Category Archives: Author Interview

Book Review, Interview and Giveaway: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

If you’re a his­tor­i­cal purist, than Witch­struck may not be the book for you. Lamb has woven together his­tor­i­cal fig­ures and events with fic­tional char­ac­ters and the super­nat­ural. It’s an unusual com­bi­na­tion but one that I really, really enjoyed.

 

Set in 1554, Witch­struck intro­duces the story of Meg, ser­vant to the closely guarded Eliz­a­beth, and a prac­tic­ing witch. It’s not long before a des­per­ate Eliz­a­beth turns to Meg for help, ask­ing her to use her magic to fore­see the future. Will she or won’t she be queen?

With grow­ing polit­i­cal unrest, the arrival of a Span­ish priest who seems deter­mined to uncover her secrets and a ruth­less witch hunter clos­ing in on her, Meg finds her­self in increas­ing dan­ger. It’s not long before her loy­al­ties are tested when she inad­ver­tently becomes mixed up in trea­so­nous plot that could see Eliz­a­beth crowned, or exe­cuted, with Meg right along­side her.

 

I’ve always been drawn to sto­ries about witch­craft, whether they lean towards the super­nat­ural, fea­tur­ing kick-ass women with actual pow­ers, or focus on a more his­tor­i­cal por­trayal. Both fas­ci­nate me and Witch­struck, to my delight, is a com­bi­na­tion of the two. Meg and her Aunt are both witches, a dan­ger­ous prac­tice in Tudor Eng­land. In order to sur­vive, Meg must hide who she really is, trust­ing no one, yet she can­not help but find her­self drawn to Ale­jan­dro, a young priest sent to spy on Elizabeth’s house­hold. Con­tinue read­ing

Author Interview: J. Anderson Coats

J. Ander­son Coats has kindly agreed to answer some ques­tions about her upcom­ing book The Wicked and the Just, which goes on sale today. (Look out for my review later in the week!)

This novel is seeped in his­tory and inspired by real life events, so I asked her if she could tell us a lit­tle bit more about it.

*all images linked back to orig­i­nal source*

space

The Welsh Upris­ing of 1294 in Caernar­von is a period that per­haps isn’t as well-known to some read­ers. Could you tell us a lit­tle bit about it? What made you want to write a story based around these events?

After the fall of native gov­ern­ment in Wales in 1282–3, the Eng­lish filled the power vac­uum and made north Wales into a prin­ci­pal­ity directly admin­is­tered by the Crown.  They sought to ensure that the Welsh never caused trou­ble again, so they imple­mented an exten­sive — and expen­sive — castle-building, urban devel­op­ment and set­tle­ment pro­gram to main­tain con­trol of the area through extra-military means.

What inter­ested me was this ques­tion: Even when granted a lot of spe­cial priv­i­leges — includ­ing sig­nif­i­cant tax breaks — how did Eng­lish set­tlers live in a place where they were out­num­bered twenty to one by a hos­tile, recently sub­ju­gated pop­u­la­tion, and how did the Welsh live so close to peo­ple who’d done the sub­ju­gat­ing, espe­cially given the bur­dens placed on them by their new masters?

Con­tinue read­ing

Author Interview: Ruth Warburton

Ruth War­bur­ton, author of A Witch in Win­ter, joins us on the blog today to chat about her debut novel. Click here to see my review.

A Witch in Win­ter has quite a his­toric feel — the idea of witch­craft being passed down through the cen­turies, the his­tory sur­round­ing the town Anna moves to — all of which I loved. Did you ever think about mak­ing A Witch in Win­ter a his­tor­i­cal novel, or did you always know that you wanted to write a con­tem­po­rary book?

It was always a con­tem­po­rary book in my head — I don’t know why — that was just how it started! I could def­i­nitely see myself doing some­thing set in the past in another book though. I loved doing the research and weav­ing it into the plot.

What kind of research did you do for the book? 

Mainly it was research in order to write the spells the girls use. They had to sound really con­vinc­ing and authen­ti­cally “old”, but the real spell books I found didn’t quite work in the plot. There are lots of real gri­moires which sur­vive from the mid­dle ages and even ear­lier, but they aren’t what we would really think of as spell books — they’re often in Latin and full of com­pli­cated instruc­tions about astrol­ogy and spir­its and demons — they were designed to be read by learned men and are more like a whole study guide.

I wanted some­thing a bit more rus­tic and domes­tic, with spells and charms the girls could pick out and use indi­vid­u­ally, a bit like recipes. So I researched the lan­guage and style of real spell books, as well as the lan­guage of early recipe books, and I also researched folk charms and super­sti­tions, and tried to kind of com­bine all three into some­thing close to what I wanted, but con­vinc­ingly 16th cen­tury. Con­tinue read­ing

Guest Post with YA author Y.S Lee

space

You may remem­ber I included Mary Quinn as part of my Rec­om­mended Read­ing: Books with Strong Hero­ines, post last week. Inter­na­tional Women’s Day was a few days ago now, but I wanted to carry on the theme for a lit­tle longer.

Author Y.S Lee has kindly put together a guest post to tell us a lit­tle bit more of what it would have been like to be a woman dur­ing the 19th Cen­tury, dur­ing which, her excel­lent series, The Agency, is set.   Con­tinue read­ing

Elizabeth Wein Author Interview and Guest Post

In honor of Inter­na­tional Women’s Day, I am excited to wel­come Eliz­a­beth Wein, author of Code Name Ver­ity, (my review of which can be read here) to Turn the Page. Eliz­a­beth very gen­er­ously agreed to an in-depth inter­view about her new book and a guest post about flygirls!

space

Fly­girls

space

One of the things that I set out very con­sciously to do in writ­ing Code Name Ver­ity was to give my hero­ines impor­tant work that they were capa­ble of doing.  I feel that we all need a nudg­ing reminder that many women still don’t get taken seri­ously in jobs that are tra­di­tion­ally asso­ci­ated with men, and that we need to con­tin­u­ally expand our horizons.

I get so mad when peo­ple assume that you can’t be inter­ested in fly­ing just because you’re a girl.  At my first fly­ing club Christ­mas party, after I’d started tak­ing lessons, when I intro­duced myself to another woman at the party the first thing she asked was, ‘And whose wife are you?’ —As though I couldn’t pos­si­bly be there on my own.  The free­dom of the sky, and the sense of accom­plish­ment in know­ing how to land a plane myself, are the most hard-won prizes I have ever earned.  They shouldn’t be denied to anybody.

Amaz­ingly, because it seems to be a coin­ci­dence that 8 March is Inter­na­tional Women’s Day and that the first ‘national’ Women’s Day was cel­e­brated in 1910, 8 March 1910 hap­pens to be the day that Ray­monde de Laroche of France became the world’s first female licensed pilot.

Ray­monde de LaRoche Con­tinue read­ing

India Dark Blog Tour

I was lucky enough to be invited by Tem­plar to review and take part in the blog tour for Kirsty Murray’s upcom­ing new book India Dark. If you need more than a gor­geous cover to make you want to snatch this one up, check out my review over here.

For my stop on the tour, I got to ask Kirsty some ques­tions about the real Lilliputian’s, her char­ac­ters and tour­ing India. Con­tinue read­ing