SAMANTHA HAMPSTEAD - INDIE AUTHOR
Chloe will protect her sister, Isabel, from evil until their last breath…
The life of Chloe, a 13-year-old French girl during the 1500’s can be challenging when working as a servant for a prominent aristocratic family during the Crusades. It can become even more hazardous as she learns she is 2nd in line to the Portuguese Throne and one of the last remaining members of the House of Aviz.
Raised in hiding by their Father, Chloe, with her sister Isabel, grow in protected solitude and innocence until Isabel bears the child of a man linked to the throne. As the ripple of shock lingers, they uncover the truth of their father being the great King Sebastian of Portugal, who has been forced into hiding due to an assassination attempt long ago.
Isabel’s child will reshape the modern church; the monarchy and all the lands surrounding. Chloe and Isabel are part Cathar which means for them to live in threat and fear as they oppose the Catholic Church and all they stand for. Chloe will protect her sister, Isabel, from the evil that comes for them until their last breath…even as fate propels demons to haunt them; they must remain true to the knowing that Isabel’s newborn son will become the true king of the land as he is to be…
“An experience of romantic torture and desire lost in shattered hopes…A haunting tale of a dark episode in French history and a wonderful debut novel from a new Australian voice…5 Stars” Jordan, Indiebooks Reviewer
Even when she’s writing, Sam is a loving, generous and caring mother, friend and wife. She is very generous and willingly gives of her time and compassion to support anyone in need, but she is also fierce when it comes to defending the family and friends she holds so dear to her.
She’s a free spirited individual who when given the opportunity thrives on perching proudly at the back of a Harley, wind in her hair. Some say, she’s a true visionary and trail blazer of the new world, others would say insane. She would say “You only live once.”
What were your inspirations?
Having been brought up within a blended family and being born in the 70s I was exposed to what I would like to call many different belief systems. In the early days, my birth parents were very liberal minded and being a child of nature wasn’t unusual. Living in the country it wasn’t unusual either to encounter some strange individuals.
My grandparents were Anglican and Methodist. I attended Sunday school and was indoctrinated according to their beliefs. Grace was said at meal times and swearing was punishable. My mother was more interested in Eastern religion, however when my Father left and remarried, he joined an openly charismatic church. I then went to a Baptist University, married an Irish Protestant Jew and my whole view on what I call “Organised Religion” changed.
Due to a life long struggle with epilepsy, my life was constantly dictated around the activities I could do. One day whilst out swimming, I had a seizure and drowned. It wasn’t a simple resuscitation. I was clinically dead when found. My near death experience also made me more open to the many different belief systems that exist within our society. I no longer called myself an Anglican or Pentocostal believer. I preferred to refer to myself as more of a spiritual being. On all of my applications for myself or my family I no longer put for example “Catholic”; “Anglican”; “Protestant” or any other organized religion, if anything I just put Christian.
I began to question things like reincarnation and so many other belief systems. It was when my maternal grandmother was in hospital and going in and out of consciousness, that she took a medallion that I had bought from a small bric-a-brac shop in Melbourne that she took my hand and said “I want you to go back to France and tell me how it has changed”, that I knew there was more to life than what we knew. I also knew the medallion needed further investigation.
I also believe there is no such thing as coincidence, only synchronicity and as C.S Lewis said “You are not a body with a soul, but a soul within a body.” I believe now the soul is eternal.
How did you decide on the characters in the book would also be an interesting concept to include?
It may sound unusual, but it was as simple as putting pen to paper. The names of the characters immediately came into my head, as did the direction of the book. I began getting drawn to Joanna of Castile, also referred to as Joanna the Mad. I then began to look at her family tree and from there followed it to her grandson, Sebastian of Portugal. He was a king that was both revolutionary and groundbreaking. Both he and his grandmother however, questioned the Roman Catholic Church. It was stated that he died at the battle of Alcacer Quibir in Morocco, yet his body was never officially identified.
I proposed a ‘what if’ scenario, presenting the possibility that he had never died and was merely injured during the course of battle and healed by the Cathars, who had been deemed heretics by the Roman Catholic Church. The Cathars had taken refuge in Morocco after being hunted down and slain during the Crusades, however there were Templars that supported them. The scene and characters created themselves.
What drew you to the subject matter or the characters?
The details surrounding Sebastian and Joanna were very controversial. It also seemed unusual that as soon as they both began to question the Church, they were, for Joanna at least, deemed mad and imprisoned, or from my research, there was an assassination attempt on Sebastian whilst he was in battle with the Moors. Unusually it was his Great Grandmother who instigated the Spanish Inquisition so this was in complete opposition for what their family stood for. It was during the Crusades that the Pope stated “Kill Them All, God will know his own.” There was a massive slaughter in the entire town of Beziers in France with over 20,000 men, women and children killed indiscriminately.
The reason? The town consisted mainly of Cathars whose peaceful beliefs had begun to spread across Europe and were making people migrate from the “Organized” Catholic Church to the “Heretical” Cathar beliefs. If you ask anyone today, do you know about the Cathars or have you heard of one of the most controversial mass genocides many people would say “no”. Very few people also know about the Siege of Montsegur or that the Cathars and the Templars were closely linked and potentially held the secret to the Holy Grail. I also pose the suggestion that the Cathars may well have played a role in the writing of the Voynich manuscript and that there is more to it than being simply an “Unreadable Book”.
The medallion which I was investigating, ironically vanished, once I got both it and the markings – which I believe to include amongst other languages Sanskrit. – tattooed onto my back. Another irony about losing the medallion was that I was saving my youngest daughter from drowning at the time. As I said, I do not believe in coincidence, merely synchronicity.
What was the biggest challenge when writing the book?
Having the time to do it and maintaining the consistency of the writing and characters over
the extended period when I became sick.
Share any interesting experiences you might’ve had during the research for the book, or while writing or publishing the book:
In the beginning I began to drop breadcrumbs about my writings on Twitter under the guise of the French Wolf, as well as on an old Facebook account, including an Instagram I had created. I began to get independent film companies contacting via Messenger wanting to be involved. The tourism department of Toulouse began to contact me and then the most concerning was a modern day movement of Cathars contacted me. It was when they said “Please contact us if you need protection.”, that I began to give my book and the general story second thoughts.
I however know enough about the ‘original’ Cathars that I began to even question what I was being challenged with. The Cathars practised from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah and the New Testament Book of John. It was this that assisted me in understanding their beliefs in both reincarnation as well.
For whom did you write it and why?
I wrote this for the general public and those 15+ as there is some fairly graphic content in some of the books. I wrote it so that countries and society outside France know about these people. History has been gradually disappearing and I really think the youth especially need to know. Ironically a lot of my followers are from Brazil and Portugal, which is where Sebastian came from.
The Cathars have been virtually wiped from the history books. It was always deemed by the Catholic Church that nothing ever happened until about 5 years ago when the Roman Catholic Church acknowledge that something had and that it was “an unfortunate incident” and the Cathars where merely another branch of Christians that practised differently to the Catholic Church.
King Sebastian of Portugal was deemed to have died during battle, however his body has never officially been identified. He was the last Grand Master of the Order of Christ and several other Orders. The Portuguese believe he will someday return or his descendants will to reclaim the throne.
It was only after King Sebastian of Portugal and his Grandmother, Joanna of Castile came to their demise after they began to question the Roman Catholic Church. The House of Aziz built the Church and were a powerhouse within it, Queen Isabella was deemed a Saint. Independent Documentaries indicate that there was a European assassination attempt on Sebastian.
A Cathar/Catholic Royal could have massive repercussion and it would also dilute the “Dragen Gene.”
Requests welcomed for further information about the author –
Book copies for review and discussion
Full media kit, inc images and Q&A about the book by the author
Interviews can be arranged via Skype, phone or email.
Book is available for purchase upon release at all great Australian book stores and online direct at https://www.indiebooksaust.com.au
Thank you for supporting new Independent authors in Australia,
and we welcome further communications with you in the future.
Shawline Publishing Group