This was a satisfying conclusion to the romantic tales of the extended Turner family. While I was concerned that Lord Courtenay wouldn’t appeal to me as a romantic lead after his introduction in The Lawrence Browne Affair, author Cat Sebastian proves a deft hand at hidden depths that do not negate any of the character she created in the previous novel. Continue reading
This short story was included in my Kindle edition of A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies #2).
This delightful short story doesn’t add much to the interpersonal relationship between Lord Crane and Stephen Day, but it does show how Crane and his manservant Merrick have become intricately linked with Day’s world of magician justiciars. This might have been an simple mystery, but it provided tantalizing clues to Crane’s past — and Merrick’s future.
Also, I would like to be best friends with Esther Gold. Continue reading
This was not a long novel, but I think I would have devoured it just as quickly had it been twice the length. I’ve decided that I adore Lord Crane. Like any true romantic hero, he has looks, brains, and money. But his personality, lack of regard for polite society, and familiarity with the world beyond London are what really appeal to me. Continue reading
Not every book gets two birthdays, but sometimes life happens. Since I’m a huge fan of authors who face adversity and come back swinging, I’m pleased to host an interview with author Rebecca Halsey on the occasion of her novel’s re-release. I previously read and reviewed Notes of Temptation last year, tearing through it while on vacation and loving every moment of this historical romance with a touch of magic.
I hope this interview with the author and the snippet below provide their own temptation for you to check out this awesome book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Carrie Cooper leaves her small gold-mining town to seek her fortune, it’s not until she arrives in L.A. that she learns her college certificate is a fraud. The only work available is in a less-than-respectable speakeasy. The job comes with the opportunity to take the stage with Oz Dean, the club’s captivating bandleader. But rivals out for her blood along with her place in the spotlight lurk behind the curtain. Oz Dean has the rare ability to “see” music as brilliant colors, but nothing has ever dazzled him like Carrie’s pure, choir-girl voice. With a mob debt hanging over his head like a guillotine, he organizes a revue that will launch them all to stardom. Unfortunately, his bold move attracts exactly the kind of criminal attention he would like to avoid. Mired in Hollywood’s underbelly, caught off-guard by their growing attraction, Carrie and Oz are forced to consider the cost of success. Or their one chance to make beautiful music together could be their last. Together they take the stage. Together they must defend it to the death.
Writing an historical novel means a ton of research. What was the coolest thing you learned while gathering information to craft the world of this book?
I wanted to set this story at the end of Prohibition and the beginning of the Depression when things were starting to change. So I picked the year 1931. As I was investigating the time period, I discovered that demand for coins dropped off in these years. No quarters were minted in 1931, so if you find one, it’s surely counterfeit. Continue reading
Today I’m happy to feature an interview with debut novelist Lew McIntyre. Besides my usual desire to support indie writers, I was intrigued by the unique premise of this historical novel and had to know more.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Eagle and the Dragon takes the reader on an epic journey of thousands of miles by sea and land across three continents. When Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba is tapped to lead the first Roman mission to China, he anticipates an easy path to fame and fortune. Gaius Lucullus sees a bright military future, but his reluctant centurion Antonius Aristides would rather be somewhere else. Translators Marcia Lucia and her brother Marcus were taken from their village in China to serve the Han court, abused and despised, hiding a horrible secret. A notorious Arab pirate, with a Roman price on his head and crucifixion in his future, shadows the entourage, seeking the wealthy prize of their treasure-laden ships. But Fate has other plans for these unlikely companions, sending them together on a journey that will take them thousands of miles by sea and land across the tapestry of the mysterious worlds at the close of the first century. From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent Hanaean court, from the wild grassy steppes north of China to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains of Bactria, they fight for their lives, hoping to find the road that will lead them back to Rome.
What was your biggest inspiration for writing a work of historical fiction that hasn’t seen much representation?
My current work in progress actually began in 1995 while reading an historical book, The Ancient Mariners, by Lionel Casson, which described the Romans reaching the court of China around 166 AD. Apparently the emperors even knew each other’s names, indicating previous contact. This set my imagination ablaze when I learned from other sources that this definitely was not the first such expedition. I set out to write a short vignette on how two Roman soldiers, part of my fictional expedition in 100 AD, would find life in China so different in culture from their homeland. From that few pages was born The Eagle and the Dragon: A Novel of Rome and China. That same book, and others, gave me a grasp of the complex network of trading routes that spanned the Indian Ocean in that era, the sophisticated ships they built, and complex social, cultural and linguistic problems they would have to solve, and that kept the firing burning… basically at every step of the way, I had to ask myself, “Now what problems would I encounter doing that?” This was quickly followed by “Now how in the hell would I solve those problems with just first century tools at my disposal?” As I wrote this novel, it often seemed at times that I was taking dictation from my characters! It was a labor of love twenty years in the making. When I was finished, I read Rome and the Distant East: Trade Routes to the ancient lands of Arabia, India and China, by Raoul McLaughlin, which I read after I completed my work; he stated that the 166 AD mission was to seek the alliance of China with Rome against Parthia, modern day Iran and Iraq! This verified what I had hinted at was one far-fetched objective of my fictional mission, to determine if that could be a possibility, or if perhaps Rome should settle their differences with Parthia and ally with them against Han China! Continue reading
Disclaimer: I consider the author a friend, and the two of us have worked together to help promote each other’s work as nontraditional authors. I won a hardcopy version of this novel from the author in a random giveaway drawing during a social media launch event. I would absolutely have purchased this novel anyway.
Romantic fantasy is not my usual cup of tea, but McKinnon hits it out of the park once again with this delightful blend of alternate history, historical fiction, action, and sensuality. This novel focuses on another member of a magical family set during Queen Victoria’s reign in a world inhabited by magic. At first glance, Sorcha is a stereotypical fantasy heroine, a loner Scotswoman with a talent for visions, while Ronan embodies the cliche Irish rogue. However, McKinnon’s talent for world-building also extends to character building, and Sorcha and Ronan’s relationship, set in the larger framework of missing magical artifacts, set in the even larger “Fay of Skye” series framework of disappearing magic, is an exciting magical romp from start to finish.
Congratulations to author J.K. Knauss on the release of her historical fiction novel, Seven Noble Knights. I’ve had the honor of previously interviewing this author about her contemporary fantasy novel, so it’s fun to revisit and look at how the same author can have inspiration for completely different projects. Keep reading after the jump for more information about the book and purchase links.
Vengeful Ladies and Bloody Cucumbers: J.K. Knauss on Seven Noble Knights
Spain is not a common location for European historical fiction, considering the proliferation of fiction set in medieval/renaissance England and France. What drew you to tell a story set there instead?
I’ve inexplicably loved Spain since I was about ten years old. The four years between that and when I was “allowed” to start learning Spanish were the longest of my life. Some people say I was born in the wrong country. Something about the beauty and uniqueness of Spain latched onto me and never let go. If I start talking about what’s great about Spain, I may never stop!
You’ve previously published a contemporary fantasy novel, Awash in Talent. What inspired you to make the switch to historical fiction?
It’s funny how life works out. I wrote Seven Noble Knights first—Awash in Talent arose as a break from historical accuracy. Yet Seven Noble Knights is being published second.
I’ve always been a writer, and I also started an academic career in medieval Spanish literature. When I finished my PhD, I came up with a way to combine my great passions: historical fiction! I think the historical aspect was an inevitable bridge between those two worlds, because being an academic and being a writer have quite a bit else in common. (Need for solitude, need for readers, the need to be insane to try it…) Continue reading