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.: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PM94FN3/

Amazon U.K.: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PM94FN3/

Amazon Australia:  https://www.amazon.com.au/Highlanders-Lost-Lady-Lairds-Likely-ebook/dp/B07PM94FN3/

iTunes U.S.: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-highlanders-lost-lady-the-lairds-most-likely-book-3/id1456159204

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-highlander-s-lost-lady-the-lairds-most-likely-book-3

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-highlanders-lost-lady-anna-campbell/1130916684?ean=2940156012848

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

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media:

Website: http://www.annacampbell.com

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/annacampbell.writer

Twitter @AnnaCampbellOz

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Campbell/e/B002NKV1HQ/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/296477.Anna_Campbell

 

 

 

Advertisements

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:

 

Maryannbernal.com

Whisperinglegendspress.com

http://maryannbernal.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/BritonandDane

https://www.facebook.com/TheBritonandtheDane

https://www.instagram.com/maryannbernal/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-ann-bernal-a9a05b33/

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/maryannbernal

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3386234.MaryAnn_Bernal

Amazon US  https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Ann-Bernal/e/B003D2DPZ4?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1564349781&sr=8-1

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Ann-Bernal/e/B003D2DPZ4?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1567328428&sr=8-1

 

 

 

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.
Link: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thefireofwinterblogtour/
Amazon US Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SGYFZT8
Amazon UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07SGYFZT8

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dkmarley.author
Author Website: http://www.dkmarley.com
Author Blog: https://themingledyarnoflife.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theRealDKMarley
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/d-k-marley
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4091669.D_K_Marley
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/DK-Marley/e/B003MS4JPE

A Conversation with Author Jenny O’Brien

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jenny O’Brien who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Jenny, please introduce yourself:

Firstly, thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Pam.

I view myself as a mum who writes. I have three teens and spend most of my spare time acting as taxi driver. But I always carry around a notebook and pen and, when I have a spare minute, write. I’ve been doing just that for the last 12 years and, funnily enough, am about to publish book number 12. I’m also a qualified nurse and still spend my mornings at the local hospital doing what nurses do. Although born in Dublin I now live in Guernsey and spend my time between there, Wales and France.

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

I’m currently writing thrillers. I started out writing romance and, whilst I’d never say never, my writing has moved on from there. I also write for children. There’s something engaging writing for this age group. The skies the limit as far as imagination goes – it’s fun. Writing thrillers isn’t fun. It can be enjoyable but it’s also complex and emotionally demanding.

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

I read every day when perhaps I don’t get to write. It’s my first love. I own 2 kindles just in case one breaks or something. I know – madness. But I don’t watch TV so it’s my main form of relaxation. I read romance, crime and a smattering of literary classics.

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

Start late and leave early. Something I read many years ago and still practice today. Basically, it means jumping straight into a scene rather than beginning with a long intro. And, at the end, leave early – leave the reader with a need to turn that next page to find out what’s next.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I find I have to squeeze my writing in between work and running around after the kids but I do enjoy that first half hour when the rest of the house is asleep.

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

You name it I’ve tried it. Knitting is my first love, but I’ve tried all sorts of crafting projects with varying degrees of success. I’m the proud owner of numerous woollens and a variety of patchwork. I even make my own jewellery not that I ever wear it. Reading would also feature – there’s nothing like curling up with a good book.

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?

Probably the complete works of Jane Austen barring Sense and Sensibility, my least favourite. There’s always something new each time I read them.

Please tell us about your latest published work, which I have just pre-ordered.  

My latest book is Missing in Wales, the first in a crime series which features DC Gabriella Darin, half Italian, half Liverpudlian and living and working in Pembrokeshire. I’ve included the blurb below:

Alys is fine – don’t try to find us

Izzy Grant is haunted by the abduction of her new-born daughter five-years ago. When a postcard arrives from her missing partner, the man she believes is responsible, saying they’re fine and asking her not to try to find them, she knows she can’t give up hoping. Then she sees a face from her past. Grace Madden. Just where did she disappear to all those years ago? And is there a connection between her disappearance and that of her child?

DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Swansea, is brash, bolshie and dedicated. Something doesn’t fit with the case and she’s determined to find out just what happened all those years ago.

Available in paperback now or pre-order as an e-book here.

Thank you for inviting me. I love hearing from readers. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram as Scribblerjb and on Facebook here

Links:

New Release from William Todd

I have a very special guest today on my blog. If you haven’t read any of William Todd’s Sherlock Holmes’ stories, you are definitely missing out. I love them. His collections of short horror tales are rather special, too. William’s new release, Something Wicked This Way Comes, is now on pre-order, going live on 8th July (you’ll find the link below). I’ve ordered my copy; what about you?

***

Continue reading “New Release from William Todd”

A Conversation with Author Judith Arnopp

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

You are very welcome, Judith, please introduce yourself:

JudithThank you for inviting me to your blog. I write historical fiction from my home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales. I like to put myself in the shoes of the women who lived and breathed under the rule of the Tudors, sometimes my characters are members of the Tudor family, sometimes they are subjects but they all share one thing – the fight to survive the political upheaval of the day.

The Tudor novels include: Sisters of Arden: on the Pilgrimage of Grace; The Beaufort Chronicles: the life of Lady Margaret Beaufort (three book series); A Song of Sixpence: the story of Elizabeth of York; Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr; The Kiss of the Concubine: a story of Anne Boleyn; The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII.

Early in my career I wrote in the medieval/Anglo Saxon era and produced three novels, The Song of Heledd; The Forest Dwellers, and Peaceweaver. I also write nonfiction – my articles appear in several anthologies.

Books

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

I write historical fiction, mostly in the Tudor period. I have always loved history so when I graduated from university it made sense to stay on a while longer and study for my masters in medieval/Tudor history. When I could find no more excuses not to leave full time education I began to write, turning my hobby into a career. My first novel, Peaceweaver, was published in 2009 and I am now writing my eleventh (I think). I live very quietly, and am a bit of a recluse so I feel much more at home writing in the Tudor period than I do in the present day.

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

I used to read historical fiction exclusively but now I am an author I try to avoid it. I don’t want to taint my own voice or style so I read crime fiction, or classics. The book I most enjoyed last year was The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb, a rewrite of The Little Mermaid – I was totally gripped by it and sorry when it came to an end. Of course, there are always a few historical fiction titles I can’t resist and I am very excited to hear the Hilary Mantel has finally got around to finishing the sequel to Bring up the Bodies. I will certainly be reading that one.

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

Time in which to get the first draft written. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours to do everything expected of an author today. I’d love to be able to just sit and my desk and write but if you neglect marketing, social media, keeping your covers updated and producing new attractive posters your current books will cease to sell. There are so many authors these days that is has become very difficult to be ‘seen’ and it can be disheartening to pour hours into a blog post that nobody reads or comments on. I’d love to have time to deal with all these things but the older I get the shorter my working day becomes, and something has to be sacrificed. I just do what I can. If my whole morning is spent marketing, I get very few new words on the page, if I spend the morning writing, I sell fewer books. I really need a team of enthusiastic marketing managers so I can just write but I am not rich enough. I just do what I can, when I can – my working life is a desperate muddle of seeing what can be achieved before I drop – I don’t have an answer to this difficulty.

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

I was advised to write, write, write, to hire an editor and to never believe I was good enough. I stick to this advice. I try to write every day. I have a fabulous editor Cas Peace, who ensures my commas are in the right place and hunts down the typos. Between us we produce something worth reading. The piece of advice I pass on to new authors is to never think I am good enough. This doesn’t mean one should tear out your hair and wail that your writing is rubbish – it means to strive to be better, always see the faults and failures in your own work (then you won’t be so disappointed when others call you out on them). Do the best you can and then, next time, try to do better still. Complacency has ruined many a fine author.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I write in the mornings while I am alert enough to think clearly. I start the day answering emails, tweeting and responding to social media messages while I fuel myself with coffee and cornflakes. Then I edit what I wrote the previous day before launching into the next part of the story. That is the plan anyway; sometimes I have to research, or life gets in the way in the form of grandchildren or appointments, or answering interview questions as I am today.

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

That is a very good question. I have no idea. I can’t really see myself doing anything else. My side line is making French hoods, coifs and medieval bags etc. which I sell in my Etsy shop so perhaps I would do that in a more serious way. I could never work in an office or a shop. I like to work from home and have become used to being my own boss. Or perhaps I’d enjoy interior design, I do a lot of that and I am running out of rooms to make over at home. Or garden design – I love my own garden and have transformed the one we have now. Come to think of it, there are heaps of other jobs I could do but I have learned that if you turn a hobby (in my case writing) into a job inevitably some of the shine is rubbed off.

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

A movie! What a lovely thought. I am not very good at remembering the names of actors but I will give it a shot. If The Winchester Goose was being filmed I’d choose the following.  Francis Wareham is the main male character. He is very dashing and handsome but not very old so would need to be played by someone like, erm …Simon Woods who was Mr Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightly one.

GooseI think Alex Kingston would make a brilliant Joanie Toogood, the ‘goose’. She did a great job with Moll Flanders and I think she has all the necessary credentials.

Isabella and Evelyn Bourne are gentlewomen from court. Emma Watson would be good as Eve or maybe Jenna Coleman, the girl playing Victoria at the moment,. The actress who plays Edith in Downton Abbey, Laura Carmichael, would make a lovely Bella. For Peter, who is a costermonger from Southwark it would have to be Rupert Grint – wonderful actor who played Ron Weasley in Harry Potter. Henry VIII would not be played by Jonathon Rhys Meyers (as gorgeous as he is) I think the role is better suited to Steven Waddington who played Lord Buckingham in the Tudors. As to Katherine Howard and Anna of Cleves, goodness, I have no idea. I will leave that to the directors!

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

This is an easy one to answer. I’d visit the Tudor period to see if I’ve got it right in my novels. I’d like to discover for myself what changed Henry VIII from a virtuous, golden prince into an embittered ‘monster’. At the start of his reign he had great potential yet something happened to change him after 1536. Some say it was a fall from a horse that damaged his mind, others that it was nurture and some believe he was born that way and the decline in his character was inevitable. I’d like to find out for myself at close quarters but not so close that he would notice me. I’d not want to end up on the scaffold.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

SistersMy latest release is Sisters of Arden and it is set during the dissolution of the monasteries in Henry VIII’s reign. The plight of those affected by the dissolution has always intrigued me and I enjoyed revisiting the period. The records of Arden Priory are scanty but by piecing together what little we know with wider records of the dissolution and the Pilgrimage of Grace, I have explored the closure of the abbeys and the uprisings that followed from the perspective of a group of three insignificant nuns.

Sisters of Arden follows the path of Margery, Grace and Frances, after the closure of Arden. Their adventures take them the length and breadth of Yorkshire. They move from determination to despair, from hope to disillusion but, with their world in pieces, the only thing they can do is try to rebuild it.

Blurb

Arden Priory has remained unchanged for almost four hundred years. When a nameless child is abandoned at the gatehouse door, the nuns take her in and raise her as one of their own.

After the execution of Anne Boleyn in 1536, the embittered King strikes out, and unprecedented change sweeps across the country. The bells of the great abbeys fall silent, the church fragments and the very foundation of the realm begins to crack.

Determined to preserve their way of life, Margery and the sisters of Arden join a pilgrimage thirty thousand strong and attempt to lead the heretic king back to grace.

Sisters of Arden is a story of valour, virtue and veritas.

Buy link: mybook.to/sistersofarden

If you would like to know more about Judith and her work, please check out her links below: 

Webpage

Amazon Author page

Blog

 

A Conversation with Author Linda Covella

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

You are very welcome, Linda, please introduce yourself:

Author Photo 2Hello Pam and visitors! My varied background and education have led me down many paths, but one thing I never strayed from is my love of writing.

In writing for kids and teens, I hope to bring to them the feelings books gave me when I was a child: the worlds they opened, the things they taught, the feelings they expressed.

I have four published novels for middle grade and young adult, and a recently released narrative nonfiction picture book. I’ve been a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) since 2002. I live in Santa Cruz, CA with my husband, Charlie, and dog, Ginger.

Did you read much as a child?

I’ve been an avid reader from an early age thanks to my mother who was a school librarian. Also an artist and choral singer, she taught and encouraged me to embrace all the arts.

Are you an avid reader now?

Yes. I must always have a book to read!

Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I read a wide variety of genres and books for both adults and children. I enjoy reading middle grade and young adult books, but I also read them for the education, i.e., learning technique and craft from other children’s writers.

I read most genres, but not a lot of romance or thrillers. I’ve always loved historical fiction and still am drawn to those stories. I get more into character than plot (though of course the plot has to be engaging), so if a story includes deeply realized characters, I’ll enjoy it.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Yakimali's Gift Front Cover_400x618Both. My first books (Yakimali’s Gift and The Ghost Whisperer series books) were originally traditionally published with small presses. One went out of business, and I ended up self-publishing these books as well as Cryptogram Chaos.Ghosts Cover with Gold Medal_400x616

My latest book, The Power of a Dream: Maria Feliciana Arballo, Latina Pioneer, a narrative nonfiction picture book, is traditionally published.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. With self-publishing, you have more control over the publication, the content, the layout and presentation, and how quickly it’s published. But more costs and time are required for covers, publication, editing, etc.

With traditional, you have support of the publisher who pays for the cover, editing, initial publication, etc. The Power of a Dream has beautiful illustrations by an artist hired by the publisher.

Either method requires the author to do marketing!

Which genre do you write in and why?

I’m a children’s author, and I love writing for children, having them as my audience. Kids and teens have such unique perspectives on life. I absolutely love hearing what’s on a kid’s mind—at any age.

The youngsters are always fun to watch as they show their amazement and delight with each new discovery—discoveries that we have long since taken for granted.

During the middle-school years, kids are starting to come into their own, learning who they are and flexing their maturity muscles. Their independence is beginning to flourish as they start to question things and form their own ideas and opinions.

I have a great respect for teens. By that age, they’ve developed their own one-of-a-kind personalities and strong viewpoints on all sorts of topics. They rightfully question things and begin to test and stretch the limits that are attempting to rein them in. Believe it or not, I can still remember those feelings from my own teen years, and it’s an exhilarating time of life.

I think writing for kids keeps me in touch with the feelings from my childhood. It also encourages me to keep an open mind when I’m with kids, to remind me they are unique individuals, and to give them that respect.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I’d have to say my mother. First of all, she taught me to love reading, and reading is so important if you want to be a writer. When I started pursuing writing professionally, she was my biggest fan, always encouraging me to keep at it, to never give up.

Of course, other authors and the books I’ve read my entire life have influenced me as well. But it’s difficult to pinpoint any one author who’s had the biggest influence.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

I love being creative, and writing is one outlet for that. But the best thing is when I get a positive reaction to one of my books, especially from the targeted audience—kids and teens. The worst thing? That would have to be the marketing, especially personal appearances. I’m not a practiced public speaker, so those are difficult for me. But it’s getting easier each time!

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I like the aspect of social media that allows me to reach out to so many people. I’m most active on Facebook and Twitter. I recently joined Instagram, so I’m working on building up my following there. I also have accounts on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and book trailers on YouTube.

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

I never thought of writing as a career. Instead, I ended up with a few degrees—art, business, mechanical drafting, manufacturing management—while I decided what I wanted to do with my life. Now, besides writing, I run my and my husband’s small tech business (we have a product my husband, an electronics engineer, designed). I also volunteer with the local Young Writers Program where I mentor kids and teens in the classroom.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

My latest book, released February 26, 2019, is a narrative nonfiction picture book: The Power of a Dream: Maria Feliciana Arballo, Latina Pioneer.

Power of a Dream cover_Page_01The story tells of a little-known part of U.S. history when, in 1775, some of the first Spanish settlers embarked on a colonization expedition from Mexico to California. THE POWER OF A DREAM focuses on Feliciana Arballo, an inspiring, brave, and remarkable woman, especially for the time in which she lived. Her husband died before the expedition began, and, as a young widow, Feliciana made the arduous four-month journey with her daughters: the infant Estaquia and four-year-old Tomása. Her husband, and thus her daughters, were looked down upon as mestizos, those of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage. As many immigrants do today, she followed her dream to have a better life in California for herself and her children, including eight more children she had with her second husband. Feliciana is referenced in the diaries of Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, who led the expedition, and Father Pedro Font, who also went on the journey. The book includes my two author notes: one discusses Feliciana’s background and her descendants, many of whom played important roles in the history of California; the other author note provides a background of the expedition itself.

The primary audience are children ages 5 – 10 (grades 1-4), as well as parents and teachers who can use the book to teach children about this important part of U.S. history and how it relates to today’s issues of race, immigration, heritage, and the value of diversity.

Thanks so much for the interview, Pam. I really enjoyed answering these questions.

If you would like to know more about Linda and her work, check out her links below:

Website

Facebook

Twitter @lindacovella

Instagram

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Pinterest

YouTube