Interview with Author Laura Powell

Laura PowellI have the great pleasure of welcoming Laura Powell to Layered Pages today. Laura is a Features Commissioning Editor at the Daily Telegraph. She has written for The Guardian, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and various magazines. She was awarded a New Writer’s Bursary from Literature Wales and was named as one of Amazon’s Rising Stars. She grew up in South Wales and now lives in London. The Unforgotten is her first novel.

Laura, thank you so much for talking with me today about your book, The Unforgotten. What a stunning debut! I enjoyed your story and I love the complexities of your characters. Tell me how you came to write this story?

Thanks so much – it still feels funny to hear that other people have read about the world that lived in my head only for so long. I started writing it one Sunday afternoon when my then-boyfriend was in football practice. I’d been on Facebook and had seen an old face that brought back so many memories. Out of the blue I started writing a dark, sort-of love story about someone who was in a relationship but was never sure whether her feelings were returned or not. By the end of the day I’d written two chapters. I’ve since weaved in lots of other elements – murder, mental illness, moral dilemmas. But that bittersweet love story remains the core for me.

What is the premise of your story?

It’s a forbidden love story between a 15-year-old girl Betty and a 30-year-old journalist Gallagher set in 1950s Cornwall. They’re from different classes, different worlds – but their relationship becomes very deep, very fast. They meet when Gallagher arrives in the fishing village where Betty lives to report on a series of murders – but they soon make a discovery related to the murders. And they are each faced with a huge dilemma that tests their feelings for the other and questions their morality. The devastating consequences of that decision unravels over the next 50 years.

What is the mood or tone your characters portray and how does this affect the story?

It is very dark, bleak but there is also a hopefulness and a lightness to it, which I hope shines through. Though ultimately I’m a sucker for a weepy book or film so…

How is your character(s) influenced be their setting?

The main character, Betty, is 15 and has hardly ever left her hometown of St Steele – a fictional Cornish fishing village – aside from going to the occasional dance in the neighbouring town. She travels outside that area for the first time in her life in the book – first to St Ives, a real Cornish town. And later, to London. Taking her away from that setting makes her even more vulnerable than she always has been, but also really tests her, as she has been so insulated (geographically speaking) all her life.

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How did you choose a Cornish fishing village of St Steele as the setting of your story? Is it a real place? And why did you choose the 1950’s as the period for your story?

I chose to write about Cornwall because it’s my favourite part of the country. I’m Welsh. I now live in London. And I studied in the West Midlands (Warwick). Yet I’ve been to Cornwall – usually St Ives – every year since I was born, sometimes twice or three times. I love the town, it is full of happy memories with friends and family, so it was wonderful to ‘live’ there in my head for so long when writing. Yet I didn’t want to be tied to a real place so I invented St Steele. It’s loosely based on a teeny cove called Porthgwidden in St Ives that is just gorgeous. Making it a fictional place gives you a lot more freedom to move around, and to pick up a building or a street and drop it elsewhere if that benefits the plot, rather than being tied down to the truths of history.

Please tell your audience a little about Dolores Broadbent.

Dolores is the third main character. She is the mother of Betty, the main character. And she runs the guest house in St Steele. She was by far the easiest character to write and I had such a clear vision of her – a little like Julianne Moore’s character in A Single Man (the beautiful Tom Ford-directed film with Colin Firth.) She is beautiful and glamorous and whimsical but damaged and broken. She once had any man she wanted, she wafted about and was carefree. But now she is older, widowed, with little money, failing looks and a daughter of 15 who is not at all as she was, she is finding it hard to come to terms with her lot and as a result, can be quite violent and brutal. I loved her complexity. I hope people have the same sympathy for her that I do.

What are the changing emotions you have as a writer?

I’ve probably gone through every feeling on the spectrum. But if I’m honest, the one thing I always feel is disappointed. I wonder why I wrote that terrible line, why this or that isn’t working as well as I’d like it to, I’m constantly critiquing my writing and pulling it apart. I’m a bit of a malcontent. But I’m teaching myself not to be. Slowly.

What are your personal motivations in story-telling?

To inhabit the world as clearly and fully as I inhabit the ‘real’ world.

What are you working on next?

Another book. I don’t want to say too much in case I jinx it but it’s dark and historical and layered with mystery that unravels over the years, based on a catastrophic fictional event in our pasts. The idea has been bubbling in my head for years and I’m really enjoying delving in!

What is your writing process?

I’m afraid it’s an approach I can’t recommend for others but it works for me – ‘feast and famine’ is probably the best description. I spend weeks obsessed with writing the book; I think about it, write every spare second I have, late into the night and early into the morning, I write bits on the Notes of my phone, on my laptop when I’m on buses and trains, on scrawled napkins in cafes, then back to my laptop that night. Even when I’m with friends I’m thinking about the book… Then I crash. And spend a few weeks sleeping, reading, working, living etc – before I begin writing again. This is just for the first and second drafts I should add – I’d go mad if I was like that permanently. The later editing processes are much more methodical and orderly and calming. But that early writing stage is all a bit, well, obsessive!

Where can readers buy our book?

Amazon, Waterstones or Freight Books. Here are the links! If you read it, I’d love to know what you think – I’m on Twitter @laurapow1

Sites:

Waterstones-The Unforgotten by Laura Powell

Amazon UK

Freight Books-The Unforgotten by Laura Powell

 

Interview with Meredith Allard

Meredith, thank you for chatting with me today about your book, When It Rained at Hembry Castle. Does Hembry Castle exist and if not, was there a real castle that was your inspiration?

Hembry Castle is very much a figment of my imagination, though two real life places served as the inspiration for the exterior: Scotney Castle and Wentworth Castle, both in England, of course. The picture on the book’s cover is of Scotney Castle. The interior of Hembry Castle was largely influenced by Pittock Mansion, which can be found in Portland, Oregon. Primarily, I used photos I found on Pinterest to help me describe the interior and exterior of Hembry Castle.

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Please tell me a little about your story.

When It Rained at Hembry Castle is a love story set in Victorian England. The novel is about Edward Ellis, a rising author, and Daphne Meriwether, the American niece of the 9th Earl of Staton. Daphne is new to England and she must learn how to live in the Downton Abbey-like world her father’s family lives in. It’s a blossoming romance for Edward and Daphne, and there’s some mystery thrown in involving Daphne’s uncle, Richard, the 9th Earl of Staton.

What are the common movements your main characters make?

All my novels are about characters who are or see themselves as outsiders in one way or another. In When It Rained at Hembry Castle, Daphne is very much an outsider, being an American in England who is unfamiliar with the aristocratic world her father grew up in. Edward is also an outsider of sorts. He’s the grandson of servants who is working hard to make his way as a writer. I think all of my main characters mean to do the right thing, but whether their choices are correct or not always remains to be seen.

What is the mood or tone your characters portray and how does this affect the story?

I think both Edward and Daphne are largely positive people. Neither one of them are prone to complaining and they try to make the best of whatever is thrown their way. I hope this adds a positive, hopeful tone to the story.

What are the emotional triggers of your characters and how do they act on them?

For Daphne, she’s triggered by her grandmother’s insistence that she conform to the aristocratic way of life. For Edward, he’s triggered by his love for Daphne and his frustration at the obstacle that is keeping them apart. Daphne humors her grandmother and on the outside she seems to be conforming, though she’s a bit of a rebel and isn’t as complacent as her grandmother thinks. Edward, in typical man fashion, does nothing, hoping the problem will go away.

What do you like most about writing stories that take place in the past?

I’ve loved history since I was in school, and I even toyed with the idea of majoring in history in college. Writing historical fiction is perfect for me because it a combination of the two things I’m most interested in—history and writing. I have a funny habit of writing stories set in times I’m not all that familiar with, which is fine because that’s part of the fun for me, researching the history. When It Rained at Hembry Castle is actually the exception to that because I was already pretty familiar with Victorian England.

Describe Victorian England in your eyes.

My knowledge of Victorian England came from my love of Dickens’ novels, which started for me in college, but when I researched the era as I was writing Hembry Castle I realized that the time was much more complicated than I first realized. Yes, there was the poverty and the darkness of Dickens’ descriptions, but it was also a time of great change. The Victorian era spanned nearly 70 years, and England in 1901 was very different than England in 1837. By the end of the Victorian era, we can begin to see inklings of the modern era that we live in today. Since Hembry Castle takes place from 1870-1872, the story is happening right in the middle of the Victorian era.

What are some of the romantic parts to the story readers can expect?

My stories tend to focus more on the falling in love aspect of romance. Edward and Daphne have a few obstacles they have to overcome in order to be together. Even acknowledging that they want to be together is the first hurdle. After they admit to themselves that they care for each other, Edward has a big secret he’s keeping from Daphne. How Daphne reacts to the secret remains to be seen.

How long did it take to write your story and where in your home do you hone in your craft?

Hembry Castle took me two years. I returned to college in 2014, and of course that takes a lot of my time. I had a lot of research to complete for this book, and it took me a little time to figure out the point of view. Normally, I write novels with either a one person or two person point of view, but I finally realized that Hembry needed to allow more characters their moment in the sun. Since I live in a small apartment, my computer is set up in my bedroom. I know they say don’t keep your work where you sleep, but oh well. I have a nice view from my bedroom window so it works for me.

What is up next for you?

Fans of my Loving Husband Trilogy will be happy to know that I’m writing the prequel to the series, called Down Salem Way. Like the first book in the series, Her Dear & Loving Husband, it takes place in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials.

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES | KOBO

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About the Author

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling novels The Loving Husband Trilogy, That You Are Here, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle. Her newest release, the historical novel When It Rained at Hembry Castle, is a great read for fans of Downton Abbey.

Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 

Interview with Diann Ducharme

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I’d like to welcome Diann Ducharme today to Layered Pages to talk with me about her book, The Outer Banks House. Diann was born in Indiana in 1971, but she spent the majority of her childhood in Newport News, Virginia. She majored in English literature at the University of Virginia, but she never wrote creatively until, after the birth of her second child in 2003, she sat down to write The Outer Banks House. She soon followed up with her second book, Chasing Eternity, and in 2015 the sequel to her first novel, Return to the Outer Banks House.

Diann has vacationed on the Outer Banks since the age of three. She even married her husband of 10 years, Sean Ducharme, in Duck, North Carolina, immediately after a stubborn Hurricane Bonnie churned through the Outer Banks. Conveniently, the family beach house in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina provided shelter while she conducted research for her historical fiction novels.

She has three beach-loving children and a border collie named Toby, who enjoys his sprints along the shore. The family lives in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, counting down the months until summer.

For more information visit Diann Ducharme’s website. You can also follow Diann on her blog, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Diann, please tell me about your book.

Its 1868, the era of Reconstruction in North Carolina, and times are tough. Yet the barren barrier islands of the Outer Banks offer a respite for the Sinclairs, the once-wealthy plantation owners. The family of five and three servants plan to spend the summer in the newly constructed cottage, one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head.

There, on the porch of the cottage, the 17-year-old daughter, beautiful, book-smart and boxed-in Abigail, teaches her father Nolan’s fishing guide, good-natured, ambitious and penniless 19-year-old Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. The two come to understand, and then to love each other, despite the demands of their parents, the pursuit of prim and proper medical student Hector Newman, and Ben’s longtime relationship with sour-tongued net-mender, Eliza Dickens.

But as Abby and Ben come to learn, tackling the alphabet is the easy part of the summer. Against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Nolan’s Ku Klux Klan dirty work, and Abigail’s mother Ingrid, unexpectedly pregnant, reveals facets of her personality to Abigail that shed light on her growing madness and inability to mother. As Abby and Ben venture from the cottage porch to a real schoolhouse—a schoolhouse for the slowly dwindling Freedmen’s Colony on nearby Roanoke Island, they soon come face to face with her father, dressed in KKK robes and hunting a man that the entire colony of freed slaves has come to love and respect. It becomes doubtful that Abby and Ben’s newfound love will survive the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth.

The Outer Banks House is the first historical fiction novel set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the mid-19th century. It combines history, romance and coming-of-age drama, as Abby tries to adjust to life in a post-war South. Each chapter begins with a pertinent quote from Robinson Crusoe, the novel that sparks such controversy (over slavery and racism), and finally appreciation and love, between Abby and Ben.

What are some of your interests in the Civil War?

During that post-Civil War Reconstruction era, vacation homes were starting to be built along the ocean side of the Outer Banks. The questionability of such endeavors—something at which the local “Bankers” looked askance, due to the cottages’ dangerous proximity to the sea–captivated me. I wanted to write about people that would do such dramatic things. I also enjoyed imagining women in hoop skirts, fresh from the war, hanging out at beach cottages. I didn’t know much about the Civil War, nor Reconstruction in North Carolina, but I did know about hanging out at the beach, so I learned as much as I could about that time period and blended what I knew with what I had learned.

What is some of the research that went into this story?

During my research, I read a terrific book called Time Full of Trial: The Roanoke Island Freedmen’s Colony by Patricia Click, about the Freedmen’s Colony on Roanoke Island during and after the Civil War. The book taught me everything there was to know about the Freedmen’s Colony, of which I had previously heard nothing. Learning about such a unique and unheard of aspect of the Outer Banks piqued my interest enough to use it as a major point of reference in the novel.

I also learned during my research that many residents of the Banks were pro-Union during the Civil War. As much as North Carolina is considered a southern state, it was interesting for me to know that the people of the islands didn’t necessarily hold the beliefs that were championed by people of the mainland. This fact helped me to form Ben’s character, as well as create a picture of the independent-mindedness of the people of the Banks.

I also dragged my family all over the island in the name of research. A pivotal scene occurs on the large dune system called Jockey’s Ridge, located in Nags Head. My family and I climbed the dunes several times, and it never failed to amaze me just how high they were—a giant hill made of sand! And too, a much smaller dune system exists to the north of a unique maritime forest called Nags Head Woods. The dune system, called Run Hill, is pretty much a secret to most visitors of the Banks—eerily quiet in the dead of summer. This is where I found the trees—the northernmost beginnings of Nags Head Woods—whose trunks were buried in sand. Just as my characters stumbled upon these feats of nature, so did I explore them for the first time as well. I think such exploration made the writing more believable.

Please tell me a little about Abby’s father’s work with the Ku Klux Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 as a way to reassert white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies that favored politician and economic equality for the newly freed blacks. The Klan extended into every southern state by 1870, including North Carolina. Nolan Sinclair, being a wealthy plantation owner, was a politically connected man before and after the war; these during Reconstruction these humiliated and temporarily hobbled politicians and former slave-owners set about righting a white supremacist agenda which eventually made its way into many southern legislatures.

Why did you choose the Outer Banks of North Carolina for your story?

The Outer Banks is a long, skinny chain of barrier islands that run along a good portion of the coast of North Carolina. One the one side, the ocean crashes against the naked sand, all drama. On the other side, the sounds caress the maritime thickets and marshland, more forgiving. I knew that I wanted to compare the two ecosystems, similar to the way in which I pit the “Bankers” against the mainlanders who build their vacation homes there.

Also, nothing there stays the same—everything is dynamic, fleeting—yet the tiny strip of land still hangs on, facing the wild weather year after year. The concept of change suited my characters as well.

I have vacationed on the Outer Banks since the age of 3, so it is a very special place for me.

Please tell me a little about the Sinclair family.

Nolan Sinclair, the once wealthy and powerful planter from Edenton, North Carolina, is fearful of losing his plantation in the Reconstruction aftermath of the Civil War. In a desperate act of assertion, he moves his family to the unusual house on the sand for the summer of 1868. His connections with the KKK threaten his otherwise peaceful summer plans at the seaside. His fiercely intelligent and aloof wife Ingrid is in the early stages of pregnancy, but she fears that her body cannot safely bear any more children. And their eldest child, 17-year-old Abby, misses her Uncle Jack, dead from an illness contracted during the Civil War. Their faithful servant, Asha, travels to the beach with them for the summer.

What are some of the fictional aspects of the story?

The setting is very real, but I had to imagine what it must have been like in 1868. Not a lot was written about the area during this time period.

What was your writing process and how long did it take to write your story?

It took me about 3 years to complete the first draft of the novel. I wrote during my second child’s naps and on weekends when my husband took over the household duties. But I was thinking about the novel at all times of the day and often at night!

What are you working on next?

I am working on a present-day novel about a once-beautiful woman, now scarred, who struggles to overcome her agoraphobia in order to regain custody of her two children. During her recovery, a love interest with a deer hunter ensues when she moves to her blind aunt’s home in the mountains of western Virginia.

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 The Outer Banks Series Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 25 Spotlight & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Tuesday, May 26 Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, May 27 Review (Book One) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 28 Review (Book One) at In a Minute

Friday, May 29 Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, May 30 Spotlight at Becky on Books

Sunday, May 31 Review (Book One) at Book Nerd

Monday, June 1 Review (Book Two) at Let them Read Books Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, June 2 Review (Book One) at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 3 Review (Book Two) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, June 4 Spotlight & Giveaway (Book One) at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, June 5 Review (Both Books) at Bibliotica

Sunday, June 7 Review (Book One) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 8 Review (Book One) at Ageless Pages Reviews Guest Post at Curling Up With A Good Book

Tuesday, June 9 Review & Giveaway (Book One) at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, June 10 Review (Both Books) at Unshelfish Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 11 Review (Book Two) at Book Lovers Paradise Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, June 12 Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, June 14 Review (Book Two) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 15 Review & Giveaway (Both Books) at Genre Queen

Tuesday, June 16 Interview at Books and Benches Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 17 Review (Both Books) at Luxury Reading

Thursday, June 18 Review (Book One) at Books and Benches Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 19 Review (Book One) at Build a Bookshelf Review (Book Two) at Ageless Pages Reviews

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Interview with Author Lorna Fergusson

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Born and brought up in the north of Scotland, Lorna Fergusson studied English at Aberdeen and Oxford Universities. She now runs Fictionfire Literary Consultancy. In addition to her own workshops, she teaches creative writing at the University of Winchester’s Writers’ Festival and for various Oxford University writing programmes. Her novel The Chase was originally published by Bloomsbury and is now published under her own imprint, Fictionfire Press. Her stories have won an Ian St James Award, been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and long listed for the Fish Short Story Prize. Her unpublished children’s novel Hinterland reached the shortlist of four for Pan Macmillan’s Write Now prize. Her chapter on Pre-Writing appears in Studying Creative Writing, in the Creative Writing Series published by The Professional and Higher Partnership. Her story ‘Reputation’, longlisted in the Historical Novel Society’s short story award 2012, appears in the e-anthology TheBeggar at the Gate. She is working on a collection of historical short stories and a novel, the opening of which has recently won Words with Jam magazine’s First Page Competition. She has just won the Historical Novel Society’s London 2014 Conference Short Story Award with her story ‘Salt’.

Stephanie: I am so delighted to be interviewing Author Lorna Fergusson about her book, The Chase.

Hello, Lorna! It is truly a pleasure to be chatting with you today.

Lorna: Thanks Stephanie! I’m delighted to be here – thank you so much for inviting me.

Stephanie: Congratulations on the HNS Short Story Award. That is absolutely wonderful! Before we officially start this interview about your book, The Chase, could you tell me a little about ‘Salt’?

Lorna: I come from the north of Scotland and the story is inspired by memories of my grandmother, who was a ‘herring lassie’ at the time when the herring trade was huge. The fish were known as ‘the silver darlings’. The men went out to sea and the women followed the fishing fleet to gut the catch and pack it in barrels. Incredibly hard work and not in the least bit glamorous! My grandmother was working in Great Yarmouth, on the east coast of England, at the start of World War 1 and something she said about that experience when I was a little girl is what triggered the story.

Stephanie: How wonderful to have such amazing memories and to share them. I would love to hear more about your grandmother sometime…

Your story, The Chase, sounds amazing! I love stories like this and I have lots of questions and I MUST read your story soon. Please tell your audience a little about it and what genre it falls under.

Lorna: The story is about an English couple, Netty and Gerald Feldwick, who move to the Dordogne region of France. Gerald has fallen in love with a house there, deep in the woods near the village of Malignac. Netty is less happy about the move and is soon oppressed by the house, which is imbued with an almost supernatural sense of the past. We learn that their real reason for leaving England is to try to escape memories of a traumatic loss. They need to heal their marriage.

In France, they meet a range of characters, some English like themselves, some French, including the wealthy owner of a nearby château and a local wine farmer. Netty becomes friendly with a Cambridge professor who has retired to a cottage nearby. Gerald returns temporarily to England – and while he’s there he does something that will only add to Netty’s pain.

As the shadows close in and Netty learns the truth about her husband, her state of long-suffering passivity is about to change …

As for genre, well, that’s always been a tricky question to answer! It’s ‘literary fiction’, I suppose, though that can be an off-putting description. It has thriller, suspense and mystery aspects, along with satire of the English expatriate community and the social class system. The Chase has been compared to Daphne du Maurier – who famously wrote Rebecca – because the atmosphere of place and the sinister brooding quality is there, and also to Joanne Harris, who wrote Chocolat, because of the descriptions of the sensory pleasure of living in France. It’s Chocolat, with a darker bite!

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Stephanie: Why did you choose the Dordogne region of south western France in 1989 for your period and setting? And please tell me, if it won’t give anything away, how the past is revealed to Gerald Feldwick and his wife Netty?

Lorna: I chose the Dordogne region because for several years my husband and I part-owned a house there. Le Périer stood on a hillside overlooking a vineyard – that’s the view I had when I flung open the shutters and sat at my desk to write! We grew to know the area very well, and I was fascinated by the rich layers of history all around, from prehistoric caves to Roman ruins, to medieval castles. Our house had an old bread oven built into the back wall of the kitchen and we were told the German soldiers used to get their bread there during the occupation of the region in World War II. I wanted to celebrate the richness of the location from its natural beauties to the pleasures of its food and drink. 1989 was a time when even more English people than usual were choosing to have holiday homes there or even move out there permanently, so there were villages which were like little England. The English and French have had a long-term relationship in that part of France, going back to the Middle Ages. There are castles there which changed hands repeatedly during the Hundred Years’ War.

In the novel, it’s Netty who is more sensitive to the echoes of the past, when she converses with the Professor or visits Claudine Bellenger, the châtelaine of Bel Arbre. She senses the dark memories of Le Sanglier – is almost haunted by them, you might say …

Stephanie: What is an example of the house’s history they live in and how old is the house?

Lorna: Le Sanglier, we learn, was built as a hunting lodge just prior to the French Revolution, by the Comte de Saint Eymet – and he got up to fairly nefarious activities there. What Netty and Gerald don’t know is that the location has been the site of dramatic events for centuries. The novel opens with the caves beneath it being painted with images of the animals of the hunt, like the famous cave at Lascaux. Only the reader knows those caves are there.

Stephanie: The past covers a pretty wide range of history from the Roman period, through the Hundred Years’ War, the French Revolution period, to the early nineteenth century and the Second World War. Was there extensive research involved for you to cover these periods? Or were some of them mentioned briefly in your story? And what is one of the ways the past affects the people living on the land in the modern period of your story?

Lorna: I did quite a lot of research, especially on the Roman aspect and the French Revolution, partly by reading, partly by visiting places such as the Roman Tour de Vésone in Périgueux and the museum there. Each of these periods features as an inset narrative, a self-contained short story – but I enjoyed relating those periods to the modern era by showing the ruin of a Roman temple, the descendants of a character featured in the Revolutionary period – and even the consequences of what happens in the World War II episode. I wanted to show that everything is connected and everything repeats itself.

Stephanie: Please describe Gerald and Netty’s relationship. And what are their strengths and weaknesses?

Lorna: Their relationship is in serious trouble, even though they’ve loved one another for a long time. I wanted to explore the effects of trauma – how individuals deal with loss, plus the paradox that grief can tear people apart rather than bring them together. Netty and Gerald have very different ways of handling their situation. Gerald is a doer and a talker – he has energy and drive but is self-pitying and lacks dignity, Netty feels. Netty is buttoned-up and passive – but there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. She has a lot of anger brewing. She is also sensitive and creative; during the course of the story she learns a lot about who she really is – and she doesn’t always like that person.

Stephanie: Could you give an example of what their relationship is like with their children?

Lorna: I don’t want to go into too much detail, but alienation and secrets play their parts!

Stephanie: Please introduce me to Professor Rutherford Appleby. What is he a professor of and what is his role in the story? And does he know the history of the land?

Lorna: Professor Rutherford Appleby is genial and sensible and he understands Netty better than her husband does. He’s a kind of wise old uncle figure – but Netty has to learn he isn’t perfect either. He’s a Professor of Comparative Mythology and understands not only the history of place but the history of beliefs about place. He’s particularly expert in the Gallo-Roman history of that part of France and has chosen to retire there because he knows it so well.

Stephanie: In my questionnaire to you, you told me beautifully how you came to write your story and I absolutely love what you said. Could you please tell your audience what that is?

Lorna: The Chase is, first of all, an expression of love for France and for a special time in my life. The story came to me out there, via a vision of its ending. I started to explore what would bring the characters I visualised to such a pass, and the whole novel developed from there. I incorporated images of hunting and of tapestry to illustrate the tension between death and life, between destruction and creation. I focussed on how hard it is for people who love each other to handle loss – how people cope, or don’t cope, in different ways. My characters question the very notion of a benign order to the world and they demonstrate that even when you try to escape your past, the past is always with you.

Stephanie: Who are your influences? And what are you currently reading?

Lorna: My influences are probably too many to mention! I love writers who create a sense of place, definitely. I studied English Literature and specialised in Medieval English, so have an affinity with that, which meant I loved writing the Hundred Years’ War vignette in The Chase! Currently I’m reading an excellent non-fiction work, Philip Marsden’s Rising Ground, which is about the search for the spirit of place and why places are so important to us and have been throughout history. He lives in Cornwall and describes it so well – and Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the world.

Stephanie: How much time do you spend writing and where in your home do you like to write?

Lorna: I write in my study upstairs, which is a lovely room fast disappearing behind ramparts of books and piles of paper! It’s painted ivory white and a Greek island blue, which I find both restful and stimulating. As for time, well, there’s never enough. I run a literary consultancy so spend much of my time thinking about, editing and responding to other people’s fiction! When I do write, it tends to be in the middle of the night, because I’m quite an owl. It’s usually past 3 a.m. before I go to bed.

Stephanie: How has writing played an important role in your life?

Lorna: Writing is central – it’s central to my sense of who I am and what I’m here for. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer and even when I’m not being productive, I think like a writer – I notice things, formulate things in my head, jot notes and phrases on scraps of paper which then get lost, and wonder ‘What if …?’ all the time!

Stephanie: Thank you, Lorna! Your story sounds absolutely wonderful and I look forward to reading it soon!

Reviews:

‘Lorna Fergusson weaves a vivid but dark tale set in the beautiful Dordogne, where past and present fuse in a page-turning mystery. I could go back to this again and again.’ Alison Weir, novelist and historian

‘Superbly written, ambitious in scope, morally complex, emotionally challenging, this is a real page-turner.’ Linda Gillard

‘Steeped in the atmosphere, history and excitement of France … It is definitely the sort of book that is difficult to put down.’ Living France magazine

‘Lorna Fergusson has a natural gift for telling a story – think of Daphne du Maurier.’ Scotsman newspaper

The Chase is available as a paperback and an ebook and also on Kobo

Fictionfire Literary Consultancy

Fictionfire Press

Lorna’s blog, Literascribe

YouTube

Facebook and Facebook Fictionfire-Inspiration-for-Writers

Twitter: @LornaFergusson

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Judith Arnopp

Judith Arnopp

In 2007 Judith Arnopp graduated from the University of Wales, Lampeter with a BA in English Literature and a Masters in Medieval Studies; she now combines those skills to write historical novels.

Her early books; Peaceweaver, The Forest Dwellers and The Song of Heledd concentrated on the Anglo- Saxon/ medieval period but in 2010 she published a short pamphlet of ‘Tudor’ stories entitled, Dear Henry: Confessions of the Queens. Some people loathed it but many loved it and she received endless requests for full length ‘Tudor’ novels.

For a while Judith buried herself once more in study, refreshing her already extensive knowledge of the period. The result was The Winchester Goose, the story of a prostitute from Southwark called Joanie Toogood whose harsh existence is contrasted with that of Henry’s fourth and fifth wives, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. The Winchester Goose is a multi-narrative illustrating Tudor life from several, very different perspectives; a prostitute, a Spy, and a Lady-in-Waiting at the royal court.

Judith’s next book The Kiss of the Concubine details the life of Anne Boleyn, told in the first person- present tense, the story takes you to the very heart of England’s most talked about queen. She is currently working on a third Tudor novel Intractable Heart, the tale of Henry’s sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr.

Judith also blogs about the Tudor period, both on her own blog-page and on the English Historical Fiction Author’s website. Her work reaches a world-wide audience and her following is steadily increasing.

As a self-published author Judith maintains direct control of her work and avoids the hassle involved with agents and publishers. Self-publishing speeds up the process but accuracy and attention to detail is paramount. Her small team is made up of three proof readers, an editor, and a cover designer all of whom work with Judith toward a finished product that is as polished as they can get it, but still they seek ultimate perfection.

Stephanie: Hello Judith! Welcome to Layered Pages and thank you for chatting with me today…I think it is fantastic you have been writing stories that take place during the Tudor era. My interest lie in that area currently and your latest book, “Intractable Heart” looks fantastic! Please tell me about your story?

Judith: I have tried to imagine how it might have felt to be a woman married to Henry VIII. With five of Henry’s ex-wives before her, Katheryn must have been all too aware of what becoming queen might entail yet she faced it bravely. She put aside her own desire to marry Thomas Seymour and instead married an ageing, cantankerous and dangerous man. She injected all her energies into becoming a good wife to Henry and a good Queen Consort for England and I think she did amazingly well. I wanted to illustrate that. I am not really interested in the rich trappings, the glitz and glamour of being royal; I like to strip that all away and reveal the person beneath, her thoughts, feelings, and desires. I hope I have managed that with Intractable Heart.

Stephanie: Next to Katherine of Aragon, Katheryn Parr is one of my favorites of Henry VIII wives. What are some of the misconceptions people have about her?

Judith: While I was writing The Kiss of the Concubine I couldn’t help but be drawn into reading about the other wives. Of course, I knew about Katheryn Parr from my student days and was surprised to discover she wasn’t the placid nursemaid type figure that she’d been depicted. The woman I read about at school entirely lacked the vitality of everyone’s favourite queen, Anne Boleyn, but the deeper I looked into Katheryn’s life, the more I liked her.

She was much younger than I’d thought, only thirty six when she died. She was also a strong woman and Henry respected her enough to set her up as regent over England when he went to war with France. Katheryn also was the first English queen to become a published writer; she wrote two books on religion and the church and was a strong supporter of the reformation. The title Intractable Heart is a phrase taken from her book Lamentations of a Sinner. Another aspect of her character that really stands out for me was her ability to ‘manage’ Henry.

Judith Arnopp latest book

Stephanie: As your story opens, Katheryn and her step children are held hostage at Snape Castle. What are some of the hardships she had to endure during her confinement?

Judith: To be perfectly frank, we don’t really know very much about it. History tells us there was a siege at Snape while she and her step-children were in residence but few written details of it remain. I had to research other recorded instances to learn of the deprivations and suffering of siege warfare. There were many instances of violence but we don’t know that anything like that occurred at Snape. That is my invention, as a writer of fiction I have to include some fictionalised events to enrich the story and to illustrate character development. In this case I was creating an answer to some of the mysteries of Margaret Neville’s life. As a girl she was betrothed to Ralph Bigod whose father, Francis, was hung in the aftermath of the Pilgrimage of Grace. She was never betrothed again, or married and she died quite young of an unspecified illness. I came up with my own fictional ideas as to why that might have been.

Stephanie: Treachery ran rabid in the Tudor court, what is the one thing that made Katheryn different from the other queens?

Judith: Her intelligence I think, although I don’t mean to say that the other wives were thick. I alluded earlier to Katheryn’s ability to ‘manage’ Henry, and she was the only queen to wriggle out of arrest and possible execution. A warrant was written out and signed by Henry but she got wind of it and managed to see the king before the arrest could be made. She seems to have sweet-talked her way out of it, and when Wriothesley and the guard came to take her to the Tower, Henry sent them about their business and her life was spared. I think Katheryn had the ability to keep her emotions in check and maintain a cool head in a heated situation.

Stephanie: Many have different opinions on Thomas Seymour. Whether they like him or not. What are your personal opinions of the kind of man he was?

Judith: I have a soft spot for Thomas, it probably shows. I think, as far as I can ascertain, Seymour wasn’t as bad as he was painted. After his execution there was such a public outcry that the council had to issue defamatory statements to convince the people that his death was deserved. So anything written after his death needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I think he probably had a good dose of ‘second son syndrome’ and was jealous of his brother’s power. He was so determined to get that which he didn’t have, that he failed to appreciate what he did possess. Lord High Admiral is not something to be scoffed at and he had manors and lands a plenty. It seems he was never satisfied and continually strove to climb higher and become ever richer and more powerful.

Whether he loved Katheryn or not is open to debate. He mourned her death and went a little crazy afterwards. His alleged relationship with Elizabeth is no worse than that of any other extra marital affair. I think we have to be careful not to judge him by modern day standards and remember that it wasn’t child abuse; Elizabeth was of marriageable age. His crime was messing with a royal princess; she was too close to the throne. I tend to agree with Elizabeth’s summing up of Thomas Seymour: ‘a man of great wit and very little judgment’, if indeed, she ever actually said that.

Stephanie: Katheryn’s work was published and she very devout in her faith. Is her work available today to the public? And what can we learn from her?

Judith: I know some of it is available because I have a copy of Brandon G. Withrow’s book, Katherine Parr: a guided tour of the life and thoughts of a reformation queen. It has excerpts and some insightful notes on her beliefs. Most of it is pretty dry reading but I think it is quite revealing of her opinions and the inner workings of her mind. If nothing else, reading her book (or skimming if I am honest) did provide an excellent and very personal title for my novel.

Stephanie:What was Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth’s relationship with Katheryn really like? I hear so many different opinions.

Judith: Well, we can never be entirely sure but I think it was very good. All Henry’s children spoke well of Katheryn and illustrated love and a consideration that there was no need to express if they hadn’t wished to. There were many letters and gifts exchanged, all of which illustrate a strong bond. There was a cooling off between Katheryn and Mary due to religion and the speed with which she remarried after the king’s death but they were reconciled later. With Elizabeth in particular, especially if the reports of her and Thomas Seymour are true, she seems to have been particularly close. We don’t know what was said in private but after Elizabeth was sent away from Chelsea they continued to communicate regularly, there doesn’t seem to have been a major breach. In my opinion this again shows she was a strong woman, able to rise above such things, or perhaps able to understand that Elizabeth was young and vulnerable. It seems to be Thomas that she was not able to wholly forgive.

She educated Henry’s children, finding eminent tutors for Edward who leaned to toward Lutherism. She tried to get Mary change her traditional methods of worship but didn’t push her. She also took Henry’s niece and Seymour’s ward, Jane Grey, under her wing. But, most interestingly of all, Elizabeth was with Katheryn during the regency and it may have been the queen who showed the young Elizabeth that women could rule alone in a world of men. Something which would stand her in very good stead.

Stephanie: What were some of the influences Katheryn had over Henry that his other wives didn’t?

Judith: She read to Henry, and soothed him when his leg was playing up; that much is true although she would never had changed his dressing or put salve on his wound as I have read in some novels. I think her ability to take his mind from his problems was her greatest influence over him.

She was also very clever. When her life was on the line, instead of weeping and wailing or tearing out her hair, she outwitted him. Accused of trying to instruct the king, she argued that on the contrary she had been trying to take his mind off his painful ulcer. The next time Henry tried to trick her into argument she claimed that, as a woman, she was in no position to argue theological topics with someone so obviously her intellectual superior. Very shrewd move.

Also, instead of resenting his children, she embraced them and showed him that, actually, the family he already had was made up of three rather brilliant people. Her influence on them was much greater than she is given credit for. In their later years they may have displayed what we see today as tendencies toward megalomania but they were monarchs, and Tudor monarchs at that. We shouldn’t judge them.

Stephanie: What is up next for you?

Judith: A holiday I hope. Even just a home break from work for a short time. I hadn’t intended to begin writing Intractable Heart until this summer but when our house sale fell through in the middle of last year, I was so miserable I buried myself in work without a proper rest after publishing The Kiss of the Concubine. I am due a lovely long luxurious break but I am sure while I am taking it I will be plotting. I have thought about Elizabeth of York and the Perkin Warbeck affair …but time will tell.

Stephanie: How has your career as a self-publishing author been and what advice could you give to others who are thinking of taking this choice in how they publish their work?

Judith: It has been hard work but it certainly got easier once I stopped looking for agents and publishers. I had an agent for a while but they all want to change you into a commercial entity. I don’t want to be a puppet; I don’t write to make huge sums of money, I just want to make a living doing the thing I love to do for the people who love my work. I like to keep it real. For me, by far the hardest thing is the marketing. I am naturally very shy and to push my work under people’s noses and make them read it is the most difficult thing ever.

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

Judith: Read an independent author, even if it is only once a month. Give them a chance. Read the free sample on Amazon before you buy it, what is there to lose? Maybe start off with trying one of mine. J

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

Judith: Amazon is the best place to start, or direct from the FeedaRead website. Since I have a great regard for trees my books are print-on-demand and also available on Kindle (for a much lower price.)

Stephanie: Thank you, Judith! It has been a pleasure chatting with you today.

Judith: Thank you for having me, Stephanie, I hope we can do it again soon.

Amazon links to, “Intractable Heart.”

UK Link

US Link

Judith Arnopp’s published work includes:

Peaceweaver

The Forest Dwellers

The Song of Heledd

The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII

The Kiss of the Concubine: a story of Anne Boleyn

Dear Henry: Confessions of the Queens

A Tapestry of Time

Intractable Heart

Other Links:

Website

Blog

Amazon Author Page

English Historical Fiction Authors

Interview with Author Pauline Montagna

slave_cover

Pauline Montagna was born into an Italian family in Melbourne, Australia. After obtaining a BA in French, Italian and History, she indulged her artistic interests through amateur theatre, while developing her accounting skills through a wide variety of workplaces culminating in the Australian film industry. In her mid-thirties, Pauline returned to university and qualified as a teacher of English as Second Language, a profession she pursued while completing a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. She has now retired from teaching to concentrate on her writing. As well as The Slave, she has published a short story collection, Suburban Terrors.

Her website

Stephanie: Hello Pauline! Welcome to Layered Pages and thank you for chatting with me today. Please tell me a little about your book, ‘The Slave’?

Pauline: ‘The Slave’ is an historical romance set in fourteenth century Italy, the story of Aurelia, the sheltered daughter of Francesco Rubbini, a rising merchant with political ambitions. One day he returns from a buying trip to Venice with Batu, an Asian slave boy to whom Aurelia is inexorably drawn. In a bid to win a seat on the city council, Rubbini gains the patronage of the aristocratic de Graziano family by negotiating a lucrative marriage between Aurelia and their eldest son, Lorenzo, a man with a dangerous reputation. Batu insists on joining Aurelia in her new home for her protection, but his presence rouses violent passions in Lorenzo that Aurelia cannot understand, and which bind the three of them in an inescapable triangle of love and hate.

Stephanie: What made you choose fourteenth century Italy as your time period and place?

Pauline: If you had all the time in the world, think of all the stops you would love to make as you travel from Florence to Venice – Siena, Milan, Mantua, Bergamo, Verona, Padua, and so many more. These were once independent, democratic, mercantile city states which flourished from as early as the eleventh century. Unlike the political and economic basket case that Italy is today, back then it led the world and laid the foundations for the flowering of the Renaissance. I studied this period in university and it made me proud to be Italian.

However, this dynamism came at a price. Throughout this period, the city states themselves were volatile places. The towers of San Gimignano weren’t built for aesthetic reasons, but as defences against enemy families. Families fought against families, cities against cities. However, with their limited populations, the city states didn’t have the resources to support full-time armies so they hired mercenary armies. Before too long the mercenary leaders were fighting on their own account. By the fifteenth century, most of the city states had been taken over by one petty tyrant or another, but it was these petty tyrants who became the patrons of the Renaissance.

I chose to set my story in the fourteenth century in particular as it was a time of political and economic upheaval that saw the country ravaged by financial collapse, mercenary armies and the Black Death – all elements I needed to tell my story.

Stephanie: What was your inspiration for this story?

Pauline: I studied the Medieval Italian City States in my second year at university. However, I was actually majoring in French, and in our second year we attended lectures on French literature in French. The lectures were also being attended by a handsome Asian boy. Not actually enrolled in the subject, he sat at the back of the auditorium in regal isolation. I imagined he was an aristocratic refugee, forced out of Laos by the Communists, attending our lectures just to hear a familiar language. Though I certainly fancied him, I was much too shy to approach him, so instead he became fuel for my romantic fantasies where an Asian boy found himself a slave in Medieval Italy and in love with a nice Italian girl like me.

The story remained a fantasy to be revisited now and again over the years, but I couldn’t take it seriously as the basis of a novel until I discovered from a passing mention in Neal Ascherson’s book, ‘Black Sea’, that, in fact, though not as prevalent as it had been in Roman times, a slave trade still existed in this period under the auspices of the Venetian empire. Suddenly it had become plausible that an Asian boy could find himself a slave in Medieval Italy, and my adolescent fantasy could become a credible historical novel.

Stephanie: What are Aurelia strengths and weaknesses?

Pauline: With her sheltered upbringing in which she has been trained to be nothing more than a dutiful wife, Aurelia starts out as a naïve and timid girl. She feels intimidated by her ambitious father and neglected by her distant mother. Her only support is her nurse, Rosetta, who loves her as much as any mother could, but has no say in her fate. However, although she acquiesces to her father’s plans for her, even at an early age, Aurelia displays compassion and a quiet strength and courage. It is this strength and courage which maintains her when she is faced with situations that are frightening and incomprehensible to her in her innocence.

Stephanie: What are some of Aurelia father’s political ambitions?

Pauline: As a self-made man from the peasant classes, Rubbini’s only pathway to prestige and power is by rising up through the ranks of the government of his small city state. However, despite their exclusion from office, the old aristocracy still has the power of influence and patronage, and it is this patronage that Rubbini needs if he is to succeed. Succeed he does, but he finds his duties almost too onerous to bear when the Black Death strikes and his colleagues are loath to do anything about it that might interfere with trade. (Doesn’t that scenario sound familiar?)

Stephanie: What was some of the research involved for your story?

Pauline: As I already had a good grasp of the period from my university studies, most of the research I had to undertake was for specific information as the need arose – such as the Black Death and the events surrounding it, marriage practices, dance, dress, food, hunting, sword fighting, and, of course, Mongolian warriors.

However, it was this research that forced me to kill one of my favourite babies. For some reason, I had named my Asian boy Fet and, of course, over the years I had become attached to the name. However, as I read up about Mongolia I slowly came to the realisation that there was no ‘f’ in their language. In the end, not only did I have to change his name, but while I was at it I decided to change the names of almost all the characters. It called for a very careful and meticulous use of ‘Find and Replace.’

Stephanie: Was there a particular scene you found a challenge to write?

Pauline: The sword fighting scene was quite challenging as I’m not an aficionado of ‘derring-do.’ I not only had to learn the basic principles of fighting with the broad sword, but also try to work out the moves in the fight and then how to describe them in a comprehensible way.

However, by far the hardest scene for me to write was the first sex scene. In my first draft I skirted around the details, but my workshop group wouldn’t let me get away with that. They had waited until Chapter 42 for some action and they wanted more, thank you very much. So they sent me home to do it all again. I remember prowling about the house all afternoon trying to get into the right frame of mind.

Stephanie: What inspires you to write historical fiction?

Pauline: I write historical fiction because I’m inspired by history. I always have been and I can’t really explain why. I could take a punt and say that it’s because I was born in Australia, which has very little history, but my cultural roots are in Italy, which has, perhaps, too much history. I love doing historical research. I love spending time in libraries and reading old books, the older the better. I get exciting by finding odd titbits that I’ve never come across before, or making connections no one else has ever made. And I guess I love it because history is about people, and people are endlessly fascinating.

Stephanie: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write in this genre?

Pauline: When it comes to historical fiction, I’m a stickler for accuracy and authenticity. There are enough gaps in the records on which we can exercise our imaginations without warping the known facts. But accuracy is more than getting the date of a battle correct or the name of a piece of clothing. It’s also about how people thought and behaved.

We cannot impose on the people of the past our own sexual mores because we think restraint is boring, just as we can’t impose our modern attitudes to gender roles because we don’t like the way women were treated back then. If that’s how you feel, stick to writing contemporary romance, or if you must clothe your sexually promiscuous and feisty women in long skirts, be honest and call it Fantasy.

So I would advise someone who wants to write historical fiction to do their research. Go back to the original sources, go to a library and read books. Don’t rely on the internet, and other historical fiction for your information. If you must read fiction, read what was written at the time to get a sense of what your characters actually valued and thought, and not what you wish they did.

Stephanie: Who are your influences?

Pauline: I would say my biggest influence is the historical fiction of Mary Renault. Not only is her writing beautiful in itself, but she enters so thoroughly into the mindsets of her characters that a world completely different to our own seems perfectly natural. I have long nurtured an ambition to write about the Etruscans as well as she writes about the Ancient Greeks. I also love Ursula Le Guin, again for the beauty of her writing and her ability to create in her fantasy and science fiction profoundly real people in a real world. If I could write as well as these two I would die happy.

Stephanie: What book project are you currently working on?

Pauline: At the moment I’m focussing on self-promotion so I haven’t been writing for a while. However, as soon as ‘The Slave’ is properly launched, I hope to get back my writing.

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

Pauline: Well, as you did ask, I do have a special offer out now. Join my mailing list by May 31 and get your own free complimentary ebook copy of ‘The Slave.’

 

 

Interview with Award Winning Author Ginger Scott

GingerHeadshot-March-2013_crop

Ginger Scott is a writer and journalist from Peoria, Arizona. Her debut novel, “Waiting on the Sidelines,” is a coming-of-age love story that explores the real heartbreak we all feel as we become adults throughout our high school years. The story follows two characters, Nolan (a Tomboy with a boy’s name) and Reed (the quarterback she wishes would notice her) as they struggle with peer-pressure, underage drinking, bullying and finding a balance between what your heart wants and what society says you should want — even if you aren’t ready. The sequel, “Going Long,” follows these characters through their college years. You can buy both now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords and more. Her newest novel, “Blindness,”is a new-adult romance that follows two broken souls who are barely living and dealing with tragedies of their own, until they meet and their hearts come alive. “Blindness” is also available on all platforms.

Scott has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns.

 When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her 10-year-old field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scott is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Stephanie: Hello, Ginger! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion for your book, “Waiting on the Sidelines”. Please tell me about your book.

 Ginger: Thank you for hosting me! It’s an honor.

“Waiting on the Sidelines” is told through the eyes of an average teenage girl with a boy’s name. My protagonist, Nolan, is a tomboy who’s comfortable in her own skin until she enters high school. On her first day, she meets the boy—quarterback Reed Johnson—the one everyone, including herself, wants. But then she overhears him talking with some other girls, making fun of her, and suddenly she’s thrust into this awful adolescent rite of passage—where you no longer want to be yourself, but you’re mad at yourself for giving in. The book follows Nolan through her four years of high school, and readers get to feel everything right along with her—her first love, first kiss, her first heartbreak, the cruel things girls do to one another and her triumphs. Through it all, Nolan continues to listen to her heart, and a real, though not always easy, love begins to grow between her and Reed. The question in the end: Is true love enough?

Ginger Scott's book cover

Stephanie: What age group is your story written for and is there a message in your story you hope readers will grasp?

Ginger: I have heard from readers of all ages, and I think it’s a story that any woman, no matter her age, can identify with. I have heard from several mothers and daughters who have read it together, and hearing that is the greatest compliment. There are a lot of lessons to take away, but at it’s core, “Waiting” really highlights how girls treat one another, and I hope it tips the scales a little, encouraging us to support rather than tear down. It’s also one heck of an angst, swoon-worthy romance, so anyone who has ever sighed at a John Hughes movie should be pleased.

Stephanie: Being a teenager is tough. What are Nolan Lennox weaknesses and strengths and how does this affect her life?

Ginger: Being a teenager is tough. It’s a wonder we all survive! I think Nolan’s strength probably starts with her connection to her family. She has parents that are present in the book, and she talks to them—not always, but when it counts. She also has a backbone and isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. But as much as she puts on a strong face, underneath she still has doubts, and she battles anxiety and low self-esteem. I really wanted to make Nolan feel real and honest, so I focused on her flaws and her anxiety, because I think even the most popular girl in school gets her feelings hurt sometimes, and girls that read this need to see themselves and know it’s okay.

Stephanie: What is one of the examples in this story that explores, “young love to the fullest”?

Ginger: Your first love is a powerful one, and those feelings are so raw and new and uncharted. Because this story follows the main characters through four years, readers get a unique perspective on a real high school romance. It’s not an instant-love story, but one that starts with friendship and makes a stop at every emotion along the way—jealousy, rivalry, lust and adoration. There’s a scene where the main characters, Reed and Nolan, are a little bit older, but they still don’t know how to just say what they feel. So instead, Reed tries to evoke a reaction from Nolan, making her jealous by being affectionate with another girl in front of her. Of course Nolan reacts, and they yell and fight and say hurtful things to each other—but they also chip through that armor we all wear in high school, and this scene is the first time we see them start to be honest. It was one of my favorite to write.

Stephanie: What inspired you to write this story and is this your first published work?

Ginger: “Waiting on the Sidelines” was my debut, and it is the story I always wanted to write. I still remember the first time I read Judy Blume’s “Forever.” I had never read a book that felt exactly like me before—anxiety, shame, fear, desire. That book is probably the reason I wanted to be an author, but I took a detour through journalism to get here. After years of reporting real stories, I finally felt brave enough to get the one out of my head onto paper (e-book paper in some cases). I was inspired by my reaction to “Forever” many years ago, and I also was inspired by the young girls in my life, goddaughters, who have faced adversity in high school through bullying and broken hearts. I wanted to write a fairy tale that was also a tribute to their strength, and I think this is it.

Stephanie: What are the challenges to writing in this genre and with this particular content?

Ginger: I love romance, and I love coming-of-age stories, so I think for me, the biggest challenge was to add something I was truly proud of to a larger body of work I admire so very much. Personally, though, the biggest challenge was writing real. What I mean by that is that I didn’t want to tell a story that felt like it couldn’t really happen. I wanted readers to picture every feeling and detail, smell the same air and want to have the same friends. And I also wanted my characters to sound like real teenagers, which meant that sometimes Reed—my prince charming—was a real jerk. Sometimes the cute boy isn’t nice, because he’s still learning how to be a man, and it was a challenge to make Reed say and do some things that I made him do. But I’m glad I did, because he’s very real to me.
Stephanie: When did you first began to write?

Ginger: I know this isn’t a unique answer, but I really have been writing since I was a kid. I picked journalism as my course of study when I was maybe 10 or 11. I wanted to see my byline in a magazine and a newspaper, so I wrote fiction, poems and reported on real people every chance I got until someone started to pay me for it. I went to ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism, and I was a reporter for the Arizona Republic and several magazines and newspapers in Arizona. I think every story I ever wrote on a real person has helped me to better tell the make believe ones aching to get out of my head.

Stephanie: How has writing affect your life and what advice would you give to someone who is inspired to write their first story?

Ginger: “Waiting on the Sidelines” is my first of now three titles—one a follow up to “Waiting” called “Going Long” and the other a stand-alone romance called “Blindness.” I was always afraid to put myself out there—afraid no one would notice or care, and terrified of rejection. But finally doing it is one of the greatest achievements of my life, and I regret letting fear hold me back for so long. My advice is to not be afraid—write without abandon. Just write. Your heart will thank you later.

Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?

Ginger: I was looking for other independent reads to add to my reading list, and someone had posted a Medallion book on Twitter. I followed the links back to the indieBRAG site and was impressed with the list of titles. Then I saw a call for books for consideration, and I decided to send in “Waiting on the Sidelines” and try (again, a huge step for me as I fear rejection—seriously, it terrifies me). When I heard from indieBRAG that “Waiting” was a medallion honoree, I was thrilled. The honor is tremendous, and I’m so touched.

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

Ginger: Just, thank you. Thank you for reading my stories. I do not take the time you give to me, and my words, lightly, and I will always work my tail of to write heartfelt stories that make you feel something. And I hope you continue to like how my stories make you feel. Because writing for you is the greatest joy of my life…well, second greatest. Being the baseball mom is always number one.

Stephanie: Here can readers buy your book?

Ginger: “Waiting on the Sidelines” is available for Kindle and print on Amazon. It is also available as an e-book on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple iBooks, Sony and more.

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Smashwords

Author Website

Facebook

Twitter – @TheGingerScott

Pinterest

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Ginger Scott, who is the author of “Waiting on the Sidelines”, one of our medallion at indieBRAG. 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, “Waiting on the Sidelines” merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

indiebrag-team-member

 

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

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

5.15.13TracyMelPortrait

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:

TracyAuthorPhoto5.16.13

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.

Interview with Author Patty Henderson

Patty Henderson

Patty G. Henderson

I’m a Tampa, Florida native and still live in beautiful, Palm tree-lined South Tampa. I got hooked on mystery and supernatural literature after I read Edgar Allan Poe in junior high and soon after, discovered Gothic Romances.  The dark side still fascinates me and I lament the loss of some of the old style literature of the greats in the genre.  

I’m a firm believer in the romantic gothic element.  I write Gothic Historical Romances.  So far, there are three, THE SECRET OF LIGHTHOUSE POINTE, CASTLE OF DARK SHADOWS and my latest, PASSION FOR VENGEANCE.  These are total homages to the old paperback Gothics available at drugstores, department stores, grocery stores and every place paperback books were sold in the 1960s and 1970s. In my Gothic books, though, the girl gets the girl and the sex is much steamier! I’ve also written four books in the Brenda Strange Paranormal Mystery Series, THE BURNING OF HER SIN, TANGLED AND DARK, THE MISSING PAGE and XIMORA

When I’m not writing or thinking of plot lines in my head, I love spending time with my family friends, coffee shops, fine wine and enjoying being out in the weekend evenings under the soothing power of the moon. I love thunderstorms with rolling thunder and the quiet beauty of a cemetery. There is also lots more room for cats in my home. One can never have enough felines. I’ve had cats since I can remember and fondly recall each one with love for all the joy they brought me. I also create book covers and offer other book services for the indie author via my Boulevard Photografica business services. I enjoy collecting teddy bears, playing Pokemon, and old black and white films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. All things historical interest me.

Stephanie: Hello, Patty! Thank you for chatting with me today and welcome on the B.R.A.G. Medallion for your book, Passion for Vengeance. Please tell me about your story?

Patty: PASSION FOR VENGEANCE, at it’s center heart, is a Romance. A story about betrayal, guilt, punishment, salvation and love. Set in the decade following the Civil War, we are thrust into the lives of the Havens Family, a once proud and wealthy family, now downtrodden and borrowing to keep their familial home, Havenswood, afloat. Jane Havens is one of three Havens siblings still left at Havenswood, and starved of all her previous priviledged life and love, Jane Havens becomes immediately enamoured of Emma Stiles, the new governess for her youngest brother, Henry. When Emma Stiles, beautiful, mysterious and oozing sex appeal arrives, Jane Havens knows that the woman will become special in her life. What she doesn’t know is that Emma Stiles brings with her secrets….secrets that will drag all the skeletons hiding in the Havens family closet out for airing. But the love between Emma and Jane, born of a damaged past and a hungry thirst for love between them, could not be torn apart.

Stephanie: What a fascinating premise and time period! What was your inspiration and what interest you most about this era?

Patty: I’ve always been a history buff, always considering it my fave subject at school (gosh, that was so long ago! LOL). I really read and studied the Civil War, and having written Gothic Romances in other historical periods like Victorian and War of 1812, I decided to set one in post Civil War. It allowed me the opportunity to bring in some of the dreadful fallout from the war and how it painfully touched not only the South but many families everywhere.

Stephanie: What are the challenges writing Gothic Romance? Was there research involved?

Patty: Like most genres, Romance has its template and general outline for a story. Same for the Gothic Romance. Gothic Romance is best rememered as those cheap paperbacks you could buy at your local drug store or grocery story with covers picturing a dark castle and frightened heroine running from it. My Gothics are homages to these old, fun Gothic Romances with the twist being the romance is lesbian romance. The template for Gothic Romance is that you must have a heroine in distress, a dark, brooding hero, but in my case, since I write lesbian fiction, a dark, brooding heroine who is either suspect of dark deeds or not, an unstoppable attraction between the two of them, murder, suspense or both, a menacing or decaying castle or mansion and…of course….steamy romance for today’s readers. LOL. The challenge comes in creating a story that is fresh and intersting with each Gothic. I mean, there are only so many ways and reasons to get our herione to a castle, etc. LOL. Coming up with creative plots and characters that don’t become too cookie cutter or two dimensional is extremely important. If a reader feels all the books are telling the same story about the same people, then you will lose readers. But especially for PASSION FOR VENGEANCE, I had to do some research for an obscure but frightening practice: Sin Eating. The sin eater eats and drinks food arranged atop the body of a deceased person and by doing this, he/she “eats” or consumes the sins of the dead so they can pass without sin. I found that this ritual cleansing and belief originated in Scotland and England, and some say as far back as the Aztecs. I wanted to make sure that sin eating was practiced here in the USA. Apparently, while there is no written records, tales say that sin eating was practiced in the Apalachian Mountains in the 18th and 19th centuries and maybe later.

PASSION-FOR-VENGEANCE

Stephanie: What is Jane Haven’s strengths and weaknesses?

Patty: Without a doubt, Jane Haven’s strength is her belief in complete salvation with love. She believes she can save her brother, Cole, from the alcohol addiction. She believes she can save Emma Stiles’s tortured soul. She also has a strong faith, although she questions it with a healthy dose of reality. I would say that her weakness is trusting too much in the goodness of others without realizing that trust must be earned. Living a sheltered life at Havenswood did not help her in this respect.

Stephanie: Have you learned anything new about the civil war writing this story that you didn’t know before?

Patty: I can’t say that I did, because I had been a Civil War buff for so long, but I so very much enjoyed being able to actually write and set a story in the time period.

Stephanie: What was your process in writing this story?

Patty: I write all my novels longhand, on yellow legal pads. I then transfer everything to the computer. A little time consuming, I know, but I just cannot sit and create in front of a computer. I love the organic flow of pen to paper. It really helps the muse. I’m of the type where I need distractions around me to create, so I go to my favorite Starbucks, find a comfy seat, set pen to paper and write. I love the “white noise” and hum of conversation, music, etc. that is there in Starbucks but I am totally able to tune it out when I am in writing mode. Also, music is a big motivator. I sometimes set playlists for all my books, somewhat like a soundtrack, and use that for writing time. And I don’t outline. I have the general story down in my head and go from there. I may jot down paragaphs, sentences, etc. that pop up, but mostly I am a “pantser” although I do have the general plot already in mind. That does change sometimes, though.

Stephanie: What book project are you currently working on?

Patty: Oh, I always love to talk about books I’m working on. Currently, I am about half way into my new Gothic Historical Romance, WHERE EVIL DWELLS. It is a Gothic Romance where a tragic triangle of romance defies even death!

Stephanie: Do you use an outline for your stories or just write?

Patty: I think I touched a bit on this in my writing process response. I don’t really outline. I have the general outline in my head. I might jot down characters, etc, but not much. I write in a linear fashion. I cannot proceed if I don’t finish one chapter. I know some writers can write the ending or a chapter out of order but I must write in linear order. LOL.

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

Patty: For readers who have not read a Gothic Historical Romance, a world of dark suspense, adventure, danger and steamy romance awaits you. For some who might find a romance between two women not something you want to read, think more open-minded. The storytelling, setting, atmosphere are not different than mainstream romances and you might find yourself looking forward to my next Gothic Historical Romance!

To my regular readers, WHERE EVIL DWELLS should be published end of this year, 2014.

Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?

Patty: It was some time ago, so my memory fails, but a fellow author wrote about her being accepted as a BRAG Honoree some time back and I wanted to see if I could get a BRAG Honoree for one of my books. And it is quite an honor for which I am so grateful.

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

Patty: All my Gothic Romances and other books, including the Brenda Strange Paranormal Mystery Series, are available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com as eBooks or trade paperbacks. I also have Audio Book Versions of PASSION FOR VENGEANCE and another Gothic Romance, CASTLE OF DARK SHADOWS.

Thank you so much for the opportunity, Stephanie, to let me talk about PASSION FOR VENGEANCE and Gothic Romances.

Author Website

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Patty Henderson, who is the author of, Passion for Vengeance, one of our medallion honorees at indieBRAG. 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, Passion for Vengeance merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.