Congrats to Jakki Leatherberry for winning a copy of, How To Tame A Willful Wife by Christy English!!
Patricia, congrats on your debut novel, Shadow on the Crown and thank you the pleasure of an interview. I was so delighted to receive an ARC of your book and I absolutely loved your story! You wrote about one of my favorite female heroines and time period in history. Could you please tell your audience about your story?
Thank you, Stephanie. I’m honored to be interviewed and thrilled that you liked my book. Shadow on the Crown is about a remarkable historical figure, Emma of Normandy, who was sent to England in 1002 as the peaceweaving bride of the king, Æthelred II. Thrust into a hostile court filled with intrigue, suspicion and the constant fear of attack by Viking raiders, Emma must negotiate the moods of a haunted king and the schemes of powerful men in order to secure for herself a position as something more than just a royal hostage. The choices that she makes shape not only her own future, but the future of England as well.
Emma falls in love with someone other than the King. Without giving who it was away, could you please tell me if their relationship was real or fictional?
The relationship in my book is purely fictional, although it wouldn’t have been impossible. Who can say? It is an echo, though, of a real event that occurred in the 9th century when a Frankish princess wed an Anglo-Saxon king and then…well, interesting things happened.
Were there any research challenges you faced?
There were several challenges, and one of the biggest was discovering the facts of Emma’s life. Her birth date, her land holdings, her role in Æthelred’s court and household, her relationships with her husband’s children by his first wife – none of that was of interest to the historians of the time. What we know of it is all conjecture drawn from wills, charters, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and, frankly, hearsay that’s been passed off as fact. It’s like trying to draw someone’s face when all you can see is their shadow.
What led you to write about Emma?
I first read about Emma in an on-line bulletin board about a dozen years ago. I considered myself fairly knowledgeable about English royalty, yet I found myself reading about a queen I’d never heard of who married two different kings of England and who had also been mother to two kings of England. I began to research, and the more I learned about Emma the more fascinated I became, and the more astonished I was that she had been relegated to little more than a footnote in history. I wanted to write a book that would make her name just as familiar as those of the Tudor queens.
Yes. This novel is the first of a trilogy about Emma of Normandy, and I am working on the sequel now. I’m taking my time, because the next two books will cover the final, turbulent years of the reign of Æthelred II, and there are huge opportunities for dramatic tension and conflict.
The jacket designer was Kristen Haff. She has a website that displays many of the book covers that she’s done for Penguin. I hope she posts mine there because I think she did a marvelous job. The photographer was Richard Jenkins, who is based in the U.K.
Take a deep breath and throw yourself into the research, but when it comes time to write your book, remember that you are a storyteller, not a historian. Be true to the history, but always remember that a good story is about people and their emotions, their relationships and their conflicts; it’s not about historical minutiae, however accurate it may be. Don’t get lost in it.
I must have been about twelve when I decided that I wanted to write novels, but it seemed like nothing more than a girl’s impossible dream. In college my Creative Writing professor was not terribly encouraging, and I realized that being able to write well did not necessarily make one a novelist or even a writer. I put that dream aside and focused on earning a living as a teacher, but the desire to write never went away. When I finally decided to scratch that itch, I focused first on essays, then short stories, and finally I turned to my first love – the novel. I produced two manuscripts that are now sitting in a box on the top shelf of my closet, and then I began work on Shadow.
That’s a really hard question to answer, as I’m sure you know. Today’s favorite, out of the thousands of books I’ve read in my life, would be Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue. It’s a re-spinning of thirteen familiar fairy tales in a way that is surprising and a little subversive. Donoghue’s writing is radiant.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading an ARC of A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by fellow Penguin author Dina Nayeri. Her book debuts the same day as mine. It’s about a young woman who has to find a way to survive in a harsh, repressive world – not unlike Emma. But Dina’s book is set in 1980’s Iran. I’m also listening to an audio book: Nancy Bilyeau’s Tudor mystery The Crown. Just now we’re wandering the maze of corridors in the Tower of London.
My “To Read” stack is taller than I am! Up next, Parlor Games, Maryka Biaggio’s historical novel set at the turn of the last century. But please don’t think I only read female authors! I’ve just finished reading books by Bernard Cornwell, Robert Low and Oscar Wilde, all of which I enjoyed very much.
Patricia Bracewell grew up in Los Angeles where her love of stories led to college degrees in Literature, a career as a high school English teacher, and a yearning to write. She has travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and South America, both for research and for pleasure. She enjoys gardening, tennis, and, of course, reading, and she is a passable guitarist and folksinger, although her writing leaves her little time these days for practice. She lives in Northern California where she met and married her Canadian husband and where they raised their two sons.
Ladies & Literature MOD Rachel and I have combined forces and have put a fantastic review team together (team members are L&L members) and we will be starting up a review group on Goodreads next week called, “Reviews-R-Us!” So authors if your interested in our new review team and would like to have one of our team members review your book please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
L&L Book Club: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/40140-ladies-literature
Co-Founder of L&L
Author Martin Crosbie talks about pricing e-books over at BRAG! Come on over and see what he has to say on the subject.
“There’s a short answer to this question but I’m going to make you read through the whole article to find out what it is. Don’t worry; it’s less than five hundred words, so it won’t take long.When I released my first book “My Temporary Life” in December 2011 I priced it at $4.99. Based on other books out there this seemed like a reasonable price. I sold a few books but I knew there were others selling a lot more, and I believed in my book. So, I tried a .99 cent sale to try and get the ball rolling and…
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Hiram travels to Virginiawith the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although he doesn’t intentionally seek out adventure, he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat. In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Their escapade turns sour when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.
A Beautiful Glittering Lieaddresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
What was some of the research involved?
Could you please tell me a little about the fictional aspects to your story?
Although the book is based on one soldier’s journal, most of the main characters in the story are fictitious, including the Summers family and their friends. In my opinion, writing fiction is more interesting, because the characters are able to converse, therefore enabling the reader to become a part of the story and get inside each character’s head.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to write about this period of time in our history?
Your book cover is stunning! Who designed it?
What book project are you currently working on?
Will you self-publish again?
How did you discover IndieBRAG?
What is your favorite genre to read?
Paperback or e-book?
What is your favorite quote?