New Release from Renny deGroot

I am delighted that Renny has dropped by to tell us about her new release, Torn Asunder. Renny, what inspired your story?

As an author of Historical Fiction, I’m fascinated by the human perception of historical events. For example, each of us have family stories of events that took place before our birth and handed down to us. These spoken stories become a part of us, and the details may or may not fit exactly with other stories of the same events and yet we absorb and take for truth those that have been given to us by people we love and trust. While all cultures and families have these stories, in my opinion, no culture does this better than the Irish (and I don’t have a drop of Irish blood coursing through my veins). Dating back to ancient times an Irish story-teller (or a Seanchaí ) was the keeper of the community history, and the tradition of story-telling falls naturally in an Irish family.

My new novel, Torn Asunder draws on this tradition when the main character chooses to fight for the Cause with his pen (ie as a journalist) rather than a rifle. His challenge is his lack of awareness of the power of his words.

Fiercely loyal, Emmet Ryan plays his part in the war against the British to see a free and united Ireland. As a 16-year-old boy, Emmet is thrilled to join his father and brothers in the Finglas Volunteers during the 1916 Easter rebellion. The effects of that week mark Emmet for the rest of his life as he wrestles between his allegiance to his country and loyalty to his family. At times he isn’t sure he’s given enough to the fight until the day he realizes he may have given too much.

The story of Ireland’s birth as a modern nation and her turbulent formative years is woven into the very fabric of this multi-generational family drama.

http://mybook.to/TornAsunder

A Conversation with Historical Fiction Author, Carol Hedges

Today in the library I have a very special guest. I happen to be a huge fan of Carol’s Victorian crime series, so I am really pleased to share this interview with you.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
 
I write Victorian crime fiction. I used to write teenage fiction, until the market got flooded by celebs, and I decided to switch genre. As I read Victorian authors, like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, etc., and specialized in this era at university, it seemed a natural choice. My series ‘The Victorian Detectives’ is set in 1860s London … mainly because the 1880s is a rather crowded field. I have two main detectives, DI Leo Stride and DS Jack Cully, and a host of other members of Scotland Yard’s Detective Division, plus the populace of London who wander in and out of the books, causing havoc.
 

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

I don’t think you CAN be a writer unless you are a reader. I always have a couple of books on the go. One is usually a research book on some aspect of the Victorian era (currently a book on Lunatic Asylums). Then, true to my genre, I have a couple of crime novels to read. I enjoy Philip Kerr, Kate Atkinson (the Jackson Brodie books), Robert Harris, Donna Leon, Tobias Hill. I’ll sometimes dip into a writer I’ve never come across, if recommended. I like series best ~ you know if you’ve enjoyed one, there are more to follow.

 
Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?
I used to be published by Usborne, when I wrote YA. Now, I am entirely self-published, using Amazon as a platform. My publishing name is Little G Books (named after my granddaughter). I publish in ebook and paperback formats, and I use a professional cover artist to do my wonderful covers. It is definitely worth paying out for good covers. The advantages of self-publishing, for me, is that I have control over pricing, platforms and publicity. The disadvantages are that few mainstream bookshops will take Amazon-generated fiction. But then, as most of my sales come via ebooks, that isn’t a big problem. I don’t ‘owe’ an agent 12% of my earnings, nor a publisher 25%! All good as far as I am concerned.
 
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
My English teacher has probably been my greatest influence, which shows how important schooldays are. Mrs Myles, who taught me in Years 7 & 8, loved the writing process. She used to set us ‘compositions’ every week, giving us a title and then seeing what we produced. It stopped me being terrified of the blank page, and made me think in all sorts of directions. I am so upset that the modern curriculum no longer gives space for free creative writing! I wonder how many writers of the future are being stifled.
 
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
I am a TERRIBLE procrastinator. Given the choice, I’d rather dust behind the fridge than actually write. I have learned, though, to be disciplined, as I know that as soon as I sit down at my computer to write, I will just get on with it … and time will flash by as I do. I gather, from ‘fessing up’ to this on social media, that I am definitely not alone.
 
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
I remember reading somewhere that there is no such thing as ‘writer’s block’ ~ it is just a fancy excuse for not writing. Yes. Ouch!
 
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I like writing in the late morning … and then again late afternoon. If I am editing, I can do it at any time, but I seem to be drawn towards those particular times of day. I do NOT set myself any word limits; if I manage a page or five pages, that is enough. Distractions include: cat taking over writing chair, fish cavorting in the pond below my window and the local goldfinch thug-pack visiting the bird feeders.
 
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
I would love to go back to my fictional period: the 1860s. Not sure who I’d be ~ possibly not one of the starving poor, but I’d like to stand in Oxford Street and just watch the passing traffic and people. However much research you do, there is so much more you miss. What did it SMELL like? How did the people SOUND? What were their faces like? We know that any TV/film adaptation of a Victorian novel cannot ever be accurate ~ I find I shout at Ripper Street and The Woman in White, etc., as I know they are presenting a false image. Where are the rotten teeth? The smallpox marks? The clothes are always far too clean, as are the streets. I’d so love to go back, for 24 hours, and see what it was really like. And then come back and write about it!
 
Please tell us about your latest published work. 
Intrigue & Infamy is the 7th book in The Victorian Detectives series. I am currently working on the 8th, Fame & Fortune, to be published later this year.
 
It is 1866, the end of a long hot summer in Victorian London, and the inhabitants are seething with discontent. Much of it is aimed at the foreign population living in the city. So when a well-reputed Jewish tailoring business is set aflame, and the body of the owner is discovered inside, Detective Inspector Lachlan Grieg suspects a link to various other attacks being carried out across the city, and to a vicious letter campaign being conducted in the newspapers. Can he discover who is behind the attacks before more people perish?

 

Elsewhere, Giovanni Bellini arrives in England to tutor the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Haddon, ex-MP and City financier. But what are Bellini’s links to a dangerous Italian radical living in secret exile in London, and to beautiful Juliana Silverton, engaged to Harry Haddon, the heir to the family fortune?

Romance and racism, murder and mishap share centre stage in this seventh exciting book in the Victorian Detectives series.  Buy Link

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @carolJhedges

New Release from Historical Fiction Author John Anthony Miller

Today, I am delighted to share the news that one of my favourite authors has a new release. John Anthony Miller hails from southern New Jersey and his writing is motivated by a life-long love of travel and history. This really does come across in his writing. I loved Honour the Dead and can’t wait to read For Those Who Dare.

For Those Who Dare by John Anthony Miller

East Berlin, August 13, 1961:

Kirstin Beck watches from her townhouse second-floor window as the border with West Berlin is closed, a barbed wire fence strung through the cemetery behind her house. With a grandmother in West Berlin that needs her care, and a daughter given up for adoption sixteen years before that she’s recently found, she must get to West Berlin. Married to a college professor who is also an informant for Stasi – the East German intelligence service – she’s trapped in a cage, caught in a web of world events.

Tony Marino is an American writer living in West Berlin. His apartment abuts the cemetery that the border fence divides. As he watches the construction progress, he sees Kirstin looking from her townhouse window. Casual acquaintances before the border was closed, Kirstin holds up a sign for Tony to see. It states: HELP ME.

This basic communication spawns an evolution of events focused on an escape from East Berlin. Failed attempts, fake passports, a growing list of refugees, and ultimately a tunnel, lead Kirstin and Tony through a kaleidoscope of deceit and danger as she’s determined to attain freedom at any cost.

The two men in Kirstin’s life symbolize the governments they represent: her cold, dogmatic husband from East Berlin, rooted to a rigid philosophy that needs walls to contain its people, and Tony, the brash, optimistic American from West Berlin who rescues her from a world she can’t endure.
Buy Link

 

A Conversation with Historical Fiction Author JP Reedman

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

You are very welcome, please introduce yourself:

I’m J.P. Reedman, author of historical fiction and historical fantasy. My works mostly cover the English Middle Ages, from the time of Henry II to the end of the Wars of the Roses but also delve into the far-flung past—the era of Stonehenge. One interlinked series, Medieval Babes, is of short biographical fiction on little-known medieval women; queens and princesses who are little more than a few lines in history books. Another is I, Richard Plantagenet, which is about Richard III-told from his first person perspective.

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

I write Historical Fiction mostly, although I also write historical fantasy and high fantasy. I have had a fixation on the past since I was about four when I loved ancient Egypt. One of my first ever stories was about Cleopatra. I had just turned six.

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

I love to read and am surrounded by thousands of books. I often have 5 or more on the go at any one time. I do read a lot of historical fiction but have been reading some Gothics and ghost stories lately, and read a lot of non-fiction on the Middle Ages and prehistoric Britain.

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

I am self-published now, but did have several books with a small press. In the 80’s I had many short stories and poems published in the small press.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Even though they did not write historical fiction, it is Tolkien and Alan Garner.  The use of myth, the sense of place in their works was deeply inspirational. They also inspired an 11 year old to read such works as the Mabinogion, the Elder Eddas and Beowulf

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I was born in Canada but was always attracted to the history of Britain and Ireland from a very young age. My mother was a warbride after WWII and I think she was always homesick even decades on; I grew up listening to traditional music from Britain and Ireland. Learning about the royals, looking at coffee table books filled with pictures of Britain. My first visit was when I was four; I can still clearly remember my excitement at visiting two real castles—Windsor and Guildford. I moved permanently to the UK in 1992.

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

The beginning is always difficult. I usually hate what I’ve written. I often need to go back later and pull the first chapter apart as the MC is often very different than he/she is later in the story. Too different.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I tend to write at night. I wish I could do more in the day but it never seems to work, so I do promo in the day.

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

I did a little bit of acting in the past but don’t think I’d have followed it as a career. An archaeologist or anthropologist probably.

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

I would love to see the building of Stonehenge! Although most of my historicals are medieval, my first two were set in the early Bronze Age. This is the era that I have a real ‘specialty’ in, particularly burial and ritual. I worked at Stonehenge for over ten years.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

My latest book is THE PRINCESS NUN which is about Mary of Woodstock, daughter of Edward I. She was the ‘nun who liked fun’, spending more time attending court than in her priory. She bought lots of gold and jewels, kept hounds, and one noble claimed he had an affair with her. She was quite a character. She’s also buried in my hometown of Amesbury, although her grave is now lost.

Universal Link: https://t.co/jAUWDDPS3y?amp=1

 

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

 

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