CRUSADING WITH DEANNA PROACH

Deanna Proach and I met on a Facebook group about the crusades. We are both writing about German politics and society in the Holy Roman Empire and the Outremer in the mid 12th century. Very few authors are interested in this time period and locale, so naturally we were excited to be able to exchange research sources and discuss our obscure little corner of history.

Before we get started, can you tell me a little about yourself?

I am a Canadian, currently living in Dawson Creek, a small town located in northeastern British Columbia.  I graduated with a BA in History from the University of Northern British Columbia.  Aside from my study on the Crusades, I am a certified fitness instructor and I thoroughly enjoy travelling.  I love seeing and experiencing different places and meeting different people and I look forward to when I am able to travel once again.

Deanna, how did you get pulled into this field?

My interest in the Crusades began in my third year of university when I saw the film, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’.  I thoroughly enjoyed that movie so much, I was eager to delve into the history of the Crusades and learn more about it.  Since the university I attended didn’t offer any comprehensive courses on the Crusades, I decided to do my own study on the subject matter, but that didn’t happen until 2012.

In October 2012, I launched my blog, Crusades and Crusaders, but after a lengthy break from it (and dare I say, thanks to Covid-19) I decided to delve back into my study on the Crusades. I recently re-launched Crusades and Crusaders with the goal to edit and update all of my content as well as build this blog into a thriving business that brings the History of the Crusades back to life.  

Tell us more about your blog, Crusades and Crusaders.

Crusades and Crusaders is a comprehensive history of the crusades and of the people who played a major role in these wars for the Holy Land.  I do also have plans to write about the Reconquista in Spain as well as other crusades that took place in Europe.

You can find out more about my blog at www.crusadesandcrusaders.com

You are writing a novel, God’s Kingdom, about the crusader states. Where are you at on that project?

My novel, God’s Kingdom, starts in 1154 in Saar, Germany and follows my main characters to the Kingdom of Jerusalem where they defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

I’m still in the process of writing this novel.  I have completed about 20 chapters, rough draft.  I am writing this novel longhand.  Yes, I still put pen to paper when it comes to writing as that is my preferred choice.  My creative juices flow much more steadily when I’m looking at paper while soft music plays in the background.

I have organized ‘God’s Kingdom’ into three parts: Part 1 is when Wilfred, one of my main characters, is a child.  Part 2 is when Wilfred is older, in his late teens and Part 3 is when my characters begin a new life in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.  Currently, I’m working on Part 2 and at this stage, my characters are still in Germany, but are preparing for their departure to the Holy Land.

Do you have any other published works?

I did have one book published.  My very first book was titled Day of Revenge and it was set in 1793 during the reign of terror in France.  This book was published ten years ago and I had a measure of success with it; Publishers Weekly gave it a good review and a university in the United States purchased several hundred copies of it.

But after a while, I felt a strong need to get a regular job and my interests shifted over to the history of the Crusades.

You offer a book blog tour service. How does that work?

The book blog tour is catered specifically to other authors of historical fiction and nonfiction.  My preference, of course, is medieval history, though I’m also interested in ancient history as well.  I encourage authors to submit a press release of their book(s) to me and then my goal is to score them interviews and/or reviews on five or ten blogs. More information can be found at www.crusadesandcrusaders.com/work-with-me/ .

I am also planning on setting up a Patreon page for Crusades and Crusaders. More details on that will be released within the next week.

What is your background in marketing?

I don’t have any degrees in marketing. My experience with marketing has purely been one of trial and error.  Some methods I used worked really well while others not so much. I found that the methods of marketing that worked best for me was when I marketed a service that was high in demand: People needed it and there weren’t many other people in the area qualified enough to offer that service.

You also offer a research service. Let’s say I want you to research dairy farming in the middle ages; what happens next?

I would Google the following terms: ‘Dairy Farming in the Middle Ages’, ‘Farming in the Middle Ages’ and/or ‘Medieval Farmers’.  

Books are your best source of information when it comes to historical research, so I would also look up Medieval Farming or Dairy Farming in the Middle Ages on Amazon under the Books category and see what comes up. I would also do the same search on Goodreads and on JSTOR.  JSTOR is an online database for academic journals, primary sources and articles.  

As part of my service as your research assistant, I would find all the resources for you, then I would compile a list of books and articles and email them to you.  Then, you would take it from there!  Once you have all the sources you need on the subject matter you are researching, all you need to do is read and expand your knowledge.

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