The Importance of Setting in Historical Fiction

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I had opportunity to interview some great historical mystery writers, asking them about the importance of setting; Denise Domning, Lee Strauss, and Rhys Bowen. Here’s what they said…

 

From Denise Domning author of The Servant of the Crown series.

 

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How important is setting in historical fiction versus the setting in other genres?

I can’t say that setting is any more or less important to historical fiction than any other genre as every genre has its conventions. What makes or breaks a novel is how deft an author is at conveying the expected milieu. In that, historical fiction can be unforgiving. Readers who love this genre already know their history. Beware the author who doesn’t check her facts for she will suffer the slings and arrows of critics who remind her that sycamores are an American tree and potatoes come from the New World. For the record, neither of those were my errors but I have heard from readers protesting facts that in other genres would be deemed unworthy of comment.

In historical fiction it’s not enough to be comfortable with the details of your chosen time period. You also have to get that information from your brain through your fingers and into the book in a way that doesn’t stop the flow. For me that requires writing out all the details I think I’ll need for a particular scene, say a meal in a merchant’s house. How many tables are there and how are they set? What’s on the floor? Where are the windows, if there are windows? Is there a newfangled chimney or is there a central hearth? What colors/designs are painted on the walls? What

furniture might there be besides the tables? Is there crockery? How does it smell? What sounds fill the air from nearby homes or their own workshops? Are they close enough to hear the bells from the nearest church? Are there regraters outside in the street selling goods? Is the neighboring merchant shouting out to passers-by about his wares?

Once I’ve answered those questions, I go back and tighten, tighten, tighten, eliminating this, shortening that, until there are just enough details to describe the scene without slowing the action. This is very hard to do for someone who writes history textbooks disguised as novels to educate unsuspecting readers. I want to share every cool fact I’ve learned. To protect my readers, I employ this mantra: “If I love it, take it out.”

 

 

From Lee Strauss author of the Ginger Gold and Higgins & Hawke mystery series.  

 

Murder aboard the flying scotsman Ginger goldMurder at the boat club Ginger gold

 

 

*How important is the setting in historical mysteries?

I would say very. The historical backdrop is almost like a character in itself. Readers love the details and historical trivia. Otherwise, you might as well stick to a contemporary setting.

 

 

From  Rhys Bowen author of the Royal Spyness mystery series.

 

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How important is setting for historical fiction writers?

Rhys: for me setting drives many of my stories. NAUGHTY IN NICE. TIME OF FOG AND FIRE. Etc etc

And it’s important to get every detail right. I read biographies, accounts of battles, diaries, study old maps.

 

Rhys Bowen

Lee Strauss

Denise Domning

 

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Interview with Historical Fiction Author Leila McGrath

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Interview with Leila McGrath

 

How did you get interested in history?

My interest must have begun in college, when a professor made history more interesting by telling stories which made past heroes real. Since then, I’ve learned that “truth is stranger than fiction”, and am regularly surprised by the limitless things that can happen in life. I also feel that great people of the past deserve to be remembered, and that we can learn from their lessons and mistakes. History is our connection with our ancestors, a continuation of life from our beginnings to our present to our future.

 

 

What fascinates you about the history of Ireland?

Ireland is one of the lesser-known, yet most fascinating places in the world. My interest began when I discovered my Irish ancestry, and with my first trip to Ireland I was so hooked, I felt more at home than in New York. Irish history is culturally rich, and archeologists are discovering sites and artifacts older and more advanced than the pyramids.

3D Map of Ireland

 

 

What’s your creative approach to writing a novel?

I never know where inspiration will come from. I was planning my first book to be about German immigrants in NYC, but on a bus tour in Dublin, our plans were changed from seeing Dublin Castle to seeing Christchurch Cathedral. That day changed my life. Visiting a place as old as the Vikings, feeling medieval tiles beneath my feet, and exploring the underground crypt gave me my first connection with ancient times. From then on, I decided to write about Ireland. I have been inspired by the most unexpected things, like fishing villages, plants, abandoned islands, and even an insane asylum in Wales (which I frequented as a visitor, I might add).

 

How has your writing process changed over the years?

I used to write from the seat of my pants, but found that subsequent editing required too many drafts, and plot and character fixing. Now I take my time—months–developing an inspiring idea, drawing an outline and doing research until I feel I really know my story and characters. That way, there are no major snags in the plot. Planning definitely shows in the development of the story, and the reader can tell.

 

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How do you write the historical tone of Ireland into your writing?

Historical wording is something I’ve experimented with in various ways for the past few years. At first, I wanted the language to be as modern as possible, as I was addressing a modern reader, and wanted more than just historical readers to enjoy my books. Then I went more literary, striving for heightened language, but found the readers weren’t as fond of that. Now I’m returning to simpler language (with occasionally sprinkled historical words) with a more engaging plot. As far as historical Irish elements, I generally try to make the characters speak with the grammar and vernacular of the culture, as well as using cultural items and situations of the time.

 

What’s the historical context of Dingle Ireland, 1579?

Ireland of the sixteenth century was under the rule of Elizabeth I, who was fighting a war with Spain. Therefore, Dingle, a busy port, was subject to British rule, Spanish interference, and smuggling, as well as destruction by local Irish warriors fighting against Elizabeth and among themselves. My book talks about the struggle of Ireland’s “Black Earl”, who fought Elizabeth and his relatives to maintain the estate which had been in his family for centuries, a fight which resulted in Dingle being burned a few times.

 

 

Ireland landscape

 

 

What are some fun facts from your research that aren’t in the book.

Studying about Dingle revealed interesting facts about struggles from other time periods as well, such as the potato famine’s effect on the town, which brought the establishment of the notorious workhouses, as well as the battle at Smerwick Harbour, where Irish soldiers were decimated by the English. The most fun part of research is always the travel. Dingle is the most magical place in the world. A road winds along cliff-laden coasts where one can catch unexpected views of ancient ringforts, famine cottages, Celtic runes, and the abandoned Blasket Islands. There are few untouched places in the world, but because of an Irish tradition to respect what remains, old sites are not taken down.

 

 

Who is Englishwoman Norma Le Blanc and what is she dealing with?

Norma is a fictional character who believes her religiousness makes her superior to everyone, but a carefree, Spanish smuggler who arrives poses the greatest challenge to her ideas. Norma is lonely without her family, who live in England, and finds companionship in Vicente, despite their differences, until she realizes she’s in love. They both have something to learn from one another, as Vicente struggles with his mother’s wish to maintain faith in a God, when it seems as if God has failed him. Through their relationship, Norma learns humility, while Vicente regains his ability to believe.

 

What did you enjoy most in writing The Smuggler’s visit?

Finishing it? Ha! I always enjoy writing, and every book is different, but the first draft was most enjoyable with this one. Because my outline was established, I went off to a cabin in upstate NY and typed away to my heart’s content, finishing the first draft in two weeks. The editing process took much longer.

 

What were the most challenging aspects?

Finding detailed information about Dingle’s history was a challenge. Irish history isn’t as well-published as in other countries, and much of the Dingle info was in books or documents in their local library. Thanks to a local historian, I was able to get what I needed.

 

 

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Do you have a favorite quote?

I collect them and have so many! But I came across this the other day, by Einstein: “Failure is just success in progress.” I think that’s a good thing for us to remember, every time we challenge ourselves to do better.

 

 

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Interview with Author D.M. Pulley

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Interview with D.M. Pulley

 

*In the beginning of your writing career you underlined the struggles you had, but in the end you said, “But I had  a story to tell.” I love that! Can you tell us about this feeling?

 

The building that inspired The Dead Key haunted me for ten years before I really sat down to write the story. In that time, I changed jobs, I got married, and I had children, but no matter where life took me, the abandoned vault below the Euclid Avenue and its unclaimed safe deposit boxes followed. It nagged at me in daydreams and every time I picked up a novel. Whenever I talked about the vacant building with friends, I could tell they were intrigued. When I considered what treasures and secrets had been left buried in the basement of that old bank, my toes would curl up with anticipation. The story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

 

*How did the story about the torso killer emerge and made you want to tell it?

 

Another abandoned building in Cleveland inspired The Unclaimed Victim. I had no idea that the Torso Killer would become the focus of the story. I just began researching the empty Union Gospel Press building’s history, particularly its years as a religious mission in the 1920s and 1930s, and became fascinated with the nun-like “Sallies” that lived there and the city of Cleveland during the Great Depression. The labyrinthine factory cried out for a serial killer in the mold of H.H. Holmes (see Devil in the White City by Erik Larson), and the Torso Killer became an obvious, albeit daunting, choice. So much has been written about the Torso Murders, I was reluctant to take on these true crimes, but as I delved into the research, it became clear that not every story about the murders had been told.

 

*Describe how you came up with the title, The Unclaimed Victim.

 

With this book, I wanted to tell a serial killer story from the victims’ perspective. So many thrillers are told from the detective’s or the killer’s point of view, and the victims become more like objects than people. The fact that only three of the thirteen official Torso victims were ever identified or claimed by their families struck me as another injustice of these crimes. It was my intent to breathe life into the Torso Killer victims with the hope that one might just get away.

 

*What was your first reaction when you heard about the Torso killer?

 

First I was horrified, then morbidly fascinated, then ultimately skeptical of the official findings. The Torso Killer became a media sensation as one of the nation’s most notorious maniacs back in a time before the term “serial killer” even existed. The detectives and coroners that worked the case were certainly devoted and professional, but they had no concept of modern profiling or access to modern forensics. After looking at the facts, I couldn’t shake the feeling that some evidence and potential suspects slipped through the cracks. The killer was never officially identified.

 

 

 

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*Describe your experience writing about him, the unclaimed victim, and the final conclusion (no spoilers of course!).

 

It took eight months of research and drafting to really find the story I wanted to tell and another several months to finish it. I don’t outline, so I usually don’t know the answer to the mystery until I write the ending. As a result, I’m on the edge of my seat as the final scenes unfold. The process of writing this book took me to some pretty dark places where I considered murder on an intimate level from many angles, and asked myself almost daily what it would take for me to kill someone. My kids gave me funny looks for a few weeks there.

 

 

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*How does it feel knowing the success you have today versus the struggles you began with?

 

I feel unbelievably lucky that my books have found an audience and I am able to write full time right now. I try to be thankful each day I sit down to work. I am currently editing my fourth novel, and I’ve found that every book presents different struggles and challenges. I still try to write my first draft like nobody will ever read it. I still worry the literary police will take me away in handcuffs any day now for impersonating a writer.

 

*Do you like historical fiction?

 

I love historical fiction, but I generally prefer to write and read stories about the 20th century. Some of my favorites right now are The Paris Wife by Paula McClain, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and The Stranger House by Reginald Hill.

 

 

 

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*Are your stories always based upon true crime?

 

I like to use real history as a backdrop for my stories. The Dead Key wasn’t based on true crime as much as Cleveland’s history of political corruption and financial default. Similarly, The Buried Book was inspired by true events like the 1953 Flint-Beecher tornadoes and Detroit-area history. My third and fourth novels were inspired by true crimes from Cleveland’s past.

 

*What would you say to all the struggling writers out there?

 

Keep writing. Keep reading. Don’t fall in love with your words; just find and follow the story. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. Always be willing to re-write, rework, and re-examine. Don’t give up. I also recommend reading craft books including On Writing by Stephen King, No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.  

 

*What are you working on next?

 

My fourth book is a historical mystery about a hundred-year-old mansion in Shaker Heights, Ohio and the decades of secrets and lies hidden behind its facade.

 

 

 

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About D. M. Pulley

Before becoming a full-time writer, D.M. Pulley worked as a Professional Engineer, rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley’s structural survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The disappearance of a family member formed the basis for her second historical mystery, The Buried Book. Pulley’s third novel, The Unclaimed Victim, delves into the dark history behind Cleveland’s Torso Killer and is due out November 14, 2017. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a dog named Hobo, and she is hard at work on her fourth book.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Robin Hood’s Dawn – Book one

Robin Hood's Dawn

 

 

Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

England, 1154-1194
A kingdom under assault.
A conspiracy born of anarchy.
A hero standing against tyranny.

 

 

Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood.

Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.

 

 

 

Robin Hood - Merry Men. Date: circa 1860

 

 

 

“Robin Hood’s Dawn is historical fiction at it’s best.”

 

 

 

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Authors Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer deliver a masterful new tale on Robin Hood. The flavor is authentic. The setting, dialogue, characters, customs, made for an impressive novel. One new delicious twist on this spin on Robin Hood is the role that Lady Marian plays throughout the book. Their blazing relationship is the centerpiece of the entire book. I’m amazed at how well this book was written. Can’t wait for book two!

 

 

 

 

To Excel, Best Quality Service, Excellence

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia Longueville image

 

 

Olivia Longueville has degrees in finance and general management from London Business School. Currently, she is working in investment banking and is also helping her father run the family business.

Longueville loves historical fiction, considering herself an amateur historian, and she is passionate about historical research, genealogy, and art. She has undertaken in-depth research into the history of the Valois dynasty, the French Renaissance, the Tudors, and the Plantagenets.

As an established published writer of Between Two Kings, she is interested in creating strong and diverse characters, and giving voice to stories that are unique, compelling, inspiring, and amusing.

 

 

 

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J.C. Plummer graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology. She then earned a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Science from Dartmouth College.

Growing up on a small farm in Kansas, Plummer developed a lifelong fascination with history and a curiosity about other cultures and people. Coauthoring The Robin Hood Trilogy has merged her passions for history, culture, and technology into one unique, exciting project.

As an author and historian, Plummer’s goal is to provide thoughtful and entertaining storytelling that honors the past, is mindful of the present, and is optimistic for the future.

To learn more about her book, Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy, visit www.angevinworld.com.

 

 

 

 

Join the Robin Hood Giveaway!

Robins Hood's Dawn Book Cover

 

 

Join the Robin Hood Giveaway!!

Simply like, comment on this post, or click to follow and automatically enter into a drawing for the FREE BOOK.

 

 

 

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Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

 
England, 1154-1194:

  • A kingdom under assault.
  • A conspiracy born of anarchy.
  • A hero standing against tyranny.

 
Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood.

Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.

 

 

 

Today only deal Robin Hood

 

 

 

Like, comment, or click to follow and automatically enter a drawing for the FREE BOOK.

Blog Tour: Robin Hood’s Dawn

 

Robins Hood's Dawn Book Cover

 

 

 

Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

 

 

 

England, 1154-1194
A kingdom under assault.
A conspiracy born of anarchy.
A hero standing against tyranny.

Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood.

Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.

 

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

 

Authors Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer combine to produce a stunning work of art in Robin Hood’s Dawn, Book one in the Robin Hood Trilogy. The first sense I had in reading this book was like being in the setting with the characters. I truly believe that those who can write quality historical fiction are some of the best writers out there.

My second realization was the originality and richness of historical detail. This really puts you on the ground alongside the characters.

Third, the scenes in the book are quite stunning and captivating in their depiction and prose. My favorite scene is where Lady Marion and Robin are reunited at a certain point professing their love to one another. I don’t want to give away too many details here if you haven’t read it yet. But, it was literally dripping with rich prose that flowed back and forth between them. I can tell the authors really enjoyed writing that one.

 

Looking forward to the next book!

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Q&A with Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy

 

 

 

Q&A

 

 

 

Robin Hood has been featured in many books, movies, and television shows. How is your story different?

 
We have taken a fresh approach to the Robin Hood story, and we’re excited to share our vision with fans of the legendary hero. 

We have creatively reimagined the origins of the Robin Hood legend, which includes exploring the complexity of his family dynamics – an aloof, proud father loyal to King Henry II, and a kind-hearted, generous mother devoted to ministering to the poor with her gift for healing. One theme is that the consequences of immoral actions and secret sins can reverberate across generations, and this is part of the legacy that Robin receives from his father.

We wanted to cast him as a hero fighting against the tyranny of a lawless government official instead of a bandit redistributing wealth. When Robin is falsely accused of a shocking crime by the new Sheriff of Nottingham, he could have simply retreated to a safe place beyond the reach of the sheriff. However, he feels a responsibility to the people – he believes in the intrinsic value of every human being – so he takes a stand to defend the people from the actions of the sheriff. And this points to another theme: one person can make a difference by taking a stand for what is right.

Robin also feels great admiration for the newly crowned King Richard the Lionhearted. His loyalty to the king will create a number of conflicts and unexpected consequences in the story.

Lastly, we wanted to set our Robin Hood story in a fascinating time period: the 12th century. In our humble opinion, the 12th century has much to offer fans of sweeping tales of political, social, and spiritual upheaval.

We have carefully constructed our story within the framework of real history. We hope that this realism and devotion to actual history will add to the enjoyment of the story and encourage people to learn more about this time.

 

 

 

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You’ve emphasized how your Robin Hood story has been reimagined. Will fans of the traditional ballads still recognize this as a Robin Hood story?




There is a lot of variety in the many books and screen adaptations of the Robin Hood legend. We wanted to create a story that was respectful towards fans of the original ballads and legends without necessarily adhering to the same storylines that have been previously written. It is our hope that all Robin Hood fans will enjoy this fresh retelling of the story.

 

 

For example, we feel that Marian is a character who deserves more attention. All too often she is a background character with little to do. With this in mind, we have focused on creating a Lady Marian who will figure more prominently in the story, especially in book 2.

Our Marian is more than a love interest for Robin. Over the course of Robin Hood’s Dawn, Marian transforms from a sheltered, somewhat pampered, girl into a brave woman who continuously strives to overcome both her fears and the obstacles that she faces. We also wanted her to be feminine and remain believable as a woman of the 12th century. Of course, keep in mind that the most prominent woman of the 12th century was the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, an inspiration to any woman living in a male-dominated society.

Fans of the Robin Hood legend will find many familiar characters: Maid Marian, Little John, Allan-a- dale, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller’s son, Guy of Gisborne, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Readers will also meet real historical figures such as King Stephen, King Henry II, Richard the Lionhearted, King Philippe II of France, Prince John “Lackland”, and many others, including Ranulphus Besace. Who was he? Well, he was a real person who was King Richard’s personal physician!

 

 

 

 

Lady Marion Robin hood

 

 

 

 

This book is advertised as the first in a trilogy. Will the first two books end in cliff- hangers? Will any of the books be stand-alone?




Although the final mysteries and conflicts will not be resolved until book 3, we have structured the trilogy so that books 1 and 2 do not end in cliffhangers.

The readers will not be left wondering whether the main characters will live or die, and we have endeavored to create a sense of completion in each of the first two books. Some story threads will be resolved, and some of the mysteries surrounding the main characters will be revealed in each of the first two books.

We think readers will be excited and eager for the next installment without suffering undue frustration at the endings of books 1 and 2.

The books will not be stand-alone.

 

 

 

Book Robin hood trilogy

 

 

 

 

How did each of you become interested in writing this story and working together as co-authors?




Olivia:
I love to tell stories with multi-dimensional characters. I speak several languages, and I found that I enjoyed not only writing stories but also writing them in different languages. My favorite legendary hero is Robin Hood, and my favorite historical figure is Anne Boleyn.

 

My first novel is an English-language re-imagining of the story of Anne Boleyn. 
In 2015, I met Coleen (J.C.) on the Internet and we decided to co author a Robin Hood Trilogy.

It is amazing that Coleen and I have managed to successfully work together on our project despite the fact that we have never met each other in real life. We talk on the phone and frequently exchange skype messages as well as emails. We have been working together long- distance despite living in very different time zones.

Coleen (J.C.)
I began writing about three years ago. I had previously done editing work for other authors, but I had never thought about writing my own stories until one day when I was suddenly inspired to start writing, and I’ve been writing nearly non-stop ever since.

I wanted to write a book that would honor the legend of Robin Hood as a man who stood against the tyranny of a powerful government official; a man who fought for justice and fairness because he recognized the intrinsic value rooted in the humanity of all people.

 

 

 
 

writing robin hood dawn

 

 

 

 

So, you’ve never actually met, you come from different countries, different cultures, and speak different languages. How can you co-author a book? Is it because you have similar writing styles?




Coleen:
Fortunately, Olivia is fluent in English, because that’s the only language I know!

Olivia:
We have found that we have a lot in common – especially our love of writing and of history. We have to work hard to merge our writing styles, but we have successfully done this.

Coleen:
That’s very true. Oliva and I have very different “voices” and writing styles. You might even say they are nearly opposite styles.

I tend to write in a straightforward, expository style, with a minimum of descriptive elements and metaphorical flourishes. I am good at explaining things, organizing ideas, and creating natural sounding dialogue.

Olivia:
My writing is characterized by lush romanticism and passionate lyricism. I love to create metaphors and descriptions which excite the imagination of the reader in a vivid and dramatic way.

Coleen:
In some respects, Olivia’s words are the emotional heart of the story, and my words represent the rational intellect. Of course, it’s not quite that cut-and- dried, but it is one way to describe how two people with such different styles have come together to create Robin Hood’s Dawn.

 

 

 

 

Author Olivia Longueville robin hood

 

Olivia Longueville

 

Author JC Plummer Robin hood

J.C. Plummer

 

 

 
 

Robins Hood's Dawn Book Cover

 

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: The Woman in the Camphor Trunk

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Audiobook Blog Tour!

 

 

 

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Anna Blanc Camphor Trunk 1

 

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

Narrator: Moira Quirk

Length: 10 hours 50 minutes

Publisher: Jennifer Kincheloe⎮20

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

Series: Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 2

Release date: Nov. 14, 2017

 

 

Synopsis: Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.

Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.

Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family’s sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

 

 

Buy Links

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Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

This book was quality historical fiction in my opinion. I found it extremely entertaining on many levels!  Anna Blanc is a very delightful, fiercely independent character. The Narrator was the perfect medium for this book. She fully brought the characters to life! Jennifer has created one of the most memorable characters that I can remember. Anna Blanc reminds me of the talented young sleuth, Flavia de Luce.

Loved all the interpersonal conflict, tension among the characters. Very well written. Jennifer Kincheloe is a good writer.

 

 

 

Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

See my review of the Narrator performance here: The Woman in the Camphor Trunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?

I liken it to a movie vs. a TV series. You simply have more time to develop the characters. You know them so well.You also have the challenge of making them grow or change in every book. Sustaining the romance is a trick, but I love how Elizabeth Peters did it in the Amelia Peabody series. It never got old. The audiobooks of that series are seriously the best I’ve ever heard (after Moira). They relate the adventures of a woman Egyptologist in the late 19th and early 20th century. Start with CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK. You’ll thank me.

 

 

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Write for yourself. Not for money, critics, or glory. Only write for yourself.

 

 

What’s next for you?

I have a contract for book three in the Anna Blanc mystery series, which I’ve tentatively titled GRIFFITH PARK. It’s hard to describe the plot because there’s a twist in the beginning and I’m not sure how much to reveal, but it’s more Anna and Joe, more adventures, more LA history straight from the papers.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

 

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.

 

 

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About the Narrator: Moira Quirk

Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself.  Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”

 

 

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Secret life of Anna Blanc

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Elderhaus by Anne Carmichael

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Gertrude spent the better part of her adult life scouring Europe for Helmut Klingenfelter, the father who vanished not only from her life and that of her mother but had forsaken everyone in his past.
With midlife looming on the horizon, Gertie made the decision to stop chasing the ghosts of the past and return to her childhood home of Pitch Pine, where she purchased a century-old house at 1211 Castle Lane sight unseen.
Elderhaus, as it came to be known, had a mysterious past of its own, one that would threaten more than Gertrude’s desire for finding happiness.

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

 

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There is something about this book that draws you into it’s story. Who is Gertie Klingenfelter? And what happened to her father Helmut? It takes you down a path discovering her roots and mysterious family history. Finally she decides to return to her home town, Pitch Pine.

I found the setting of Pitch Pine with it’s characters to be very endearing ! There’s something about them that sticks out begging you to find out more. Gertie’s family history is heart wrenching but makes the story that much more resonant.

Quality writing with good characters. What else can you ask for? Recommended!

 

 

 

 

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Anne Carmichael

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: Davenport House Book 1

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Goodreads Description

Davenport House is the first book in a family saga following the wealthy Davenports and their servants in 1915 America.

Mary Davenport is a 22-year-old idealist who worries that the world in the Progressive Era is leaving her behind. She lives isolated in the Pennsylvania countryside with her affluent and secretive family. When her father dies suddenly, Mary becomes pained with grief and increasingly suspicious of those around her.

A humble servant girl has the chance of a lifetime to become a lady’s companion. Costly dresses, exquisite rooms, and fine dinners are pleasant distractions from what is really happening in the house.

 

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

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Page Turner!

This book was a delight to read! It quickly became a page turner as I got used to the characters and sought for answers.

 

Mystery

I really loved that this was a historical mystery set in the progressive era.  Mary’s father died, or was he murdered? The Family saga begins at this point sending poor Mary on a wild goose chase. Very entertaining!

 

Characters

Loved every character. Family drama and secrets made it even more intriguing. I found myself sucked into the story through Mary’s experience, her servant girl and the household. Marie Silk does a great job this. This was a strong point throughout the book. Character interaction and dialogue was superb.

 

 

Can’t wait to finish the second book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marie Silk

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Forensic Lenses: History with Suzanne Adair

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It’s time for another edition of Forensic Lenses

 

An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of voracious readers everywhere.

 

Today we’ll be spending time with award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair.

 

 

 

 

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WELCOME SUZANNE!

 

Suzanne is an award-winning author of historical crime fiction set during the American Revolution. She is also one of our talented participating authors in this years Mystery Thriller Week  event Feb. 12-22. Don’t miss it!

 

 

Suzanne currently has two series:

Mysteries of the American Revolution series

Paper Woman

The Blacksmith’s Daughter

Camp Follower

 

Michael Stoddard American Revolution Mysteries

Deadly Occupation

Regulated for Murder

A Hostage to Heritage

 

 

 

 

 

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When you read a book, what is your perception? What do you really see?

 

 

We all perceive things a bit differently. The subtle shifts in perception makes all the difference from person to person. The faculty of sight may be the same, however the interpretation and reflection is quite different. Different indeed.

Now come, let us see through the eyes of yet another talented author…

 

 

*Who shaped your reading experience as a child?

Preschool, my reading experience was shaped by my mother, a schoolteacher. After that it was shaped by peers, popular television shows like Star Trek, and the Space Program. (I’m a native of Florida.)

I really appreciate how important early reading experiences are. They help sow the seeds that develop much later in life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Which books had the most impact on you in the early years?

In elementary school I devoured books in the Nancy Drew series. I also enjoyed biographies of women like Sacajawea and Abigail Adams. Later I shifted to reading classic science fiction, horror, historical fiction, and mysteries.

I’ve heard many authors begin with the Nancy Drew series! Sounds like you have a wide ranging interest in books.

 

 

 

 

 

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*How did you develop a love for history?

That didn’t happen until I’d graduated from high school—where I had to memorize dates and details of long-ago battles without much context—and had the room to appreciate Florida’s fascinating history. When I studied history on my own, I discovered how horribly biased high-school history had been. History became fascinating because it was no longer sanitized.

Oh wow. You had quite an eye opening experience. I wonder why history books are biased? I’m sure that would open up a few can of worms!!

 

 

 

 

 

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*Did you read historical fiction or texts in high school?

Yes, I read biographies of people who’d lived centuries earlier. I tried reading historical romances, but although the historical periods often inspired me to research them on my own, the characters did not appeal to me.

Wow. Not too many teenagers read historical biographies. This is rather impressive. If I were to start with biographies it’d be deathly boring. Reading historical fiction would have the reverse effect however. 

 

 

 

 

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*Which books developed your love for science fiction?

Most fiction written by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, H.P. Lovecraft, and Poul Anderson. Andre Norton’s “Witchworld.” Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern.” Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover.”

Great group of authors!!

 

 

 

*What sources do you read for American history?

In the last twenty years, there’s been a surge of research published by scholars and historians on the Southern theater of the American Revolution. That’s the setting for my series, and in the back of each of my novels, I include a one-page bibliography of those works that were helpful.

Oh good. I hope to get a copy of a few of your books soon. 

 

 

 

 

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*Name 3 of your favorite historical people.

Enheduanna, Hannibal Barca, Dag Hammarskjöld

Yikes. Never heard of these guys. 

 

 

*Name 3 things you hate about American history education.

Only three? Gee. It downplays or omits the successes of the “enemy” while downplaying or omitting American mistakes. It offers almost no hands-on interaction with historical elements, so it’s boring. And you don’t learn specific examples of how history repeats itself.

Now I can smell the bias there. It’s amazing what we willingly omit from the truth. 

 

 

 

 

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*What draws you to the American Revolution?

Religion was losing its stranglehold over people’s thinking as well as the running of governments during that time. Scientific thinking and processes were emerging as acceptable. Women also had more freedoms during the Revolution than they did prior to the war or for more than a century afterward. And with industry gaining momentum, the average person was no longer totally dependent upon handmade items.

Rather intriguing! 

 

 

 

 

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*Besides the revolution what are your favorite parts of history?

I’m fascinated with early civilizations, such as the people of the Indus Valley, Anatolia, and Sumer. However some periods of history I avoid because they’ve been done to death: Tudor, Elizabethan, Regency, Victorian, and recently WW1.

I have interest in the early civilizations as well. Most recently, the early native Americans. 

 

 

 

“History is formed by the people, those who have power and those without power. Each one of us makes history.”-Anselm Kiefer

 

 

 

 

*Name historical fiction authors or books you enjoy.

Ellis Peters, Mary Stewart, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ashley Gardner, Daphne du Maurier.

Thanks! I always love good recommendations. 

 

 

 

*Who are your favorite science fiction characters?

I have a soft spot for many of the characters (guests and regulars) of Star Trek: the Original Series as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also Lois McMaster Bujold’s protagonist Cordelia Naismith in Shards of Honor and Barrayar; and Maggie Black, protagonist in Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife. And, of course, Princess Leia.

Hard not to like the old Star Trek classics. I love what they’ve done with the new series too. I’m a big fan of the Fringe, Star Wars, 100 etc. The list go on and on…

 

 

 

 

At the Scene of the Crime…

 

 

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*Name 3-5 pet peeves as a reader.

o Breaking a promise to the reader or otherwise not playing fair

o Creating a stupid villain or antagonist

o Dumping in pages of description or backstory that can easily be skipped

o Giving a protagonist unmerited rewards

*If you were a time traveler where would you go?

The future.

One that would bother me the most would be a stupid villain. I personally believe that ruins the entire story.

 

 

 

 

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*Which historical customs would you bring into our society?

o Courtesy and politeness. In my lifetime, I’ve seen people become outrageously rude.

Instead of finding it appalling, society now considers rudeness entertainment.

o A thirst for knowledge. Where have all the critical thinkers gone?

I always enjoy seeing the different responses to this question. Your last response is rather intriguing. 

 

 

 

 

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*If you had to marry someone in the American Revolution who would it be?

It would be someone with many of John Adams’s qualities, but he needn’t necessarily be a patriot. In addition to being intelligent, Adams recognized and appreciated the intelligence of women. He didn’t chase petticoats like Ben Franklin did. He wasn’t a party animal like his cousin Sam, or Paul Revere, or John Hancock. (Wow, get those three together, and they’d drink all your booze.) He wasn’t weird, like Thomas Jefferson was. He also didn’t allow sentiment to derail his logic, demonstrated by his ability to successfully represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston “Massacre.”

Wonderful. I need to learn more about John Adams. I have a  book about him buried deep in my TBR list. 

 

 

 

 

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THANKS SUZANNE!!!

 

 

 

*****

 

 

Bio:

Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in North Carolina. Her mysteries transport readers to the Southern theater of the American Revolution, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and hiking.

 

 

Social media links:

Website and Blog | Quarterly Electronic Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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Universal buy link for Deadly Occupation: Click here

 

 

Description for Deadly Occupation:

A wayward wife, a weapons trafficker, and a woman with “second sight”—it’s a puzzle that would have daunted any investigator. But Michael Stoddard wasn’t just any investigator. Late January 1781, in coastal North Carolina, patriots flee before the approach of the Eighty-Second Regiment, leaving behind defenseless civilians to surrender the town of Wilmington to the Crown. The regiment’s commander assigns Lieutenant Michael Stoddard the tasks of tracking down a missing woman and probing into the suspicious activities of an unusual church. But as soon as Michael starts sniffing around, he discovers that some of those not-so- defenseless civilians are desperately hiding a history of evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!!! Don’t be a stranger…

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com