Guest Author: Lily Byrne

A definition of the genre I write


It seems to me that fiction genres are changing; some merging, some expanding, some disappearing. So a book could appeal to a broader audience than previously, or it could appeal to a very specific section of readers. The vast increase in the number of books published these days means that an author must know what sort of readers will read their book if they are to attract them.

My novels fall under the broad category of Historical Romance but I wanted to narrow it down and have a specific angle, as that’s what brand experts recommend. So I sat down and thought what I could offer my readers that maybe wasn’t offered in every historical romance.

I much prefer stories with a great deal of realism; I’m not keen on fantastical tales with monsters and unbelievable feats of human strength or endurance. And I don’t write plot driven stories which may be an endless sequence of battles, people going on a quest or exploring an unknown land. I can include those aspects but I prefer to explore characters and see what happens with them.

I am fascinated by how people lived in the past: how did they handle the basic human problems we still have today?

So I decided that my genre is now called Realistic History. That is, stories set in historical periods but with characters we can all relate to, and who find themselves in the same situations as we do in the 21st century. We are human, as were they. They had the same feelings, problems, dilemmas and joys as us.

My series of Viking/Saxon novels, beginning with ‘Ragnar the Murderer’ deals with such matters, like the uncertainty of first love, parental disapproval, marriage—whether unhappy or happy, parenthood, even contraception (which existed long before the present, surprisingly), adultery, homosexuality, sibling rivalry. All of these situations have been happening since time began, but people had different ways of handling them, depending on the century in which they were born.

I hope readers can relate to these themes in my books. I’m also hoping that working out exactly what I’m writing about will help me write more interesting and engrossing stories.


Ragnar the Murderer
Lily Byrne
Publisher: Taylor Street Books
ISBN: 13: 978-1463698379
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 40,000  Kindle
A tale of love and treachery.
It is a time of uneasy truce, of two races living side-by-side, inter-marrying even, but forever on the look out  for treachery among their neighbors.
They meet, they bathe together and they consort. Life is short, fun is likely to be brief, and opportunity has to be seized wherever it can be found without unleashing long-held rivalries and carnage.
Then the youthful Dane, Ragnar, falls in love with Aelfwyn the Angle who is already promised by duty to one of her own village.
Ragnar and Aelfwyn’s passionate love affair is a secret which will never be hidden for long, but theirs is not the 
only secret around.
When Ragnar finds himself charged with murder, he and Aelfwyn are forcibly parted. But is Ragnar really a  cold-blooded, cynical killer or is there a more sinister plot being played out?

Lily Byrne
I faffed around at writing for many years until I had my daughter, but becoming a mum seemed to kick start something in me: I realised that I now had a purpose and time was limited, so I must get on with it.
The winter of 2009 was severe and as I and my family live in a small village, we were house bound by unusually deep snow for southern England. So I settled down in my office (i.e. the corner of our bedroom) and began my first book, which was published in 2010.
I haven’t stopped writing since. I go through phases of planning my story, writing furiously, or editing it. It is much easier now my daughter is at school and I get a few hours of work done each day.
My daughter has truly been an inspiration to me: she has had severe health problems in her short life but is always smiling and laughing, planning for the future, full of ideas. Working at home writing and editing has been ideal, I love my life.
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One thought on “Guest Author: Lily Byrne

  1. Thank you for featuring me today 🙂

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