Welcome to the first of 1o days on the Addicted to Heroines Blog Tour. Today we feature an interview with Alexandra, Empress of Sea Gate Fortress and heroine of The Lost King, a novel of fantasy, intrigue, survival, self-discovery, romance and the spirit of investigation and invention that lends strength and inspiration.
Hear ye, hear ye. Empress Alexandra is now ready to hear questions and concerns from her loyal subjects.
Barbara asks: Who is your father and did he relinguish the throne to you?
Alexandra replies: As it happens, my father was not royal born, nor did he have great lands and riches to pass on to his children. What he did bequeath to his children was more on the order of spiritual riches. He passed along talents, values and a high self-esteem. That enabled me and my sister to create our own kingdoms.
Dee Dee asks: How many people does it take to run a kingdom?
Alexandra replies: It takes hundreds, even thousands of people. Food has to be grown, harvested and milled; animals raised and butchered; clothing, furniture and tools crafted; structures built, maintained and staffed. Our defenders must be trained and supplied. The people have to be taught a skill, entertained, treated when they are ill. It’s all the challenges of having a family, running a household. A very large household.
Barbara asks: How did you learn to fight?
Alexandra replies: I must say that learning to fight was not high on the list of skills deemed necessary for a young girl to perfect. However, I’ve been interested in it for as long as I remember. As a child I jousted with shadows and imaginary opponents. I mimicked the great fighters that I saw at tournaments and picked up tips and tricks from them. As an adult I took formal training from several masters and I practiced. A lot!
Barbara asks: Have you been married? Do you have children?
Alexandra replies: I was married for many years. The Emperor was an awesome man. Together we laid the foundation for the empire that Sea Gate is today. Sadly, we never did have children. Thus, when he died, I inherited the empire.
DeeDee asks: You developed quite an affection for King Bewilliam. Was he not husband material? What could you have done to keep him in your empire?
Alexandra replies: I thought he was, but in his heart of hearts, I don’t think he felt worthy. Of course I could have commanded him to stay. I could have kept him captive, forbade him to leave. I could have bribed him with gifts of land and wealth. But I wanted him to stay with me because it was what he wanted, not because he was compelled.
Barbara asks: Have you traveled?
Alexandra replies: I have visited other lands and other kingdoms, met other rulers. It’s always worthwhile because I get inspired for ways to improve Sea Gate. But I’m always happiest at home.
DeeDee asks: Will your serfs ever be free?
Alexandra replies: Some are already free tenants who pay rent for their land and villeins who provide labor for the empire on a seasonal basis. I suppose from a certain perspective, serfdom looks like a form of slavery, since the serfs are required to work the empire’s land such as the roads and forests, as well as their own plot. However, in return we do offer them legal and military protection. We certainly do not overwork anyone. What would be the point of that?
Barbara asks: Do you like being a monarch? Are neighboring kingdoms friendly, or are you in a state of war?
Alexandra replies: Most of the time I do like being the Empress. I have the ultimate responsibility for the smooth operation of so much and the welfare of so many, and sometimes it’s a heavy burden. There’s never a time when I’m free from it. However, the Emperor and I built it together and it’s as much mine as it was his. When he died I didn’t think for a single minute of abdicating. I will say having the Emperor to share the load made it easier and more enjoyable.
As for the neighboring kingdoms, well, I would be ingenuous if I thought that the other rulers didn’t covet Sea Gate. After the Emperor died, one ruler did make an offer to take over the Empire. I believe he thought I was an easy mark, that I was vulnerable and not interested in or able to run it myself. However, I turned him down and since then I have pretty much been left to myself.
Do you have questions that you would like to put to Empress Alexandra? Simply enter them in the comment window below. Then get acquainted with other equally memorable heroines: