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Interview with Stephanie Lehmann of Astor Place Vintage: On Vintage, Fashion, NYC, and Writing!

Today, Stephanie Lehmann talks with me about vintage buttons, stores, and fashion! She also talks about her love of history, stories, and writing. This is an entertaining and unique interview you won’t want to miss! Enjoy!

If you missed my review of her novel, Astor Place Vintage, you can see it by clicking HERE!

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Hi Stephanie, welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I am very excited to have you here as I loved your book! How has the summer been treating you?

Stephanie:  Summer has been speeding past with family trips combined with book store events. I’m used to a much quieter daily routine, but it’s been fun. I’m getting in touch with my inner-extrovert.

Erin:  Ha! Always fun to get out, but can be exhausting for introverts, as well. Let’s take a stroll through your favorite New York City area, maybe do some window shopping, having some coffee, and talk about you and your books!

Astor Place Vintage

Q:  What was your inspiration for writing Astor Place Vintage?  What was the process like?

A:  Well, as a matter of fact, lots of my inspiration came from walking down these streets of New York. I love to think about the people who used to inhabit the same spaces. There’s such a strong sense of the past here — so different from where I grew up in San Francisco.

I don’t feel like I can say anything instructive about my process, because I probably wrote this book in the most inefficient way possible. The final draft of ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE barely resembled the outline I began with. The process of finding my story took a lot of time, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of reading, reading, reading about New York City history.

Q:  Have you always liked New York City history? What stories do you enjoy from its location, what are your favorite time periods, and why to both? Mine is the turn of the 20th century NYC through the 1920s.

A:  I didn’t. As a matter of fact, when I first moved to New York, I thought the city was mean, disgusting, and depressing. I came here both BECAUSE it was New York (as a writer, I should at least experience it) and DESPITE the fact that it was New York (anyone who lived here had to be crazy). I gradually came to like it, and now it feels like home. I don’t know what that says about my sanity.

I’m partial to the same decades as you – I would just add in 1890 to 1900 because I’ve recently gotten into reading about what preceded the decade I’ve been writing about. The Astors, the Vanderbilts, all their ostentation and wealth… People went from idolizing those families to seeing them as old-fashioned and uptight. There early decades of the 20th century were a fascinating period of change.

Q:  I gather you also like fashion to have been able to incorporate so many details into your newest novel. What do you love about fashion? Do you have any favorite designers?

A:  It’s not so much that I’m into fashion or shopping. It’s more that I find it really interesting to look at what people wore with a historical perspective and to think about what that says about the times. I myself prefer to wear comfortable clothes that feel like pajamas as much as possible. My favorite designer is Claire McCardell. She’s credited with creating the first sportswear lines for women in the 40s – casual clothes that a woman could move around in while also looking chic.

Q:  I imagine it is the same for you with vintage items. Actually, I can see from your awesome Pinterest boards that you enjoy many types of vintage items. Buttons are a favorite of mine. What are some great finds you’ve found or like to enjoy looking for?

A:  I love vintage buttons too! I went through a phase of buying them on Ebay and now I have a ridiculously large collection. But I do love to sew, and its fun when I’m making something and it turns out that I happen to have the perfect button for what I need in my stash.

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One of my favorite finds was from a flea market in Vermont. A woman was selling a bunch of things for an elderly friend, and I discovered a box full of paper napkins this person had been saving for decades. I don’t know if paper napkins are an “official thing” that people collect. They’re such a natural thing to throw out. But this box was full of all these really cute napkins from the 30s and 40s and 50s that she’d saved from her kid’s birthday parties, holidays, weddings… (The napkins aren’t used, I should add.) It felt like I’d found a real treasure.  One of these days I’m going to scan them and add them to my pinterest board.

Q: Do you think owning a vintage clothing store as your modern character, Amanda, does in Astor Place Vintage, would work in NYC today? Maybe there are some there now. Why might they work, and if they are, why do you think they do?

A:  There are some vintage clothing stores in the city, especially in the East Village, like in my novel. A slew of them have opened in Brooklyn, which makes sense because the rents are cheaper there, and more of the typical younger clientele live nearby.  Some vintage stores supplement sales by renting clothes out for films and such. Consignment shops selling second hand designer clothes seem to be sprouting up everywhere.

Q:  In your book you show how women in 1907 were struggling to be able to be allowed to work, to live where they might want if they are single, and to obtain basic rights. What are your thoughts on the women’s movement? How might women today continue to fight for their acceptance?

A:  That’s a really, really complicated question! But what you said about 1907 is true, and we’re still trying to confront many of the same issues. Something I found really interesting is how hard women had to fight to get the vote, and sometimes this fighting was with other women. There was a whole movement of women who were against it called the “antis.” You can still see women at cross-purposes today. I guess I wish women wouldn’t hold each other back. But of course different people have different opinions on what “holding back” would be.

Q:  Have you ever thought about writing a novel based on any historical women? If so, who calls you to tell their story or who interests you?

A:  I like the idea of it, and maybe I will some day, but so far no one has captured my imagination more than people I’ve invented.

Q: You’ve written several other novels, but I believe this is your first type (not swipe) at historical fiction. How did you decide to write something new and how was the switch to historical writing? How much research did you have to do?

A:  I’d been reading a lot of non-fiction about New York at the turn-of-the century, so it seemed like a natural step to write something set back then. My imagination just wanted to stay there. It took a lot of research before I even began to write, and I’m sure part of the process of doing the research was to reassure myself that I could really do it.

Q:  What are your hopes for your future writing endeavors? Do you have a list of things you want to write or do you wait for something to strike your fancy?

A:  No list. I can’t think farther than the project I’m on, and then the next one. And it’s less of a fancy striking than a puzzle teasing. 

Q:  I read your very funny biography on your website and learned that you love TV like I do. Shameless, aren’t we? Ah, TV is all about stories too. And many times relationships. What are some of your favorite vintage shows and what have they taught you? Then, for fun, what are your favorite shows now?

A:  Yes, I’m a TV addict from way back. I have to mention THAT GIRL with Marlo Thomas because she was a young woman coming to New York City to pursue her dream of being an actress. As Amanda says in my novel: stories about young women coming to New York never get old for me. And Ann Marie on THAT GIRL certainly set an example as an independent single woman living in the city. (Even if she did have her boyfriend Donald and meddling parents to fall back on.)

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I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’m partial to reality shows these days. My favorite is PROJECT RUNWAY. It truly shows people being creative. I love watching the contestants facing these weird challenges, seeing what they make, cursing at their sewing machines…

Q:  What advice do you give to aspiring authors about the publishing journey? What were your biggest challenges? What is something you feel extra good about accomplishing?

A:  My first novel published was the fourth novel I wrote. It took me a really long time to break through, and it was a very frustrating process that involved taking lots of rejection!  So my advice is to be persistent. Have a thick skin. Don’t take the business part of it personally, because it’s just plain hard, and the odds are against you to get anywhere in this business, and then even if you do there’s no guarantee that it will last, and it probably won’t. And maybe most of all, don’t lose sight of the fact that outside success isn’t really what it’s about. We write because of a need to express something that’s inside, and to engage in the challenge of finding a way to say it in the most elegant way that’s true to you.  

Q:  What is the best part of NYC to you now? What advice would you tell someone who has thought of moving there?

A:  I’ve lived on the Upper West Side for years and I’m pretty settled here. I like my coffee shops and my local library and the unpretentiousness of the neighborhood. The city is so darn expensive now, and Brooklyn seems to be more where it’s at these days. Of course you don’t have to live in New York to be a writer. You need to be in a place that inspires you to write or lets you alone enough to write or some kind of combination of both.

Q: Where can readers connect with you? And where can they purchase your books?

A:  I’m all over the web. www.astorplacevintage.com, www.StephanieLehmann.com, www.facebook.com/stephlehmann, www.pinterest.com/stephlehmann, on Twitter as @stephlehmann www.vintagemanhattan.com Did I leave anything out?
My book is available in local bookstores and all the usual places online.

Erin:  Thank you so much, Stephanie, for talking with me today about all kinds of fabulous things. Maybe one day our interview will be found and we’ll be looked upon fondly. I guess I’d have to print it off and stuff it inside something valuable, right? Ha! In all seriousness, thank you and best wishes for much continued success!

Stephanie: Thanks so much for all your great questions, and helping to tell people about ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE. Even if, in years to come, our interview is lost and never found, I will personally look back on it with fondness!

Erin:  Thank you, Stephanie. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.

Astor Place Vintage, Synopsis~

Astor Place VintagePublication Date: June 11, 2013
Simon & Schuster
Paperback; 416p
ISBN-10: 1451682050

Amanda Rosenbloom, proprietor of Astor Place Vintage, thinks she’s on just another call to appraise and possibly purchase clothing from a wealthy, elderly woman. But after discovering a journal sewn into a fur muff, Amanda gets much more than she anticipated. The pages of the journal reveal the life of Olive Westcott, a young woman who had moved to Manhattan in 1907. Olive was set on pursuing a career as a department store buyer in an era when Victorian ideas, limiting a woman’s sphere to marriage and motherhood, were only beginning to give way to modern ways of thinking. As Amanda reads the journal, her life begins to unravel until she can no longer ignore this voice from the past. Despite being separated by one hundred years, Amanda finds she’s connected to Olive in ways neither could have imagined.

Praise for Astor Place Vintage

“The past meets the present in Lehmann’s work of feminist literary fiction. . . . The author combines an impressive knowledge of history, sociology and psychology to create an intellectually and emotionally rewarding story.”
-KIRKUS REVIEWS

« “Enchanting. . . . Lehmann does a seamless job of moving between the past and present and gives a definite sense of place to the story’s two periods, with rich descriptions of city life and architecture. First-class storytelling with an enticing dose of New York City history.”
-PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)

“A thoroughly engaging story about fate, struggle, and will, as told through the intertwined lives of two women in New York living a century apart. Past and present blur in unexpected ways in this insightful, charming, and wholly entertaining novel.”
—KHALED HOSSEINI, author of The Kite Runner

“Lehmann’s blend of past and present perfectly woven together create an addictively readable novel. New York City will never look the same to me after reading ‘Astor Place Vintage.’”
—KATHLEEN GRISSOM, author of The Kitchen House

“A fascinating tour of turn-of-the-century New York. Guaranteed to appeal to anyone who likes to search for the bones of the past beneath the bustle of the present.”
—LAUREN WILLIG, author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

Stephanie LehmannAuthor Stephanie Lehmann, Biography~

Stephanie Lehmann received her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. In English from New York University. She has taught novel writing at Mediabistro and online at Salon.com, where her essays have been published. Like Olive and Amanda, she lives in New York City.

For more information, please visit www.AstorPlaceVintage.com and www.StephanieLehmann.com. You can follow Stephanie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and tumblr.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/astorplacevintagetour/
Twitter Hashtag: #AstorPlaceVintageTour

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Creating Dialogue with Characters: Guest Post by Historical Fiction Author Anna Belfrage

Today you have the opportunity to read an excellent guest post by author Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga series, with A Rip in the Veil and Like Chaff in the Wind currently published. I reviewed Life Chaff in the Wind yesterday, and you can see that by clicking HERE.

Anna has an amazing writing voice and you’ll really enjoy this guest post, as it talks about how she came to write her series and how her characters talk to her…..pesky friends in our heads sometimes aren’t they? I hope you enjoy it, I know I did!

How I Have Come to Know My Characters Really, Really Well…..
by Anna Belfrage

Anna BelfrageFirst of all, thank you very much, Erin, for participating in my blog tour and giving me the opportunity to post on your blog. This is the second guest post on the blog tour, and for those of you interested in reading the first, in which I introduced my female lead, I recommend a visit to Bippity Boppity Book.

In retrospect, I suspect my subconscious had been doing its own little things for years before I finally sat down to write the Graham Saga. Since well over a decade, I had nursed an interest for the seventeenth century, and in particular for the religious conflicts that dominated this period in history. Why, you might ask, and the reason for that is quite personal.

My husband comes from a family old as the rocks (most of us do; it’s just that the majority of us spring from families that were illiterate and dirt poor, ergo leaving nary a trace in the historical documents) that emigrated to Sweden in the early seventeenth century. In actual fact, the only ones that emigrated were a twelve-year-old boy called John and his mother Joneta. This woman with her most unusual name was of Stuart blood – albeit a cadet line – but for whatever reason she was compelled to flee Scotland, citing religious persecution as her reason. Hmm. Not entirely sure I buy that… Whatever the case, the interest in my husband’s family sort of lead on to reading more and more and more about this turbulent time in European history.

When I began writing A Rip in the Veil – the first book in the Graham Saga – it therefore had a clear setting in time and place (Scotland, seventeenth century), a dramatic beginning, a number of very detailed scenes that I could recite verbatim should someone wake me at three a.m., and a rather vague ending. Fortunately, as it turned out, because my dear characters decided to have a major say in how things turned out, and so the original plot line (however dotted) did a ninety degree turn at one point, doubled back a couple of chapters later and then set off at full speed in a direction not intended by yours truly.

I mostly blamed it on Alex. Well, no; on Matthew.

“On me?” Matthew protested. “It wasn’t me who came up with that idiotic idea in chapter 11, was it?”

“No,” Alex agreed, “that was you, Anna.” She flexed her arms and grinned. “But I liked it.”

Yeah, sure you did, I smiled. Alex enjoys showcasing herself as a strong woman. Matthew muttered something about it not being seemly, not at all, but the way he smiled at his wife sort of took the edge out of the rebuke. 

Anyway, the consequence of all this re-plotting is that I got to know my characters really, really well. (It was almost like those all night sessions while at University; me, wine, and instead of a lot of partying friends a notebook and my imaginary best friends. Somewhat weird…)

Now and then Alex would wink at me and wonder if I didn’t want to know the rest of their story – oops, stories. Of course I did! For some reason, Matthew seemed discomfited, and it was only through insistent wheedling that I came to understand why. My old-fashioned hero had something of an issue with the leading lady coming to rescue him – as she does in the second book of the series, Like Chaff in the Wind.

“I’m not old-fashioned,” he sort of growled when I pointed this out to him. “But I’m the man, she’s the woman. If anyone’s to do any saving it should be me!”

“You do that all the time,” I replied, “if it hadn’t been for you, poor Alex would have been dead – or worse – days after having dropped through the time chute.” He liked that, I could see, angling his head so that he could throw his wife a look. “She can’t live without you,” I said.

He raised a brow. “Of course she can.” 

“You know what I mean! Something inside of her would shrivel and die without you, and so …” I shrugged. There’s no choice really. In Like Chaff in the Wind Alex has to set out after her husband, the rock on which her entire existence is built on.

Yet again Matthew looked at Alex. “She’s something, isn’t she?”

As if she’d heard him, Alex lifted her face in our direction. She smiled, raised a hand to touch her neck, her hair, in a way that made Matthew fidget.

“She most certainly is,” I agreed, thinking that he wasn’t too bad himself, what with that slow smile that always makes my heart flutter, those large, warm hands that glide so gently down her back.  I turned back to him. He was no longer there, hastening towards Alex.

“It’s not the last book,” he called over his shoulder. “There’s plenty more to tell, aye?”

I can imagine; next time round he’ll be the hero, the order of things properly re-established.

 Like Chaff in the Wind is an adventure, a journey from one end of the world to the other. It is a story that invites you to shut down your computer, turn off your phone and drift off into a time when life was so much simpler than today.

“Simpler?” Alex and Matthew say in unison. Matthew frowns at me, absentmindedly rubbing his shoulder.

Oh dear. “I didn’t mean it like that,” I say. And, dear reader, they’re right. It’s not an easy life they lead those two, not at all. But it does make good stories, let me tell you, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading Like Chaff in the Wind as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 My next post in this blog tour, in which I introduce Matthew Graham in a lot more detail, will be published on March 26 on Flashlight Commentary . I hope you’ll be joining us there.

Anna Belfrage, Biography~

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

Learn more about Anna and her work at:  www.annabelfrage.com. She has some great extras that go with her stories that you’ll love.

Like Chaff in the Wind Synopsis~

Like Chaff in the WindMatthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother’s nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour – a death sentence more or less.

Matthew arrives in Virginia in May of 1661, and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his tale of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything Matthew’s insistence that he is an innocent man leads to him being singled out for the heaviest tasks.

Insufficient food, grueling days and the humid heat combine to wear Matthew down. With a sinking feeling he realises no one has ever survived the seven years of service – not on the plantation Suffolk Rose, not under the tender care of the overseer Dominic Jones.

Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife, a God’s gift who has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die, and so Alex Graham sets off on a perilous journey to bring her husband home.

Alex is plagued by nightmares in which her Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. She sits in the prow of the ship and prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, to let her hold him and heal him before it’s too late. God, however, has other things to do and what should have been a two month crossing becomes a yearlong adventure from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free?

See more on Anna’s Tour at the Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/likechaffinthewindvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #ChaffInTheWindVirtualTour

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Interview with Author Alana White: Her Life, the Italian Renaissance, and Writing

Yesterday, we presented information and a review of Alana White’s historical fiction novel The Sign of the Weeping Virgin.  If you missed it, you can see it by clicking HERE.

Today, we have an amazing interview with White where we talk about the Pope’s recent resignation, why it’s important to make time for yourself to write, and if times have changed much in regards intrigue and family drama. You’ll also read what scenes were cut out of her newest book and why. I think you’ll enjoy it!

And remember at the end to check out the information on the GIVEAWAY!!

Hi Alana, it’s so nice to spend some time with you doing an interview here on Oh, for the Hook of a Book!  I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.

Hi, Erin, Thank you so much for having me.  It’s a privilege, and I appreciate it.

Let’s dive in…

Q:  Is The Sign of the Weeping Virgin your first novel?

A:  No.  My first novel, Come Next Spring, is a coming-of-age story set in the Smoky Mountains in 1949.  In it, my protagonist, who is very romantic-minded, writes a letter to Margaret Mitchell wanting assurance that Rhett Butler eventually returned to Scarlett O’Hara after Gone With the Wind ends.  And so, till the end of the story, along with the main character, we readers wait for Margaret Mitchell’s reply.  Set in Tennessee, Come Next Spring received good reviews, and it is available online.

Q: When did you first discover your love of words? Is then when you started to write, why or if not, when?

A:  I have always been a reader—one of those kids whose parents say, “Why don’t you go outside and play for a while?”  I think I was just born this way.  I started trying to write a novel when I was twelve.  As you might expect, I didn’t get very far.  I discovered it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  It still isn’t.

Erin Comments:  Me too. And though I’ve been writing ever since, I haven’t got as far as completing that novel yet. Though life gets in the way, I suppose there is something to the time being right also.

Q:  What is your writing process like?

A:  If I don’t begin writing in the morning, it doesn’t get done.  Too many distractions, too many ways to put writing last.  Because it is hard, for me, at least.  As much as I’m loath to admit it, I’m a perfectionist.  So, mornings are when I go over pages from the previous day, tweaking, and asking more questions, looking over my notes to see what happens next.  Also, to refresh my memory of where I am in the story, and what my characters were doing and thinking the previous day.

Erin Comments: Distractions are always a problem, especially for me too. I’m also a perfectionist so it takes me much longer to get something exactly right. J

Q:  What has been the worst thing you’ve had to overcome on your writing journey?

A:  Finding the courage and the means to protect time for myself.  We are all pulled in so many different, important directions, right?  In the opening pages of Weeping Virgin, I thank my husband for giving me “the gift of time.”  And I mean that sincerely.

Erin Comments: I love what you said: “to protect time for myself.” So true.

Q:  What other novels have you written or are writing?

A:  I’ve completed a YA novel with a teen boy as the protagonist.  I need to introduce him to the world.  Time issues, again.  This week, I began the next book in the Guid’Antonio Vespucci mystery series.  So, it’s back to him and Florence (in my mind and heart, anyway), and that makes me happy, indeed.

Q:  What is it that draws you to the City of Flowers (in other words, Florence)?

A:  I truly don’t know why Florence has tapped into my heart.  Of course, the Italian renaissance intrigues me, as it has done so many people.  The richness, the intrigue, and the personal stories.  Today, when you go there, you walk through the same byways and past the same huge stone palaces that were there in the days of the Medicis and the Vespuccis.  In some ways, very little has changed.  Today, rather than Lorenzo de’ Medici striding around the walled city, Florentines have a charming, thirty-something mayor who rides the streets on his bicycle.

Q:  What do you think of the present Pope’s resignation? Do you feel this will make someone a novel years from now?

A:  I think it took courage and cooperation for him to resign his place.  When I say cooperation, I mean there may have been people who would have preferred him to remain Pope, no matter the conditions.  And, yes!  The first thing that occurred to me when I heard the news was along the lines of people jockeying for position, what lengths will they go to, etc.  No doubt Daniel Silva, whose terrific fictional Gabriel Allon character is a “friend” of the Pope in Silva’s novels, is already sharpening his pencils.  I hope so.

Q: How do you feel that historical intrigue and family drama has changed over time and why?

A:  You know, I don’t believe it has so much.  We have different trappings, but I think in the end our hearts beat for the same things: our children, their future, who is at the forefront in government (not only ours), wars, love and betrayal in all its shapes and forms.

Erin Comments: I totally agree, we just don’t always see it as clearly.

Q:  What are your other historical interests?

A:  That’s a terrific question.  If I had all the time (there is that word, again) in the world, I would write about small town southern life in the 1930s and 40s.  Probably this is because I come from a childhood background of sitting on the front porch listening to my mother and grandmother’s stories.  (Or juicy gossip, if you will.)

Q:  What authors have, or do, inspire you? What books do you like?

A:  I mentioned Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series; I like it and probably was drawn to it in the first place because the fictional Gabriel is the world’s greatest art restorer.  So, there is the link to art, and that attracts me.  These books aren’t historicals, but they read like it.  I loved Susan Vreeland’s Clara and Mr. Tiffany.  I like books that open a new world to me.  Clara certainly did that—women designed much of Tiffany’s line, but weren’t given credit for it till just recently.  And—I like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series!

Erin Comments:  You must love art history as much as I do.  I have to tell you that one of my top 10 books of all time is Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Vreeland. I even reviewed it on this site and included photos of Tiffany’s glass work that I took at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Also, I am a crusader for women’s issues, as well as liking New York history circa late 1800s to the 1920s, so I was REALLY impressed by this book.

Q:  What is your best -loved hobby outside of writing and reading?

A:  Genealogy.  I spent a long time tracing my family’s roots and enjoyed it tremendously.  But as those of you know who have entered that zone, it’s like eating chocolate chip cookies.  It’s almost impossible to stop.  Also, I like estate sales.  Interesting: both activities deal with the past.

Erin Comments:  I have done Genealogy since I was in high school and though time has got in the way of intense research since I’ve had children, I still like the feeling I get when I open up another “door.”  Sounds like you enjoy anything historical or vintage like me.

Q:  What feelings or message do you hope that readers take away from The Sign of the Weeping Virgin?

A:  That people are all connected in some deep place and way.  We have the same feelings and basic emotions, we weep and work for the same things.  We’re equal in myriad ways, whether then or now, wherever we may be.

Q:  Is there more to the story than what you were able to fit into the novel?

A:  I love this question!  Yes!  I had two rousing scenes with the antagonist who actually did plot the conspiracy to rid the world of Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici, the two young unofficial leaders of the Florentine Republic at the time of Weeping Virgin.  The villain’s name is Girolamo Riario, and he was married to Caterina Sforza, by the way.  I hated cutting Caterina’s scenes, but it was all just going on too long.  Anyway—Caterina threatened to steal the story!

Q:  Where can readers connect with you?

A:  I would love that.  I’m on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/authoralanawhite?ref=hl

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AlanaWhiteautho

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/338557.Alana_J_White

And at: www.alanawhite.com

I appreciate you participating in this exclusive interview as you shared your world with us!  I just love how writing brings history alive. Best of luck to you and your work!

This has been fun, Erin.  Thanks again for having me.

GIVEAWAY~

A lucky reader can win ONE (1) tangible copy of The Sign of the Weeping Virgin for their library. It’s open INTERNATIONALLY!!  Please leave a comment here, the previous review post, or on my Facebook post, including your email so I can notify you (OR email me at hookofabook(at)hotmail.com)!

You can enter until 11:59 p.m. EST on February 26, 2013.

One (1) extra entry for following this blog! Please let me know you did so.

Alana White, Biography~

Alana WhiteAlana White’s fascination with the Italian Renaissance led to her first short historical mystery fiction, then to a full-length novel, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, forthcoming from Five Star Mysteries in December 2012. Set in Renaissance Florence, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin features lawyer Guid’Antonio Vespucci and his adventurous young nephew, Amerigo Vespucci, as they investigate crime in Renaissance Florence. Alana’s articles and book reviews appear regularly in Renaissance Magazine and the Historical Novels Review. In young adult+ books, she is the author of Come Next Spring, a novel set in 1940s Appalachia, and a biography, Sacagawea: Westward with Lewis and Clark. She is currently working on her second Guid’Antonio Vespucci mystery.

See more on Alana White and her work at:  www.alanawhite.com

The Sign of the Weeping Virgin Synopsis~

TSOTWVPublication Date: January 9, 2013 | Five Star Publishing | 384p

Romance and intrigue abound in The Sign of the Weeping Virgin an evocative historical mystery that brings the Italian Renaissance gloriously to life.

In 1480 Florentine investigator Guid Antonio Vespucci and his nephew Amerigo are tangled in events that threaten to destroy them and their beloved city.

Marauding Turks abduct a beautiful young Florentine girl and sell her into slavery. And then a holy painting begins weeping in Guid Antonio s church. Are the tears manmade or a sign of God s displeasure with Guid Antonio himself?

In a finely wrought story for lovers of medieval and renaissance mysteries everywhere Guid Antonio follows a spellbinding trail of clues to uncover the thought-provoking truth about the missing girl and the weeping painting s mystifying and miraculous? tears all pursued as he comes face to face with his own personal demons.

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