of poverty.
from Irish Masonic Jewels
The Knights Templar were also known as The Poor Knights of Solomon’s Temple because they took a vow of poverty. In fact, one of the original seals shows two knights on one horse, and it’s believed this was to symbolize their poverty--that they were too broke for each to afford his own.

3. The Templars invented banking. It was dangerous to travel with large amounts of cash so the Knights Templar created a system where a pilgrim could deposit his wealth with the Templars in exchange for a note. When the pilgrim arrived at his destination, he could exchange that note for the amount of money he had deposited. This system was the origin for modern banking.

4. They were violently disbanded in the fourteenth century.
from Bibliothèque Municipale, Besançon, France.
Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.
On Friday the 13th in October of 1307, King Philip of France essentially declared war on the Templars. He rounded them up, tortured them, and put them to death--often by burning them at the stake. Ostensibly it was done because the Templars committed heretical acts, running the gamut from spitting on the cross to cat-worship. In reality, historians tend to think it actually came down to what it always comes down to: Money. The Knights Templar had a huge standing army, paid no taxes, and Philip owed them a butt-load. Why pay your enemies when you can kill them instead?

What about you? Any bits of history you find particularly interesting?

CRACKED is out today! Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

Eliza Crewe always thought she’d be a lawyer, and even went so far as to complete law school. But as they say, you are what you eat, and considering the number of books Eliza has devoured since childhood, it was inevitable she’d end up in the literary world. She abandoned the lawyer-plan to instead become a librarian and now a writer.

While she’s been filling notebooks with random scenes for years, Eliza didn’t seriously commit to writing an entire novel until the spring of 2011, when she and her husband bought a house. With that house came a half-hour commute, during which Eliza decided she needed something to think about other than her road-rage. Is it any surprise she wrote a book about a blood-thirsty, people-eating monster?

Eliza has lived in Illinois, Edinburgh, and Las Vegas, and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, her hens, her angry, talking, stuffed dwarf giraffe, and a sweet, mute, pantomiming bear. She likes to partially-complete craft projects, free-range her hens, and take long walks. Cracked is her first novel.

website: http://www.elizacrewe.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/ElizaCrewe

Strange Chemistry: http://strangechemistrybooks.com/
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  1. Thanks for the review. Haven't not heard of this author. I tried the book and ended up purchasing it. I will on the watch for more by her.

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