We’re welcoming Elizabeth Rose back to the blog today, only this time she’s not alone. She’s brought with her the hero of Picking up the Gauntlet, Jonathon Armstrong! So we’ll sit back and let Elizabeth take center stage.
Eliz: Hello Jonathon. Can you tell the readers, what is your occupation?
Jon: Hello, Elizabeth. I am an armorer – I make armor for the nobles. I started out as a blacksmith and swordsmith. By making weapons, I also learned to use them and have been hired as a mercenary in the past when the business was slow and I needed the money.
Eliz: You seem to be a Jack-of-all-trades.
Jon: Jon-of-all-trades. (Smirks)
Eliz: How did you first meet Lady Raven Blake?
Jon: I often do work for the nobles and have fixed the armor of her father, Lord Corbett, and her twin brother, Rook. I knew of her, but hadn’t really met her until recently.
Eliz: What do you think of Raven?
Jon: Lady Raven. She’s a noble and I’m not. You need to use her title. She’s a beauty with long ebony hair and silver eyes that can mesmerize anyone. We didn’t really get along at first. You see, she is headstrong and stubborn and extremely defiant.
Eliz: Really? Is there anything else intimidating about Lady Raven?
Jon: I didn’t say she was intimidating. All right, I admit nobles can intimidate any commoner most of the time, but let’s just say Lady Raven is a handful. She can wield a sword like a man, you know. It is pretty impressive. By the way, don’t get her angry if it’s not necessary.
Eliz: So, you say you’re a commoner. Where do you live?
Jon: My family has a shop in town. It’s simple and small and nothing special. Lady Raven lives at the castle, of course.
Eliz: What are a few words that describe you? This is for the readers who haven’t met you yet.
Jon: I’m not one to talk about myself usually, but since I know you won’t stop with the questions until you get your answer, I’ll say … determined … skilled … and I can swing a hammer at an anvil like no one else.
Eliz: What about handsome? Would you say you are good-looking?
Jon: If I was one of those pompous nobles like Lord Rook, I’d be strutting around like a peacock saying how good-looking I am, but instead, I’ll ask you how you would describe me.
Eliz: Ah, clever. Ok, so you are modest, clever, extremely handsome, great muscles in your arms from swinging that hammer and sword. I’ll even go as far as to say you are someone who knows what you want and goes for it.
Jon: You’re talking about Lady Raven now, aren’t you?
Eliz: Yes. I mean, isn’t kind of risky for a commoner to be wooing a noblewoman? That’s not allowed is it? And couldn’t that land you in the dungeon if her father found out?
Jon: Nay, it’s not allowed and yes it is extremely risky. But I like a challenge. Besides, Lady Raven is worth fighting for. You know, she is the one who came to me wanting me to do something for her. Something that will get us both in trouble if we’re not careful. (Read the book to find out what.) She has eyes for me, too, you know.
Eliz: This is the Below the Salt Series. Can you tell the readers what Below the Salt even means?
Jon: Salt is rare and expensive. The nobles sit at a raised dais to eat and have big salt cellars on the table filled with salt for them to use during the meal. The rest of us sit at the tables below them. So, commoners, servants, serfs and those who are not nobles get little to no salt with our meals. That is what is meant by Below the Salt.
Eliz: I thought I heard you were assigned by her father to guard her, and keep her out of trouble.
Jon: I was. He’s planned a tournament for the nobles and the winner will get her hand in marriage. It made Lady Raven furious. I wasn’t happy about the idea either. By the way, I was given the position of castle blacksmith as well to sweeten the deal of me guarding her.
Eliz: Let me ask you some personal questions now. Do you have siblings?
Jon: Yes. Two brothers and two sisters.
Eliz: How about pets?
Jon: Nay, no pets but Lady Raven has two mastiffs, Brindy and Copper.
Eliz: As an armorer, what is your main goal?
Jon: Well, I’ve served as an apprentice and then journeyman through the years. My goal is to earn the title of master armorer from the guild masters.
Eliz: And how do you do that?
Jon: I need to construct a masterpiece that they will judge. If the work is good enough, I’ll become a master armorer and will be able to open my own shop. It is a very prestigious position and pays well.
Eliz: Well, good luck to you, Jonathon. And I’m sure the readers can’t wait to see what happens between you and Lady Raven.
Jon: (Grunts) Well, I’m a private man, but thanks to you, everyone is going to know everything that happens between me and Lady Raven now.
Eliz: Sorry about that. I will say I’ve heard there is a scene that takes place in the smithy between the two of you that is so hot it burned my editor’s eyeballs. Hee hee.
Jon: The fire that burns in the smithy isn’t nearly as hot as the one that burns inside me for Lady Raven.
Eliz: Can you tell us anything about the other books in the Below the Salt Series?
Jon: Well, book one is my story – Picking up the Gauntlet. (Lady Raven takes up any challenge thrown down before her. So do I.)
Book 2 is about Raven’s twin brother, Rook who falls in love with his gardener named Rose. It’s called, A Rose Among Thorns.
Book 3 is about their cousin, Lady Lark, and the scribe, Dustin. It’s called Love Letters for Lady Lark.
Book 4 is called Dancing on Air. Their cousin, Eleanor falls in love with Connor Wyland who was once a noble but is now a hangman.
Book 5 is about their cousin, Robin. He falls in love with the healer, Sage. The book is Winter Sage.
Eliz: So, as the readers can see, this series pushes the envelope in writing about forbidden love between commoners and nobles.
Jon: Yep, that’s right. I hear that your books normally do push the envelope, Elizabeth.
Eliz: (Smiles) I’d have it no other way. Thank you, Jonathon, for this interview.
Love has no bounds, but marriage has rules. A noble must never wed anyone from below the salt.
(This series features the next generation from Elizabeth’s Legacy of the Blade Series.)
Books in the Below the Salt Series:
Elizabeth Rose is an Amazon All-Star, and bestselling, award-winning author of over 100 books and counting! Her first book was published back in 2000, but she has been writing stories ever since high school.
She is the author of fantasy/paranormal, medieval, small-town contemporary, and western romance. You’ll find sexy, alpha heroes and strong, independent heroines in her books. Sometimes her heroines can even swing a sword.
Living in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Elizabeth has two grown sons and one granddog – so far. A lover of nature, she can be found in the summer swinging in her ‘writing hammock’ in her secret garden, creating her next novel.