When Does a Blood-Soaked Cucumber Solve Your Problems?
J. K. Knauss interviews Doña Lambra, Villainess of SEVEN NOBLE KNIGHTS
|The author with Doña Lambra in Barbadillo|
As Chapter II of Seven Noble Knights opens, the people of the capital city of Burgos are already celebrating while they prepare for the wedding of Don Ruy Blásquez, one of the Count of Castile’s most loyal knights, to Doña Lambra de Bureba, some twenty years his junior and the most beautiful lady in the land. Today author J. K. Knauss sits down at the long table in the farmhouse in Barbadillo sometime between Chapters VII and VIII to talk with Lambra while the cooks try to prepare supper quietly at the hearth.
JKK: For the record, my lady, where and when were you born?
Lambra: At Busto de Bureba under the sign of Leo in the year of Our Lord 959.
JKK: You recently got married. I don’t think things went as well as you’d hoped.
Lambra: Of course they didn’t. Not only was I forced to marry some minor noble I’d never heard of before, but I also unwillingly became the aunt of the so-called seven noble knights, and they killed my cousin Álvar Sánchez! (Looks at her maid Justa, who has been sitting in the corner so quietly the interviewer didn’t even know she was there until she tried to cover up a sob with a cough.) If you can’t keep quiet, go outside and slop the hogs! (Justa slips out the front door.) Sorry about that. She really doesn’t know her place these days. What right does she have to be sad about Álvar? He was my cousin, not hers.
JKK: Tell me about your cousin Álvar.
Lambra: Oh, I loved him so much! He was the best knight Castile ever had, so strong and brave, and he loved me. He took such good care of me at the wedding, always asking how I was and holding my hand when I was scared. If he hadn’t been so closely related to me… His body was so perfectly formed, he was more beautiful than a sculpture. Tall and blond with icy blue eyes….
JKK: So he looked a lot like you, my lady?
Lambra: Until all his teeth were knocked out! They blame the horse, but I know it was my “nephew” Gonzalo’s fault. And then, what that Gonzalo did to Little Page, my wedding present from the count!
JKK: I am deeply saddened by what happened to Little Page, but do you think Gonzalo was provoked? I mean, it’s not every day your aunt’s servant dips a cucumber in a bucket full of hog’s blood and throws it at you to stain your shirt—and your honor.
Lambra: No, not every day, but it does happen and a man should know how to deal with it. If it had only been because of the cucumber, he might’ve controlled his awful temper. But he hates me. His whole family hates me, and that’s why they keep attacking my household.
JKK: You weren’t trying to say anything with the bloody cucumber? I heard Gonzalo say it could be interpreted as a death threat.
Lambra: What does he know?
JKK: He’s studied the law of your Visigothic ancestors, my lady.
Lambra: Enough! You didn’t say we were going to talk about my so-called nephews.
JKK: I thought all was well between you. I thought you apologized for overreacting and sent your husband, Ruy Blásquez, to make amends with his brother-in-law and nephews.
Lambra: (muttering) Oh, he’s making amends. (Justa drags in the door, even more disheveled than when she left.) Justa, escort this… interviewer… to the road out of Barbadillo, never to return.
JKK: (Takes Justa’s arm and walks out to the road.) I’m happy to leave, Justa. I’m only sorry you have to stay here. (They embrace.) Please forgive me for leaving you here with Lambra, dear girl. But without you, Part Two can’t happen. I promise I’ll make it up to you in the sequel.
|Available on Amazon|
Spain, 974. Gonzalo, a brave but hotheaded knight, unwittingly provokes tragedy at his uncle’s wedding to beautiful young noblewoman Lambra: the adored cousin of the bride dead, his teeth scattered across the riverbank. Coveting his family’s wealth and power, Lambra sends Gonzalo’s father into enemy territory to be beheaded, unleashing a revenge that devastates Castile for a generation.
A new hero, Mudarra, rises out of the ashes of Gonzalo’s once great family. Raised as a warrior in the opulence of Muslim Córdoba, Mudarra must make a grueling journey and change his religion, then chooses to take his jeweled sword to the throats of his family’s betrayers. But only when he strays from the path set for him does he find his true purpose in life.
Inspired by a lost medieval epic poem, Seven Noble Knights draws from history and legend to bring a brutal yet beautiful world to life in a gripping story of family, betrayal, and love.
“Let Seven Noble Knights welcome you to historical fiction! …it’s a rich saga populated with characters you will grow to love (and a few you will love to hate). The ancient empires of Spain are a beautiful backdrop to the struggles of humankind across all generations of all lands: romance, revenge, war, and adventure.”
—Pushcart Prize nominee Reneé Bibby, The Writers Studio
Born and raised in Northern California, J. K. Knauss has wandered all over the United States, Spain, and England. She has worked as a librarian and a Spanish teacher and earned a PhD in medieval Spanish literature before entering the publishing world as an editor. Her acclaimed novella, Tree/House, Kindle Scout–winning paranormal adventure Awash in Talent, and short story collection, Unpredictable Worlds, are currently available.
Her epic of medieval Spain, Seven Noble Knights, is now available on Kindle from Bagwyn Books! The softcover edition comes out on January 16, 2017. Discover all the amazing stops on the Grand Book Launch Blog Tour at JessicaKnauss.com. Feel free to sign up for her mailing list for castles, stories, and magic.