Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Book Blitz: ‘Ask Not’ by Mary M. Schmidt

Title: Ask Not

Author: Mary M. Schmidt

Publisher: Lulu.com

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller

About the Book:

To Katie, her love for John F. Kennedy was her whole world, even though he never heard of her.  Anyone who harmed him would have to answer to her.  It would not be pleasant. And when someone does, her revenge would consume her spirit and drive her in madness to Dallas.  Will she succeed in destroying Oswald?

Ask Not.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

About the Author:

Mary M. Schmidt, also known as Lynx, is the author of Gemini Lynx, Persephone’s Song, Cat Lady, and Our Frail Disordered Lives. She is a hospice volunteer, which during the pandemic, means going to a lot of zoom meetings. (Every time I turn around, more zoom!) A lover of animals, Mary lives near Annapolis with her rescue cat, Gemma.

Social Media Links:

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196284.Mary_M_Schmidt

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pages/category/Writer/Mary-M-Schmidt-756593501152605

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Author Interview: ‘Worth Waiting For’ by Matilda Madison

About the Book:

Betrayed by his wife five years earlier, Edward Powell, the Earl of Canton is furious. Penelope Powell is out to hurt him once more. Only this time, he won’t stand for it and he intends to teach her a lesson for her wicked deeds.

Penelope is shocked to learn that her husband has come to Scotland to confront her, although not nearly as surprised as he is. For five long years, Penelope has kept a secret, a child, from Edward and knowing her husband, he won’t soon forgive her for such treachery.

Now reunited in London, Edward demands that Penelope be a perfect example of what a lady should be, while he extracts a more intimate revenge in the bedroom. Will Penelope be able to meet Edward’s demands? Or will she lose herself to him just as she did all those years ago?

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing for about fifteen years now and it’s started out as a sort of therapy for me. I would try to work out my issues vicariously through my characters. This led to dozens of stories and piles of notebooks. Eventually I realized that I was no longer writing to deal with my personal situations, but because I had fallen in love with the world I had built and the characters that had problems all their own. I love writing and as much as I can get frustrated with re-writes and submissions and all that jazz, I always find my way back to my stories.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I like to write in the early morning and late evening. I try to write at least 2,000 words a day which isn’t always achievable, but it’s easier for me to write while it’s dark out. If the sun is shining, I can get distracted, which is why I tend to write most of my stories during the winter months. 

3: Where do your ideas come from?

All over. I could be in a car, looking out a window and daydream up a story about a chase scene. I can see an old couple eating dinner at a restaurant and imagine an entire history about them. I have an over active imagination that would probably have gotten me into a bunch of trouble if I didn’t focus it towards my writing. I also think I love life so much that I want to live a thousand lives and so I dream up all sorts of situations. 

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I used to be a pantser, which is a term I just learned about actually. It means a writer who writes by the ‘seat of their pants’, meaning I used to just sit down with an idea and start. I had a lot of trouble finishing my stories like this though, so now I’ll write a synopsis first when I get an idea. If I like it after a day or so, I’ll write a chapter outline. If that sounds good, I’ll start to flesh out my character analysis and then I’ll get to writing. A little foundation work goes a long way for me.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Historical romance! I’ve loved them for years, but was embarrassed about them for a long time. I started reading them when I was fourteen and listened, foolishly, to people who called them trashy and believed that I should be reading more important things. Of course, it didn’t stop me from buying them and they were a guilty pleasure for a long time. Ultimately though, it didn’t make sense that I was writing stories that didn’t emulate what I was reading. So, I wrote a few historical novellas and while I didn’t have much success with them, I adored them. I found it liberating to write historical romance and eventually I stopped caring what people would think and decided to embrace it. I haven’t looked back since.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Literally anyone Shonda Rimes wanted!

Honestly, I’ve always had a tough time imagining my characters because I often just dream up people. Edward is difficult to pin down but I will admit I thought a lot about Luke Evans while writing him. I think Penelope could be played by Sydney Sweeney from Euphoria.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read a lot. Mostly historical romance, but also practical nonfictions, like ‘Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey’ by James Rebanks. So, it could be considered and odd pool of authors that I read.  My favorite author is a very obvious answer, the queen of historical romance, Lisa Kleypas.  While I’ve read hundreds of historical romance authors, her books are the gold standard for me and her writing style is unmatched in my opinion. She can create an atmosphere that is so well detailed that the scenes just appear in my head and I’m always left amazed after reading and re-reading her books.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I just finished ‘The Indifferent Stars Above’ by Daniel James Brown. It’s a historical nonfiction about the Donner party and it was both haunting and fascinating. Often times I’ll break my historical romance streaks with harrowing stories of human adventure. Historical accounts about shipwrecks, mountain climbing and wilderness survivals stories captivate me. I’m about to get back on the historical romance train though and I’m going to read ‘Angel in the Devil’s Arms’ by Julie Anne Long and I’m very excited about it!

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The hardest question in the world! My go to answer is ‘The Hobbit’, only because it was one of my first loves and I tend to read it once a year. Really though I have about a hundred favorite books and couldn’t begin to name them all.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I think if you write, you are a writer, whether it’s poetry or children’s books or novellas or novels. But if you want to be successful at it, I think you have to write a little every day. No one wakes up, having never written a day in their life with a brilliant story, writes one draft and becomes a success. It’s a craft and needs to be practiced and the more your practice the better you get which always makes me wildly happy after I finish a manuscript. Because I know it was better then my last and I know my next one will be better still.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

I’m on most social media sites and I check all of them fairly regularly. I’m not terribly hard to find, a Google search should do it, but here are my Website, Twitter and Instagram.

Website: www.matildamadison.com

Twitter: @madison_books

Instagram: www.instagram.com/matildamadisonbooks

About the Author:

Matilda Madison aka Melinda Michaels lives in Pennsylvania. A lover of history, she finds an immense amount of joy in knowing useless facts, exploring historical places and drinking copious amounts of tea. When she’s not writing she can be found researching obscured time periods for her books or her own amusement, refurbishing old furniture and baking.

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Author Interview: ‘Out Front the Following Sea’ by Leah Angstman

About the Book:

Out Front the Following Sea is a historical epic of one woman’s survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned–it is a death sentence. At the onset of King William’s War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor–Owen–bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen’s French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Reviews:

“From the squalor, prejudice, and violence of 17th-century America, Leah Angstman has summoned to life the most extraordinary young woman. Ruth Miner insists on surviving, building a life, and being true to her odd independent self, despite the whole world seeing her as worthless filth. Angstman creates a hypnotically real and brutal world and then manages to infuse it with humor and beauty and a moving tale of love. The reader will follow Ruth Miner anywhere, and be the richer for it.” —Heather O’Neill, author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, and Daydreams of Angels

“Lapidary in its research and lively in its voice, Out Front the Following Sea by Leah Angstman is a rollicking story, racing along with wind in its sails. Though her tale unfolds hundreds of years in America’s past, Ruth Miner is the kind of high-spirited heroine whose high adventures haul you in and hold you fast.” —Kathleen Rooney, author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey

“Rich in deeply researched detail, and peopled by complex characters, Out Front the Following Sea is a fascinating story that is bound to entrance readers of historical fiction.” —Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything

“Out Front the Following Sea is a fascinating book, the kind of historical novel that evokes its time and place so vividly that the effect is just shy of hallucinogenic. I enjoyed it immensely.” —Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest, The Walkaway, Cottonwood, Hop Alley, The Adjustment, and Rake

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into writing?

It never seems like there’s much about me to tell, but I can start by stating the obvious: I’m the founder and editor-in-chief of Alternating Current Press and The Coil magazine and the author of Out Front the Following Sea, my debut novel of a brutal seventeenth-century set against the backdrop of King William’s War. I love Broadway musicals, Bruce Springsteen, my German Shepherd, quirky and terrifying history stories, living-history war reenactments, myth-busting, watching old episodes of Unsolved Mysteries, and making elaborate spreadsheets that I’ll end up only using once.

The initial thing that got me into writing was the shocking death of my best friend in high school, followed by the zine culture that surrounded the punk scene I was part of. Copying and pasting together zines and chapbooks was all the rage in my teen years, most of which were inspired by revolutionary calls to action from a bunch of pre-adults who had big dreams about changing the world, but didn’t have a clue how actually to do it. When I lost my best friend, I turned insufferable to the human world, and the only thing that could tolerate me was a notebook and pen.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

My favorite time to write is the very early morning, usually around 5 a.m. I’m most alive between 3 and 7 a.m., cup of coffee, huge picture window watching magnificent Colorado sunrises peeking over the Rockies. The house is quiet with no one else awake yet, not even the dog. That’s my time. Once we hit 8 or 9 a.m., the whole world seems to want a piece of me, and my personal creative time is over—time to be creative for everyone else.

My place is all over the place. I bounce between three couches, a standing desk, the kitchen table, two sitting desks, my outside patio table, pacing around the house, snuggled with my dog on the floor. I can never sit still for too long.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

The majority of my ideas are accidents. They come from some random sidebar tidbit that I happen to see or hear during research for something else. A lot of times I get curious about something I see in my Smithsonian or The Journal of the American Revolution email newsletters, or hear as an aside to some other story in an audiobook. I tend to be a Wikipedia rabbitholer and will click excessive links until I end up entirely somewhere else, arriving at some other conclusion, drinking the shrinking potion, following white rabbits. I cling to tidbits. I find something tiny, quirky, obscure that sparks my attention, and I stretch it into a whole story, a whole world.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I’ve done both. For longer stories (novels, novellas), I usually have an idea of beginning, middle, end, and then I let the research I find fill in the rest of the surrounding conflicts. For one novel I’m writing, I discovered through real-life letters that there is a terrible drought going on during the timeline of the book, so that real-life historical drought became a central conflict to the story that I hadn’t initially planned on. Usually, I can only fully visualize very short things—like snippets of flash—while longer works unfold slowly sentence by sentence or chapter by chapter. I do take long pauses, though, sometimes weeks or months, in between “scenes” to assess what I think the next scene or conflict should be before I start writing it. That helps me keep a tidy word count and plot goal per chapter.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

All of my writing is historical, though highly literary and uncommercial. Generally historical fiction, but I also write historical nonfiction and historical poetry, as well. I was raised a history nerd by a biography-devouring father, but I knew that scholarly nonfiction was never going to be my calling—I loved poetry too much. I loved heady language and the sound of purple prose and the songs found in colorful details. I wanted to tell stories, not just narratives. But I have no interest in contemporary themes, so my stories had to be historical, or they’d end up on the cutting-room floor.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

After watching Dune, I’ll go with Timothée Chalamet to play Owen, but he’ll have to beef up a little bit. Owen is pretty tough, even if he is French (zing!). I’ll stick with my dream gal of Sophia Lillis to play Ruth. Sam has to be rather imposing, so maybe Tom Hardy? Gerard Butler? Jeremy Renner? Chris Evans?—of course, if Sam is too handsome, then we might end up with an entirely different story on our hands, so maybe not Chris Evans. For Askook, I’d go with Tatanka Means, and for Machk, I’d love David Midthunder, but my only golden rule would be: All the Pequot have to be portrayed by actual Native American actors. I’d be pretty heartsick if someone whitewashed the Native characters, who are so crucial to the story and whom we’ve already whitewashed enough in this country.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read constantly. I have stacks and stacks of documents and books to get through, and I buy every book that looks good, even if I never end up reading it for lack of time. I’m also a huge audiobook junkie, and I get through an average audiobook in two days while walking my dog.

My favorite authors are Jack London, James Clavell, Elizabeth George Speare, Michael Chabon, Heather O’Neill, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Alexander Chee, Kathleen Rooney, oh my goodness, the list is endless.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

On audiobook, I just finished Ashes of Glory: Richmond at War by Ernest B. Furgurson, which was a pretty solid read, and started Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon by Suzanne M. Desan, part of the Great Courses series. In print, I just finished Shaindel Beers’ Secure Your Own Mask, which is a great collection of poetry, and picked up The Predatory Animal Ball by Jennifer Fliss, an advance reader copy I received in the mail this morning. My Kindle is currently in the middle of The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray; she’s always an enjoyable read.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Oooooh, this answer fluctuates by the day. Today it’s My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier because I recently picked it up again, so it’s fresh in my mind, and I’d forgotten how tremendous it truly was. Brutal and raw, it’s an excellent look through a young boy’s eyes at the gray-area conflicts of the American Revolution. It’s been a favorite for my whole life, and when I was a kid, it was the first time I really learned what a Tory was and that there were as many conflicts between sectors of Americans themselves as there were between Americans and British. I always loved how it didn’t shy away from anything ugly—from the “n” word to graphic death scenes, it’s been on every banned-book list since 1974.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Besides “don’t,” lol? I’d say my best advice is to ignore people who say “write what you know,” and instead, you should write what you want to know. Write what intrigues you and will make you dig deeper to research it. In this way, you can teach others while continuing to learn new things yourself. My other piece of advice is simply: take your time. A good book takes years to write, not days.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

My website is at leahangstman.com, and you can find me as @leahangstman on Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Patreon, Medium, Ello, and Pinterest, and as @authorleahangstman on Facebook.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorleahangstman

Twitter: @leahangstman

Instagram: ww.instagram.com/leahangstman

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/leahangstman

Patreon: www.patreon.com/leahangstman

Medium: www.medium.com/@LeahAngstman

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/2980625.Leah_Angstman

About the Author:

Leah Angstman is a historian and transplanted Michigander living in Boulder. OUT FRONT THE FOLLOWING SEA, her debut novel of King William’s War in 17th-century New England, is forthcoming from Regal House in January 2022. Her writing has been a finalist for the Saluda River Prize, Cowles Book Prize, Able Muse Book Award, Bevel Summers Fiction Prize, and Chaucer Book Award, and has appeared in Publishers Weekly, L.A. Review of Books, Nashville Review, Slice, and elsewhere. She serves as editor-in-chief for Alternating Current and The Coil magazine and copyeditor for Underscore News, which has included editing partnerships with ProPublica. She is an appointed vice chair of a Colorado historical commission and liaison to a Colorado historic preservation committee.

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Book Blitz: ‘Dolly Pleasance’ by C.W. Lovatt

Title: Dolly Pleasance

Author: C.W. Lovatt

Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the Book:

From the best-selling author of Charlie Smithers and Josiah Stubb.

Come, meet the actress, Dolly Pleasance. Born into a life of poverty and abuse in the midst of 19th Century London, Dolly’s only salvation is her passion for the theatre. Follow her career, from rags to riches, over a span of twenty years.

Rejoice as she captures the hearts of thousands, fret as she attempts to avoid the clutches of a murderous madman, and weep over the impossible love she has for one Charlie Smithers.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

About the Author:

C.W. Lovatt is the award-winning author of the best-selling Charlie Smithers novels (including the spinoff, “Dolly Pleasance”), as well as the critically acclaimed Josiah Stubb Trilogy. His latest novel, “Adventures in Arran” is the fourth book of the Charlie Smithers Collection.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chuck.lovatt

Twitter: @tacscwl

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Book Blitz: ‘Blood and Silver’ by Vali Benson

Title: Blood and Silver

Author: Vali Benson

Publisher: Tellwell Talent 

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

 

About the Book:

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Barnes and Noble

 

“Blood and Silver” was recently named a Finalist in the 2020 Indies Today Awards

 

About the Author:

Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: www.valibenson.com

Twitter: @BensonVali

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