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A Conversation with Historical Fiction Author, Cryssa Bazos

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

Cryssa Bazos

You are very welcome, Cryssa, please introduce yourself:

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Pam. I write historical romantic suspense set around the time of the English Civil War. Even though I’m Canadian, I’ve been drawn to Britain’s history, particularly the mid-17th century era.

Since the moment that I could hold a crayon, I’ve been a writer. They say that readers grow to become writers, but in my case the reverse was true. I can confidently say that I practiced my writing long before I could read – on walls, and especially on my doll’s forehead. The walls were soon covered up, but the legacy of the doll remains.

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

I write historical romantic suspense. While there isn’t a mystery to solve, the suspense comes from the element of danger that I throw my main characters in. Will they survive to be together is a central concern in my stories. Historical fiction satisfies my love for history and I seriously can’t imagine writing any story without including a romantic interest.

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

I am definitely an avid reader and story nerd. I usually have an audiobook and a reading book on the go at the same time to feed my addiction to stories. My reading tastes are somewhat eclectic. My main reading fare is historical fiction and all its sub-genres, but I also enjoy YA Fantasy and romantic comedies.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

That would have to be Mary Stewart even though the closest she came to historical fiction was her Crystal Cave series. What resonates for me is her beautiful descriptions. Her settings take on the importance of character. I originally read the Crystal Cave series when I was in my late teens and re-read it so many times that the bindings dissolved. Years later, after I started writing seriously, I picked up a new set. I cracked them open with a little trepidation, fearing they might not stand the test of time, but I needn’t have worried. Once again I found myself lost in the world she had created. I could see the moonlight, feel the chill of the fog and smell the resinous perfume of the trees. It was then that I realized how much of an influence she had been on my writing.

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

The first draft is especially challenging, and it’s usually a dog’s breakfast. But once I have that first draft laid down, I eagerly roll up my sleeves and dive in. The promise of that second draft is what gets me through the first, because I know I’ll have something I can shape and craft to my heart’s content. I’ve tried banging out the first draft, fast and furious, but the result is an aimless meandering across the page with most scenes being exiled to the Land of Lost Scenes. I’ve come to accept that (for me) a big part of writing that first draft includes a great deal of mulling over the characters and the story. Instead of thinking about it as lost writing time, I’m learning to embrace it as a necessary part of my writing process. I only wish it would go faster.

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

When you’re stuck on a scene and experiencing writer’s block, just write anything even if it’s complete gibberish and will never end up in the story. Have your character write a letter to another character or tell yourself the story, no matter how banal. The important thing is to get that pen moving on the page. Eventually, your Muse will realize you aren’t going away and that you mean to work. At some point, a line will surface that changes everything and sets you down the right path. Now you have something to work with.

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

I would spend most of my free time gardening. I used to enjoy growing flowers from seed and tending to my roses. Unfortunately, since I started writing, my poor garden has suffered because of the inattention. But I do still manage to have some photo-worthy flowers that I like to share through my Instagram account. In fact, pictures of blooms far outweigh any of my bookish posts on that platform.

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

One of my readers likened Iain Johnstone of Severed Knot as Sean Bean, and I couldn’t agree more. A younger Sean Bean (thinking when he played Sharpe) would exactly fit the bill. He has an edginess and depth that would suit the part. For my heroine, Mairead, I would lobby for Maya Hawke, who can be both tough and vulnerable at the same time.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

Severed Knot is set in 17th-century colonial Barbados in the aftermath of the English Civil War. A Scottish Prisoner of War and a displaced Irish woman, both indentured to a sugar plantation, struggle to survive the harshness and heartbreak of their new world while seeking to escape the island and return home.

Here’s the full description:

Barbados 1652. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, the vanquished are uprooted and scattered to the ends of the earth.

When marauding English soldiers descend on Mairead O’Coneill’s family farm, she is sold into indentured servitude. After surviving a harrowing voyage, the young Irishwoman is auctioned off to a Barbados sugar plantation where she is thrust into a hostile world of deprivation and heartbreak. Though stripped of her freedom, Mairead refuses to surrender her dignity.

Scottish prisoner of war Iain Johnstone has descended into hell. Under a blazing sun thousands of miles from home, he endures forced indentured labour in the unforgiving cane fields. As Iain plots his escape to save his men, his loyalties are tested by his yearning for Mairead and his desire to protect her.

With their future stolen, Mairead and Iain discover passion and freedom in each other’s arms.  Until one fateful night, a dramatic chain of events turns them into fugitives.

Together they fight to survive; together they are determined to escape.

Severed Knot is a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree and was longlisted for the 2018 HNS New Novel Award

Social Media Links:

Website: https://cryssabazos.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cbazos/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CryssaBazos

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cryssabazos/ 

Buy links: Severed Knot is available through all online retailers.

Amazon: https://mybook.to/SeveredKnot

Kobo, Nook, Google Books, iTunes: https://books2read.com/SeveredKnot

 

New Crime Novel from Valerie Keogh

I‘m so happy to share the news that one of my fav crime writers is releasing a new book today. Valerie has come along to share the news and talk about the inspiration behind No Simple Death

Writers take inspiration from things they see, read, or do, things that lodge in their memory until finally they’re able to incorporate it into a story.

I live in an old house, at the end of a short road that ends in a church gate. A key to the gate came with the house and I can go through it as a pleasant walk across church grounds to the supermarket. The chain and lock are a bit of a palaver to use – it was here I got the idea for the death in the graveyard in No Simple Death. Although the heroine of my story lives in Foxrock, Dublin, I used my house and the road I live on for the house where she lives – a long way from Foxrock!

I also use the name of a very small village in Cornwall that we drove through many years ago – Come-to-Good. Such a great name, it remained in my head all these years until I found a perfect use for it in this story. (I also used the village named Tiddlywink in a different book!)

It’s nice to use some of the ideas that are floating in my head – but the space quickly fills up with more!

***

No Simple Death by Valerie Keogh

How can you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.

Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.

Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.

Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?

No Simple Death is a murder mystery with a touch of romance, set in the Dublin suburbs. It will appeal to fans of authors such as Peter James, LJ Ross and Ruth Rendall.

Buy Link

Historical Fiction Cover Competition December 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 December 2019”

Announcing the New Release from Lesley Field – Dangerous Desire

A Little About Lesley:

Lesley Field is an award nominated author of romantic novels who lives in North Yorkshire, often described as “God’s own county.” Before retiring she spent her working life pursuing personal injury claims. Now at a time when she should be thinking of early nights and cocoa, she finds herself writing somewhat “hot” novels. Her first published novel Dangerous Entrapment was her first historical novel. She also writes contemporary novels which are usually based in Canada, which she calls her “heart home.”

Dangerous Desire is the third book in her Duchess in Danger series. All books are stand alone and there in no connection between them apart from the series title. There is one more book in the series, Dangerous Encounter, which should be released in 2020.

Dangerous Desire is the story of Hannah and Nicholas, Duke of Trenton. They first meet one night when she is lost on the moors, although he is struck by her beauty she is too young for any wayward thoughts. But he never forgets her and when she flees from his home he has a feeling of loss. Some two years later he comes across his late night visitor and vows not to lose her a second time. One thing, or one person could stand in his way, his current mistress, Lady Catherine Stanton. Catherine is not one to lose anything to another and will do whatever it takes to keep what she considers to be hers, and hers alone.

And that begs one question? Will marriage bring the happiness he desires, or will the scheming of his mistress tear the couple apart. And can Hannah forgive Nicholas for bringing back into her life the governess who had mistreated her so badly in her youth?

Follow their story in Dangerous Desire to be released on 12th November 2019 – Pre-Order now Available!

Available from:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Book one: Dangerous Entrapment, shortlisted for Historical Novel of the Year 2016 by the Romantic Novelists Association.

Book two: Dangerous Deception

 

Historical Fiction Cover Competition November 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 November 2019”

A Conversation with Author Kelly Evans

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

You are very welcome, Kelly, please introduce yourself:

Born in Canada of Scottish extraction, Kelly studied history and literature at McMaster University and creative writing at Humber College, with continued medieval studies during her time living in England. Kelly has authored four historical novels to date and contributes articles to historical publications. She also writes satirical articles about managing your manor during the Black Death, told by fictional advice columnist Lady Matilda.

Before retiring last year to write full time, Kelly ran her own company as a successful analyst and project manager in capital markets. She is a voracious reader (she brought over 3,000 books with her when she moved back to Canada from England) and enjoys history, music (she plays medieval recorder), and watching really bad horror and old sci-fi movies.

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

I write historical fiction, focussing on Anglo Saxon England. I love imagining lives of those who lived a thousand years ago, and if their reactions would be the same as ours, given a particular situation. I also write historical horror, both short stories and novels.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame. Not many know he wrote many of the episodes, and could REALLY tell a great story in a short amount of space. I learned about economy of words from him. I love horror so Stephen King was a huge influence on my horror novels. Lastly, Margaret Atwood taught me how to keep a story moving, while also subtly including important plot details.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I lived in England for 16 years so yes, the country and culture absolutely influenced my writing. It’s also the place I got serious about writing. Just walking through a medieval building, soaking up the history and ghosts of famous historical figures, it was very inspirational.

 Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’m a night owl so rise about 10:00am, do emails and other business until 2pm, then write until 2am, taking breaks for food.

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

An archaeologist or an archivist in a dusty old museum. I’ve actually taken archaeology courses!

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

Funnily enough, I’ve thought about this! If they made a movie out of my historical horror novel, the Mortecarni, I’d love to see Taron Egerton as Brother Maurice, the physician monk, Idris Elba as his friend Fala, and Barry Allen as Brother Maurice’s squire, Hugh.

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

I think I’d chose Elizabeth Cochran aka Nellie Bly. A Victorian journalist, she got herself committed to one of the worst psychiatric hospitals in the country for the purposes of exposing the horrible treatment of patients. Her work helped to establish investigative journalism as well as prompting changes to hospitals and treatments.

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

Anglo Saxon/Early medieval! Known as the ‘dark ages’ thanks to the Victorians, the period was actually rich in literature, medicine, engineering, and more.

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?

1984 – George Orwell, The Norton Anthology of English Lit Volume 1; The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas; The Chrysalids – John Wyndham; and Skeleton Crew – Stephen King.

Please tell us about your latest published work.  

My latest novel is The Confessor’s Wife. It’s the story of Edith of Wessex: daughter to the most important earl in Anglo Saxon England, wife to King Edward the Confessor, and sister to King Harold Godwinsson. Her story was always told in the footnotes of THEIR history. Until now.

In the 11th Century, when barren wives are customarily cast aside, how does Edith of Wessex not only manage to stay married to King Edward the Confessor, but also become his closest advisor, promote her family to the highest offices in the land, AND help raise her brother to the throne? And why is her story only told in the footnotes of Edward’s history? Not everyone approves of Edward’s choice of bride. Even the king’s mother, Emma of Normandy, detests her daughter-in-law and Edith is soon on the receiving end of her displeasure. Balancing her sense of family obligation with her duty to her husband, Edith must also prove herself to her detractors. Edward’s and Edith’s relationship is respectful and caring, but when Edith’s enemies engineer her family’s fall from grace, the king is forced to send her away. She vows to do anything to protect her family’s interests if she returns, at any cost. Can Edith navigate the dangerous path fate has set her, while still remaining loyal to both her husband and her family?  Buy Link

Twitter: @Chaucerbabe

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kellyevansauthor/

Amazon: Kelly Evans – Author

Website: http://www.kellyaevans.com

 

Historical Fiction Cover Competition October 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 October 2019”