A chat with Sarah Hegger, author of Sweet Bea

A chat with Sarah Hegger, author of Sweet Bea

Hello friends! I have a very special treat for you today. My dear friend Sarah Hegger, author of both historical and contemporary romance (so versatile!) is here to chat with me about music. A favourite topic of mine, as you know.

Sarah HeggerBorn British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

Xio: Welcome Sarah!

Sarah: You may not know this but Xio and I recently discovered that we share a brain. Really, no lies here. It’s so rare in life that you meet someone, make an almost instant connection and find that connection getting stronger and stronger with each interaction. How many people do you know that not only know The Princess Bride backwards, but can also join you in all the lyrics to the Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Xio: Who doesn’t love Rocky Horror? I recently confessed to seeing it over a hundred times, lol. And you know my connection to The Princess Bride. “Mahwage!”

Sarah: Other than both being writers, we share a love of movies and music. Okay, she sings better than I do, but I’ve decided to forgive that little transgression.

Xio: You flatter me. Then again, I haven’t heard you sing. Yet.

Sarah: All this to say, I am delighted to be here with my new BFF, sharing the release of my newest book, a medieval romance entitled Sweet Bea:

Sweet BeaIs anything sweeter than revenge?

In a family of remarkable people, ordinary Beatrice strives to prove herself worthy. When her family is threatened with losing everything, she rushes to London to save them. Unfortunately, she chooses as her savior the very man who will see her family brought low.

Garrett has sworn vengeance on Sir Arthur of Anglesea for destroying his life when he was a boy and forcing his mother into prostitution for them to survive. He has chosen as his instrument Sir Arthur’s youngest daughter, Beatrice.

Can Beatrice’s goodness teach Garrett that love, not vengeance, is the greatest reward of all?

In the book, Beatrice, aka Sweet Bea is the younger of two sisters. The older, Faye, is a renowned medieval beauty. I’ll let Beatrice tell you in her own words.

 “You will never be wed if you think like that.” Nurse never gave up. “Your sister, bless her sweet heart, stood always ready to receive her suitor.”

Beatrice rolled her eyes. It wouldn’t do any good to interrupt. Nurse would have her say. The sun was still high, forming patterns on the gleaming stone floor.

“And Lady Faye was ready, looking pretty as can be, when ill weather blew the Earl of Calder into the keep. And what happened?”

“He fell in love with her,” Beatrice recited.

“I know not of love.” Nurse stopped fussing with the hem and swayed to her feet on a lusty groan.

Beatrice held out a hand and steadied her rise.

“But what I do know is Lady Faye was ready, looking every inch a nobleman’s wife.”

“Faye was born looking that way.” Beatrice couldn’t quite control the surly note to her voice.

Her sister had been married for seven years and still Nurse carped on about her perfection. The entire kingdom knew of the beauteous Lady Faye. No less than eight ballads were written in her honor. Eight. Beatrice snorted. What was any sensible girl to do with eight ballads caroling her beauty?

Xio: Eight? Geez. “Beatrice the Brave” would make a much better ballad than “Faye the Fair,” I think.

Sarah: Which brings us to what Xio and I want to talk about – ballads and the bards that sang them. These ballads would have been written and sung by minstrels, most of them itinerant. The role of the minstrel in medieval society was an interesting one. Remember, most people could not read and write and we are way, way, way before the printing press.

Minstrels would spread information, share news and educate. Rhythmic notation and structure first start to appear around this period. I dug up an old ballad to show you.

WHEN as King Henry rulde this land,
The second of that name,
Besides the queene, he dearly lovde
A faire and comely dame.

Most peerlesse was her beautye founde,
Her favour, and her face;
A sweeter creature in this worlde
Could never prince embrace.

Her crisped lockes like threads of golde,
Appeard to each man’s sight;
Her sparkling eyes, like Orient pearles,
Did cast a heavenlye light.

And it goes on in that vein for about 50 stanzas telling the story of Rosamunde and King Henry.

Xio: These songs were often performed by groups of revelers at gatherings. I imagine that some of them expanded over time, with verses being added as the song traveled. One of my favourite ballads, penned by Henry VIII, is “The King’s Ballad” also known as “Pastime With Good Company.”

Pastime with good company
I love and shall unto I die;
Grudge who list, but none deny,
So God be pleased thus live will I.
For my pastance
Hunt, song, and dance.
My heart is set:
All goodly sport
For my comfort,
Who shall me let?

Youth must have some dalliance,
Of good or illé some pastance;
Company methinks then best
All thoughts and fancies to dejest:
For idleness
Is chief mistress
Of vices all.
Then who can say
But mirth and play
Is best of all?

Company with honesty
Is virtue vices to flee:
Company is good and ill
But every man hath his free will.
The best ensue,
The worst eschew,
My mind shall be:
Virtue to use,
Vice to refuse,
Shall I use me.

Sarah: In a way, I see a parallel to our times.

Xio: Well, that particular ballad was adapted into modern songs by bands like Jethro Tull and Gryphon.

Sarah: I am going to go out on a limb here say that our modern poets have become songwriters. Just think of the work of Eminem, gritty, profane and totally reflective of the world around him. (Copyright laws prevent me from using any modern song lyrics)

Xio: Indeed, he is a fantastic lyricist. I think from Cole Porter and Prince,  to Lennon and McCartney, to Jeff Buckley and Lauryn Hill, the modern balladeer is alive and well. I’m sure our readers could name many more examples.

Sarah: So, who do you see as our modern poets? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You can read a longer excerpt from Sweet Bea on MY WEBSITE. Look under the My Books tab. And if this sounds like your thing, you can pick up a copy at AMAZON or BARNES & NOBLE or pop along to KENSINGTON PUBLISHING for your favorite format.

Xio: Thanks for stopping by, Sarah my dear. I’m off to finish my copy of Sweet Bea. Garrett has me so frustrated right now. Grr. But so sexy! And I love Beatrice.



  1. Hello Xio and all Xio’s readers. I’d love to hear some Lyrics from people that they consider to to modern poetry.

    • Nothing stopping us from using lyrics in the comments, as long as they’re properly credited. =)

      Do you know this one?
      Lonely is the room the bed is made
      The open window lets the rain in
      Burning in the corner is the only one
      Who dreams he had you with him

      My body turns and yearns for a sleep
      That won’t ever come it’s never over
      My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
      It’s never over, all my riches for her smiles
      When I slept so soft against her
      It’s never over

      All my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
      It’s never over, she’s the tear
      That hangs inside my soul forever
      ~Jeff Buckley

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