Stephanie: I would like to introduce Debbie Brown. Author and admin of the English Historical Fiction Authors Group on Facebook and co-editor of Castles, Customs, and Kings.
Hello Debbie! I am so delighted to be chatting with you today and I’m really looking forward to reading, Castles, Custom & Kings! I do know that this is a collection of essays- if you will- from authors and it is non-fiction? Please tell me more about it and who the contributors of the book are.
Debbie: Thank you for having me on your wonderful blog, Stephanie!
Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors is an anthology of selected historical posts from the first year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog. The articles are written from the research done by fifty-five authors in preparing to write their novels. Some are regular members of our blog group, and some are guest posters—some are mainstream published, and others are independent authors.
Stephanie: Who designed the book cover?
Debbie: The publisher works with a book designer named Masha Shubin. I love the work she did on this book! It is beautiful inside and out.
Stephanie: She did an amazing job! What was your inspiration to put this book together?
Debbie: After celebrating our blog’s first anniversary, Deborah Swift suggested the year’s posts be made into a book. It was a wonderful idea!
Stephanie: It is a fabulous idea and your readers are delighted it came about. How has the response for this book been so far and will there be a sequel in the near future?
Debbie: The response has been fabulous! We were at #1 in the Amazon Hot New Releases > Historical Study > Essays section for some days after it was released, and #4 in Kindle eBooks > History > Europe > England.
Stephanie: Will there be a sequel?
Debbie: I hope so. This book is amazing to read, and the second year would be additional, unique posts of equal fascination. We do need to see if “Volume One” turns out to be profitable for the publisher before we can decide on a “Volume Two”. It was a lot of work!
Stephanie: I discovered you and M.m Bennett through the English Historical Fiction Group on Facebook among other authors. In your opinion, how has this group reached readers and authors? And how do you think this group has benefit everyone?
Debbie: Part of setting up the blogging group was planning the promotion strategy. We all agreed to promote the daily blog post and a weekly giveaway, and we reached many people through our social media efforts along those lines. There is a link on the blog to join the FB group, and I’m sure many Facebook group members have been invited by friends.
I think the group is successful because we all have the same love of British history. The continual flow of blog posts means we have something new to discuss each day. I hope people feel, as I do, that they are always learning, and I hope the real historians among us are enjoying sharing what they know.
Stephanie: I completely agree and it is like being part of a wonderful community. I adore the EHFA Website. Who are the contributors of the site and how long has the site been up?
Debbie: The launch date of the blog was September 23, 2011. We had a starting membership of thirty British historical fiction authors, all of whom I invited. Others contacted me, and over time, some moved on to other projects, other genre, etc., and new members have taken their place.
Stephanie: Please tell your audience a little about yourself and the books you have written?
Debbie: After a lifetime of doing other things, I found myself free of other obligations, and my love for English history asserted itself. I had always read historical fiction and watched period movies, and once free to do so I wanted to write a story of my own. The Companion of Lady Holmeshire was my first book. It is the story of a former servant turned companion who is dragged into polite society where she receives a rude reception.
Stephanie: What book project are you currently working on?
Debbie: Besides marketing Castles, I am writing a story I call For the Skylark. I started to base it on a character similar to Dickens’ Miss Havisham, but my character’s adult twins took over the story. They are Dante and Evangeline, who are raised isolated on a large estate by their reclusive mother. Evangeline finds it hard to cope when her beloved brother and only friend, Dante, finds the woman he loves.
Stephanie: Sounds wonderful! What period is your favorite in history and why?
Debbie: Though I have a general knowledge about England’s history, I have not yet dug deep enough to find anything I like better than the snobbery of Victorian society. I probably will move on someday, but for now, I am still researching there.
Stephanie: Reading about the Victorian society is always fascinating. One more question about Castles, Customs & Kings. What is your publishing method and where can readers buy this book?
Debbie: Madison Street Publishing did a wonderful job on the book. It is currently available on Amazon in paperback—a 7” x 10”, 514 page book; it is also on Kindle, on Kobo, and it will soon be available on Barnes and Noble and other online bookstores. Though it is a large, informative book, we kept the paperback price below $20 so people would find it affordable. I hope everyone enjoys it thoroughly!
Stephanie: Thank you, Debbie! It is always pleasure chatting with you!