Interview with Florence Osmund

Florence Osmund

Thank you Florence for the pleasure of an interview and congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. Please tell me about your story, “The Coach House.”

 
 
“The Coach House” story begins in 1945 Chicago. Newlyweds Marie Marchetti and her husband, Richard, have the perfect life together. Or at least it seems until Marie discovers cryptic receipts hidden in their basement and a gun in Richard’s desk drawer. When she learns he secretly attends a mobster’s funeral, her suspicions are heightened, and when she inadvertently interrupts a meeting between him and his so-called business associates in their home, he causes her to fall down the basement steps, compelling Marie to run for her life.
 
Ending up in Atchison, Kansas, Marie rents a coach house apartment tucked behind a three-story Victorian home and quietly sets up a new life for herself. Richard soon learns her whereabouts and lets her know he is not out of the picture yet, but ironically, it is the discovery of the identity of Marie’s real father and his ethnicity that unexpectedly affect her life more than Richard ever could.
 
 
This looks like an intense read, what inspired you to write this story?
 
 
Inspiration for this story culminated over a period of several years. Each time I had a thought about what would make a good story, regardless of where I was, I wrote it down. The idea may have come to me while waiting on a street corner for the light to change, or in a business meeting, or even in my sleep. Then when I retired and was ready to start writing my first book, I gathered all these scraps of paper I had accumulated, sorted them into piles, and before long a story emerged. I saved the leftovers for future books.
 

 
Chicago 1945 is an interesting period of time in the US. Did you have to do any research for that period? If, so please explain.

 
It’s surprising how much research I had to do for this book. The colloquialism had to be appropriate for the time period as did current events, clothing, cars, movies, and popular songs. Sometimes I had to look up the most mundane things, like whether there were phone booths in 1945 or phones in hotel rooms. There were hundreds of little details I had to research in order to make the story convincing.
 
Coach House

 

 
Where there any scenes you found difficult to write?
 
 
The difficult scenes for me were ones that involved racism. The discrimination that occurred in the 1940s was unconscionable, and it troubled me to write narrative that fed into it.
 
 
Is there a message in your story you would like readers to grasp?
 
 
I hope my story confirms for the readers that outward appearances do not and should not matter, and regardless of how insurmountable something appears to be in your life when you’re in the midst of it, there is always a solution.
 
 
What is your next book project?
 
 
“Daughters” is the sequel to “The Coach House” and is expected to be released later this month. In “Daughters,” Marie gets to know her biological father and his family and faces her ethnicity head on while trying to figure out exactly where she belongs in society and relationships.
 
My third book, “Mystic Coins” is in the works. The male protagonist in this novel, Lee Winekoop, comes from extremely wealthy parents who give him everything anyone would ever need to be successful in life. That seems to work for his two older brothers, but unfortunately, Lee can’t seem to do anything right. “Mystic Coins” is the story of how a young man deals with weaknesses, frustrations and feelings of inadequacy, but more importantly, it is the story of differing views on what defines success.
 
 
 
What are you currently reading?
 
 
I just finished a wonderful book titled, “Searching For Lincoln’s Ghost” that was written by another first-time novelist, Barbara Dzikowski, who does an exemplary job channeling a young girl’s journey into finding answers about what happens after you die.
 
 
How did you discover indieBRAG?
 
 
Actually indieBRAG discovered me. I received an e-mail from president, Geraldine Clouston, telling me she had been perusing my website and thought I might be interested in her organization. And she was so right!
 
 
 
What is your favorite quote?
 
 
I post my favorite quotes related to authors and writing on my Wednesday blogs, and one of my very favorites was initially said by Douglas Adams. “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Author Bio:
 
 
Florence Osmund grew up in an old Victorian home in Libertyville, Illinois, complete with a coach house, the same house she used as inspiration for her first two books. She earned her master’s degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and has obtained more than three decades of experience working in corporate America. Osmund currently resides in Chicago where she is working on the sequel to this novel.
 
 
 
 
 
A message from BRAG:
 
 We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Florence Osmund who is the author of, The Coach House, one of our medallion honorees at http://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 The Coach House merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.
 
 
Thank you!
Stephanie
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Caroline, Countess of Ravensbrook & Giveaway

In Defense of Ladies Who Fence

By Caroline, Countess of Ravensbrook

Whose courtship and early marriage is told of in the steamy novel

HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE

by Christy English

 

 When I was but a girl, my father encouraged me to learn to wield a sword. Indeed, not just a sword, but a rapier, and a hunting knife as well. On the day before he left us to fight the Usurper, who most are polite enough to call Napoleon now that he is safely tucked away at St Helena, my father showed me first how to hold a sword. I, for one, have not forgiven the Usurper, for not only did his greed and avarice for power take away my father, it took away many a good man from his hearth and home, never to return again. We were fortunate indeed that my father did come back, but only after ten years, when I was a woman grown, and on the way to leaving the house myself, and forever. Upon my marriage, I have had occasion to return to my father’s house for visits, but the married women among us will know what I mean. Once the door to childhood closes, there is no way to force it open again, not even for the space of an hour.

 

But on the day before my father left us, when I was eight years old, he was polishing his cavalry sword. When I came upon him doing so, and begged him, he was kind enough to show me a few thrusts from the ground. Though, an officer without his horse might as well be dead already.

 

He was quick to tell me that, too.

 

After he was gone, I found an old cane which I polished assiduously and then began to brandish like a cavalry sword as he had shown me. I had begun to ride a horse by then, but once I picked up my cane, the sword of my imagination, only old Hercules, who had been wounded in battle and sent home to honorable retirement, could tolerate me on his back. We became fast friends, and indeed, Hercules became my first teacher.

 

When my father’s veterans began to find their way home to us in Yorkshire, wounded and defeated as they were, while the war raged on, a few saw me riding Hercules, who they remembered well, and watched as he and I made our way through our paces, stunted and short-armed as I was at the age of nine. They had seen a great deal of war, and not all of it on the battlefield. They would never speak to me of what they had seen, but it seemed they all believed that a woman should not be defenseless, that indeed, a woman who could cut her own throat was a woman who was always safe from the worst of fates.

 

I have met few women with the stomach to do so. Indeed, I am not entirely certain if I would have the stomach, or the fortitude for it. Whatever fate doles out, it seems to me that life always offers hope, but I did not tell my father’s veterans that. Instead, I let them teach me to fight, drinking in all they knew, and then some, so that each were challenging the other how to teach me yet one more hold, one more thrust, one more jab to the eye or the chin or the groin, the thrust that might one day save my life, should warfare ever come to Yorkshire, or should I have the misfortune, in my married state, be caught unawares in a nasty part of London.

 

This is of course unlikely for a gentleman’s daughter, especially for the daughter of a baron, but I did not tell them this. Indeed, they seemed to think my father’s title and position little enough protection in the world. Paul, my last and best teacher, was clear that no woman was safe, and that to carry my own blade, indeed more than one, and to know how to use it, was the only answer. I did not abuse him of this notion, but learned to fence like a gentleman from him, too, much to the chagrin of my husband.

 

Lord Anthony, Earl of Ravensbrook, has had many a sleepless nights at the thought of my wielding a blade. But he has seen me do so, and he has even witnessed a blade saving my life more than once, so by now, the third year of our marriage, I believe he is content to let me be. I have hopes that he will even agree to let me teach our daughter how to fight. Not on horseback, as I first learned, but real combat for a woman, in close quarters, hand to hand, when a woman has nothing but her wit and her blade to stand between herself and ruin.

 

Freddie is almost two years old, and I am enceinte again, so I have laid my weapons down. Indeed, there seems no harm in being quiet for a few months while the baby grows within me. I know already in my heart that she is a girl, and one less spirited than I, I think, for she is docile and delicate even as she rests within me, rarely kicking as Freddie did, but only turning over and pressing her foot or her hand to mine when I touch the side of my belly. But she is in there, and she waits to see my face just as I wait to see hers.

 

Anthony will no doubt wrap us both in cotton wool for the rest of our lives, and while I will indulge him for the most part, I will teach my daughter to defend herself. For no matter how doting her husband one day will be, there will come a time when she is alone, with only her blades to defend her. When that day comes, my daughter will be ready, as I was.

 

How to Tame a Willful Wife (Shakespeare in Love, #1)
 

 Description of How To Tame A Willful Wife:

 1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don’t get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers…
Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempered by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.
Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and…ridiculously handsome.
It’s a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is…who’s taming whom?

Christy English
Author of How To Tame A Willful Wife
and the upcoming Love On A Midsummer Night
from Sourcebooks Casablanca


Giveaway!
 
I’m delighted to announce that Author Christy English is giving a paperback copy to a lucky person on Layered Pages! To qualify your chance to win, please leave a comment about Caroline’s post and why you would like to have a copy of Christy’s fabulous novel in the comment are with your name and email address. The Giveaway will run through the 31st of January and the winner will be announced on February the 1st!
 
 
 

Interview with Author Donna Fontenot

 
 
 
Donna D. Fontenot, AuthorDonna it is a pleasure to be interviewing you. Congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. Please tell me about your book, The Grave Blogger.

The pleasure is truly mine! Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you and your readers. Winning the BRAG Medallion was a thrill that I’ll never forget.

The Grave Blogger story centers around Raya, a freelance writer and blogger who researches cold cases for true crime websites. During her research, she stumbles upon a 20-year-old case dubbed the “Bayou Family Slaughter” case. The newspaper account of this horrific crime immediately causes a psychological reaction in Raya, with disturbing sights and sounds reverberating through her mind. Though they feel very real, Raya is unsure if these are memories or hallucinations. Determined to uncover the truth, she heads to the scene of the original crime – the small South Louisiana town of St. Felicity – to investigate the Bayou Family Slaughter case.

When she arrives, Raya gets help from Nick Simoneaux, a young St. Felicity detective who has reopened the old case, but is Nick hiding family secrets from Raya? Raya is uncertain if there is anyone in St. Felicity she can trust. Is the murderer still living in St. Felicity or nearby in the mysterious but scenic bayous?

As Raya reveals St. Felicity’s secrets, she unravels the mysteries of her own past, and discovers that hidden secrets often lead to danger – to herself and to those she loves.

The premise for your story is intriguing. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been a blogger for about ten years now, so I thought it would be fun to make blogging the occupation of the main character. Once I determined that, I asked myself, “What does this character blog about?” The idea of blogging about unsolved cold cases came to mind, and I decided then that I would enjoy reading such a blog, so it just seemed like the perfect start to developing an interesting character who finds herself embroiled within one of the cold cases she is researching.

Is there a particular reason why you chose South Louisiana for the setting of your story?

The easy answer would be to say that I was born and raised in South Louisiana, so it’s less challenging to write about familiar territory. However, while that’s true, it’s not the entire reason. South Louisiana, with its many bayous and its haunting past, provides a natural setting for a mystery / suspense novel. In addition, the Cajun population naturally contains its share of “quirky” characters, and I wanted to infuse the tense drama with some lighter, sometimes funny, moments. Finally, I believe readers enjoy learning about new places and cultures, without having to think too hard or being made to feel as though they are being educated. South Louisiana provides plenty of rich experience through landscape, history, and culture that keeps readers engaged and interested.

Where there any challenges in writing, The Grave Blogger?

The biggest challenge in writing The Grave Blogger was my own propensity for second-guessing myself. Since this was my first novel, I was constantly wondering if this thing was any good or not. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to distance myself enough from my writing to be a completely objective judge, but hopefully, the second-guessing will lessen to some degree over time.

The other main challenge is one that I’m sure is all too common – time – or the lack thereof. My “day job” and life in general makes it difficult to devote much time to writing, so the majority of the book was written late at night. I suppose the late night writing sessions may have even contributed to some of the darker moments in the book.

What is your next book project?

The Grave Blogger is the first in a series. I’ll be writing several more that involve the same main cast of characters. Each subsequent book, however, will focus on a different character than the others. So, for example, The Grave Blogger’s main character was Raya. While she will still play a significant role in every book of the series, she won’t be the main focus. Nick, Dustin, Sharon, Elise, and perhaps others will get their share of the spotlight in future novels.

Will you self-publish again?

Absolutely! That’s not to say I would necessarily turn down a publishing deal, but I do love the control that comes with self-publishing. There are benefits and drawbacks to both traditional publishing and self-publishing, but I don’t regret taking the self-publishing route at all. It’s been a very positive experience for me.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love a good mystery! I’m not terribly picky about the sub-genre. Traditional mystery, hard-boiled detective, police procedural, suspense, or thriller…I’m happy with them all.

What are you currently reading?
 
I just started reading “The Exiled Element” by John L. Betcher. I’ve only read 6% so far (according to my Kindle), but I’m already enjoying it. I especially like the main character, Beth. She has spunk and wit to complement her brains and skills.

The Exiled Element (James Becker, #4)

How did you discover indieBRAG?

My sister told me about it. I have no idea how she discovered indieBRAG, but obviously word of mouth is still a powerful force in marketing.

What is your favorite quote?

“You’ll never shine if you don’t glow”. This is a lyric from an old Smash Mouth song called “All Star”. The video is a little silly, but the lyrics really do pack a lot of meaning. This particular quote is actually my motto; it’s definitely one of my life’s guiding principles. That line can probably be taken any number of ways, but I interpret it this way: Find the spark within you; the joy, the life, the wonder of yourself and let it out! Share those special parts of yourself with the world, and you’ll find that the tiny spark begins to glow, eventually resulting in a light that shines brightly in many positive ways.


Author Bio:

Donna D. Fontenot is a blogger, novelist and web geek. Born and raised in South Lousiana, she grew up in a typical Cajun family that cherished good food, good football, and good fun. Her technical skills led her to a career in web development, but over time, the creative side weaved its way into her life, leading to work that encompassed online marketing, blogging, and now…writing suspense novels. You can find out more about her at DonnaFontenot.com or browse her book’s website at www.TheGraveBlogger.com .

A message from BRAG:


 

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Donna Fontenot who is the author of, The Grave Blogger, one of our medallion honorees at http://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 The Grave Blogger merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.


Thank you!
Stephanie

www.bragmedallion.com

 

Interview with Author Ellen Marie Wiseman

About Plum Tree


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.


Ellen, as I read your book I was so touched and brought to tears by your story. What was the foundation for your story?

The Plum Tree is loosely based on my family’s experiences during WWII. My mother grew up in Nazi Germany, the eldest of five children in a poor, working-class family. When WWII broke out, my grandfather was drafted into the Wehrmacht and sent to the Russian front, where he was captured and sent to a POW camp in Siberia. Eventually he escaped, but for two years, my mother and her family had no idea if he was dead or alive until he showed up on their doorstep one day. During the four years my grandfather was off fighting, my grandmother repaired damaged military uniforms to bring in a small income. She stood in ration lines for hours on end, made sugar out sugar beets, and bartered beechnuts for cooking oil. She cooked on a woodstove, made clothes out of cotton sheets, and raised chickens and vegetables to keep her children fed. Under the cover of night, she put food out for passing Jewish prisoners and listened to illegal foreign radio broadcasts—both crimes punishable by death. She put blackout paper over the house windows so the enemy wouldn’t see their light and when the air raid sirens went off night after night, she ran down the street to hide with her terrified children inside a bomb shelter.

These stories and more were the inspiration behind The Plum Tree.

Your character Christine has inspired me to be a better person and to stand more firmly in my faith and my walk of life. Is there a person in your life/family that inspired you to write about her in your story?

I guess I would have to say my mother. She always inspires me to be strong. She lived through WWII in Germany, came to America alone at the age of 21 to marry an American soldier, and survived and escaped an abusive marriage. Then, after my sister suffered a severe head-injury in a car accident that left her unable to communicate in any way, my mother took care of her at home—for twenty-three years. Through it all, my mother was, and still is, the first person to take food to a sick neighbor, the best mother and grandmother anyone could ask for, and the strongest woman I know. Even while her heart was breaking, she gave me a rock to stand on.

There is clearly several messages in your story that readers will grasp. Is there a main message that you want readers to come away with that might change their lives?

One of my main intentions in writing The Plum Tree was to get people to realize that retrospective condemnation is easy, that collective guilt as opposed to individual guilt is senseless, that being German doesn’t mean you were a Nazi. Few people know that at its peak, the Nazi party consisted of only 10% of the German population. My hope in writing my novel was that people would begin to look at the Germans of that time on a case-by-case basis, instead of painting them all with the same brush. I think that lesson might be even more important today as our world is getting smaller and more diverse. Everyone should stop and realize they don’t know what other people have been through before they pass judgement.

There are many deeply and emotional scenes in your story. Which scene did you find most difficult to write?


 I would have to say the most difficult scenes to write were in the concentration camp, specifically when Isaac and Christine first get to Dachau and families are being separated by the guards. I can’t imagine how utterly devastating it must have been to have your child ripped from your arms. I’m not sure I would have survived it.

Where there any research challenges?

No challenges really, but it was a little bit of a trick to get the timeline of the war and the Holocaust right, due to the story covering nearly seven years. I guess the only real challenge was trying to keep myself from getting lost in the research because I was fascinated by the subject matter. I had to make myself stop reading and get back to writing!


What book project do you have coming up next or are currently working on?

Right now I’m working on my second novel. It’s about a young woman who discovers a former insane asylum attic filled with suitcases left behind by patients who checked into the institution but never checked out.

What are you currently reading?

The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith.

What do you plan on reading next?


The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White

E-book or Paperback?

Paperback!

Coffee ot tea?

Tea. Black


Author Bio & Links:


Ellen Marie Wiseman was born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York, A first generation American, Ellen has traveled frequently to visit her family in Germany, where she fell in love with the country’s history and culture. She lives peacefully on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and three dogs.

Thank you Ellen!


Stephanie

2013 Reading List

Here are just a few of the Novels I want to read this year! Of course there are so much more titles I want to read, too many to list! But I will be adding to this list throughout the year. I have listed them in no particular order. Some of these I’m reading for review. If your a Historical Novel Author and would like me to consider reviewing your novel, you can contact me at layeredpages@yahoo.com

4. Bianca’s Vineyard byTeresa Neumann (for review)
5. The Sister Queen by Sophie Perinot (for review)
6. Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth
7. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
8. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
9. Saint Maggie by Janet R. Stafford (for review)
10.The King’s Grace by Anne Easter Smith
11.Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith
12. Ripples in the Sand by Helen Hollick (for review)
13. The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones
14. Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
15. Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara
16. Accidents of Providence by Stacia Brown
17. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
18. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
19. The Nine Day Queen by Ella March Chase
20. The twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer
21. Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent
22. The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson (UK Release)
23. Illumination by Matthew Plampin
24. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
25. 1356: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell
26. The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas
27. Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhol
28. The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
29. Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio
30. Summerset Abbey by TJ Brown
31. The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan
32. The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff
33. The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau (for review)
34. A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
35. To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick
36. Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick
37. Exiles by David Pilling
38. Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd (for review)
39. The Queen’s Vow by C.W Gortner
40. Seduction by M.J Rose (for review)


Stephanie
Layered Pages




Assistant Editor-Independent Review Team for Historical Novel Society (on-line): http://historicalnovelsociety.org/

Promoter/Interviewer for indieBRAG LLC: http://www.bragmedallion.com/


Interview with Author Paula Lofting


Paula, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion and I’m delighted to be interviewing you for the second time! You have written a story that involves one of my favorite persons in history, Harold Godwinson and you have introduced people in your book that I’m not familiar with. Please tell your audience about your story.


Hi Stephanie, thanks very much for allowing me to tell your readers about my book. Sons of the Wolf is set in 11thc England in the years leading up to the Norman Invasion. Many people know the date 1066 heralded the end of Olde Engla-lond and swept in new masters from across the sea, the dawn of the Norman Age in Britain.  Much has been made of the ‘Usurping Godwin’ whose comeuppance on the field of battle was delivered by the ‘righteous’ William of Normandy.  But do they know the story from the English point of view? In Sons of the Wolf, the preceding events that influence both sides are explored and in the sequels that follow the reader will be able to take in the factors that culminate in the Battle of Hastings. The story looks at the events of the 1050’s through the eyes of Wulfhere, warrior, husband, father and loyal subject of his king Edward the Confessor. Holding his lands directly from the King, his position demands loyalty to Edward himself, but Wulfhere is duty-bound to also serve Harold, a bond forged within Wulfhere’s family heritage and borne of the ancient Teutonic ideology of honour and loyalty. Wulfhere is a man with the strength and courage of a bear, a warrior whose loyalty to his lord and king is unquestionable. He is also a man who holds his family dear and would do anything to protect them. So when Harold demands that he wed his daughter to the son of Helghi, his sworn enemy, Wulfhere has to find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery in the household of the cruel and resentful Helghi, without comprising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold. On the battlefield, Wulfhere fights for his life but elsewhere the enemy is closer to home, sinister and shadowy and far more dangerous than any war.

 
Were there any particular scenes that you found a challenge/or difficult (emotionally) to write?



The hardest scene I had to write was a scene where the town of Hereford is razed and sacked by an army of Welsh and Norse-Irish. There are some horrific threads throughout the chapter and although I didn’t want to write something too graphic that would leave the reader feeling sickened, I did want the reader to get a sense of the terrible thing that raids like this must have been. It was probably the most difficult scene I had to try and get it right.




One of my reviewers wrote in her review, “Paula’s characters feel like real people, with complex human emotions, motivations and sometimes failings.” How did you research the lives of your characters and please explain to your audience if there were any fictional characters to your story and who they are. 


My main character is fictional but he is plucked from the Doomsday book into my story and created anew for Sons of the Wolf. Wulfhere was the thegn that owned the land around Little Horsted near Uckfield in Sussex. Nothing is known about him apart from the fact he had 5 hides and 30 virgates of land, 16 tenants and 7 and a half plough and oxen between them. I have created his story, his family and his personality for him. I hope he doesn’t mind! He is a very flawed character and all my characters are complex just like real people are. His family and the other fictional characters are written the same and even in the 11thc, you can tell by their writings and their tales that the Olde English were just like us, they loved, they laughed, they cried and they fought. They wanted the best things in life and above all to belong in their place whatever that might have been according to status. Poems like The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Deor, the Wife’s Lament are just some that give us a glimpse of their nature. The riddles from the Exeter Book show us their bawdy side. Through these writings, the Anglo-Saxon English come alive. There are also the usual historical characters in the book too and Harold Godwinson and his family make plenty of appearances as their story runs parallel with Wulfhere’s.

What would you like readers to come away with after reading your book?


I want them to care deeply about my characters. I want them to feel what they feel, sense what they sense. I want them to hate them, love them and be cross with them when they muck up. I want my readers to care what happens to them, whether they understand them or not. My characters don’t always follow the goody-two-shoe type mould you might get in some books. To me they had to be real and how can characters be real if they are perfect? I actually love all my characters, even the nasty ones, because they are my creations.


How long did it take you to write, Sons of the Wolf? Will there be a sequel to Sons of Wolf and when do you plan on the release if so?  


It took me 6 years to write Sons in its entirety which included the sequel The Wolf Banner which I am currently editing. It was originally meant to be one volume but I had no idea how big it was until I approached my publisher. The Wolf Banner I am hoping will be out some time in the Spring.

 

What are you currently reading?


I have been reading a very large epic book called The Jacobite’s Apprentice. It’s about the rivalries between the Hanoverian and Jacobite factions in Manchester in the 18thc. Well researched and reads like a classic. I’m reviewing it for my friend the author David Ebsworth. Thing is I’m very busy and only read when I am in bed really so it’s taking me such a long time. I’ve also just read and reviewed the Norman Conquest by Marc Morris which was great.


What do you plan on reading next?

I plan to read next Edward I, A Great and Terrible King by Marc Morris also. It was recommended to me by my friend Sarah Butterfield.

 
Paperback or e-reader?
Paperback but I do have a kindle which I adore for its space saving qualities.

 
Where in your home do you like to write?
Anywhere I can find peace and quiet!
 
 
How did you discover BRAG?

 

Well, I first found out about BRAG on Facebook and hoped that one day I might get an award too one day! So pleased I did!

 


Author Links:




Paula Lofting – Historical Fiction Author
 
Website – paulalofting.com


A little about Paula: Lives inWest Sussex, United Kingdom .Mother of 3, psychiatric nurse, author of Sons of the Wolf and damn funny woman! Seek not evil Seek not to gain but Seek only to give and live just in the day.


A message from BRAG:



We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Paula Lofting who is the author of, Sons of the Wolf, one of our medallion honorees at http://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 Sons of the Wolf merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.


Thank you!
Stephanie

www.bragmedallion.com

 

 

 

Review: The Half-Hanged Man by David Pilling

The Half-Hanged Man is about the French Chronicler Froissart who comes to England in search of tales to add to his life’s work of chivalry and so on. He visits a tavern to gather himself after he was robbed in a alley and runs into a man who claims to be Thomas Page, a famous soldier of fortune. Froissart challenges Page to tell his story of adventures and so the story begins.

This captivating tale is set in the late 14th century and is laced with action, intrigue and will entertain you from beginning to end and leave you wanting more. Pilling’s characterisation of Thomas Page is genius and Pilling has a flare for writing dramatic and vivid battle scenes. So well-written in fact you feel like your right in the thick of it. I rated this story four and a half stars! I highly recommend!

Stephanie
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