Rowan Speedwell on Bitterwood ~ Interview Local Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Rowan Speedwell for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.


Title: Bitterwood
Author: Rowan Speedwell
Publisher: Riptide
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Historical
Release Date: 09/19/2016


Outrunning a winter storm in the north, Captain Faran of the King’s Guard leads his men and a young mage named Meric to shelter at Bitterwood Manor, the ancestral home of the Daenes. Faran and his troops have been searching for weeks for a mysterious, lion-like beast that reportedly haunts the uncharted northern woods. For Meric, finding that prophesied cat is a matter of life and death.

Though Faran is deeply focused on their mission, the enigmatic Joss Daene, Lord of Bitterwood, fascinates him. Strong and proud, Joss is everything Faran wants in a lover. More, if he were honest. But Joss belongs to Bitterwood, and Faran to his duty.

Together they will need to brave the oldest, darkest part of the Bitterwood in the coldest, deepest snows of winter to find the legendary cat. But time is running out—for Meric, for the kingdom, and for Faran and Joss’s fledgling love.

Recent Release Spotlight with Rowan Speedwell

We are here today to talk about Bitterwood. What can you tell us about it?

It’s a quest fantasy set in a world not too different from medieval Europe. Except with magic. A group of soldiers with a young mage come to an isolated manor in the north looking for shelter – and a large golden cat.

Please tell us more about our main characters.

Joss Daene is the lord of the manor of Bitterwood and of the whole of the north woods. He’s a strong, proud character with an ancient lineage. Faran is captain of the troop of soldiers. He comes from a very different background. The young mage, Meric, is the one driving the quest, and is not prepared for meeting Joss’s younger son Eissa.

What about Bitterwood makes you the proudest?

It’s actually pretty accurate as far as historical details are concerned. Despite the magic, it’s a very real place. I always do tons of research, and I love to be right!

What is next for these characters?  Is there more to this series?  If so who will we hear from next?

Maybe! (winks flirtatiously)

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Write what you love. There’s so much more to publishing than just writing the story, so loving what you do is a necessity!!

What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?

Usually it’s characters. Sometimes something as simple as a name, or a photograph. Oddly, in the case of Bitterwood, it was the house. I’d seen the house in my imagination for years before the story came around to set it there. I knew it had to be an historical fantasy, and finally the character of Joss introduced himself.

How do you choose names? If you decide to change a name, do you feel that it alters your perception of the character?

Generally, the names choose me! They’re a very important part of the character, and to change them changes the character. Sometimes I start with the name—I’ll hear one that strikes a chord, and I’ll play with it, trying to figure out what it is about the name that elicits certain emotions in me. Sometimes editors or beta readers will suggest a change, and while I can do that with minor characters, changing a major character would change the whole story for me.

My real name is kind of unusual—it’s an old family name—and I think that may have something to do with it.

What book do you keep by your bed?

I actually have TWO bookcases by my bed, with the books I can’t live without. It’s hard to pick just one, but I guess if I have to, it would be To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. It’s a time travel story and it’s just brilliant. I wish I could write half as well as she does!

If you had to be a cat, dog, or a rat, which would you choose and why?

Oh, a cat, definitely. Rats have a rough life, and dogs are expected to DO things. Cats can just lie around the house sleeping all day. Which is my favorite hobby!!

Rapid Fire Time

Salt or Pepper?  Salt – I’m allergic to pepper!
Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed?  Folded!! I’m an utter slob, but my underwear drawer is tidy and my socks are all matched.
Peanuts or Cashews? Cashews!
Favorite Color?  Purple, of course.
Australia or England?  England
Tardis or DeLorean?  Tardis – it has a swimming pool!
Light saber or a Sonic screwdriver?  Sonic screwdriver – I’m a fixer, not a fighter
Favorite meal?  Eggs Benedict Florentine, hash browns extra crispy, side of crispy bacon and extra hollandaise!
Spring or Fall?  Fall
Read or writing?  Reading. I’d rather read than do anything.


Bitterwood on Goodreads
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Local Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Bitterwood, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 24, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

About the Author

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . .  Hmm.  Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math.  She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry.  She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.

Connect with Rowan:


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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13 thoughts on “Rowan Speedwell on Bitterwood ~ Interview Local Giveaway

  1. Thanks for the interview! I read Bitterwood in its first incarnation and am excited that there might be more in the future. 🙂


  2. You’re allergic to pepper?! That has got to suck trying to go out to eat anywhere. And I thought my husband’s allergies to cinnamon and lemon were weird.

  3. I would be a cat as well… I so envy my cat sometimes! LOL
    congratulations on the re-release. That’s a really beautiful cover

  4. Winter in medieval Europe and a hero bound by duty! My mind is churning with images already, and for some reason it’s all happening in the province of Aragon. I will read this book, that’s for sure. Love the name! Thanks.

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