Bestselling French Novel, The Rocheforts by Christian Laborie, Translated to English: Sweeping Family Saga of Industrialist in Early 1900s

rocheforts-cover

The Rocheforts, Information~

by Christian Laborie

(fiction / saga)

Release date: May 5, 2015

from Open Road Integrated Media

484 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4804-6120-8

Goodreads

Synopsis~

Two very different families are bonded by scandal in this sweeping story of love, greed, and betrayal.

Anselme Rochefort has built an empire manufacturing serge de Nîmes, or denim. His biggest client? Levi Strauss. As the craze for blue jeans begins to sweep the globe, Rochefort Industries seems poised for untold success. But Anselme can be as cruel and ruthless with his family as he is in business.

The Rocheforts’ neighbor Donatien Rouvière has one of the region’s most prosperous farms and is desperate for a son to carry on his legacy. After the births of three daughters, the Rouvières adopt an orphan from the Sisters of Charity convent and raise him as their own.

When Anselme suggests uniting the two families by arranging for their children to marry, it seems like the perfect match. But as the lives of the two clans grow increasingly intertwined, dark secrets come to light, including the mysterious circumstances of the death of Anselme’s eldest daughter.

With The Rocheforts, Christian Laborie weaves a captivating tale of deceit, intrigue, and the dynamic tension between industrialization and a way of life rooted in the land.

Review~

I really love a good family saga, or this case, an epic saga at almost 500 pages. Don’t let the length deter you though, as you might not even feel like it’s such a length once you start flipping the screen pages. It’s a translated novel, from French to English, and the author’s first English novel. But he’s an author of many other novels in France. Possibly with a writing-style much like most foreign authors, in which they tend to tell their story and be less visual, or maybe due to it being translated, it could be a bit more stiff rather than showy; however, I feel that it still is very readable as the character drama propels the reader.

I used to love to watch the old family style sweeping historical mini-series showings on Masterpiece Theater, or other like channels, when I was a child. I still love them. But I do like books even better. Something about them really captivates me, as I enjoy reading of these rich and prosperous or such families in history. When I read the synopsis for this one, in which the family of Rocheforts, who live in de Nimes (and make denim, isn’t that cool where the word comes from?), and of the Rouvière,who are their farming neighbors, I was entranced already. I continued to be delighted upon reading. The novel takes us from 1898 and 30 years past, into the effects of World War I and the financial crash. We see the marriage of children in the family, adoptions, deaths, and the many facets of the political and social upheavals this time period brings.

It also has some suspense at the beginning, which created a few mysteries, but one that wasn’t too difficult to figure out or was the main basis of the book. It was character and drama driven with good research into the history of the time period. It told of romance, economic class struggles, family issues, murder and mystery, politics, and industry. I thought it was interesting how all five Rochefort children had such different personalities and were all well-developed–some liked, some not. The character of the Rochefort patriarch was strong, as he was owner of the legacy and fortune (passed to him from his father), and also with one of his sons to whom he passed down his cold demeanor, and we see his terrible personality unfold as he strives to put back together a family fortune and reputation he’s all but lost.

I did especially enjoy the sections on the textiles and denim, though, which was their business. The juxtaposition of the Rochefort’s industrial life was contrasted well against the life of the other family, who made their money off the land. We could easily see how personalities are made or changed with wealth sometimes and we see how intertwining such families really could cause future issues. Yet, we also see shining light of how it could work as well.

There truly was so much happening in this novel, with twists and turns in regard to family and life struggles, so that the book was easy to remain attached to and that helped propel me through the novel. I love reading family histories, especially during this time period of major industrial and financial change.

I’m not sure when this was originally published, but it reads like those wonderful family sagas from decades ago. I miss those, with the writing today that is so action focused. There is something to be said about this type of book. It had a vintage historical feel that I really liked and I enjoyed being able to slow down and read this book over time, without losing any momentum on it.

I would highly recommend this book if you like dramatic familial novels, showing decades of ancestors with all their secrets, lies, and anguish. Personally, I love books about turn-of-the-century industrialists and how they lived, so I really liked this one. I can fully see why this novel was a best-seller when it first published in France.

Author Christian Laborie, Biography~

Rocheforts - Laborie

Christian Laborie was born in the North of France, but has lived in the southern region of Cévennes for more than twenty years. The Rocheforts is his first novel to be published in English.

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Giveaway~

You can enter the global giveaway at the Entry-Form link below or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

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Global giveaway open internationally:
5 winners will receive 1 digital copy of The Rocheforts

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Interview with the Intelligent History-loving Journalist, Editor, and Author Nancy Bilyeau

Hi, Nancy! Welcome back to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I was thrilled to read your newest book, The Tapestry, and readers can see my review HERE and a phenomenal article by you HERE, in which you speak about what makes a historian and what you offer your readers when you write a book!

Nancy: I love your blog—and you know that! I really love the engagement you get from your followers. And also I think we are kindred spirits because we both love historical fiction AND we work in the media. That combo doesn’t come along every day.

I agree, Nancy! Thank you! :D It’s always my joy to have you here, and now, with the release of The Tapestry, which is the third novel in your Joanna Stafford historical mystery series! It seems like a whirlwind. How have you kept up with book babies and full-time life at the same time? What’s been most exciting about the release of this final novel in the trilogy?

01_The Tapestry

Nancy: It’s been crazy. I’m not getting more than five hours of sleep a night because I’m trying to put out the books on top of working fulltime and having two kids to raise. Two nights after The Tapestry came out, I was at a parent teacher conference for three hours. The high school has five floors, no elevator. I thought I would pass out.

Erin: I haven’t put out a book yet, but I do know that feeling! So, it’s still time for tea, coffee, or whatever is your pleasure, even though it’s warming up? I think I’m going to be having some coffee myself today, a latte, or maybe a hot Chai tea. I think we should just head out to a nearby café? We both could use a boost and I want to come to the CITY!

Nancy: I think my bloodstream is 50 percent coffee. A Dunkin Donuts large will keep me going all day. But for this conversation, let’s head to a small bohemian café and I’ll order a cappuccino.

Erin: That sounds lovely, the weather is perfect. We can even talk about the Wolf Hall episode from last night. Let’s settle in, warm our hands, and I think I’ll stay awhile. I’m ready for some down time. I’m sure you are too. However, I might not go easy on the questions!

Nancy:  I’m ready for anything. An open book!

Erin: I know your books “can” be read stand alone and enjoyed, but I also know that if you read them all there is a bit more that you get out of it as a series. So, first of all, I was thinking about the book titles in your series the other day. What is the tie that binds them all? There, of course, is a progression in your novels based on an overall ARC, so how can you the enlighten readers who haven’t read all your books with the thought behind the titles?

Nancy: First of all, my original title for The Crown was The Last Nun. I STILL like that title. LOL. My publisher changed it to The Crown. Since they did that, I felt like the next one should be a single word descriptive noun. I picked The Chalice. I thought it would help the branding to make it “C.” My idea for the third was “The Covenant.” I sold it on that title. After I finished writing it, they said it had to be changed because they’d published a thriller with that title a few years earlier.  I couldn’t come up with another “C” title that didn’t sound contrived. The Tapestry was the most accurate title, and also it sounds intriguing.

the crown

Erin: I have my own thoughts, but without giving away an spoilers, or reading experience, how do you feel  that Joanna has grown as a character from the first book, The Crown, to this third book, The Tapestry? Did you plan it this way, or did Joanna take the lead?

Nancy: She took the lead. Always. I think Joanna became more compassionate over the series and more confident too. Perhaps the same could be said of me.

this is a building open to the public today in Dartford. A part of this red-brick building is the gatehouse raised in 1539 on the rubble of the priory of nuns. After the Dominican priory was "surrendered" to the king, it was demolished and a large manor house built on the site, using some of the bricks of the nuns' home. The gatehouse was part of the property. It was a home for Henry VIII but he never stayed there. He gave the house to Anne of Cleves after he divorced her

Caption: This is a building open to the public today in Dartford. A part of this red-brick building is the gatehouse raised in 1539 on the rubble of the priory of nuns. After the Dominican priory was “surrendered” to the king, it was demolished and a large manor house built on the site, using some of the bricks of the nuns’ home. The gatehouse was part of the property. It was a home for Henry VIII but he never stayed there. He gave the house to Anne of Cleves after he divorced her. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bilyeau.

Erin: I agree with that, Nancy! I know you’ve loved reading Tudor history since you were a girl. But where did the final drive come from to write about a Dominican novice in the middle of the Reformation? Why create her as the lead?

Nancy: I wanted to write something original. And I wanted to write books that were full of conflict and drama, and what could be more dramatic than being driven out of your home with no clue on what to do with the rest of your life? That is what happened to the nuns and monks and friars.

Erin: Why do you feel that sharing a story outside of the more everyday widely-known Tudor names, and placing the first two settings away from court, was something that was right for you with your series? Do you think readers appreciated this? And furthermore, why then did you feel it was time for Joanna to go to court in The Tapestry?

Nancy: I got a lot of positive feedback about writing novels set outside of the main “action” of the court of Henry VIII. People seem interested. I have read some fantastic historical fiction that features the real-life royals of the period. But for me, at the end of the day, no matter how high level the writing gets—as with Hilary Mantel’s books—these stories are reanimating the dead. You’re taking people from an extremely well-known nonfiction template and giving it your own spin. I want to create people from my imagination. But I do add “real” people in secondary roles to make it even more fun. I sent Joanna into Whitehall into Book Three because I felt it was time for a showdown.

Erin: What are some of your favorite memories of anything Tudor you absorbed yourself in when you were younger? Did any of them leak into your novels either for fun, or by accident?

Nancy: Watching “Elizabeth R” with my parents on television. It was magical—and very influential for me. I think Joanna has a little Elizabeth Tudor in her, don’t you?

The Chalice

Erin: I completely do! You’re right! You chose Joanna to be a Stafford, and therefore, she’s also related to King Henry VIII. Of all the sub-sets of families that are ancestrally related to the Tudors, which one is your favorite and why?

Nancy: The Staffords! They are so doomed and aristocratic and they make all the wrong choices. LOL. This has all taken over my life to the extent that when I read some bit of history about an early Stafford, I react personally, with pride or annoyance. I have to remind myself, these are not MY ancestors.

Erin: Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII’s fifth queen, plays a much larger role in The Tapestry, due to the progression of the novel into that time period right before and into her being his wife. I also know that you have a much variant opinion of her than most. Can you discuss how you portray Howard in your book and why?

Nancy: There is a huge double standard about Catherine, her possible—not proven– affair with Thomas Culpepper is treated as if she was extremely promiscuous. It is part of history that in her lifetime the powers that be agreed she should die for suspected infidelity, when the men who were never faithful underwent no criticism. But do we have to take that attitude in the 21st century?

Erin: Um, yes, it seems we haven’t learned much in our world today, same double standard! Well, most of the time. Being named The Tapestry, and with the art of tapestry making being involved in your novels, I should ask, did it just fit based on the setting and characters you created in your novels? Or did you have a love of tapestries or tapestry-making? How much research did you have to do on tapestries and what was something interesting you found or can you share a beautiful tapestry you spotted?

Nancy: I was somewhat interested in tapestry making before I wrote these novels, my father was a landscape artist and I just love art. I did a lot of research into Renaissance tapestries—it was an exquisite world that allowed the very wealthy to both show off and to express something. When Henry VIII broke with Rome, he commissioned a series of tapestries of King David.

Erin: I love tapestries! At the Cleveland Museum of Art, they have a bunch of donated tapestries from France and England. Beautiful! Also, they kept the heat in amid the chill of the castles!!

 Let’s just put this out there. You like cathedrals, monasteries, etc. Old things made from rock. You like tombs. So, what famous tombs and effigies would you like to visit from this era? What were the most fun or interesting ones you’ve found? Additionally, if you’ve visited any, which ones were your favorites?

Nancy: I love tombs. I’d pay decent money to someone if they could explain WHY. I wish I could spend every weekend hunting down ruins in England. Sadly, I live in America. But I can get my fix at the Cloisters Museum of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They have fantastic tombs and effigies.

When I went to Dartford to research, I found the remains of the priory: a 16th century gatehouse that was built immediately afterward and a long, low wall. They’ve done a bit of excavating and found objects like a green-glazed dish for food dating to the 1500s. From the era I write about, if I could put back together any of those monasteries it would be Blackfriars, the Dominican friary in London. Once it was a palace and complex of buildings housing libraries and chambers large enough to contain Parliament and rooms of great beauty. Now it’s gone. Just rubble—two gravestones, that’s it! I found those gravestones during one of my hunts for monastic remains in London.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Bilyeau

Caption: Nancy in the Cloisters Museum. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bilyeau

Erin: But they are beautiful works of art, the stone work is amazing. My mom has lots of photos from when we lived in England. She used to like to do stone rubbings. I long to go do that again!

Back to your book, you decided to make your historical fiction not only Tudor-related but a mystery rather than a romance or general historical fiction. I think you are a thriller, spy buff much like me…correct? Is that why you chose to write it, as it would be something you yourself would want to read, or was there more to it? And why not a “who-dun-it” murder mystery, but more of a personal mission-type of mystery?

Nancy: I wrote the sort of book I wanted to read! I adore historical thrillers like Katherine Neville’s The Eight, Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, DanielleTrussoni’s Angelology. ALL of the novels of Kate Mosse. They are suspenseful, well-written, and rich with both dimensional characters and inventive history-based plots. I do read the “who-dun-it’s” too—and I love watching them on TV, like “Midsomer Murders.” But I just didn’t feel personally compelled to write that kind of series, in which each book revolves around a dead body being found and the killer must be uncovered. Also it is just completely unbelievable that a Dominican sister in 1538 would be running around solving crimes. It would be silly enough to turn Dartford, in Kent, into a corpse-riddled Midsomer—or Cabot Cove of “Murder She Wrote.” But how could I justify Joanna as crime solver? When she was in the priory, she was enclosed, meaning she couldn’t ever leave! No, instead, I made these into high-stakes thrillers, turning on the genuine drama of the period and the havoc wrought by Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Erin: Yes, that makes total sense!! It was a different kind of mystery, and really I did like it that way. It’s original too. And you just named a few of my TOP fave authors: Kostova and Kate Mosse. ADORE!

How did you not only write your historical fiction by the seat of your pants (I know you’re a pantser) after conducting research, but how did you manage to plot your suspense and action so well?

Nancy: I plot very loosely and then let the characters take over. I do a LOT of revision in drafts to increase suspense.

Erin: You’ve said that this trilogy is done, because…well…it’s a trilogy, I know. But I don’t feel that Joanna is really done gracing pages of stories and books. Do you have more in mind for Joanna?

Nancy: I have more ideas for Joanna! If this series gains more traction with the public, it is possible I will return.

Erin: That would be awesome.Go forth and buy buy buy people!! :D

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Caption: Nancy at one of her book launch parties at The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bilyeau.

I know you like to write for the screen. Have you written, or would you consider writing, your Joanna Stafford series into a screen script? Maybe a mini-series? (BBC, Starz, are you listening???!!) A secondary question, then, how do you feel your experience writing for the screen has helped you write better books?

Nancy: I would love it! A producer optioned The Crown, but nothing came of it.

And I think my fondness for visual writing comes from scripts. I try to write taut, evocative description.

Erin: You’re a journalist and executive editor of DuJour magazine. How does your writing style every day at your job differ from your writing of fiction and historical non-fiction (your great blog I’m thinking). Being a journalist makes your research skills priceless for writing historical fiction, but how do you switch back and forth between editing styles, not mention length limits? How do they help each other or hinder?

Nancy: I’ve been writing journalism a lot longer than fiction. I find it easy to funnel my love of history into the blog posts. Sometimes I think I should cut down the time spent on them, though. I really work hard on a blog post, and then it goes on to get thousands of page views…but it doesn’t seem to lead people to my series. I fear they are content with the blogs. I know people on social media who follow my nonfiction—which is flattering—but have never read even one of the books in the series. Which is a bummer. I don’t know if it is smart to spend so much time on free content if it doesn’t support my books. If I can’t sell books, I can’t continue as a novelist. It is a baffling problem.

Cloistersdoorway

Caption: Nancy at the Cloister Museum doorway. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bilyeau.

Erin: Yes, I hear that a lot. I seem to think that blogs keeps an author’s name out there, increasing SEO opportunities, and makes you more of an expert. I am surprised it hasn’t resulted in sales though. I think that’s a struggle, the time. If I might suggest, I’d say not to stop, but maybe just to shorten the length or do more photo posts. Though easier said than done! And I know you LOVE to write them. But it’s hard putting a lot of work into something like that for little result.

What do you love most about living in New York City after growing up in the Midwest area? (Me being from Ohio and longing to be in NY..lol) Why is this such a great place for writers?

Nancy: This may surprise you, but I would love to switch places. I am really ready to leave! It is so expensive here, and so crowded. It’s actually very hard to live as a writer here, because of the enormous taxes and high cost of living. But my kids are locked into the good public schools in my neighborhood. And I do adore the museums and the history of the city. I have a collection of copies of early 20th century photos of New York.

Erin: Yes, I can understand that. It would be nice to have the best of both worlds! My son is pretty set on moving to New York, so at least in my case, I may be around soon! What is your favorite place to eat in New York? What would your favorite food be if you lived abroad? And finally, what would you eat if you lived near Joanna Stafford in that time period?

Nancy: There is a small restaurant near us called Danny Brown’s that has a Michelin star. Fantastic French food and wine. Danny’s mother is the hostess. :) If I lived abroad, I would try to follow the Mediterranean diet, I believe it is the best. As for what I’d eat if I were near Joanna—the Tudors consumed a great deal of meat and some vegetables. Joanna herself would be very much into fasting. Something I’m NOT into.

Erin: Mediterranean food all the way for me!! Not a meat person, I’d not have survived the eating of that time period!

If Joanna is truly done in your writing, at least for now, what else have your thought about writing? Different time periods? Different culture? Different people? What most interests you?

Nancy: I am interested in so many time periods and cultures! I have started a new novel set in another time, but my agent has ordered me to keep my mouth zipped.

Erin: Darn!!

Both of us have ancestors, who came to New Amsterdam in the 1600s. Yours helped create Staten Island, and mine, Manhattan. Have you ever thought of writing anything in this time period based on these ties, especially since you now live in New York?

Nancy: Yes. ß-Nancy whistles innocently.

Erin: Haha, excellent!! Can’t wait to hear about it.

So, your favorite women in history and/or making history?

Nancy: I’d love to meet Queen Zenobia, who tried to conquer Rome. And of course the Tudor sisters: not just Elizabeth but Mary.

Erin: I probably have a million more questions to ask you, Nancy, but you’re time is short and I’ve already taken up so much of it. Thank you so much for sharing Joanna with us, and I wish you much continued success with your series and with whatever else comes in the future. I’m always here to support you! (Oh, and have coffee and cookies!)

Nancy: I’ve loved our talk. I’m actually a little sad to say goodbye.

Erin: It was fun! We’ll talk again soon!

01_The Tapestry

The Tapestry, Synopsis~

US Publication Date: March 24, 2015

UK Publication Date: April 24, 2015

Touchstone Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 390

Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Three
Genre: Historical Mystery

GoodReads

In THE CROWN, Sister Joanna Stafford searched for a Dark Ages relic that could save her priory from Cromwell’s advancing army of destruction. In THE CHALICE, Joanna was drawn

into an international conspiracy against Henry VIII himself as she struggled to learn the truth behind a prophecy of his destruction.

Now, in THE TAPESTRY, Joanna Stafford finally chooses her own destiny.

After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.

Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King’s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, naïve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and, possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

Praise for The Tapestry~

“Nancy Bilyeau’s passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended!” – Bestselling Author Alison Weir

“Illuminated by Bilyeau’s vivid prose, minor players of Tudor England emerge from the shadows.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In THE TAPESTRY, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well.” —Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale

“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” —Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl

“These aren’t your mother’s nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” —Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire

“A supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau’s most thrilling—and enlightening—novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Damned

“A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with a sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations… Bilyeau breathes life into history.” —Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King

Pre-Order/Buy The Tapestry~

Amazon
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Author Nancy Bilyeau, Biography~

02_Nancy BilyeauNancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine.

Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza.

A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.

View Nancy’s recent tour here:

03_The Tapestry_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

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Helen of Sparta: A Unique Story of the Independent and Intelligent Nature of Helen Prior to Trojan War

02_Helen of Sparta CoverReview~

It seems I’m reading a lot of books with strong, independent women lately. Helen of Sparta, by Amalia Carosella, definitely also fits into that scenario. I’ve always loved myths and legends. Mythology intrigues me. The story of the Trojan War I’ve always found interesting, but I did know little of Helen, not much more than the fact that she’s used as a pawn in the story of the Trojan War and a daughter of Zeus. When I noticed that Amalia’s Helen of Sparta would create a side of Helen most of us haven’t seen, my interest was peaked further.

I was immediately ensnared by Amalia’s writing style. Her fluid and alluring sentences drew me into the story, as well as her representation of Helen’s personality. I knew at once that Helen, even as a young teen, didn’t want to conform, which is something I admire in real life people as well as fictional characters. Her descriptions vivid and rich, dripping off the page, even in small moments. “His expression blanked into a king’s mask, the warm blue eyes becoming the flat gray of a hurricane on the sea,” is an example of her descriptive elements which really hooked me into her story.

Mesmerizing and interesting, Helen of Sparta had elements of torment, human terror, loss and grief, love, struggle, and determination. Due to experiences in my own life, I felt my heart strings plucked for Helen in her unwanted marriage to Menelaus. I considered her a fighter, always seeking out ways to control her own destiny. I appreciated the love story between Helen and Theseus, son of Poseidon. I especially enjoyed both her main characters and found them movie worthy: admirable, beautiful, and resilient.

This book, though one that made me turn the pages due to her writing, isn’t a page turner in terms of action. I don’t want to mislead anyone about that. There aren’t fight scenes or battles or war. The gods weren’t appearing left and right in fierce bolts of lightening. In fact, this all takes place prior to the Trojan War. It’s more of a character-driven novel, where we spend time getting to know some of these mythical people who haven’t had much background speculated on them before.

The ending left us feeling that Helen’s story was just beginning. She wants to be admired for herself, not her beauty. She shows her intelligence. She finally found out her place and who she wanted to be, which for some can leave them feeling as if the story isn’t over, and that’s true, her story is just beginning, so hopefully Amalia is writing a second book.

Sometimes people love myths but don’t want to slog through some of them. Many people enjoy the tale, but don’t choose to read Homer for evening pleasure. Yet, they don’t want a YA novel either. So this is the reason that Helen of Sparta might be a choice for them. This is definitely not a YA novel, with graphic sex and violence (not overdone, just true to the story). It’s a novel for those who want an enjoyable and original read surrounding mythology, with romance and emotional and apt characterization, or a book with a bit of drama and a redemptive outlook. It was traumatic and riveting all at the same time.

She intertwined nicely common mythology with her unique outlook and storytelling to create a woman’s adventure and journey. A woman who is authentically flawed, but all the better for it. A better and more understood Helen of Troy.

If you love mythology, romance, and epic reads I think you’ll absolutely love this novel. I can tell prospective readers that though it had length to it, reading the book felt like a whirlwind to me. I’m anxious to read Amalia second book in what I hope is a series!

Helen of Sparta, Synopsis~

02_Helen of Sparta CoverPublication Date: April 1, 2015
Lake Union Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
ISBN-10: 1477821384

Genre: Historical Fiction

GoodReads

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

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Author Amalia Carosella, Biography~

03_Amalia Carosella AuthorAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English.

An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods.

She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too).

For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

You can also connect with Amalia on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter here and here.

Giveaway~

To enter to win a $40 Amazon Gift Card, please complete the giveaway form below.

Helen of Sparta <——Click there to enter giveaway!

Giveaway Rules~

  • Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 22nd.
  • Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 23rd and notified via email.
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
  • Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/helenofspartablogtour/

Hashtags: #HelenofSpartaBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #Giveaway

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Scent of Triumph is a Wartime Novel of One’s Woman’s Journey to Protect her Art, Heart, and Family

Scent of triumph

The Scent of Triumph, by Jan Moran, is a beautiful book on so many levels! For some reason, I become often really attached to books on perfume, or other such goods/products that are passed down as an art form from generation to generation. That the novel was set amid the turmoil of WWII, just made the book more exciting for me as it’s one of the historical periods that I most like to read about, especially in terms of what happened to families, occupations, and in turn, how their lives were most often changed.

You can see quite easily upon reading that Moran did extensive research into the time and place for this book. Couple that with exquisite character development, with characters who are fully dimensional and connective, as well as lush descriptions and fluid sentences, and this novel came together as one that I had a hard time ever putting down. It’s a novel that absorbs and captivates you, compelling to read it in one sitting.

Not only that, but I love reading about women who overcome adversity by showing great courage and strength. In her main female character of Danielle Bretancourt Von Hoffman, we have a woman of such caliber and yet who holds so much grace. She is a perfumer in an old family business and she’s talented, as she has the gift of scent, one in which allows her to pick up nuances of fragrances and how they react together, in order to create perfection. It’s her passion, as is keeping her family business and history alive for future generations.

When WWII breaks out, she’s left to rebuild her life and her business, to use her art form and gifts to start anew again in a new place. From Paris to Hollywood, Danielle has to leave her life behind and fit into the glitz and glamour of America in the 1940s. I LOVED all the details of perfume and fashion of the time. Moran certainly also did her research in these areas. Chanel is one of my very favorites, as a strong business woman and innovator, and Danielle’s spirit mirrors a little of Coco. She’s very driven in a male-dominated world and it’s her passion for her work that drives her forward.

Of course, as with the alluding tension in the opening scene, there is also romance. But it’s the type of romance I prefer, a little more subtle and not overpowering Danielle’s obvious independence. It’s enough to make you want to turn the pages, but not distracting to the overall story. It’s more a ships passing in the night-type of romance. The type that makes your own heart flutter for them. You’ll definitely feel for Danielle as she also struggles with family and life moments in regards to children and how families are torn apart during war time. I know I anguished a bit for her and yet cheered in her determination to keep herself, her family, and her art afloat amid very difficult times and circumstances.

There’s a lot packed into this book, but you never feel burdened by any of it or not complete, and I felt that all parts are intertwined elegantly together into a story of devotion and zeal. This one woman will steal your heart with her unwavering spirit.

An eloquent novel that will sweep you back in time to a place of struggle and fervor for living, Scent of Triumph will leave you breathless, yet overjoyed at the nature of women who struggle to define and keep hold of their families and their art.

If you like any of M.J. Rose’s novels like I do, especially The Collector of Dying Breaths, you’ll love Moran’s Scent of Triumph. Moran’s ability to take you back in time and place, opening your mind and senses, is truly her gift as a storyteller and a writer. I hope to read more by Moran in the future!

If you want to get lost in a book, I highly recommend this one!

Enjoy this Excerpt from Chapter 29:

The gardener coaxes seeds from the earth, lavishing attention on their every fragile leaf, their magnificent blossoms. How fragile, how fleeting—this beauty, this love. Only the perfumer can capture, extend nature’s response.Oh, that we could grasp real love so. –db

22 April, 1941

Beverly Hills, California

Merci, Danielle,” the young woman said as Danielle placed an armload of fragrant white lilies next to the blush pink roses and purple hydrangeas she had already chosen. “You always choose my best flowers.”

Danielle smiled at her friend, the owner of the Flower Pot in Beverly Hills. “And you always have the best flowers in town, Mimi.”

Maisoui, my brother sent some potted gardenias from the farm, too. They’re heavy with buds, perfect for your boudoir. Did you see them? They’re in the front of the shop.”

Danielle meandered through a brilliant maze of cut flowers, charming topiaries, and magnificent floral arrangements. The scents that swirled through the air lifted her spirits.She drank in the aromas wafting through the air, closing her eyes as she leaned into an exotic flower or plant to breathe in its scent. I could almost be in Grasse.

She rubbed the glossy green leaves of a gardenia, touched the moist earth in the pot, and let her fingers trail along a fresh white flower bursting from a tightly swirled bud.

Perhaps I’ll capture this aroma, she thought. Cool greens combined with sweet gardenia, the moist earth, the warmth of the sun—it would be perfect for this season. Maybe a new line of garden-inspired perfumes—

“Danielle?”

Am I hearing things? She heard someone call her name. And not just anyone, but it sounded just like—And that scent…the patchouli, the hint of rose…it was Spanish Leather and the scent of his warm skin…oh, mon Dieu! She felt a hand on her shoulder, and a quiver coursed through her.

“Danielle.”

Slowly she swung around. The shop seemed to fall away. She blinked, staring at a handsome man holding a bouquet of roses. “Jon?

“It must be kismet.” A wondrous smile spread across his face. “I stopped to buy flowers for Abigail, and here you are.” He touched her shoulder and caught her hand, drawing her to him, intensifying his delicious scent.

“I can’t believe it,what brings you here?” Her heart beat wildly, and she was certain he could see it beneath her blouse.

“I had to attend to some business with ships in the Long Beach harbor. I didn’t have much notice. So I thought I’d surprise Abigail.”

Danielle laughed nervously. “Oh, you would have. But she’s not here. She’s in San Francisco with Lou. He has a film shooting on location.”

He ran a hand through his thick hair, releasing a faint scent of the sea. “Ah, once again, I should have called ahead.”

He smiled wistfully at her, his warm eyes crinkling at the corners. She remembered how one side of his mouth tugged more than the other, and the cleft in his chin seemed more pronounced. His face was leaner, but his chest was broad, and he looked more muscular. He’s even more magnificent than I remembered.

“Then our meeting really is kismet,” he murmured. His deep baritone voice was charged with emotion. “You look different, Danielle, you’ve bloomed, just like these flowers. How long has it been since that day outside your apartment?”

Danielle’s cheeks grew warm, and she moistened her lips to speak. Before Cameron, she thought with a jolt.

“Here, I’ll get these for you.” Jon paid for her flowers and scooped them into his arms.

She said, “I’m parked in the back, follow me.” As he held the door for her, she glanced over her shoulder, and noticed his gaze lingering on her body. She laughed nervously. “I’m in the Delahaye.”

Jon walked to the car and let out a low whistle. “What a beauty—the car, too,” he added, looking appraisingly at Danielle.

“Jon, you’re being naughty. And I’m supposed to be mad at you.” She unlocked the doors.

“At me? Why?”

“Well, why shouldn’t I be? You show up again with no notice at all.”

“Danielle, let’s not waste time on the past.” Taking the keys from her, he opened the car and placed the flowers inside. “I didn’t call you, or anyone, because I didn’t know how much time I would have. As it is, I only have a few hours, and I don’t know when I’ll return.” A serious look shadowed his face for an instant. He took her hands in his. “But I’m here now, and it’s a beautiful day. May we enjoy it together?”

Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume And Passion~

SCENT OF TRIUMPH

By Jan Moran

(historical novel)

Release date: March 31, 2015
at St. Martin’s Press
384 pages

ISBN: 9781250048905


Synopsis~

Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. —from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt

When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meager jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost?

Jan Moran, Author, Biography~

Scent of Triumph - Jan MoranJAN MORAN is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list, and other contemporary novels, including Flawless, Beauty Mark, and Runway.

A fragrance and beauty industry expert, she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine,
and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers.
She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Subscribe to her newsletter

Go deeper with her Reader’s Discussion Guide
Purchase Links~

Buy the book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks

IndieBound | Powell’s | Books A Million | Kobo | eBooks.com | GooglePlay

Giveaway~

You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook: they are listed in the entry form below (click to view entry form).

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Entry-Form

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Visit each blogger on the tour and tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time [just follow the directions on the entry-form]!

Global giveaway open internationally: 1 winner will receive 1 print copy of Scent of Triumph

EXTRAS~

BONUS OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR
– independently from this book tour –

Scent of Triumph Vintage Perfumes

With every purchase of Scent of Triumph, she is offering a free ebook of Vintage Perfumes, a nonfiction guide to the finest classic perfumes, for epub and mobi. Just email her some proof of your purchase (receipt, email receipt, photo of yourself with the book or ebook on your reader, etc.), and she will send you the free ebook of Vintage Perfumes.
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Interview with David Morrell, One of the Best Thriller Writers of the Last Four Decades, Talking his Delve Into the Victorian Era

Today, I’ve got a stellar interview with David Morrell, who needs no introduction. He’s been one of the top thriller writers of the last four decades, and an educator of the craft. In this interview, we talk mostly about this newest Thomas De Quincey Victorian Era trilogy, which is highly interesting, as well as how he does his research and he offers a few tips of advice for writers. You can see my review of his newest novel, Inspector of the Dead, HERE.

Hi, David! So pleased to have you back here on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! You have a long backlist of thriller titles, such as The Brotherhood of the Rose, that people love, but you’ve been making literary waves lately with your Victorian mystery series that stars Thomas De Quincey, the Opium-Eater! You’ve recently released the second novel in the series, Inspector of the Dead. How are you feeling about the success of the series?

David: De Quincey was one of the most brilliant literary personalities of the Victorian era. I’m so fascinated by him that I spent four years researching my two novels about him. It’s gratifying that readers share my fascination. My goal was to try to convince readers that they are literally on the fogbound streets of 1850s London.

Erin: I think you’ve succeeded. I certainly need to cuddle in a warm blanket when reading your books. Quite chilling in all the right ways!

It’s quite up and down with the cold here in Ohio still, so I’ll put on a pot of tea as I like to do. I know you probably rarely slow down (you’re a busy guy), so let’s relax for a few minutes and talk books and writing.

David: Great. Talking about books and writing is what I most like to do.

Erin: Ah, me too! Then let’s get started. I’ll begin with a broad question. You’ve had a lengthy publishing career. How has your craft grown or changed over time? What would you tell the 1972 version of yourself?

David: I’ve seen a lot of changes in the publishing world (back then, there weren’t any book signings or authors’ tours, and of course there weren’t any e-books), and a lot of changes in myself. For me, that’s the key. To change. My 1972 self felt the same way. From the start, I wanted to keep exploring.

Erin: Of course, you’ve published great thrillers like First Blood (which launched the Rambo craze), The Shimmer, and Creepers just to name only a few. Many have had some sort of historical, military, or government element to them. But going as far back as the Victorian Era in London is something new for you. Where did you discover your interest in the Opium-Eater and why did you decide to use him in the construction of these new mysteries?

David: I watched a 2009 film called Creation, which depicted Charles Darwin’s nervous breakdown after his favorite daughter died. He suffered from headaches, heart palpitations, insomnia, and stomach problems, to name a few ailments. Doctors of that era—focusing solely on his body and not his emotions—couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.  At the turning point of the film, a character says to Darwin, “You know, Charles, there are people such as Thomas De Quincey who believe that we can be controlled by thoughts and emotions we don’t know we have.” This sounds like Freud, but the film takes place in the 1850s, and Darwin didn’t publish until near the turn of the century. Curious about De Quincey, I looked into his background and was amazed to learn that he invented the word “subconscious” and anticipated Freud’s psychoanalytic theories by almost 70 years. I suddenly had the idea to put De Quincey in a Victorian mystery/thriller, where he would be at the start of the detective tradition and use psychoanalytic theories to solve murders at a time when no one knew anything about what De Quincey called the caverns and abysses of the mind.

Erin: That is so COMPLETELY fascinating!! I can see what hooked you. On your website you said, “His (Thomas De Quincey) blood-soaked essays and stories influenced Edgar Allan Poe, who in turn inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes.”  He sounds like an interesting man on many levels. How did you complete your research (books, online, travel) in order to create a firm foundation of knowledge in order to write your books? Was it easy or difficult to turn up information?

David: I love research. For several years, all I read were histories, biographies, and cultural studies about 1850s London. I wasn’t satisfied until I knew how much a woman’s clothes weighed (37 pounds) and how the streets were constructed. De Quincey wrote thousands of pages that I re-read and re-read until I felt like I was channeling him. His recent biographers are Robert Morrison and Grevel Lindop. After I underlined almost every page in their books, I contacted them and asked them to read my manuscripts. They gave me notes. Robert and I often exchange emails every day, and Grevel invited me to visit him in England, where he took me on a guided tour of Manchester (where De Quincey was born) and Grasmere in the Lake District (where De Quincey lived in Dove Cottage after Wordsworth moved out).  All of the research was a fascinating adventure.

02_Inspector of the Dead Cover

Erin: That sounds so amazing! I know you to be someone to fully immerse in research and that really shows through in your novels. I know that you published an e-book called The Opium Eaterthat also includes a story based on true facts of De Quincey’s life and includes photographs. That’s a cool idea! I’ll include the link for those interested: http://davidmorrell.net/stories/the-opium-eater/

I’m sure all your research you accumulated helped you decide to publish this between the novels, but can you talk a little about your thoughts in sharing more of the historical background? Why was he called the Opium-Eater?

David: De Quincey’s most famous book was Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.  He was the first person to write about drug addiction. In the 1800s, laudanum was the only effective painkiller. A mixture of alcohol and powdered opium, it was as common in Victorian homes as aspirin is today. The bottles had a POISON warning, and most people knew to be careful with it. But De Quincey fell under its power. An average person would die from drinking a tablespoon of laudanum. In contrast, De Quincey sometimes drank sixteen ounces of it a day. The paradox here is that the drug affected him as a stimulant, and against expectations, he wrote some of the most amazing prose of the 1800s.

Erin: Thomas De Quincey seems like a good historical person to form a character around for a book like this. But how does his daughter, Emily, fit into the plot of the book? Was she truly his daughter? How did you construct her character and how has her role, as well as herself, grown in this second novel?

David: De Quincey’s daughter, Emily, did indeed exist. She was 21 years old, and she’s essential to Inspector of the Dead and Murder as a Fine Art. I knew that some readers might have trouble accepting an opium addict as a main character, no matter how brilliant and witty De Quincey was. So, I presented many of his scenes from Emily’s viewpoint. She’s funny and independent and irreverent. I reasoned that if readers liked her, they’d share her affection for her father. 

In the second novel, their relationship deepens. A Scotland Yard detective asks her to marry him, and she replies that she already has a great responsibility taking care of her father, that she can’t look beyond that, the point being that in the first novel we don’t see the burden of his addiction. He’s funny. He’s eccentric. He’s interesting.  But in the second novel, the cost of his addiction becomesmore evident.

Erin: Inspector of the Dead plot surrounds itself with the actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria. The murderer is clever. How much fiction do you blend with fact?

David: I tried to include as much historical fact as possible. Both De Quincey novels are based on famous crimes of the era. Murder as a Fine Art explored the Ratcliffe Highway mass murders of 1811, the first media-sensation killings in English history. The brutality of those murders literally paralyzed all of England, and forty-three years later, in 1854, De Quincey recreated them in his Postscript to “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” The plot of Murder as a Fine Art imagines that someone uses De Quincey’s essay as a blueprint for committing the murders anew.

The new novel, Inspector of the Dead, explores the astonishing eight attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria. One man even tried to shoot heron two consecutive days. I imagine that someone uses those attempts as the inspiration for a new attempt against her. He leaves cards at various crime scenes, mentioning the names of the previous men who tried to kill the queen. The idea is that when he runs out of names, the queen will be the next victim. The blending of fact and fiction was very precise and detailed.

Erin: Though this series is set in a very different time than many of your other books, you still bring a government and social aspect to them. You show the disparity between the upper European elite and those with less and how that creates a radical atmosphere. Do you feel that class struggles are always a recipe for rebellion, crime, murder, etc.? How important are these themes to you in your novels?

David:  The Victorian era was class conscious to an extreme. The difference between surgeons and physicians provides a good example. We think of surgeons as superior to physicians, but in the 1850s, surgeons weren’t respected. They actually touched their patients and, worse, dealt with blood and gore. Moreover, they accepted payment directly from their patients. In contrast, a physician never touched a patient and was paid indirectly by the druggist to whom the patients were sent. Thus surgeons were “in trade,” but physicians weren’t. A physician could be presented to the queen while a surgeon couldn’t.  The highest members of society were the peers (earls and dukes and so forth). Roughly one thousand of them controlled all of England’s wealth. The average wage for a laborer was fifty-two pounds a year. The average income of a peer was fifty-two thousand pounds a year. In 1848, revolutionaries marched on London, with the real risk that Parliament and the monarchy would topple.  The sometimes-violent tension between the social classes is a theme in both De Quincey novels.

Thomas de Quincey by Sir John Watson-Gordon/Wiki

Thomas de Quincey by Sir John Watson-Gordon/Wiki

Erin: You write with such vivid detail and description. I believe so, but plenty of others have said so as well. How do you immerse and delve so completely into an era you didn’t live in? How do you pen something that is so vibrantly authentic?

David:  I always felt that something was missing in Victorian novels, that I wasn’t getting the full picture. During my research, I realized that I was right. Authors such as Dickens didn’t explain what were to them obvious elements of their culture, but over the years, those obvious elements were forgotten until now when we almost need annotations to understand those novels. At the start of Inspector of the Dead, there’s a murder during a Sunday church service. The drama of the scene involves church pews. Today, we take for granted that pews are bench-like seats that stretch from aisle to aisle. But in the 1850s, pews were shaped like boxes with several benches in them, and a table, and probably a carpet and pillows and even curtains. These box pews had locked doors that were opened by pew openers, who made sure that only the families who rented the pews gained access to them. Dickens took this for granted and didn’t bother to explain it. Today, almost no one knows about this system, so I explain what Dickens and other Victorian novelists didn’t think it was necessary to point out. My De Quincey novels seem authentic because readers get the sense that they’re seeing the Victorian world truly for the first time.

Erin: That’s excellent, David! I can see that now you’ve mentioned it! I love how you’ve brought the era to light in such a descriptive way!

What is the number one (or two) thing(s) that thriller/suspense/mystery readers want each time they read a novel, no matter the era? What are the ingredients for a successful novel in this genre?

David: Because our world keeps changing and thrillers tend to respond to that world, the genre itself keeps changing.  Since 2003, the three biggest, most influential thrillers were Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. All three came out of nowhere. Their phenomenal success couldn’t have been predicted. In general, however, a successful thriller tends to provide an odd combination of distracting us from our troubling world while at the same time dramatizing the emotions that are troubling us. One reason I wrote my 1850s London novels is that I keenly wanted to be distracted from the modern world.

Erin: I admire your willingness to try different types of action writing as well, from these historical mystery novels to even your six-part Captain America comic book series. What is something from yourself as a writer that crosses over into each one of your works?

David: Marvel also asked me to write comic books for Spider-Man and Wolverine. It was fun to work in a different medium. In Captain America: The Chosen, I emphasize the virtues of courage, honor, loyalty, and sacrifice. Those are my constant themes—along with trying to be aware of what’s happening around us.

Erin: You’ve won or been a finalist for many various awards that most writers only dream of, like the Nero, Macavity, Edgar, and Anthony, as well as ITW’s Thriller Master Award and three Bram Stoker Awards. You’ve accomplished so much already, what keeps you writing? What broad goals do you still have for yourself in your career?

David:  I think it’s important to keep evolving and changing. Before I start a novel, I ask myself why the book is worth a year or two or even three years of my time. After all, time is the only important thing we have. There needs to be something about the theme, the research, and the way the book will be written that will hold my interest.  At the end, I hope to be a fuller person than when I started.

Erin: I know you get asked this a lot, but we all reach various readers, so what is the best advice you can give to aspiring writers that will encourage and motivate them to keep working?

David:  In terms of motivation, I think fiction writers tend to be damaged people who perform a kind of self-psychoanalysis, putting their anxieties on the page. Sitting alone in a room for hours and hours isn’t normal. So, fiction writers have a drive to tell their story and hardly lack motivation. As for building a career and going the distance, I give my writing students these two mantras.  1. Be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of another author. 2. Don’t chase the market.  You’ll always see its backside.

Erin: Is there another novel in the Thomas De Quincey series planned? I’d love to read about another murder case this team falls upon….if so, explain, if not, tell us what else you plan to write?

David: I always thoughts of this as a trilogy, so I’m working on a third De Quincey novel. Again it will blend fact and fiction and be based on a major crime that changed Victorian society.

Erin: What is the best place you’ve traveled to and what type of food would you travel the world to eat again (this is a fun question!)?

David: For research, I once went to Paris, where I found a restaurant near the Sorbonne. It served my favorite dish, cassoulet, and I went there four nights in a row, always ordering the same thing. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Erin: Thank you, David, not only for your amazing novels but also for doing this interview with me today! It’s been an honor for me.

David: Thanks for the chat. Your enthusiasm makes me smile.

Erin: That totally made my week!

02_Inspector of the Dead CoverInspector of the Dead, Synopsis~

Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Mulholland Books
Hardcover; 342p
ISBN: 9780316323932

Genre: Historical Mystery

GoodReads

David Morrell’s MURDER AS A FINE ART was a publishing event. Acclaimed by critics, it made readers feel that they were actually on the fogbound streets of Victorian London. Now the harrowing journey continues in INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD.

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater,confronts London’s harrowing streets to thwart the assassination of Queen Victoria.
The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.

Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.

This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.

Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.

Praise for Inspector of the Dead

“Riveting! I literally thought I was in 1855 London. With this mesmerizing series, David Morrell doesn’t just delve into the world of Victorian England—he delves into the heart of evil, pitting one man’s opium-skewed brilliance against a society where appearances are everything, and the most vicious killers lurk closer than anyone thinks.” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Crash & Burn and The Perfect Husband

What the Victorian Experts Say:

“Even better than Murder as a Fine Art. A truly atmospheric and dynamic thriller. I was fascinated by how Morrell seamlessly blended elements from Thomas De Quincey’s life and work. The solution is a complete surprise.” —Grevel Lindop, The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey

“The scope is remarkable. Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War, regicide, the railways, opium, the violence and despair of the London rookeries, medical and scientific innovations, arsenic in the food and clothing—all this makes the Victorian world vivid. The way Morrell depicts Thomas De Quincey places him in front of us, living and breathing. But his daughter Emily is in many ways the real star of the book.” —Robert Morrison, The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey

“I absolutely raced through it and couldn’t bear to put it down. I particularly liked how the very horrible crimes are contrasted with the developing, fascinating relationship between Thomas De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, who come across as extremely real. It was altogether a pleasure.” —Judith Flanders, The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

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Author David Morrell, Biography~

03_David Morell ©_Jennifer_EsperanzaDavid Morrell is an Edgar, Nero, Anthony, and Macavity nominee as well as a recipient of the prestigious career-achievement ThrillerMaster award from International Thriller Writers.

His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic espionage novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, which was the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl.

A former literature professor at the University of Iowa, Morrell has a PhD from Pennsylvania State University.

His latest novel is INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD, a sequel to his highly acclaimed Victorian mystery/thriller, Murder as a Fine Art, which Publishers Weekly called ”one of the top ten mystery/thrillers of 2013.”

For more information visit David Morrell’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/inspectorofthedeadblogtour/

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