My Guest and Author of the Amazon Bestseller, Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie 2

In a press release, Amazon referred to Martin Crosbie as one of their success stories of 2012. His self-publishing journey has been chronicled in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. Martin’s debut novel, My Temporary Life, has been downloaded over one hundred and fifty thousand times and became an Amazon bestseller. He is also the author of the Amazon bestsellers:

My Name Is Hardly-Book Two of the My Temporary Life Trilogy

Lies I Never Told-A Collection of Short Stories

How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle-An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook

Believing Again: A Tale of Two Christmases

Martin was born in the Highlands of Scotland and currently makes his home on the west coast of Canada. The third book in the My Temporary Life Trilogy is due for release in 2014.

Stephanie: I would like to welcome back Author Martin Crosbie. I consider Martin on of the gurus of self-publishing.

Hello Martin! I’m glad to have you visit Layered Pages again. It is always a pleasure to talk with you. You work tirelessly in the self-publishing community and that is much respected by many. I would like to say thank you for all you do and I would like to know how you find the time to do it all?

Martin: Hi Stephanie, thanks for having me back. It’s always fun to talk to you.

I realized some time ago that I had to change my ratio of writing/marketing. I’m proud to say that currently I’m sitting at about 50/50 and I’m pretty happy with that. I made a commitment three months ago to write a minimum one thousand new words every day and so far I’ve stuck with it. So, my priority every day is writing. Everything else has moved down the list.

Stephanie: That is fantastic and I have been cheering for you ever since you told me about your challenge.

Please tell me about the workshops you teach and give lectures at?

Martin: I teach a self-publishing weekend workshop. In a weekend my partner and I try to show authors how to produce a professional product without breaking the bank. We call it the Secrets of the Bestsellers Weekend.

Stephanie: Do you have another one coming up? Tell me about it.

Martin: The next Bestsellers Weekend is in November but I have a number of other events between now and then.

I’m teaching a free self-publishing workshop that the local library is sponsoring in May. Here’s the link: Surrey Libraries

I have two others in the coming months. I’m teaching at a writers retreat in Northern British Columbia. We’re in lockdown at a remote (not-so-secret) location and we’re going to write and talk about writing for four days. Rural Writers

And, I’m very proud to be opening the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival in October. I’ll be facilitating a one day workshop for attendees. The Vicious Circle

Stephanie: Was there a moment when you were giving a lecture that impacted in you some way or should I say, what has been your most profound moment in these speaking engagements?

Martin: During the past workshop that I taught in March, by the middle of the second day the tide turned. The authors attending were quoting phrases and facts that I’d given them on the first day and were nodding and buying into my philosophy. They were talking about making sure their manuscript was polished before publishing and hiring professional cover designers and most importantly, editors too. It felt really good to be in a roomful of writers who were all on the same page.

Stephanie: What are some of the compliments you have received from these lectures?

Martin: I guess the biggest compliment is that some of the authors come back. Several folks who attended my first workshop have come to others too. The greatest compliment though is seeing the success that writers are having once they publish. I see their books zipping up the rankings on Amazon and often overtaking my own work and hitting bestseller status.

As I’ve traveled to writers groups giving information on my workshops I’ve made a startling discovery. There are some very, very good books out there that are just waiting to be published. The quality of writing and creativity of the stories has blown my mind. I often tell writers to please alert me once their books are out and they probably think I’m saying it to be polite.

I’m not! I can’t wait to read some of their books once they go live.

Stephanie: What is the number one advice you give to a writer who is getting started and wants to self-publish?

Martin: Have patience and don’t publish until the work is ready. There’s no excuse for releasing sub-standard material. There are writers groups and beta-readers galore just waiting to help us. I have requests from readers asking about the third book in my trilogy all the time. I had a draft partially written last year but I stopped and started over. It’s my name on the cover and I won’t release a book until I know it’s the best I can produce. You’ll never regret waiting until you know that your work is the best you can produce.

Stephanie: Has there been any bumps along the way in your publishing career and was there a moment you wanted to through in the towel?

Martin: No. I’m doing what I always wanted to do – writing, connecting with readers and being paid for it every month. I’m very lucky.

Stephanie: What are some of the mistakes a self-publishing writer can avoid when using social media?

Martin: Treat your followers and Facebook friends as though they were your real-life, actual, dear friends. In other words, forget that you’re online. I wouldn’t walk up to one of my friends and say “buy my book”. Social networks have changed the way we interact but we don’t have to let them change the way communicate. Treating each other with respect is still the key to maintaining relationships – virtual and actual.

Stephanie: Where do you see this industry in five to ten years?

Martin: Right now, when I publish a book and upload it I feel as though my readers are just around the corner from me. They’re that close. Within a few years it’s going to feel as though they’re in the same room. I don’t what form that will take but the relationship between reader and writer is changing and the two are becoming closer. The escapism that we provide readers will always be there but the actual relationship has changed and that’s a good thing. It’s helped me and others get our work to our audience.

In terms of where the publishing industry will be that’s difficult to say. The only constant will be change. Things will continue to change and we’re going to be here enjoying every peak and valley along the way.

Stephanie: Before you go, is there a message you would like to give to your audience about your own work?

Martin: I’m very proud of my novels and I’d love for your readers to check them out but my bestselling book is currently my self-publishing guidebook. I keep the e-book pricing at $4.99, so it’s quite affordable. The key with this book is that it keeps changing. I released it in September and already have revised it once and will revise it again this summer and again at the end of the year. Each revision contains updated sites where you can promote your work, find editors, places to find free photos and images, and much more. Plus, I update some of the content in terms of what’s working and what isn’t too. So, if you purchase the book and I update the content Amazon will actually advise you that it’s been revised and direct you to the area where you can download the newer version for free. My goal is to have the most current self-publishing guidebook on the market all the time.

I’d love for your readers to check it out Self-Publishing Guidebook

Thank you, Martin!

Places you can find Martin:

Twitter

Facebook

Martin’s Website

email

Amazon Author Page

Martin’s self-publishing journey has been documented here:

Publisher’s Weekly Apr/2012

Globe and Mail Newspaper Apr/2012

Forbes Online Aug/2012

Here are just a few samples of many things people are saying about Martin’s books.

What readers are saying about Lies I Never Told-A Collection of Short Stories:

Lies I never told

Could not put this book down. I am amazed at the depth of feeling and emotion in his words. All of the stories are so different yet so connected at the emotional level. My only disappointment is that the stories were not longer. I really hope that this book is just a prelude of the novels to come. Martin grabs me from the first line and takes me on an emotional journey with all his characters.

Debbie Dore-Amazon review

Where Martin Crosbie found his voice is a mystery. His ability to create stories (here very brief ones) that explore the psyche of his chosen stand-in trope in such a way that within a few sentences you are so aware of the character’s life and feelings that he seems to be sitting beside you, in conversation with only you.

Grady Harp (Hall of Fame reviewer)-Goodreads review

What readers are saying about How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle-An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook:

How I sold....

Yes, I was skeptical because I’ve read one or two of these books, and their suggestions are… let’s just say not that good. Last night, I skipped the intro and jumped right to the meat of the book. Chapter One was better, much better, than I had expected. But it was when he said, DON’T go out on Twitter and FB and shout “read my book” a thousand times a day that he convinced me that he was honest and knew what he was talking about. For anyone at the publishing stage or who wants to get there, so far 🙂 [I will always be a hardcore skeptic] this is a good reference on what to do, on how to build relationships instead of walls. If you’re not yet at the publishing stage, start now to build an audience and support group. And Martin C practices what he preaches, especially the part about supporting other authors. He followed me back on Twitter and friended me on FB.

NSW-Amazon Review

If you are a new writer this book is a must. I wish I had it when I first started writing. It is filled with easy to read and easy to understand information. However, even if you are an already published writer this book will offer you new information you might not have known. I found it helpful in so many ways. There are also links to various other sites that offer valuable info that is very difficult to find. Basically, “How I Sold 30,000 Ebooks on Amazon Kindle,” takes a lot of the guessing and hard work out of self publishing.

Roberta Kagan-Amazon Review

What readers are saying about My Name Is Hardly:

My name is hardly

Martin Crosbie’s remarkable storytelling talent is apparent throughout his most recent novel, “My Name Is Hardly.” The story seized me from the first paragraph and held me relentlessly until I’d come to the novel’s thoughtful and moving conclusion.

Kathleen Lourde-Amazon review

I have no doubt that when the last piece is in place, Crosbie’s work will stand tall as exemplary literary fiction, and a reproach to those who mourn the decline of the “gatekeepers” of commercial publishing. Any gate too small to let in Martin Crosbie should have been blown up a long time ago.

Steven Hart-Goodreads review

Review: Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore

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I am delighted to bring back old reviews that I have written on my old blogspot. Each month, I will be posting one in hopes to find new readers who will enjoy these books as much as I have. Equlibrium is one that I reviewed for the Historical Novel Society sometime back.

Published August 6th 2012 by allonymbooks

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 brother’s 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 than 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
Layered Pages

Interview with Author Elle Thalheimer

Ellee_Author_Photo

Ellee Thalheimer is an accomplished freelance travel writer, public speaker, and bicycle tourism proponent who believes there are few better ways to travel and transform than by bike. She co-founded the Portland Society, a nonprofit business alliance that connects professional women who are passionate about cycling; authored Lonely Planet’s Cycling Italy; and is a zealous lover of the Pacific Northwest. As the owner of Into Action Publications, her most recent projects include authoring Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-day Tours in Oregon and co-authoring Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike.

Stephanie: Hello, Ellee! Thank you for chatting with me today. Please tell me about your book, Cycling Sojourner.

Ellee: As the second title in my cycle touring guidebook series, Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington reveals hard-to-find information about exploring Washington by bike. The book gives advice on how to tour the state’s remotest ribbons of road in the Okanagan, bikeable berry stands in the San Juan Islands, Walla Walla wine country tasting rooms best reached by bicycle, and routes across the Cascade Mountains that I hope will convert folks into helpless lovers of the Pacific Northwest.

Like a cycle touring concierge of sorts, Cycling Sojourner takes care of the logistics and removes obstacles between riders and two-wheeled adventures. I want cyclists to be able to just grab their bikes and go. Each of the book’s nine tours lays out nuts-and-bolts details, including cue sheets, maps, and information about weather, difficulty levels, camping and lodging options, and the various ways of getting to and from the ride’s start and end points.

But the soul of the book lies in the authors’ voices, which use storytelling, local history, and humor to elevate the text beyond just an everyday guidebook. The jovial, casual tone sets this series apart. I really wanted this book to be an inspirational muse that draws out the inner adventurer.

cycling

Stephanie: What inspired you to write a guide on cycle-touring?

Ellee: I used to work as a guidebook author for Lonely Planet and was hired as the single author on the Cycling Italy title. That was an experience of a lifetime. Before that, I was a cycling guide for Woman Tours. I had a unique skillset to be able to write my own guidebooks. When I realized that Oregon didn’t have any appreciable source of cycle touring information, despite the popularity, I decided to create Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Oregon. And then I ended up making another one for Portland: Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike. And because Washington also has world-class cycle touring, I was inspired to make another guidebook for it. When I started writing the Oregon book, I never imagined that I would become a publisher and continue producing titles like an addict.

Stephanie: Do you cycle yourself? Is this guide based on your own experiences?

Elle: I’ve been cycling for two decades. I’m an avid commuter, mountain biker, road cyclist, cycle tourist, and I even raced cyclo-cross one year (never again, ouch). I hope to get into fat biking and family biking with my new daughter, Ruby, this summer.

Every mile of this guide was ridden by me or by one of the other authors. In the case of many cycling guidebooks, because of budget and time restrictions, publishers have authors drive some routes. When that happens, the quality of the coverage suffers. Books in the Cycling Sojourner series are dedicated to giving information from firsthand experience, as if a good friend, who happened to be an expert, was giving you advice.

Stephanie: Was there anything challenging about writing a guidebook?

Elle: Where shall I start? People like to say, “Wow! You’re job is to tootle around on a bike. Lucky!”

And I am very lucky. This is great work. However, the actual riding is a small percentage of the overall work put into the book. Every nit-picky detail has to be meticulously researched. You have to master the art of word economy and balance inspiration and practicality. Plus, when you are researching on the ground, your day doesn’t end with the beer after your ride. You have to sit at your tiny laptop and produce content and create descriptions while experiencing physical exhaustion.

Stephanie: What is the number one advice you would give when cycling?

Elle: When cycle touring, if your goal is to have fun, the key is to start the tour prepared, then be flexible no matter what comes your way. The beauty of a bike tour is that it’s not a packaged vacation. You may end up meeting people, doing things, or sleeping in places you did not expect. Wrenches get thrown into tours by weather, road closures, flat tires, or an unexpectedly fabulous town where you have to stay an extra night. If you aren’t rigid about how things should unfold, you’ll enjoy yourself much more.

Stephanie: Have you written any other guides? Will there be more?

Elle: I’ve contributed to a number of Lonely Planet guidebooks and was the single author on their Cycling Italy title. For Into Action Publications, my own imprint, I wrote Cycling Sojourner Oregon, co-authored Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike, and was the main author on Cycling Sojourner Washington (I had a number of contributing authors for this last title).

As far as the Cycling Sojourner series goes, there are many potential titles I’m mulling over for the future.

Stephanie: What do you like most about writing?

Elle: Writing helps me process my experiences in the world, so when I emerge from my Writing Hole, I have a more dynamic understanding. Also, there is nothing as satisfying as creating a muscular description that zings or cutting the fat out of a paragraph, even if you love the individual bits you’re cutting.

Stephanie: Are there pictures in your guidebook and did you take them yourself?

Elle: The photos were taken by me, the other authors, and friends of the book.

Stephanie: When will this book be available and where can readers purchase it?

Elle: You can buy the book on my website at cyclingsojourner.com and also follow my blog about cycle touring. In addition, readers can purchase this book where books are sold, as well as REI. The book will be available from my website in April and from other vendors in May.

The Cycling Sojourner Site

Amazon

Guest Post with D. Grant Fitter

D. Grant Fitter

Stephanie: My guest today in Layered Pages is D. Grant Fitter and he is here to talk about his book, City of Promise and how the period in which the book is set in and his research.

D. Grant: Spanning eight years of the 1940s, City of Promises is set primarily in Mexico City, relies heavily on the flavor of Veracruz on the gulf coast, introduces the budding new playground of Acapulco on the Pacific and it was lots of fun to write.

Fun to write works aren’t really work at all and are almost always a product of inspiration.

People often describe the period and setting of my novel such things as surprising, unusual and unique. It is true that very little fiction has been written about life in Mexico City in the 1940s and I am not aware of anything done in English. By saying that is not to say the decade is not well captured and recorded through an abundance of other media. There is an absolute avalanche of living film, recorded music and historical archives to be gleefully buried in research.

Inspiration and fun really do go hand in hand.

Having that valuable bank of research is important to historical fiction writers, particularly if they are not writing a formulaic theme, enjoy doing research and if they strive to keep their characters, setting and storyline meticulously true to events of the time, as I have done with City of Promises. That backup also helps to keep the words flying from the mind as fast as the fingers can key them in. In my own case it also helped that I spent many years working and living in Mexico City, roaming the streets, admiring architecture, feeling the tremendous pulse of that city, developing a healthy appetite for participating in and understanding the culture and even having the experience of being held bargaining chip hostage by a very politically influential businessman. Such things helped me understand my true-life character’s lives and the life of my protagonist and his two supporting actors who are a conglomerate of many personalities I might have known.

What I am talking about here is closely connected to something learned over six semesters instructing adult creative writing courses.  Understanding our limits and concentrating on our strengths.

Understanding our limits and concentrating on our strengths may at first seem a little too obvious or superficial, but it isn’t. In my six semesters instructing adult creative writing courses, the most common reason given by students for paying their tuition for the course was that they had an idea for a novel eating away at them, but they were in need of a push to either get started or they were bogged down and in need of some inspiration to keep going. The same holds true for authors who join writing clubs and online forums. I see that discussion all the time. All too often it is apparent that many talented, aspiring authors are trying to force a story into a mold they do not know enough about. They weren’t writing to their strengths.

So yes, City of Promises is the natural result of my attraction to historical fiction, but loving historical fiction is not enough. I went to work writing to my strengths. I went to work on a very broad subject that I have come to know very well; that being my fascination with the Mexican culture which is so distant from our own, a curiosity to understand it, and story that I feel illuminates it.

 City of Promise

Publication Date: January 22, 2013 CreateSpace Formats: Paperback, eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

Is there an economic value of one’s soul? “By divine good fortune I live in the most glamorous era of a famously enticing city. By obscene misfortune I’m shut out by its ruling elite.” Daring ways to make it big are on offer in Mexico City in the 1940s, but best watch your back! If Arturo Fuentes barters virtue to maneuver in on the action, will the consequence of his choices be too much to bear?

The rebirth of one of the world’s most colorful cities forms the rich backdrop for this historically discerning tale of treachery, intrigue and political corruption.

“My entire family was stuck for generations in that isolated village south of Veracruz where I was born. When you’re fourteen, know you are a dreamer and learn to be a schemer, you can’t stay and so you start planning for the day.”

In 1941, 21-year-old Arturo Fuentes followed the beat to Mexico City.

“There was so much going on!”

Bottles of rum in smoke filled bars, sultry women and impassioned conversation, music and bright show lights calling. Murder and corruption.

“A man moving up meets all kinds of people in that seductive city. Powerful men to boost your business prospects or a real dish who will change your life. Without women, life is without drama.”

“Arturo has goodness in his heart. I could tell in an instant. He was so easy to love. Arturo couldn’t sense the warning signs like a woman does. That pack of important politicos sucked him in! You can’t play their games and expect to walk away.”

“She was right! Each day my reasons for quitting got bigger and the ways out got smaller. I had to do what I had to do to save my soul.”

Praise for City of Promises

“… beautifully merging together historical fact with inspired fiction, this remarkable story is enlightening, illuminating and thoroughly compelling…” -Goodreads

“… a dazzling story of an eager young industrialist drawn to a myriad of big city temptations yielding experiences of tragedy, corruption, misfortune and prosperity …” – el Popular

“Fitter has efficiently dealt with time and place that makes the story come alive in the imaginations of the readers.” – Bookpleasures

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble (Nook) Smashwords

About the Author

D. Grant Fitter is a citizen of North America. Born in Ontario, Canada and educated in Colorado, USA, he is convinced he was Mexican in his previous life. How else to explain such a strong attraction to Mexico and all things Mexican, including his wife.

His business career includes long stints of work in Mexico before yielding to a pesky urge to pursue freelance journalism for seventeen years. Meanwhile, Fitter’s Mexican roots continued to call. City of Promises is the product of his curiosity to understand why the culture of our close neighbors is so distant from our own.

He lives in Toronto and whenever possible, in a sunny hillside casita in the colonial town of Taxco, Guerrero.

Author Links

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 16 Review at Book Nerd

Friday, April 18 Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, April 21 Spotlight & Giveaway at The Bookworm

Wednesday, April 23 Guest Post at Layered Pages

Thursday, April 24 Interview at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, May 1 Review at Book Journey

Monday, May 5 Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover

Wednesday, May 7 Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 8 Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, May 9 Review at Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, May 12 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 15 Review at Reviews by Molly

City of Promises_Tour Banner_FINAL

 

Meet My Main Character by Stephanie Moore Hopkins

 

I’ve been tagged by Rosanne E. Lortz, and now, I get to tell you a little bit about the main character in one of my writing projects.

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What is the name of your character? Is he/or she fictional or a historic person? I actually have four main characters thus far with fabulous supporting characters. My story will be a trilogy or quite possible a series. Having said that, the main focus is really on Arthur-who is fictional and lives in the present time. He is named after an historical prince of England/Wales named Author Tudor who was born in 1486 and died in the year of 1502. His parents were Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Prince Arthur is remembered for being Katherine of Aragon’s first husband and was very sickly. But there is much more to that in his life. One I plan on exploring in my story.

When and where is the story set? Two places really….New York City, USA and Surrey, England in the present day.

What should we know about him/her? Arthur has had a great loss in his life that has prevented him or I should say-if you will-to open up to others and to develop relationships around him. He pretty much keeps to himself except for a small group of people. But the situations he embarks on will challenge him in that area of his life where he is forced to open up, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Arthur2

What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life? This is a tough question. I’m not sure I can answer this entirely without giving the plot away…so I will give a glimpse. This is an alternate story about Prince Arthur of England. The story takes place in the modern day but reveals letters of the past. Letters that can change history and possibly destroy lives and change a whole country forever, if the letters were revealed to the world. There is so little on Arthur and as I have researched him and his father and the real conflicts of that time in history, I began to see a much bigger picture and thought of what if’s it happen another way….

Arthur, my modern day character, is needed in England to help an aunt he only met once. It has to do with the letters and the family estate. He has never left New York and is conflicted as to what to do….meanwhile things start to happen where he lives, that makes him decide that he needs to step up and find out what is going on and to help his aunt….

What is the personal goal of the character? The personal goal of Arthur is pretty much what I have mentioned above. To get to the bottom of what is going on….and to help his aunt and to protect the family legacy that he soon discovers.

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Is there a working title for this novel? And can we read more about it? My title for the book is, Poison Letters. I pretty much set the title before I even started to write….except for a few ideas for the plot. I think the title fits really well with the story based on the letters that have been hidden for several hundred years.

When can we expect the book to be published? Gosh, I was hoping to get it out this spring but life gets in the way and then I have changed my whole POV. I was writing it in the first person and it was not working for me or the story. So now I’m in the middle of re-writes. I am really hoping to get this book out by the end of this year. Crossing my fingers it might be sooner.

Thanks for visiting the post, and I will tag two historical fiction authors to answer these questions as well once I have contacted them and have their permission. They’ll be introducing their main character to you in a few days.

  1. Kelli Rea Klampe
  2. Stuart S. Laing

The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram -Book Blast

The-Towers-of-Tuscany2

Publication Date: January 23, 2014 New Arcadia Publishing Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Genre: Historical Fiction

Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.

In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.

The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe’s most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.

READ AN EXCERPT.

Praise for The Towers of Tuscany

“The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!” – Anne Fortier, Author of The Lost Sisterhood and the New York Times bestseller, Juliet

“Carol Cram’s lush descriptions and intriguing characters bring this dramatic tale of medieval Tuscany to life. If you love Italian art, a feisty heroine, and a page-turning plot, you will adore this novel.” – Deborah Swift, Author of A Divided Inheritance

“The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel―a talented, frustrated heroine, a treacherous, feckless husband, and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along.” – Roberta Rich, Author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife

“Sofia will set your heart racing as she attempts to find what we all, in our own ways, strive to seek: love, resolution, and artistic freedom. The legacy of this story will leave you yearning for more.” – Cathleen With, award-winning author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison

Buy the Book

Amazon (Ebook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble Book Depository IndieBound

Carol-Cram1

About the Author

Carol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist.

She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.

Author Links

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Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 7 Literary Chanteuse Bibliophilia, Please Cheryl’s Book Nook A Bibliotaph’s Reviews Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, April 8 Mari Reads Peeking Between the Pages History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, April 9 Susan Heim on Writing Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, April 10 Passages to the Past Book Lovers Paradise To Read or Not to Read Curling Up With a Good Book

Friday, April 11 Words and Peace The Mad Reviewer Historical Fiction Obsession

Saturday, April 12 Book Nerd Layered Pages Princess of Eboli Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, April 13 West Metro Mommy The True Book Addict Caroline Wilson Writes

Giveaway

To enter to win one of 3 copies of The Towers of Tuscany please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally. Enter here.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 14th and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 

H.H. Miller’s Book Blast

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Publication: January 9, 2014 H.H Miller Paperback; 278p ISBN-10: 0615944418

eBook; 700kb ASIN: B00HSBNW5Y

The year is 1851 and the Grand Guard is ravaging Mainland. Arrests. Floggings. Swift executions. Twenty-year-old Caris McKay, the beautiful heiress of Oakside Manor, is sent to live with distant relations until the danger has passed. It’s no refuge, however, as Lady Granville and her scheming son plot to get their hands on Caris’s inheritance with treachery and deceit.

Soon, alarming news arrives that the ruthless Captain James Maldoro has seized Oakside and imprisoned Caris’s beloved uncle. And now he’s after her.

Caris escapes with the help of Tom Granville, the enigmatic silver-eyed heir of Thornbridge. But when a cryptic note about a hidden fortune launches them on a perilous journey across Mainland, Caris and Tom must rely on wits, courage, and their growing love for each other if they hope to survive.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance, Inscription will transport you to a historically fictional world you’ll never want to leave.

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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H. H. Miller is the author of the novel Inscription, a historically fictional romantic adventure. In real life, she’s content director at Stoke Strategy, a brand strategy firm in Seattle, Washington, where she specializes in transforming what some might call “boring” technology jargon into compelling, readable, memorable stories. Her favorite escape is Manzanita, Oregon – a place of beautiful beaches, wild storms, chilly nights around the bonfire (even in July), and time to enjoy life with her husband and three children.

For more information please visit H.H. Miller’s Facebook Page.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 31 A Bookish Affair Closed the Cover Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, April 1 Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, April 2 Book Nerd CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, April 3 Flashlight Commentary

Friday, April 4 The Mad Reviewer Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Saturday, April 5 Pages of Comfort

Sunday, April 6 So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, April 7 Confessions of an Avid Reader History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, April 8 The True Book Addict Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, April 9 Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 10 SOS Aloha Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, April 11 Layered Pages

Saturday, April 12 Susan Heim on Writing Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, April 13 Passages to the Past

Enter Giveaway here

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My Guest, Author M.M Bennetts

M.m Bennetts

History, poetry, music and horses probably sums it up.  M.M. Bennetts, although expecting to study piano and music, studied mediaeval history at Boston University and at the University of St. Andrews.

For some twenty years, she was a book critic for the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, specialising in history and fiction…She is one of the editors of Castles, Customs and Kings ~ True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors, as well as the author of two novels set amidst the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars:  May 1812 and Of Honest Fame.  And a third novel, Or Fear of Peace, also set in the period, is in the works…

She lives in southern England, where it rains a great deal, and she is most astonishingly fond of cakey.  Honestly.  

Stephanie: Hello, M.M.! Thank you for visiting me today on Layered Pages. I am delighted to be chatting with you about your book, Of Honest Fame. I’m currently reading your book and it is not often I read a story that takes place in the time 19th Century. However, I am really enjoying the story and find myself wanting to spend all day reading. Please tell your audience a little about your story.

M.M.: First off, Steph, may I please thank you for having me here today. It’s such a pleasure to be able to talk to you about my novel, Of Honest Fame.

Naturally, I should like to able to say something really winning or impressive here, but that would be complete weasel fur.

I got the images and ideas for the opening scenes years ago, when I was in Paris, having a meal in the large dining room-kitchen of this ground floor restaurant in the Isle de St Louis—which was far from the Paris of cafes.

(Yes, I’m a foodie.)

Then, days later I was in Rye, East Sussex, marveling at the pebbled surface of Mermaid Street, and immersed as ever in the Napoleonic era—which is my specialism. And the opening montage of action and imagery and characters were just there. And I saw it all so vividly. So I wrote it down on the back of several used envelopes and left it to grow.

And grow it did.

There wasn’t a plan. Or a plot—well I did write them and no sooner did I write them and think myself very clever with all my neat tied up ends, than some character or other which I’d not imagined would appear and wouldn’t shut up…so I’d rip up the plan, throw it over my shoulder onto the floor and the dog would, er, eradicate it.

And then I found the title, or the title found me in that verse of Byron’s: “The drying up a single tear has more of honest fame than in shedding seas of gore.” And I thought, whoa! Must have that. And it such an amazing question—what is honest fame? Particularly in an age which glorified the military machine?

Oh Honest Fame book cover

Stephanie: What was your inspiration for this book and what fascinates you most about this time period?

M.M.: Well, I’ve kind of given you a bit of the inspiration already…but to follow on from that: Again without wanting to sound completely up myself, I’ve always loved those novels where you don’t really know who the good guys are, you have to work that out—Dickens was so great at that in A Tale of Two Cities and Our Mutual Friend. And I just love that ambiguity. So I wanted to write that evolution of character, but for several characters…

But this is where it gets a bit funny. When I was researching the previous book, May 1812, I had come across this blank denial that there even had been British espionage at this time. And I was always shaking my head and thinking, “Funny! That doesn’t seem possible.” Because I knew that the French secret police were second to none. So I was really expected to believe that we were here, saying, “Oh no worries. We’re English gentlemen, we don’t behave like that.” Hello? I don’t think so.

And other people seemed to have reached a similar conclusion. Hence books and research started appearing which proved we were up to it all the way to the back teeth. Honestly, the research unfolded more than I could ever have made up in my wildest dreams. And as it did, well, the book kept reflecting all of that. It couldn’t help it.

But what has become so inspiring and fantastic to me over time is the quality of the men who joined forces to defeat one of the most powerful and effective military states—Napoleon and Napoleonic France. He was a military genius—and his adversaries were most of them pretty mediocre fellows. They were indifferent kings and emperors, he scared the buttons off their breeches! They weren’t financial wizards, their governments despaired over them, they had rubbishy weapons, and they didn’t have a clue. But they pulled their boots on, you know, and they did the hard thing, and they defeated him. I admire that!

Stephanie: What first sparked your interest in studying Napoleonic Europe?

M.M.: I was a mediaevalist and I strayed—though I had previously studied the French Revolution, but kind of in general. I lived on an ancient estate near St. Andrews. And the big house was one of the first by the brothers Adam and I was entranced by the architecture. And then the art and the music sucked me further in…and it happened.

I just kept getting drawn down these research aisles and I have absolutely no control over following unanswered historical question. I just can’t help myself; I have to know the answer. I have to understand.

May 1812 Book Cover

Stephanie: How does Lord Castlereagh chose his agents to spy for him and what is the background they come from?

M.M.: Without meaning to sound glib or cagey, it just seems to have happened based upon whom one knew and whom one trusted.  So there’s lots of nepotism–Lord Castlereagh relied heavily on his younger brother, Charles Vane Stewart, who was an aide to Wellington for a long time in the Peninsula–and it was Charles who would write to his brother telling him exactly what Wellington thought and what problems he was honestly dealing with, rather than what the ‘official’ version was. Later he sent his brother, Charles, to the Allied command in 1813 in Prussia for the same reason.

There was also a thing called the Irish Office, which had initially been set up to deal with the French-supported insurgencies in Ireland which Castlereagh had been instrumental in crushing back at the end of the 18th century.  And this was being run by one Sir Charles Flint.

However, long after the French threat seems to have been quelled in Ireland, it was the Irish Office who were running the surveillance of French agents in Britain.  And Flint was occasionallly sent abroad with huge amounts of dosh for bribery and all that–but this really offended many of the Tory high command, because how could a chap without a title be trusted?  I’m not kidding.

So whilst there are those extra-ordinary spymasters like Sir Joseph Banks, it was very much a pick your own, pay your own, have massive funds to bribe your own, do-it-yourself amongst those you trusted.

The Royal Navy were up to their ears in it, as was the Foreign Office, and also the Post Office in Lombard Street, at the time, was opening any post that had any hint of a foreign author…and copying the letter and scrutinising it–so they were aware of anyone in the emigre circles countrywide who might have Napoleonic sympathies.

But it also frequently went hideously wrong.  I should just mention that, here

Stephanie: Could you give me a little background about the, “boys,” life and how he became a spy?

boy soldier

M.M.: Well, I shouldn’t.  That’s part of the mystery-thriller, isn’t it?  And if I told you, it wouldn’t be a mystery…though I trust it’s slightly clearer than pea soup by the end of Of Honest Fame.

The one thing I will say is that our ideas about childhood had all been swept away by this war of wars.  They sent boys to sea as young as ten–and that wasn’t considered abuse, that was considered he had a bed to sleep in, a trade and was fed daily.

The boys were sent into the army as drummers and fife-players and they were often targeted deliberately by the French marksmen, because they kept the troops marching forward or carried the colours.  And being an orphan and fending for oneself was sadly normal in these lands where war was wiping out the adult population–and that’s very true of London during the period too.  We think of all those street urchins in Dickens.  They were a perennial feature of London–street Arabs is what they were called through the ages.

Stephanie: Somehow I knew you would say that! One must try! The boy is such a wonderful and complex character. What are the key elements of history you like to include in your stories?  

M.M.: Total immersion.  We like, as historians, to put our subjects in little boxes.  We have music history, we have art history, we have political history, we have economic history, we have royal history, we have military history, we have literature, we have popular culture… But have you ever noticed, we don’t live like that?  Real life is a mushed up mess.  It’s all of that put in a blender and turned into a life smoothie and it all slops together, sometimes well, and other times, yikes!

And that’s what happens as I’m writing.  It all of it comes pouring out.  It’s not neat, it’s not necessarily tidy.  It’s all of it.

So when I found that Prussia had been ravaged by the French troops in the months before the Russian campaign of 1812 that had to go in.  I was astonished by what I read and learned from the eye-witness accounts.  It’s life–all of it–rambunctious, honourable, messy, good, colourful, aching, terrible, raw and beautiful.

Stephanie: I agree with you 100%! History is so fascinating and when you write about it, there is so much to explore and talk about. I have admiration for your knowledge and love for history. What was some of the research involved for this book?

M.M.: Oh my giddy aunt, there was so much! I am such a pestilential terrier.

If I’d had any idea what I was getting into when I started, I would have headed for the hills, I swear.   Everything led to something else. And I cannot help myself. So even though I’d probably read upwards of 50-150 books before I got started, done site visits, studied the historic maps, even as I was working on it, I kept coming up against walls. And I have to know and understand everything!

Like what were peasant’s houses like in Bohemia in 1812? Well, I needed to know to write about it, you see? And turned out to be unbelievably tricksy! Because most of those ancient homes had been destroyed by Communist occupation—and you’ll never believe what happened! I was stuck in Bath, with my train canceled and canceled for three hours, and got talking with a woman—the way one does—and she turned out to be an architect from Slovakia. I told her my difficulty eventually—as we were squashed like lemmings up against the wall of the train that eventually did leave—and she found me pictures of traditional buildings, told me about the components of the unusual whitewash they used, everything! It was amazing and wonderful!

And I was so chuffed, because no matter what–I must get everything right for you, if I can. That’s my job! To write it so clearly, so immediately, that it’s not that you’re reading—no, you’re in the room! You can taste it, smell it, live it.

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Stephanie: Was there a particular scene in your story that was a challenge to write?

M.M.: There were masses. I was completely gobsmacked and daunted.

On the research journey I had discovered so much sadness, so much devastation—we don’t automatically associate historic wars and heroic Napoleonic uniforms with a massive refugee problem for example—but with war, you have refugees. And with a whole Continent at war, that’s one big refugee crisis—they hid in the forests and woods and mountains, in bands, whole villages of people together…

I mean, every town or village that had a battle in it, that whole village or town, all of those people would be refugees. But 200 years ago, they didn’t count them. And I wanted you to see, but to see with your heart. So that was often emotionally tough. But equally, you know, I wanted to write love amongst this ruination, love, transformation, the drying of those tears.

Stephanie: Is there one thing you learned while writing your book? (About yourself or your writing.)

M.M.: Ha ha ha! That however I may delude myself, I am not in charge of the process! In order to write these things, I have to get so quiet, and just listen. I must get myself and my snark out of the way, and let these characters and these ideas and the poetry of language unfold themselves to me. And I write. I listen, I listen, and I write and rewrite and rewrite until I’ve got it perfect.

And there are few lengths to which I will not go to get it right. And if that means, as it did, that a scene I had set in Vienna–I had done ALL the research. I even knew the actual pattern and colour of the curtains in the room. All of which had to be chucked because the fellow wasn’t in Vienna at the time–he was in Linz about which I knew absolutely nothing not even where it was—and Vienna hit the floor to be Jack Russelled.

Stephanie: How long have you been a writer and when was your first published work?

M.M.: I started publishing poetry when I was a teen, I think.   Some literary magazine stuff. And then I started writing for the Christian Science Monitor in the late 80s, primarily as a book critic.

Stephanie: I noticed in your bio that you are a dressage rider and accomplished pianist. I firmly believe that other than reading, exercise and the arts strengthen the mind as well. Do you feel these activates have helped you with your writing?

M.M.: They both do. The music—well, I’ve played since I was five, so I can’t truly imagine life without it. And I was hooked on Beethoven by time I was eight. So really, I’ve always had my head halfway stuck in his world, so it wasn’t really a switch more of an expansion.

The cross country riding is freedom. I ‘m happiest outdoors (except in the torrential rain).

And to be honest, too, the riding has been quite literally translated onto the page. Anytime you read in a book of mine about a horse, that’s real horse, and a real happening which will have happened to me. But it’s also given me a sense of how slowly life happens in a horse-dependent society, how physically strong these men were who spent 10-20 hours in the saddle; what it’s like to ride through chucking it down rain in a force 8 gale… (Mad! And a little bit grand.)

Stephanie: Are you working on a book project now?

M.M.: I’ve done the research. And have started the next book—which is follow on to Of Honest Fame titled Or Fear of Peace.   (I didn’t mean to. In my tiny furry mind, I had other plans…)

But it’s only fair to say I am the world’s worst starter. I write the beginning. It’s not bad. I rewrite the beginning. I think about it. I think it’s stoopid. And I realise that’s not the beginning. The beginning is earlier. I start again. I write a new beginning. This is much, much better. I hate this one too. And it’s not the beginning. The beginning starts much earlier. So eventually I have a lot of almost the middle, and I’m still working on the beginning.   But—here’s the good news: I do know the ending! Ish.

Stephanie: What advice could you give to an aspiring writer?

M.M.: Learn. Never stop learning. Never stop turning to the greats to learn what they can teach you about plot, structure, style, language, and character, all of it which makes that organic whole of the novel. And learn the rules—the grammar, the punctuation, the hammer and nails of your trade. You can’t build a house if you don’t know how to use the hammer, nails, saw, spirit level and so on. Never stop learning.

Oh, and every novel is different. The question is never how did I do the last one, the question is how do I write this one?

Stephanie: Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?

M.M.: Let me take you there. To 1812. To 1813. To this world I know probably better than our own. Let me take you there.

Stephanie: Where can people buy your books?

M.M.: Everything is available on Amazon, either in the US or the UK. And thank you all so very much. I do hope, more than anything you know, that should you buy the books and read them, that you enjoy them. Because that to me is the world. That is the reason why.

Stephanie: Thank you, M.M. and now that we have had a lovely chat it is time for tea and cake.

Tea with M.m

M.M.: Yes, please. Now what shall we start with, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam or straight to the cake? Because that is a fine Victoria Sponge on the table…and the St. Clements cake is looking rather more-ish as well.

And thank you very much for inviting me, because I’ve had a smashing time talking with you…

Amazon UK

 

Amazon US

 

Book Trailer

 

Blackwell’s Paradice Book Blast

 

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Blackwell’s Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Publication Date: January 8, 2014 Old Salt Press LLC Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Volume II Genre: Historical Adventure/Naval HF

Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.

The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.

Praise for Blackwell’s Paradise

“Not for the faint hearted – Captain Blackwell pulls no punches! Prepare for a right roaring romp in the company of two of the most captivating characters in historical fiction.” – Alaric Bond, author of Turn A Blind Eye, and the Fighting Sail Series

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble (Nook) Barnes & Noble (Paperback) Book Depository iTunes

About the Author

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A longtime resident of California, V.E. Ulett is an avid reader as well as writer of historical fiction.

Proud to be an Old Salt Press author, V.E. is also a member of the National Books Critics Circle and an active member and reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.

As the long war in Europe comes to its conclusion, so does Captain Blackwell’s career in the Royal Navy in BLACKWELLS’ HOMECOMING, a story of the dangers and rewards of desire.

Author Links

Website Goodreads Old Salt Press

Enter Book Giveaway Here

 

The Berkeley Square Affair by Author Teresa Grant

the berkeley square affair

“Page-turning suspense and a fascinating mystery…unforgettable and masterful.”  –Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author

A stolen treasure may hold the secret to a ghastly crime. . .Ensconced in the comfort of their elegant home in London’s Berkeley Square, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch are no longer subject to the perilous life of intrigue they led during the Napoleonic Wars. Once an Intelligence Agent, Malcolm is now a Member of Parliament, and Suzanne is one of the city’s most sought-after hostesses. But a late-night visit from a friend who’s been robbed may lure them back into the dangerous world they thought they’d left behind . . Playwright Simon Tanner had in his possession what may be a lost version of Hamlet, and the thieves were prepared to kill for it. But the Rannochs suspect there’s more at stake than a literary gem–for the play may conceal the identity of a Bonapartist spy–along with secrets that could force Malcolm and Suzanne to abandon their newfound peace and confront their own dark past…

Website

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Author Teresa (Tracy) Grant with daughter

 

Stephanie: Are your characters, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch fictional people? In your story, how did they meet?

Teresa: Malcolm and Suzanne are fictional, though many of the characters in the book are real people. In this book, Malcolm and Suzanne have been married for five years. They met during the Peninsular War, when Malcolm, on an intelligence mission in the Cantabrian Mountains, rescued Suzanne who was stranded after her family had been killed in an attack by French soldiers.  At least that’s how it seems. The truth is rather more complicated, and one of Suzanne’s greatest fears is that that truth will come to light…

Stephanie: What do you find most intriguing about the time period the story takes place?

Teresa: I’ve always loved the Regency/Napoleonic era. Reading Jane Austen and then Georgette Heyer began my love of this era. The more I learn about it, the more intriguing I find it. It’s an era on the cusp of change, between the bawdy 18th century and the more restrained Victorian era, between the French Revolution and the industrial Revolution, between the classical and romantic eras in music and art.

Stephanie: What was your inspiration for this book?

Teresa: I often can’t pinpoint the exact moment I got an idea for a book, but in this case I do know.  I was driving with my daughter Mélanie to the birthday party of the daughter of friends who was turning one. At the time, Mélanie’s own first birthday seemed far in the future and she’s now past two, which tells you something about the amount of time between the genesis of a book and ti’s publication. As I drove along winding country roads, I was thinking about Shakespeare, and I suddenly got the idea of how I could incorporate a Shakespeare play into a spy story set in 1817. Using Hamlet seemed singularly appropriate and themes of fathers and sons, lovers who may be working for the enemy, and the younger generation unraveling the secrets of their parents tied into story I wanted to tell about Malcolm & Suzanne.

Author Bio:

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Teresa (Tracy) Grant studied British history at Stanford University and received the Firestone Award for Excellence in Research for her honors thesis on shifting conceptions of honor in late fifteenth century England. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her young daughter and three cats. In addition to writing, Tracy works for the Merola Opera Program, a professional training program for opera singers, pianists, and stage directors. Her real life heroine is her daughter Mélanie, who is very cooperative about Mummy’s writing. Tracy is currently at work on her next book chronicling the adventures of Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch.

Stephanie: Be on the lookout for my full interview with Teresa (Tracy) Grant on May 19th here on Layered Pages.