March Interviews on Layered Pages

Monday 4th-Author Thea Atkinson

Friday 8th-Author David Pilling

Monday 11th-Author Jill Carroll

Wednesday 13th-Author & Poet Alan Cooke

Monday 25th-Author Christopher Dack

Friday 29th-Author Nancy Byleau-As part of the,  Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

This coming week of February  I have two interviews with Author Karen Mueller Bryson on the 25th and Author Martin Crosbie on the 28th.

Review: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

The Sister Queens is the second novel I have read about Marguerite and Eleanor, who both become Queens. The two sisters grew up together at their father’s-Count Raymond of Provence-court. They are separated at an early age to marry, they find their life as they know it completely changed and become two extraordinary women who face many challenges.

Marguerite marries King Louis of France and is often neglected by him. She struggles to fulfill her role as Queen by his side. The reason for her struggles is due to her domineering and often time’s cruel mother-in-law, Blanche of Castile. Blanche’s influence over her son is strong as is her involvement in the governance of France.

Eleanor, whose husband is King Henry III of England, is not considered a strong leader to his kingdom but is a good husband and adores her. But as the years go by their marriage becomes strained and Eleanor struggles to bring back that spark in their relationship.

Although this story centers on Marguerite and Eleanor, they have two other sisters- Beatrice and Sanchia- who married the brothers of King Henry and King Louis. Their marriages help bond the relationship between the two countries. The marriages of all the sisters were obviously for political advantage and more power. Which is intriguing to read about and I find that I admire their courage, strength and their amazing resilience to adapt to any situation they encounter.

At the beginning of each chapter you read a letter from Marguerite to Eleanor and vice versa- as they corresponded through the years. As I read their letters, I found myself enthralled with their devotion to each other. For me, the letters were the highlight of the story told.

The alternating point of views told by the two sisters was well developed and easy to follow along. One can tell Perinot takes pride in her work and it shows through the pages and the character’s voices as their lives unfold. The compelling interpretation of Marguerite and Eleanor is believable and admirable. Stories such as this are timeless and Perinot brings the 13th century back to life through this captivating novel. That is one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to historical fiction. I hold this story in high affection and it is certainly praiseworthy!

I rated this story four and a half stars.

Stephanie

Layered Pages

Review: Bianca’s Vineyard by Teresa Neumann




Teresa Neumann brings you a captivating story based on real events leading up to and that takes place during World War II. This story is about a families strength and bond to each other and their struggles to survive a turbulent time in our History.  Egisto Bertozzi, a sculptor must marry and travel to America to support his family in Italy. He marries a women named Armida Sigali who becomes troubled and abandons her family and moves back to Italy and all is not well for her…Egisto loves his children and works hard to provide for them and his family, never giving up that Armida will come back to them. However, Armida becomes a nanny for a family who supports Mussolini. Not everything is what it seems and she soon discovers they are very dangerous. Her fate becomes sealed.

Bianca’s Vineyard is beautifully written and is rich in culture and complex characters. Neumann gives you a realistic picture of what people went through during the war and how they survived a terrible force bent on destroying everything they have worked hard for and loved. I highly recommend this story! You will fall in love with it the moment you start the first page.  


Rated Five Stars!

Stephanie
Layered Pages

Interview with Author Roger Eschbacher



Roger, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. Please tell me about your book, Dragonfriend.

Thank you, Stephanie. It was a very pleasant surprise to win the BRAG Medallion and I’m honored to be a recipient.

Dragonfriend is a middle-grade fantasy adventure novel set in the days of King Arthur. The twist is that it’s a side story to the main Arthurian legends and told through the eyes of a young page, Leonard, whose plan to help his knight get a seat at the Round Table goes horribly wrong. In an effort to set things right he goes on a dangerous quest, befriends a horde of cantankerous dragons, and does battle with a vile demon who has taken over Camelot.




 

What were some of the research involved?

I did a lot of online research about mythical creatures, Celtic/Welsh mythology, and Arthur and his knights. In general, I’ve always been fascinated by various western mythologies and the Arthurian legends – having read numerous books over the years – and so was able to draw on those topics to enrich the story.

 

Were there any challenges you faced while writing your story?

I think the biggest challenge was one that faces most authors; don’t let life get in the way of writing. Any author can tell you that it’s very easy to get distracted and find a million other things to do than sitting down at your computer and writing. Sometimes the biggest challenge for me is tricking myself into writing the first word of the day. Once I can do that, I’m good for at least a thousand words.

 

Who designed your book cover?

A graphic artist by the name of Mike Wykowski (mawmaw.net) designed my cover. I’m very happy with the job he did and have asked him to design the cover for my next book.

 

What book project do you have coming up next?

I’m hoping to have the sequel to Dragonfriend beta read, edited, and published by the end of next month. It’s called Giantkiller and follows Leonard on a wild adventure up in the Clouds.

 

What is your favorite literary genre?

I read fantasy and sci fi just about to the exclusion of everything else. I love to be taken places where impossible things happen.

 

What is the last truly great book you read?

The word “great” makes me think of titles like the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien or Dune by Frank Herbert both of which I’ve re-read a number of times over the years. Two excellent series I’ve read recently are The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart and The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. Both series are masterfully written. A recent indie title that impressed me was Brood of Bones by AE Marling.

 

What were your most cherished books as a child?

Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss were three of my early favorites. The Hobbit blew me away when I got a little older.

 

Is there a writer you consider to be a mentor in some way?

I would say the author that had the strongest influence on my writing is J.R.R. Tolkien, both in terms of flicking on the “fantasy switch” in my brain and making me want to tell exciting and uplifting adventure stories. Another one would be the great Douglas Adams. I learned from him that it was okay to blend speculative fiction with humor.

 

 Of the books you have written, which is your favorite?

I have two traditionally published picture books that I like quite a bit, but I’d have to say my favorite book is Dragonfriend, my first novel. I loved being able to take my time and fully develop a story.

 

How did you discover BRAG?

Someone in an author group I belong to mentioned BRAG and it sounded interesting. I checked out the site and saw BRAG’s main standard for judging a book is whether or not the reader would recommend it to their best friend. That really appealed to me so I crossed my fingers, sent in Dragonfriend, and here I am!

Author Bio:

Roger Eschbacher is a professional television animation writer who’s worked for Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. In addition to Dragonfriend, his debut middle-grade fantasy adventure novel, Roger’s written two children’s picture books, Road Trip, and Nonsense! He Yelled, both for Penguin.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he now lives in California with his family and a crazy dog named Lizzy.Links:Blog: Roger Eschbacher Books and Other Writing: http://www.rogereschbacher.com/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RogerEschbacherBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerEschbacher
Dragonfriend, a middle-grade fantasy adventure novel now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.


Follow me on Twitter, too!
 

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Roger Eschbacher  who is the author of, Dragonfriend, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Dragonfriend  merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.



                                                                
Thank you!

Stephanie
Interviewer/Promoter for IndieBRAG
 



Review: Sons of The Wolf by Paula Lofting

Paula Lofting brings the reader an enthralling story! Sons of The Wolf, the first to a series of novels that leads up to the Norman Conquest. Of a man named Wulfhere who lived during the rule of Edward the Confessor. The lands that he holds come from the king. Wulfhere also serves my favorite male heroines in history, Harold Godwinson. Harold is the Earl of Wessex and extremely powerful and has great influence in the realm. Wulfhere is a warrior who loves his family and has a soft spot for his daughters. When Harold tells him must give his daughter, Freyda to his sworn enemy-horrid Lord Helghi- son to marry. He becomes angry but nonetheless he must agree to Harold’s wishes. For Harold grows tired of the never ending hatred between his two lords. But all is not well and Wulfhere must do all he can to save his daughter from the dangers he knows will happen if she falls in the grasps of Lord Helghi and there is a even bigger threat that could change his family forever.

As this brilliant story unfolds I found myself so engrossed with the characters plight and emotions I felt like these events were happening to my own family. Saying this story has well developed characters does not do it justice. It goes beyond that…Lofting really gets to the core of the human condition and pulls you into a world of the past that leaves you wanting to explore more of these fascinating people in history.

The first few pages grabbed me and didn’t let go and now I’m anxiously awaiting for the sequel to this remarkable story. Sons of the Wolf is definitely a novel of what the highest quality of Historical Fiction should be and I highly recommend!

I rated this story five stars!!

Stephanie
Layered Page

Review: Shadow on The Crown by Patricia Bracewell

Patricia Bracewell brings her readers a beautifully crafted story of Emma of Normandy. The year is 1002 and as the sister of the Duke of Normandy, Lady Emma, must do what is decided for her. As a political pawn she is sent to England to marry, King Æthelred and becomes his Queen. The life she does not want but a path she must take nonetheless. She makes the best of her situation for her husband finds her a nuisance and court life is daunting and dangerous. As time goes by she makes new friends who discovers her generosity and compassion for others. However, there are enemies who will stop at nothing to see her fall and Emma struggles with a growing love to a man she cannot have.

Bracewell’s engaging debut novel sets the standard for what good, quality literature should be and I thoroughly enjoyed her rendition of this period of English history. She not only gives you a wonderful blend of history and fiction but captures the human condition, the culture, and the struggles of England’s royal court life. She gives each character a distinct voice-which I find refreshing. She writes about one of my favorite female heroines in history, Emma. A women-though flawed- of strength, compassion and generosity. I’m looking forward to more of Bracewell’s stories! 

I rated this story five stars!


Stephanie
Layered Pages

Review: Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore

Equlibrium is an evocative tale of two sisters-Epiphany and Martha-who are mediums performing on stage in a theater in London, England in the early 1900’s. A Lady Adelia Lyward sees the performance and wants Epiphany to give her a private reading. She wanted to learn the truth of her brothers death not knowing the sisters have a connection to her household. Martha was a housemaid to the Lyward’s two years previous and fell pregnant by Adelia’s husband, Lord Rafe Lyward. In disgrace Martha left the Lyward’s household, gave her child away and attempted suicide in the River Thames, she survived… But there is more to the Lyward’s household then meets the eye.

The beginning of the story starts slowly but I was pleasantly surprised as I read on to discover how the mystery surrounding Adelia’s brothers death is revealed. However, I would have liked to have seen the historical elements to be stronger and expanded further on-such as the social changes in England during this period and I wanted to have a clearer picture on the details as to why Adelia’s brother went to South Africa during the Boer War then what was told.

Overall this story is rich in complex characters with remarkable depth despite their shortcomings. Epiphany’s voice gave- what I believe- a comfort to those she was interacting with at times and I thought she gave the story a calmness and a delicate reality to this tragic and harsh story that was unfolding. I recommend Equilibrium to readers who enjoys historical fiction with spiritualism influences.

~Stephanie
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