Shelley Wilson is an English multi-genre author. She has written nine young adult/middle-
grade supernatural, fantasy, and historical novels, a children’s meditation book, and six
motivational self-help titles for adults.
She is a proud single mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, UK. Shelley loves
travelling in her VW camper searching for stories. She also enjoys paddle boarding, Tudor
and Viking history, supporting Leeds United, and obsessing over to-do lists!
Her latest book, The Last Princess, is out on 24th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books.
Your other YA novels are full of fantasy and supernatural characters, what made you
write about Vikings?
I’m a huge fan of history, especially the Viking age and Tudor timeline, so I pour over books,
documentaries, TV shows, and movies about these periods. The history bug extends to
genealogy and so far I’ve managed to trace my Wilson line to 1805. During my searches, I
spotted an advert for the DNA tests from Ancestry and thought ‘why not!’
It was a fascinating experience and the information you receive with your test results is
detailed and constantly being updated as the technology improves.
My initial results showed that my DNA was 38% Scandinavia/European West.
The percentages have changed as Ancestry updates my ethnicity estimate, however, there is
always an element from Norway/Sweden.
My result showed me that my ancestors weren’t part of the existing population of Great
Britain, and so I saw that the likelihood of my ancestors being one of many invading tribes
I was hooked! Were my kin part of the Germanic tribes who seized the opportunity to invade
Britannia in 410 A.D when the Romans left? Or were they seafaring Vikings from Western
Europe/Scandinavia/Iberian Peninsula who settled in Britain and Ireland?
There’s every possibility that I’m reading what I want into the findings, but every section of
my report pointed to a Viking invasion at some point, so I’m claiming it as the truth!
That was the seed of inspiration I needed to start creating The Last Princess.
What kind of research did you do for TLP, and how long did you spend researching
before beginning the book?
Researching this book was a fabulous experience and I got to take a few trips in my
campervan to Bamburgh and York as I filled in the gaps. My daughter came with me on my
trip to Northumberland and we both fell in love with this beautiful area.
We visited Lindisfarne and spent hours walking up and down the beaches at Bamburgh and
Alnmouth so I could stand in the places my characters would stand. Looking out over the
North Sea on a snowy March morning was quite emotional, especially when I wrote the
scenes where Edith does the same thing.
I outline my novels before I start writing so the rough plot was ready to go before I started
my research. I wrote parts of the book alongside my research so I didn’t lose the momentum
of being in the story. When I came to a point where I needed to check more historical facts
I’d leave a row of XXX’s and make a note of what I needed to search for before continuing to
The book and research took me about ten months to write and edit.
How do you select the names of your characters?
With The Last Princess, I had to use my research notes to be able to name my characters,
which was a new concept for me. Usually, I’ll go through a baby name book to get the right
fit for my characters. I love using the meanings of names to inspire me.
To keep the book historically accurate I had to dig a bit deeper than the baby name book! I
knew I wanted my main characters to have names that rolled off the tongue so I wasn’t
tripping the reader up at every turn, so I chose Edith and Leif, but I did get to use more
authentic names for my secondary characters like Solveig, Eadgifu, and Aelle.
There are references to historical figures in the book such as Ivar the Boneless, Alfred, and
Could you give us a teaser from The Last Princess?
Of course, here’s the prologue to give you a bit of a taster.
Hundreds of bodies littered the grassland as their lifeblood soaked into the earth. Warriors in
mid–battle cry lay facedown in muddy puddles, still clinging to their axe and shield, and the
sound of conflict floated across the grey English sky like one of the king’s banners.
In the eyes of the great warriors who had travelled across the sea, the king’s army was
outnumbered and weak. These foreigners didn’t shy away from war; they embraced it with
determination and passion.
Like a plague, they swept across all England taking what they wanted, killing, and
plundering. Nobody was safe from their wrath. Kings and peasants were treated as equals as
these warriors from the North defiled the land.
High up on the hilltop, a man sat on his horse watching the battle unfold. His eyes scanned
the valley as he witnessed soldier after soldier cut down by the vicious army that advanced on
his home. He’d sent all his best men to their deaths. No amount of manipulation, silver, or
corruption could stop this curse upon his land.
The crown on his head weighed heavy as he glanced first left then right at the remainder of
his army. Young men who stood on the brink of annihilation. The king knew all was lost, he
knew the great warriors would never stop, and he knew why.
Deep within the battlefield, at the heart of the fighting, he had seen her. A sword in her hand,
blood smeared across her tunic, and warpaint decorating her face. It had been many moons,
but he would have recognised her anywhere.
The end of their story was playing out in front of them, but the king wasn’t quite ready to
give up just yet. Failure had never been an option.
He sat a little straighter in his saddle and addressed the young army at his side.
‘To the death!’ he cried.
The Last Princess, is out on 24 th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books
The Last Princess Blurb
Northumbria, 866 AD
Edith still has much to learn about the art of ruling a kingdom, but when her family is
murdered, she’s faced with the challenge of staying alive.
As a young woman in Anglo-Saxon England, Edith finds it hard to be heard above the
Eldermen who are ripping the kingdom to pieces, but nothing can prepare her for the arrival
of the pirates and the Vikings. Torn from her homeland and sold into slavery, she’s
determined to survive at any cost.
Finding allies in the unexpected and enemies closer to home, Edith clings to her dream of
returning home one day to reclaim her throne and to exact revenge on those who harmed her
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Early Praise for The Last Princess:
“This fast-paced historical novel builds on an obscure Anglo-Saxon king’s life to tell an
empowering tale of a girl’s journey to fully embrace a new world, a new culture…as she
grows into her own as a warrior. Edith’s fierce and often violent quest for revenge is
juxtaposed with lovely, life-affirming moments of friendship and love in an engaging first-
person narrative.” - Kirkus Reviews
“I LOVED this quick fantasy read. I can’t wait to share with my students once I get a copy.” -
Dawn, Teacher & Goodreads Reviewer
“WOW! I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn't it! This story is absolutely
amazing.” - Rebecca, Goodreads Reviewer
“A great fast-paced historical fiction read with a pinch of romance and plenty of cut-throats.
And Vikings. There were loads of them.” - Eugenia, Goodreads Reviewer