It is a great pleasure to introduce Author Michele Kallio. Thank you Michele for the honor of an interview.
1. Please tell us about your novel ‘Betrayal’.
Betrayal is the story of two women separated by thousands of miles and almost five hundred years. Modern day Lydia Hamilton is haunted by dreams that even invade her waking hours – dreams in which she is Elisabeth Beeton, a lady’s maid to Anne Boleyn. Lydia tries to ignore these vivid nightmares as long as can, that is, until Elisabeth’s diary arrives in the mail. Suddenly, Lydia is caught up in the quest to uncover the truth behind Elisabeth’s betrayal.
2. How long did it take for you to complete your research for this book?
I would say I was researching Betrayal until I wrote the last line. New facts about the Tudors are being uncovered almost yearly, which required several re-writes of certain parts of the book to bring them into line with current research.
I had two big challenges to face when writing the novel. The first being the lack of reference books. As I live in a rural area I had to purchase all my reference books. I now have an English history library that comprises some two hundred books. The second challenge was my lack of faith in my ability to write such a complex and complicated story. This stopped me for years, making the whole process much longer than it should have been.
I must say I feel a strong connection with Lydia. I worked for twenty-six years as the office manager of my husband’s medical practice. Leading Lydia to work every day was like going home. Although I must point out neither she nor any of the other characters are biographical in any way; they are composites of people I have met through my life.
I would have to say that Elisabeth’s story was my inspiration. The idea of telling Anne Boleyn’s story through the eyes of a servant intrigued me. I felt this was a story that had to be told. In fact, at times it seemed as if I was merely taking dictation as the Muse whispered in my ear.
I believe my strength is in character building. Betrayal presented me with the challenge to build believable characters in two different countries and time periods. The characters had to be true to time and place, in their dress, speech and actions. Historical figures had to be brought to life while remaining true to history. All the characters had to be three-dimensional and believable.
7. What book influenced your life the most?
This is a difficult question to answer. To pick one book out of a lifetime of reading is hard, but if I must choose, I choose WINNIE THE POOH AND THE HONEY TREE as Milne teaches Pooh the importance of thinking – “think, think, think.”
In our modern world we do very little thinking for ourselves – we listen instead to the television, radio, movies, computers, celebrities even criminals! We allow others to form our thoughts and opinions, sometimes on a very unconscious level. It is time we all took Pooh’s advice to think for ourselves, “think, think, think.”
Like Betrayal this new book will be told in alternating chapters following both women’s lives: Kate’s in twenty-first century England and Mary-Elisabeth’s in sixteenth century England with Mary, Queen of Scots.
9. What is your favorite quote?
I must say it is the quote you use here on your site, Cicero’s: A ROOM WITHOUT BOOKS IS LIKE A BODY WITHOUT A SOUL. I have recently given in and bought my first e-reader and while it is lightweight and comfortable to hold; I miss the heft and smell of books, so I continue to surround myself with books. I’d be lost without them.
10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
First and foremost: NEVER GIVE UP!
I once read the following in a magazine for writers:
A link to Michele’s website: http://michelekallio.com/
Layered Pages Review for Betrayal: http://layeredpages.blogspot.com/2012/05/betrayal-by-michele-kallio.html
Michele is giving two copies of her wonderful novel, Betrayal. One is paperback and one in e-book form. To enter to win a copy please comment on the interview above with your emaill address. For US and Canada only. The contest will end on June 23. The winners will be announced on the 24th.