Monday, November 6, 2017

D. Lawrence-Young ~ a character interview and his novel King John: Two Time Loser

TITLE: King John: Two Time Loser
RELEASE DATE: May 25, 2017
AUTHOR: D. Lawrence-Young
CATEGORIES: Historical Fiction/War Fiction/England
ISBN: 978-1544111346
IMPRINT: White Stag

KEYWORDS: Historical, King John, King Henry II, France, King Louis VII, Civil War, England

Provocative portrait of how King John became ‘Bad’ and a despised womanizer and murderer and lost both his English and French kingdoms.

King John is the only English king known as ‘the Bad.’  However, was he really any worse than the other medieval kings? King John:Two-Time Loser, traces this king’s life and troubled reign from his childhood in France to his death nearly fifty years later in 1216.

As the fourth and youngest son of King Henry II, John is not expected to become king. He is contemptuously nicknamed ‘Lackland’ and is not trained for the monarchy. However, despite all odds, after big brother Richard dies in battle, John becomes King. Now he has to prove himself by being strong and standing up to his French overlord, Louis VII. Unfortunately he fails and also loses much of his French territory. In addition, John is accused of womanizing and of murdering his young nephew, Arthur - a potential rival to the throne. At home, John becomes embroiled in a nasty power-struggle with Pope Innocent III which causes England to be excommunicated.

Following these failures, the barons revolt and John is forced to agree to their demands spelled out in Magna Carta. Civil War then breaks out and John dies alone and unlamented knowing that he has lost both his English and French kingdoms.  

Character Interview:
D.Lawrence-Young: Sire, looking back over the past fifty years of your life, do you not think that perhaps you may have succeeded more if you had listened to your barons and not ridden, - er, how shall I phrase this? - perhaps a little less roughshod over them?

King John: What a lot of soft tosh you are saying! Am I not the King of England? The Lord’s anointed ruler over this country?

DLY: Yes, Sire, of course, Sire, but in the end, the barons did force you to attach your royal seal to that ‘Magna Carta’ document and that you have lost over half of your kingdom since you did so last year.

KJ: They didn’t force me to do so at all. I signed that document with the blessing of the Pope. After all, as the King of England, didn’t I wish to bring peace and unity to my country?

DLY: Excuse me for saying this, Sire, but I don’t think every one of your subjects will agree with you. Some may even say that by your actions, you have succeeded in dividing this country into two.

KJ: That’s rubbish! That’s definitely not true.

DLY: But, Sire, half of the country is now under the rule of your hated rival King Louis and many of your lords and knights see him as their rightful ruler.

KJ: Well, young man, there are always a few rotten apples in the barrel, rotten knights who don’t know what loyalty to their king means. You know, just being out to see what they can gain. If you read the ‘Chronicles’ carefully, you will see that the same thing happened seventy years ago under King Stephen. No, no, it’s nothing to do with me being a good or a bad king, it’s just the system we live in.

DLY: But Sire, some people will say that you have fallen so low. And, if I may be so bold so say this, because of what you did to your nephew, Prince Arthur…

KJ: D’you mean those malicious rumours that I murdered him?

DLY: Er, yes, Sire.

KJ: Well it’s not true. Those rumours were invented by my enemies who just wanted to besmirch my good name. Is it my fault that some people say that he was found dead by a French fisherman?

DLY: Er, no Sire, but there were also those stories that you were, er, very friendly with some of your lords’ wives even though you yourself were married at the time.

KJ: Huh! You sound like a gossipy old fishwife at the market! It’s true that I did speak nicely and indeed flatteringly to several of the more lovely ladies in my court, but to accuse me of womanizing and philandering with them, why! That’s absurd.

DLY: But, Sire, if I may be so bold as to say, I heard that you even bedded several of these young ladies and…

KJ: Why not? Isn’t that a royal prerogative? When you see what my father, King Henry II, did, what I did was nothing. Anyway, enough of this now. You go away as I’m going to be very busy tonight. I have to look after the affairs of Lady Constance and Lady Beatrice. And then tomorrow, the wives of Sir Kenton Dubois and Baron Jessop Clydesdale wish to come and see me in my chambers. So off with you, sir and good night.

DLY: But, Sire, I just want to…

KJ:And make sure you don’t publish any of those ugly rumours you told me about. And besides, apart from the four lovely ladies I’ve just mentioned, I’ve got to go and see what is happening to my treasure. I have to have it transported north before that invading French king gets his horrible hands on it. I’ll be sending it north via the Wash, but don’t you dare tell anyone. If you write a good report of this interview, perhaps I will give you a bauble or two or perhaps allow you to have one of the ladies I’m meeting tonight and tomorrow. Good night.  

D. Lawrence-Young has been teaching and lecturing on drama, history and English for many years. He is happiest when researching Shakespeare, English and military history. He has written Communication in English, a best-selling English language textbook as well as a dozen other historical novels. These include three based on the life of Shakespeare.

He contributes regularly to Forum, a magazine for English language teachers and has also written several articles for Skirmish, a military history journal. He is a member of the local history club and is the Chairman of the Jerusalem Shakespeare Society. He is also a published (USA) and exhibited (UK and Jerusalem) photographer. He plays the clarinet (badly) and is married and has three children.



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