Interview with Sarah Butterfield

I would like to introduce Sarah Butterfield. Sarah is a blogger and an avid reader who has a passion for History.

Sarah, are you currently in school studying history?

I am indeed! I have always enjoyed reading history for pleasure, but it wasn’t my first choice for a degree. As well as history, I have a passion for science and have A-Levels (English higher education qualifications) in physics, chemistry and biology. I wanted to study molecular physics at degree level, but failed three times to pass with a high enough mark in advanced maths. After a lot of thinking, I decided not to admit defeat, and instead to work at gaining the appropriate qualifications in history to study that at degree level instead. Looking at my life now, with my excellent marks and success on this path, it is the best decision I ever made.

What will you be doing with your degree?

I am planning to stay on at university when I have completed my BA degree to gain a Masters.
 

Please tell your audience about your blog.

Sarah’s History is a place where I write factual articles about interesting people and events in history, mainly medieval, with book reviews and a few opinion posts thrown in. I blog a lot about anniversaries of births, deaths, executions, battles and so on. Things that interest me, and hopefully other people! I have hosted one guest post, have another guest lined up for January, and am willing to host any other guests.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Sophie Perinot’s novel, “The Sister Quuen’s,” about the Provencal sisters Eleanor and Marguerite. It is set in the thirteenth century and is a novelised life story of the queens of France and England. I have not read very much of it yet but am enjoying it very much. I am also reading Wallace’s nonfiction about the European Reformation for my current university modules.
 
 

What will you be reading next?

I am planning on reading a book called Cromwell to Cromwell by Schofield, which is a study of the English Reformation.

 

What is your favourite all time book?

My favourite book is, Douglas Adam’s, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

 
How long does it take you to read a book?

It really does depend on whether it is fiction or not. I can usually spend a week to ten days on a novel, less if I really like it! Nonfiction takes a little longer because I tend to read them slower and take in the information.

Which format do you prefer to read in, paperback or ebook?

My partner bought me a kindle for my birthday in March and I really love it for novels. It is so much easier for commuting and reading in bed. I do not have any nonfiction on it, though. So, I prefer my nonfiction in paper or hard back format but my novels in ebook format. I’ve also discovered lots of great new authors through kindle-only releases and freebies.

What is your opinion on how reviewers are viewed today by authors and readers?

Oh, wow. I have quite a strong opinion about this. I think there is nothing more off putting about an author than their behaviour towards negative reviewers. Just this year, I have seen attacks on reviewers that are really quite appalling; I’ve been subjected to one myself, in fact. If an author publishes their work, then they obviously want people to read it. Some people that read it will then want to tell people about it. There’s nothing unusual about that. Seeing an author then go on to link bad reviews, along with spiteful words, calls to arms and accusing the reviewer of a personal attack is horrible. I’ve seen blog posts about reviewers that makes me think, “why do you hate your readers? Why do you accuse them of illiteracy / stupidity / attacking you?” Of course, some reviews are not as good as others, but readers are generally clever enough to sort the wheat from the chaff. There are authors out there that I refuse to read now because of their online behaviour. To accuse a reviewer of bullying, writing blog posts, linking bad reviews and generally whining in public is bullying in itself, really.

I will never forget the reaction of one of my author friends to a two star review. “Thank goodness!” she said. “Some balance! I was worried people would think my good reviews were all plants!”

The truth is, people don’t trust a book with all good reviews, because it does look suspicious. Take with the good with the bad, and your readers will love you for it.
 

What are your opinions about self-publishing vs. mainstream publishing?

I used to think that self-publishing was mainly for rubbish books that could not get published any other way. How blind! Of course, some self-published books are not great, but the same can be said for traditional publishing. Two of the best books I’ve read this year, ‘Before the Storm’ by Melanie Clegg and ‘Betrayal’ by Michele Kallio, were both self-published. Now, I think that self-publishing is a good option for some great authors to be noticed, and I am not so quick to dismiss it. If the book is up my street and the author has done nothing to draw negative attention to themselves, I’ll read it regardless of publishing method. Self-published books tend to be cheaper too, which is always a bit of a bonus!

 
What is your favourite time in English History?

The thirteenth century, no contest. John, Henry III and Edward are all fascinating men in very different ways. The two queen Eleanors, Provence and Castile, also interest me greatly. There’s the civil wars, Magna Carta, a boy king, Louis of France’s attempt to steal England, Simon de Montfort’s grab for power, Lewes and Evesham, the conquest of Wales, wars with Scotland, unrest with France…. Seriously, what is there not to love about this period?

Who is your favourite monarch?

Ooh, this is a tough call between Henry III and Edward I. Can I have both? Of course I can’t! OK, I will say… Edward, Henry’s son, because he really was everything a medieval warrior king should be.
 
 

Will you be writing a novel?

It is not in my immediate plans, to be perfectly honest. I am a student, blogger and a mum of three, so my time is pretty well spent already! Never say never though. I love to write, blogging is my favourite thing to do, so it is something I may look at doing in the future.
 

Coffee or tea?

I’m going to be a typical Brit and say tea. Milk but NO sugar!

 
Sarah’s Links:
 
 Sarah’s blog, Sarah’s History, can be found at http://sarahshistoryblog.wordpress.com

Sarah’s facebook page can be found at http://facebook.com/sarahshistoryblog

Sarah can be followed on twitter: http://twitter.com/thirteenthCsara

Sarah can be friended on goodreads: http://goodreads.com/thirteenthCsara

 

Thank you Sarah!

Stephanie
Layered Pages
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Review: Son’s and Daughters by Karen Wasylowski

 
 
 
This story follows Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitwillaim and their family. You see their children grow to young adults in this story and their struggles with relationships (even with each other) and their parents. Darcy and Fitzwilliam have to make difficult decisions regarding their family but at the same time you see their love, sacrifices and understanding….

I enjoyed this story immensely. Son’s and Daughters is delightfully crafted and different from any continuation of Pride & Prejudice that I have read thus far. There are humorous, witty- as well as- serious dialogue aspects to this story.  The plot is engaging,well written and Karen shows strong emotions in her characters. I found myself reading late into the night, not wanting to put the book down. I look forward to reading more of Karen’s stories! I highly recommend this book to Jane Austen fans! You’ll love it!

I rated this book four stars!

Stephanie
Layered Pages

Interview with Author Christy English

I have the pleasure to share this wonderful interview with you! This is my second interview with Author Christy English. Welcome Christy to Layered Pages once again.


Christy, please tell you audience about How To Tame a Willful Wife.

HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE is a love story about two strong-willed people who slowly learn to live together as equals. Now this is a Regency romance, and the lead gentleman, Anthony, is an earl, so equality is not a concept he is comfortable with, to say the least. His wife, Caroline, won’t settle for less, though, and this leads to a lot of strife.

I have taken Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and turned it on its head, so that it is the man being tamed. Of course, what really happens is that in the midst of their sparring and their lovemaking, Caroline and Anthony actually learn to talk to each other, and begin to build a real marriage. A happy one.

Is this your first regency period story you have written?

It is, and I have loved every minute of it! I have read Regencies all my life, but this novel was the first time I ever tried my hand at it. It was so much fun.

Where there any challenges?

Learning to write a new genre is very challenging, but I loved it. I found that many my flowery, long-winded descriptions had to go, much to the joy of my editor. LOL Also, I needed to increase the conflict in this novel, so that Caroline and Anthony are constantly in jeopardy. They do not always flee for their lives by any means, but the tension has to be built from one moment to the next, from one scene to the next, until the end when they finally come together and settle their differences for the last time.

One of my flaws as a writer, one I am working to overcome, is that I don’t like to watch my characters suffer. I said in a previous interview that it feels like I am torturing a puppy, and the puppy is me. LOL Of course, my characters are always strong enough to take any plot twists I dish out, and I get to explore their strength as I watch them exercise it. So conflict is a good thing.

Tell us about those hot love scenes… were they hard to write?


For some reason, every novel I have ever written is heavy on love scenes. They creep into every book, and I just let them enter in. I don’t try to stop them, because I interrupt the flow at my peril. There have been times, as in TO BE QUEEN, when my editor had me trim down a love scene, but for the most part, they get to stay in the books. One thing I love best about writing Regency romances is that all my love scenes get to stay where they are.

Love scenes are interesting. Some people really enjoy them and some people skip them. I hope my book has enough going on that it will appeal to both kinds of readers.

What book project are you working on next?

I am revising books 2 and 3 of this series. I am having such an amazing time re-working Shakespeare’s comedies, and watching as the seed of his genius gives birth to an entirely new plot.
Book 2 in this series, which should be out late next summer, is LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT in which Pembroke, Anthony’s hard drinking, womanizing best friend, has to rescue the woman who jilted him ten years before. It’s the story of the taming of a rake, and it is a lot of fun. Or I suppose I should say, I had a lot of fun writing it. I am obviously biased LOL!

What are you currently reading?

I have been so enmeshed in launching HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE while revising LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT that my reading has slowed down to a snail’s pace. I had the pleasure of reading Heather Webb’s BECOMING JOSEPHINE and now I am reading CALEB’S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks. Though not a prolific a reader at the moment, I have found some beautiful pieces to savor.

What do you plan on reading next?

CLOUD ATLAS. I am going to enjoy diving into that.

 
 
 
Thank you Christy for this lovely interview!
 
 
Stephanie
Layered Pages
 
 
 
Review:
 
 
Christy does it again with this wonderful re-telling of, “Taming of the Shrew.” This is one romance novel I couldn’t put down! I normally don’t read romance that often and this story was wonderfully told! I have enjoyed every single one of Christy’s novel and I knew she would be fabulous. Wonderful character building and the story-line was fast-paced, entertaining, engrossing, and a delight to read! I really enjoy reading stories with strong female characters and this story gives you that. This is quite simply the best of the best. A must read!
 
 
Stephanie

Review: The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman

A deeply moving and masterfully written story of human resilience and enduring love, The Plum Tree follows a young German woman through the chaos of World War II and its aftermath.

“Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.

Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out.

Set against the backdrop of the German home front, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.”

Review:

The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman is without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year! Her prose is beautiful and inspiring, the characters story is heart-stirring and will capture emotions so deep in you that you will be forever changed. I highly recommend this story to all!

Expected publication: December 25th 2012

I have the pleasure of an interview with Ellen Marie Wiseman on Thursday, January the 3rd here on Layered Pages. I will be discussing with her in further depth about her novel.

Stephanie
Layered Pages