New Release News! Katherine – Tudor Duchess

Katherine – Tudor Duchess

New from Tony Riches, Author of the best-selling Tudor Trilogy

Available in eBook and paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US

(Audiobook edition coming in 2020)

Attractive, wealthy and influential, Katherine Willoughby is one of the most unusual ladies of the Tudor court. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Katherine knows all his six wives, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and his son Edward.

When her father dies, Katherine becomes the ward of Tudor knight, Sir Charles Brandon. Her Spanish mother, Maria de Salinas, is Queen Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting, so it is a challenging time for them all when King Henry marries the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.

Following Anne’s dramatic downfall, Katherine marries Charles Brandon, and becomes Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen. After the short reign of young Catherine Howard, and the death of Jane Seymour, Katherine and Brandon are chosen to welcome Anna of Cleves as she arrives in England.

When the royal marriage is annulled, Katherine’s good friend, Catherine Parr becomes the king’s sixth wife, and they work to promote religious reform. Katherine’s young sons are tutored with the future king, Prince Edward, and become his friends, but when Edward dies his Catholic sister Mary is crowned queen. Katherine’s Protestant faith puts her family in great danger – from which there seems no escape.

Katherine’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Author Bio

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess and Brandon – Tudor Knight.

For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on  Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

A Conversation with Author Penny Hampson

Today in the Library we have Penny Hampson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Penny, please introduce yourself:

Hi, I’m Penny, and I came rather late to writing my own stories. After working in the Civil Service for several years I became a full time mum. With time on my hands when my oldest child started school, I decided to follow my love of history by studying with the Open University, where I graduated with honours, and then went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

A family move to a different part of the country led to landing my dream role, working with rare books and historical manuscripts in a world-renowned academic library. Nearly two decades later, I took early retirement to care for a family member, but this also meant I had some free time to do something I’d always dreamed of doing – writing my own stories.

Encouraged by family and friends, and with positive feedback from professional writers, I finally published my first historical romance novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, in July 2018. My second book, An Officer’s Vow, was released in February 2019.

I live in Oxfordshire with my family and when I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, travelling, and researching for my next book. I also enjoy a gin and tonic.

[Pam says: I recently read A Gentleman’s Promise, and really enjoyed it.]

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write romance. I love books that have a happy ending, or certainly a happy for now. Life today is challenging for many people, myself included, so I like to think my stories offer a bit of an escape to someone who is experiencing difficult times.

My intention was to write the sort of books that I enjoy reading when I’m feeling down – light and escapist, but based in a real historical landscape. I also wanted to create strong female characters, who, despite the restrictions imposed by society, were able to achieve their aims. Believe me, such women did exist in the past, their misfortune is that we are only just beginning to discover their stories

My first two books are set in England in 1810, shortly before Prince George became Regent, and when Napoleon was rampaging over Europe – turbulent times. I enjoy giving my characters a challenge and difficulties to overcome, and that period in history offered many challenges, particularly for females.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Definitely! I used to read several books a week on my commute to work. These days I don’t get as much time, but I always manage to fit in some reading before going to sleep. I enjoy romance novels, of course, but I also love crime and mysteries, and trying to guess the culprit before their identity is finally revealed.

My favourite author is Jane Austen. I love her beautifully crafted novels, with their elegant prose, memorable characters, and intricate plots. Other authors that I enjoy reading are Georgette Heyer, for her wonderful Regency novels, Ian Rankin for his deft plotting and glorious sense of place (I so want to visit Edinburgh and see all the haunts of his fictional detective Rebus), and Kate Atkinson, who understands dialogue so well, and unfailingly comes up with unusual and gripping storylines.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I’m a self-published author. Although I received very positive feedback from several publishers, I was told there wasn’t much of a market for the type of stories I was writing. I therefore decided to take matters into my own hands and see for myself. I can only say that the publishers were wrong- there are lots of readers out there looking for well-written, feel-good stories.  I also enjoy being in full control of the whole process, from the professional cover design, to the look of the typesetting, and the marketing. I also ensure that my books are professionally edited and proofed – there is nothing worse than being pulled out of a story by a historical anachronism or a spelling mistake.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Georgette Heyer, without a doubt. I first read her books when I was a teenager, and discovered them again when I was looking for some escapism during a difficult period in my life. Historically accurate, intelligent, and well-written, her stories nonetheless are feel-good reads.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I would say so. Having always been interested in English history, I find travelling around the towns and cities of the UK an enormous source of inspiration for the settings of my stories. I live in Oxfordshire, so my first book was partly set there. I’ve used lots of real historical places in London, and my forthcoming book (also part of the Gentlemen Series) is set in Falmouth, Cornwall, a part of the world I love. Having said that, I wouldn’t rule out using foreign locations in future books. I’ve spent time in France and Italy, and recently visited Portugal for the first time. The Peninsular Wars are likely to feature in a future story.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it? Sometimes the plotting can prove problematic. I recently spent days working out how my female protagonist could plausibly escape from a certain situation without requiring superhuman powers. I got there in the end.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’m just grateful for any time I get for myself and my writing. Sometimes I wake up early and try to write before the day catches up with me, other days I stay up late and squeeze the writing in before I get too tired.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather be doing. I enjoy creating characters, setting them challenges, and trying to work out ways they can resolve them. I think I’m in control, but somethimes a character surprises me and takes the story in a completely different direction to the one I’d originally intended. I’m passionate about history, so I enjoy all the research required too, I love learning new things.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

I would travel back to the Regency period, though I’d make sure I’d had all my vaccinations and a supply of antibiotics to take with me! I think life as a woman back then would be difficult – women didn’t have much say in how they lived their lives, so perhaps I’d go back disguised as a man.

The early 1800s were exciting and dangerous times – England was at war with Napoleon’s France, a war that continued until 1815, when he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. Society was changing too, with innovations in industry and agriculture making many people unable to earn a living. But if you were wealthy, life was very different. The top echelons of society were cosseted from most problems, with servants to see to their every need. It is no surprise that this was a period when the arts flourished – the rich spent their wealth on the finer things in life, such as beautiful homes, artwork, extravagant clothes, and jewelry.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

An Officer’s Vow

The future looks bleak to Major Nate Crawford. Depressed after being sent home from the Peninsular Campaign as unfit for service, he contemplates ending it all. Then an unexpected opportunity for adventure beckons in the shape of a delightfully intriguing runaway heiress. He will prove his worth as an officer and a gentleman by offering his help. He has a plan…

Lottie Benham is desperate. Her life is in danger and she needs a place of safety until her next birthday. The unexpected proposal from this attractive, but intimidating officer could be the answer to her prayers. Not normally a risk-taker, she decides to gamble all by placing her trust in this charismatic gentleman, who she suspects might be more in need of help than she.

But the best laid plans…

Caught up in conflict, danger, and deception, will Lottie and Nate survive to find the perfect solution to their problems?

Visit Penny’s website and blog at:

Follow Penny on Twitter at: @penny_hampson

Find Penny’s books here:


A Conversation with Author Eric Schumacher

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Eric Schumacher, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

You are very welcome, Eric, please introduce yourself:

 Sæl! (that’s hello in Old Norse). My name is Eric Schumacher and I write historical fiction stories set in the Viking Age (ca. 900s AD). I was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently reside in Santa Barbara, California, with my wife and two kids.

You might be wondering how a Southern Californian boy found an interest in early medieval history. The truth is, I have no idea where it came from. At a very early age, I remember being fascinated by stories of knights and battles and dragons, which, I suppose, is what led me to authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries fueled my imagination and continue to influence the stories I like to tell. My first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005. I have since written two more novels (Raven’s Feast and War King), all of which tell of the rise and reign of Hakon Haraldsson (known in history as Hakon the Good), the youngest (bastard) son of the famous Viking king, Harald Fairhair.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

Historical fiction is my passion. I love history, especially early European medieval history, and writing about interesting historical characters. Hakon the Good is my first subject and there are a number of reasons I chose to write about him. You can read about that here. I am now busy writing about the next Viking king. More details on that project are coming soon. The long and short of it is, there are so many fascinating historical people and not enough time to write about them all!

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I would love to be an avid reader, but in truth, between family, my day job, and my writing, there is not enough time left to be an avid reader. When I do read, I tend to stick to historical fiction set in the time-frames that interest me.

Are you a self-published, traditional or hybrid author?

I have been a traditionally published author and a self-published author. Next Chapter is currently publishing my Hakon novels.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Not at all. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, hardly the mecca of early medieval European history. Yet, from the earliest age, I can remember being fascinated by Vikings and Saxons, Franks and Celts. I honestly don’t know why.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

There are actually two bits of advice that really stuck with me. The first was from a writing teacher, who said, “Just keep writing. No matter what.” It is that quote that keeps me going when I think I’m producing nothing but senseless dribble that no one will read.

The second is a quote I heard somewhere, but cannot remember who said it. The quote is: “Write the story that’s in you.” There was a period in time when I wondered if anyone would read a novel about a Viking. I dabbled with other genres and other subjects, but I kept coming back to Hakon and his story. It spoke to me. Now, twenty five years after starting those books, I know I never would have had the stamina to stick with a subject that long had it not been a story I had to tell.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

Late morning is generally my sweet spot. I find my brain freshest and my thoughts clearest between 9am and noon. Of course, a good cup of coffee or two helps!

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

If money was not a concern and I did not have a family, I think I would love to be a travel writer. Maybe when I retire and the kids are grown I’ll come back to that…

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

Without question, I’d travel back to the late 800s or early 900s in Europe. I wouldn’t want to stay long. Frankly, I don’t think I’d survive longer than a day. But if I could stay just long enough to experience first hand what it was like to live back then, that would be amazing!

Please tell us about your latest published work.  

War King is my latest novel. It is the third and final book in the Hakon’s Saga series of books.

It is 954 A.D. and a tempest is brewing in the North.

Twenty summers before, Hakon Haraldsson wrested Norway’s throne from his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, but he failed to rid himself of Erik’s family. Now the sons of Erik have come to reclaim Erik’s realm and avenge the wrong done to their father and their kin.

They do not come alone. With them marches an army of sword-Danes sent by the Danish King, Harald Bluetooth, whose desire to expand his realm is as powerful as the lust for vengeance that pulses in the veins of Erik’s brood.

Like storm-driven waves, the opposing forces collide in War King, the action-packed sequel to God’s Hammer and Raven’s Feast.


…a masterpiece of well-executed historical fiction. – Mary Anne Yarde, bestselling author, The Du Lac Chronicles

Highly recommended for those seeking Viking adventure. – Historical Novel Society

This is a tale full of irony, as well as the full force of life in a brutal, and oft confusing time. – Historical Fiction Reviews

Where to buy it: Amazon US and Amazon UK

 If you would like to know more about Eric and his work, check out his social media links below:

Readers can find me at the following locations:

A Conversation with Author Anna Campbell

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Anna Campbell, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Anna, please introduce yourself: 

Hi everyone! Hi Pam! Thanks for having me as your guest today. I’m an Aussie historical romance writer who lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland – and yes, it’s as nice as it sounds. I’ve had 10 multi award-winning books published with HarperCollins and Hachette, and I’ve done 23 more under my own steam as an indie. I’m currently in the bonny hills of the Scottish Highlands, at least in my head. I’m writing a series called The Lairds Most Likely. The Laird’s Willful Lass, The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, and The Highlander’s Lost Lady are out now, with The Highlander’s Defiant Captive releasing on 27th September (Available for pre-order now). All these are stand-alone love stories, although characters pop up across the books.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write historical romance, mostly although not exclusively, set in the Regency period. I’ve been in love with historical romance since my parents read me fairy tales as a kid and the addiction was confirmed by a good dose of Errol Flynn movies not long after. I love the wit and elegance of the Regency. I love that you can write a larger-than-life story in a historical romance and play with language in a way that a contemporary romance really doesn’t allow. If a Regency gentleman calls you a twittipated henwit, he can get away with it!

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I’ll read the cereal packet if there’s nothing else available! I read across a wide range of genres. Recently because I’ve been writing so much, I’ve been mainly reading crime, fantasy and nonfiction. Reading romance is a little too much like a busman’s holiday.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

These days, my new stuff is coming out independently. I have ten books (and a novella) published with Harper Collins and Hachette.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

Many years ago, before I was published, New Zealand romance writing legend Robyn Donald told me, “The people who fail are the people who give up.” At the time it didn’t strike me as so profound as it does now. It took me many years to get a publishing contract and it would have been so easy along the way to give up. In fact, I did at one stage – except it drove me crazy not using what I saw around me in my writing so I went back to it.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’ve become a real devotee of writing in bed for a couple of hours, starting the minute I wake up. Because I had an injury a few years ago that meant I couldn’t use my left arm, I went back to writing first drafts longhand and I’ve realised that really suits me so I’ve kept up the practice. It’s just me, some classical music, the birds waking up, and no internet. That really lets me dive back into my story and sets up my writing for the day.

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

I often play this game when I’m choosing physical models for my characters. Right now I’m working on a rumbustious, old-school Scottish romance set in 1699 – a bit of a departure from my usual Regency era. The hero of The Highlander’s Defiant Captive is big and brawny but with a laugh sparkling in his eyes. Definitely Jason Momoa. The idea of him in a kilt has kept me going quite well so far! The heroine is beautiful and smart and, well, defiant as you’ve probably gathered from the title. I know she’s no longer with us, but it would have been a perfect part for the gorgeous Maureen O’Hara.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

Am I allowed to come back to the present day? As a woman heading for the age where health care and dentistry really matter, I’m happy to stay just where I am! If it was just for a visit, I’d go to the Regency obviously, especially if we could arrange for me to be a rich man’s daughter and I could go to a couple of balls and to the fashionable hour in Hyde Park and perhaps a house party at some gorgeous pile out in Surrey or Kent. Hmm, I might rethink that – empire lines look awful on me…

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

This is both a cruel and a fascinating question and I suspect I’d give a different answer if you asked me tomorrow. OK, let’s cheat and say I’d take Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles (six books but I’m counting them as one!); the collected poems of T.S. Eliot; the collected poems of John Donne; Persuasion by Jane Austen; The Oxford Book of Humour.

Please tell us about your latest published work 

My most recent release is a dramatic and emotional story called The Highlander’s Lost Lady. It’s book 3 in the Lairds Most Likely series, but as I said above, all these stories can be read as stand-alones. Here’s the blurb:

A Highlander as brave and strong as a knight of old…

When Diarmid Mactavish, Laird of Invertavey, discovers a mysterious woman washed up on his land after a wild storm, he takes her in and tries to find her family. But even as forbidden dreams of sensual fulfillment torment him, he’s convinced that this beautiful lassie isn’t what she seems. And if there’s one thing Diarmid despises, it’s a liar.

A mother willing to do anything to save her daughter…

Widow Fiona Grant has risked everything to break free of her clan and rescue her adolescent daughter from a forced marriage. But before her quest has barely begun, disaster strikes. She escapes her brutish kinsmen, only to be shipwrecked on Mactavish territory where she falls into her enemies’ hands. For centuries, a murderous feud has raged between the Mactavishes and the Grants, so how can she trust her darkly handsome host?

Now a twisted Highland road leads to danger and passion…and irresistible love. But is love strong enough to banish the past’s long shadows and offer these wary allies all that their hearts desire?

Buy links:

Amazon U.S.:

Amazon U.K.:

Amazon Australia:

iTunes U.S.:


Barnes and Noble:

Book 4: The Highlander’s Defiant Captive: Pre-order Link: Amazon






Social Media:


Facebook at:

Twitter @AnnaCampbellOz






A Conversation with Author Mary Ann Bernal

Today in the Library we have Mary Ann Bernal who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Mary Ann, please introduce yourself:

Thanks for inviting me, Pam. In addition to being an incurable romantic Anglophile history buff, I am also a Science Fiction nerd, dreaming of exploring strange new worlds the minute Captain Kirk commanded the Enterprise. Yes, I am an original Trekkie.

My grandchildren also keep me on my toes, but I am one of their staunchest supporters in all of their extracurricular activities, from sitting in the bleachers for sporting events to orchestra seating for dance competitions.

I am a passionate supporter of the U.S. military, having been involved with letter-writing campaigns and other military support programs since Operation Desert Storm. All of my novels and short story collections are dedicated to fallen military heroes who gave their lives defending our freedom.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

Since I had always wanted to write a story about a Viking prince, my genre of choice was historical fiction. After having written five novels in The Briton and the Dane series, I broadened my fan base to include contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales collection, and more recently, I have added a Space Opera, Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire, to the mix.


My writing style varies because my interests are wide-ranging. I love history but I also love science fiction, so why not pen what I enjoy? It is always good to leave one’s comfort zone to conquer new challenges. Diversity is a good thing and one should not be limited in scope. My pendulum swings from the Ninth Century to futuristic worlds.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Yes. I love to read, but I do not limit myself to one specific category. It is better to broaden one’s perspective then remain stagnant in one area. To grow, one must experience new things. What better way to discover different mindsets then to read different genres? Of course, there will always be favorites, and in many instances, it will be hard to choose the top five.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Ah, writer’s block comes to mind. Is it such a thing? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I am sure most of us have stared at a blank computer screen while our minds wander. Yes, there is the outline. Yes, you know the story, yet you’re stuck.

My solution was to not call it a day after having finished a chapter or a section within a chapter. I will write a few lines for the next section or chapter before leaving the office. The next day when I pull up the file, there are sentences to either change or expand upon. Problem solved.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

Write about what you love because you enjoy it, not because you have to. Some authors will write for the current trend, such as vampire stories. If you don’t love your work, neither will your readers. It does not matter if you’re out of sync. Your work will be discovered. Never settle.

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

The Briton and the Dane trilogy selected cast:

Lord Richard – Jeremy Irons; David – James Franco; Stephen – Clive Owen; Erik – Chris Egan; Rollo – Ioan Gruffudd

If truth be told, I have cast the entire lead roles on a spreadsheet since I always picture my characters in my mind’s eye whilst I write.

If you could live the life of a historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?

Eleanor of Aquitaine – she was one feisty wealthy and powerful woman in the Twelfth Century. She was married to Louis VII of France and King Henry II of England. While married to Louis, Eleanor participated in the Second Crusade, leading her Aquitainian soldiers, not of noble birth. It was said she was dressed as an Amazon (warrior women in Greek Mythology) and that point, I would love to prove. What was Eleanor wearing as she and her ladies-in-waiting headed towards the Holy Land? How many men were shamed by her courage?

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, To Have and To Hold by Mary Johnston, The Andromeda Strain by Michael Creighton, and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier. Can I throw in my Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis DVD collections? Tough choices.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

My next project, in development, is a historical fiction novel set during the First Crusade.

Published works:

The Briton and the Dane collection is an action and adventure drama set in dark ages England when the Vikings terrorized the world. The Briton and the Dane: Timeline is a historical fiction fantasy time travel love story.

Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire is a science fiction/fantasy romantic adventure Space Opera.

Scribbler Tales is a compilation of short stories whose genres include the paranormal, action and adventure, mystery and thrillers, fantasy, romance, drama, and suspense. A single author contemporary fiction anthology.

If you would like to know more about Mary Ann and her work, please check our her links below:

Amazon US

Amazon UK




Historical Fiction Cover Competition September 2019

What draws you to a historical fiction book cover? 

Welcome to my monthly historical fiction cover competition. I hope you find some new books and authors for your ‘must read’ list. If a cover interests you, just click on the link to learn more about the book. Continue reading “Historical Fiction Cover Competition September 2019”

A Conversation with Author D.K. Marley

Today in the Library we have D. K. Marley, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, D.K., please introduce yourself

Hi, my name is D. K. Marley and I am a historical fiction author specializing in Shakespearean themes. A literary agent called me the “Shakespearean Madeline Miller” since my Fractured Shakespeare Series is all about transforming the plays of the Bard into historical fiction adaptations. I was introduced to his works at the age of eleven by my grandmother, who was an English Literature professor, and since then his words have entranced me and influenced my own writings. I travelled to England three times over the past twenty years on research trips, attending debate lectures at the Globe Theatre, and immersing myself into the secrets behind the sonnets and hidden clues within the plays themselves. I am a blogger, and I have written articles for the Marlowe-Shakespeare Society, attended the Writer’s Retreat Workshop in 2006, and am President of a local author’s group. I live in Georgia U. S. A. with my husband, an English Lab and a Scottish Terrier named Molly McScottie.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write historical fiction. I must admit I am hooked on research when writing in this genre. The sheer act of delving into the past as if you are stepping through a portal in time is quite intoxicating and I have to remind myself to get back to writing.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read, as well, but I do love literary fiction, historical fantasy, and every once in a while, I will indulge in a dystopian.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I am a self-published author with hopes to go into traditional publishing at some point in my writing career. Many people ask me why I don’t dive into the deep waters of the traditional world and my answer is always the same. I chose to go the self-publishing route five years ago when my husband and I suffered a horrific tragedy in our family – my daughter and son-in-law were killed by a drunk and drugged driver running from the police. Grief changes you in ways you cannot imagine, especially when losing children. Not only has writing been a source of therapy for me, but I feel I have taken a bit of control over my life by self-publishing my own novels. It is really hard to explain, but I truly feel a small sense of happiness in being an Indie author. I am not sure if waiting, perhaps years, to see if my manuscripts might be accepted by an agent or traditional publisher would have brought me the measure of therapeutic release I needed at this time in my life. Four and a half years have passed since they died and I have written and published four novels. To me, this is a success for now.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

First and foremost, my grandmother who shared with me her love of writing. Second, my eleventh grade English teacher, Ms. Jeanne Centa. She helped me develop my love of writing and was a huge encouragement to keep pushing forward. I even went back to visit her years after graduation to share with her some of my writings. Third, the incredible staff of editors, writers, and agents of the Writer’s Retreat Workshop, especially Lorin Oberweger and Bill Luse, who have mentored me and encouraged me through the years. I still hear both of their voices in my head of things I could do to improve and to never give up on my dream of writing. Last, my husband. Without his support and love, especially with all that we have gone through over the past four years, not a single story would have made it from my mind to the page.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Interesting question. I have to answer an emphatic ‘NO’. I have always felt that I live in the wrong place and in the wrong generation. I live in the Southern United States, and with the exception of my one novel, “Child of Love & Water”, I truly have no interest in writing about the South. I am a true Anglophile, so I feel that the history of Great Britain has influenced my writing more than anything.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The most difficult aspect of writing for me is not having enough time to write. I would love to do this full-time. As I am working on one book, I already have at least another three to four in my head, and since I am limited in the amount of time I can write, I do find myself getting a bit frustrated and depressed at times. I have to make myself step back and focus on whatever my current WIP is, take a deep breath, and stop doing word counts at the end of the day.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

Never give up. A writer writes, good or bad, and sometimes it is more bad than good, but never let that get you down. Not every story will be great and you will never be able to please everyone with your writing – so write what you know, love what you write for yourself first, be flexible enough to make needed changes (Yes, even if it means scraping entire chapters), and don’t let criticism take you out of the game.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

Yes, I love to write at night when everyone is asleep. The house is quiet, the crickets outside are chirping, and my brain is focused on the tapping away of the keys on the keyboard of my computer.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I love photography! For a while, before my daughter died, I was a wedding photographer, as well as a conceptual art photographer. I still take pictures from time to time now, but more as a hobby instead of a job.

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

This is an easy question as I have thought of this for quite sometime about every single one of my novels.
Blood and Ink – Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher Marlowe, Tom Hiddleston as William Shakespeare
Prince of Sorrows – Liam Hemsworth as Hamlet
The Fire of Winter – Scott Kyle as Macbeth, Saoirse Ronan as Lady Macbeth

If you could live the life of a historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?

I would want to live the life of Queen Elizabeth the First. I would love to know her mind, the things she thought about, her choices and decisions about love and marriage, about the state of her country, her fears and worries, as well as her passions.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

Even though I love the Tudor era, I think I have to choose the Regency period. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors and I adore the idea of living in an era surrounded by simple elegance and exquisite manners.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte; The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein

Please tell us about your latest published work

My latest published work is The Fire of Winter. The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.
“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…” (Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

She is known as Lady Macbeth. What leads her down the path of murder? What secrets fire her destiny?

Gruah, the granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne. Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?

“This beautifully written reworking of the Macbeth tale told from Lady Macbeth’s point-of-view flows from the page and you quickly become immersed in the politics and intrigues of feudal Scotland as she fights for her rightful place and her true love! A mesmerising read that grips from start to finish and Gruah is now one of my all-time favourite literary crushes.” – Iain Leonard, ARC Reviewer

The Fire of Winter is on a book blog tour from July 22 – August 19, 2019 – a giveaway for the chance to win one of three signed hardcovers and a special gift with each, plus reviews and spotlights from 24 different historical fiction bloggers.
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