;

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More


 White Lies by Susan BarrettWhite Lies by Susan Barrett


Publisher:  Create Space (August 30, 2016)
Category: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family Saga
Tour Date: April/May, 2017
ISBN: 978-1536806847
Available in: Print & ebook,  164 Pages

White Lies

The story is told from three perspectives: that of Beth, the natural mother of Tess, Liz, the adoptive mother, and Tess herself.  The reader’s sympathy is engaged with each woman in turn, as the intricacies of the plot demonstrate how nature and nurture interplay in the formation of personality.

Beth is a guest at a wedding. The bride is Tess, her natural daughter, who’d been adopted as a baby. During the moments leading up to the marriage ceremony, Beth remembers the lifetime events that have led to her present state of sick fear. Recent revelations have made her suspect that the bridegroom is the first child she’d given up for adoption, and therefore Tess’s half-brother. Will she speak of this impediment to matrimony, as invited by the priest, or forever hold her peace?

White Lies gives the answer in a way that reveals the complexities of truth-telling in the context of parenthood and adoption.  An entertaining page-turner, the novel also traces the social changes in family life over the last fifty years.

Praise for White Lies by Susan Barrett


“A beautifully written study of motherhood, loss and what makes us who we are. The characters are deftly drawn and the writer clearly knows her subject. The narrative is expertly woven and fast-paced, delivering pain and joy blow by blow. Sharp and incisive, heartbreaking and so relevant to today.”-Vanessa de Haan

“A beautifully written, sensitive, yet amusing, and intriguing, tale around a subject that is rarely covered in literature. A delight to read.”- Amazon Customer

“This is a gripping read. It is not only relevant to those who have been involved in adoption but to all of us. It raises questions about families, about the fragility and power of maternal bonds, about love and disappointment. It charts with particular accuracy the difficulties of the tangled web of secrecy and complication that was characteristic of adoption in the mid-twentieth century. It keeps you guessing to the very end!”-Sally Woods

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the book group I belong to find this.   I was quickly gripped by it, feeling for the central characters, all of them very real. I partly wanted to read slowly to enjoy it, confident there would be a satisfying, un-folding, but partly wanted to race to find out what happened. Will enjoy reading it again.”-Amazon Customer

Interview With Susan Barrett

How much time and effort went into your research for the book?

I’m not one of those writers who spend a great deal of time and effort on research.  I don’t write the sort of books that need to be firmly rooted in a historical period or a particular environment, outside and beyond the author’s immediate knowledge and experience.  My material comes from my own lifetime’s experiences.  That doesn’t mean my writing is autobiographical.  Rather, what I’ve learnt, where I’ve been, who I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had – all raw material goes into the pot, gets cooked and forgotten, only to emerge, maybe years later, transformed to suit the fiction.

 White Lies, in particular, is drawn from the first-hand experience of being an adoptive parent.  My interest has always been in the interplay of nature and nurture in the development of personality. Also, I wanted to show the different perspectives of the triad, those of the natural and adoptive mothers and the adoptee.  Another aspect I wanted to describe was the different attitudes to adoption, and the circumstances which lead to it, over the last fifty years. 

What are you currently working on?

Before Christmas I began a new novel which I call “Greek Gold”.   So far I have written the first three chapters, about 11,000 words of what is likely to be an 80,000 word novel.  The previous novels I have written have all been around this length.  The plot of “Greek Gold” is fairly well outlined in my mind but I know it will develop and change as I write.  I find the fiction I write takes shape much in the way a river takes shape from the rivulets that appear at its source before they all come together in the main body of water.  Unfortunately, the flow of this present novel had to stop in February with a visit to our son in New Zealand, followed by an emergency admission to hospital for me.  Now I’ll be getting back to it, and I’m looking forward to that, in an apprehensive sort of way.  Will the streams have dried up in the interim?

 What is your favourite scene in the book?  Why?

Using my memory as a prompt, I might have chosen a scene when Tess, now adult, remembers gathering greens with a local friend on the Greek island where she lived as a child with her adoptive parents.  I like to recapture snippets from our own past to fictionalise as they need to be for the novel.  However, riffling through the book, I came upon a more substantial scene, conjured entirely from my imagination.  In this, Tess, the adopted daughter of Liz, meets her natural mother Beth in a café in London.  This was a challenge to write.  It’s hard to imagine what it must feel like to be adopted, as Tess was, or to have to give your baby up for adoption, as Beth had to.  

I’d written the first section of the book from the point of view of Beth, so I felt I knew her well.  Tess was more difficult.  The scene lies near the beginning of her section, which is the final one.  Still, she’d begun to gather substance in Liz’s section, and she was ready for the page.  Now, looking back at the novel, I consider the three characters are drawn vividly and credibly enough to convince a reader of their fictional reality. 

 How do you create names for your characters?

 Usually the names come easily when I conjure up the character.  The factors that I take into account are their age, their background, the context of the time, and their parents.  I ask myself – what would the parents of this character have wanted to call their child?  That raises the question: do people become the sort of people who are called by that name?  Another question to consider is: would this character have changed his name?  A girl called Willow by her alternative life style-leaning parents might want to become much more ordinary as a schoolgirl by calling herself Ann.  Vice versa, too. 

 A writer can convey a great deal about a character through their name and their attitude to it.  The name Clyde comes to me now, as in this example of how a name can inspire an image:

 Clyde is obviously an insurance salesman living in Columbus, Ohio.  His hair is thinning but he can train a handful from low down on the right hand side of his scalp to the left.  In the mirror this does the job.  However, by peering at his reflection, he’s made two deep lines pucker between his eyebrows and the worry of that makes him worry even more.  Yesterday, his boss, back at main office, made a remark about age in Clyde’s hearing.

 Writing this answer, I’m reminded that I don’t always find names easy.  In my present novel, “Greek Gold”, I’ve changed the main character’s name several times, and I’m still not entirely happy with it.   He started as Denys, and then became Steve.  Now he’s Alex.  He’ll stay Alex for the next chapter and he may persuade me that he is an Alex.

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from “White Lies”

There’s an actress who appears in television dramas over here, Olivia Colman, who would make a good adult Beth.  She wouldn’t be able to play the teenage Beth, though.   A more widely known American actress who could play the part would be Renee Zellweger. 

 If you could meet 3 people living, dead, or fictional, who would they be?

 Barack Obama, for his gift for speaking and writing.  I read his autobiography as soon as he became president.

Jane Austen, for her quiet modesty, wit, gentle satire, character descriptions, understanding of human nature and her writing style.  Visiting her home in Chawton, you can feel her presence.  I would love to have been a friend of hers, living round the corner.

My last person is Tess of “White Lies”.  In my imagination, she is not a bit like my own daughter (by adoption).  I had to forget Sophie when I thought up Tess.   If I met her, I’d be able to ask her if I got her right.   A strange idea, to ask a fictional character how real I’d made them!

Susan Barrett, March 15th 2017


About Susan Barrett White Lies by Susan Barrett


Born in Plymouth, Devon in 1938, Susan Barrett began writing fiction in the 1960s while living on a Greek island.  Her first novel was published by Michael Joseph in 1969.  Film rights were sold and renewed over several years. She went on to write six more novels which were published with mainstream publishers in hardback and paperback in UK and USA.   A book on Greece’s landscapes, flora and fauna, illustrated in watercolours by her artist husband Peter Barrett, was published by Harrap Columbus in 1986.  They have also produced many children’s books together, published in the US.  In the 1990s she trained in humanistic counselling and gestalt psychotherapy and has practised as a counsellor for the last twenty years.  Her latest two novels and a work of non-fiction are available as ebooks and in paperback editions.

Website http://www.aliveinww2.com
Twitter @SusanBarrett192
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/writersreadersdirect
Google+ https://plus.google.com/107631556274786388597

Buy White Lies by Susan Barrett


Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
BookDepository

Giveaway White Lies by Susan Barrett


This giveaway is for 2 print copies and 6 ebook copies of ‘White Lies’, for a total of 8 winners. Print is open to Canada, UK, and the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on June 1, 2017 at midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow White Lies by Susan Barrett Tour


Indie Review Behind the Scenes Mar 18 10 am cst Live Interview

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 3 Interview

Rainy Day Reviews Apr 4 Review & Excerpt

Books,Dreams,Life Apr 5 Review & Excerpt

The Book Diva’s Reads Apr 6 Excerpt

Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings Apr 7 Review

Infinite House of Books Apr 18 Interview

Room With Books Apr 19 Review, Excerpt

Ann’s Reading Corner Apr 28 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 5 Review

A Bookworm’s Journal May 8 Guest Post

My Cozie Corner May 15 Review

Laura Amazon Reviewer May 29 Review

Debbie Amazon Reviewer May 30 Review

Rita  Amazon Reviewer May 30 Review

CT Amazon Reviewer May 30 Review

What U Talking Bout Willis? May 31 Review

White Lies by Susan Barrett

Blue Hour by Vicki RighettiniBlue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Publisher: Mill City Press (Nov 17, 2015)
Category: Historical Fiction, Romance, Pioneer Woman, Strong Female Character, Western
Tour date Mar/Apr, 2017
ISBN: 978-1634138291
Available in Print & ebook, 560 pages

The Blue Hour

Description of Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

IN THIS EPIC TALE of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change—until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path.

Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life.

When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.

Praise for Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

“All of Righettini’s characters are well-rounded, in particular Emily herself, whose personal growth throughout the novel is richly detailed and memorable.”-Historical Novel Society

“This novel is about second chances and the courage needed to take them.  The most compelling aspects of The Blue Hour are not the vivid, expansive descriptions of life on the vast (and seemingly never-ending) Oregon Trail or the well-drawn characters who dance (and often trudge) between hardship and hope. Instead, the brightest lights burst forth from nuanced moments tucked throughout the story.
Read this book if you want to immerse yourself in the wilds of western America in the 1860s or get lost in the even denser wilderness of love and loss. Maybe this recommendation needs to be simplified even further – read this book. It’s exhilarating to root for a character who is trying to navigate uncharted territory and make the greatest discovery of all.”-Underground Book Reviews

“The Blue Hour is one of the finest historical novels I’ve ever read. You will love the author’s writing and the detailed historical references. The characters are vividly portrayed, and I felt as if I knew them well. Long after I’d finished reading, I still thought about the story. It’s part adventure, part love story, and part survival. Highly recommended.”-Ann Creel, Author

Interview with Vicki Righettini

 

1- Which character do you love to hate?

It would have to be Samuel Todd. Despite the fact that he is thoroughly despicable, or maybe because of it, I enjoyed being inside his head, hearing his thoughts, seeing the way his mind worked. It reminded me of times I’ve played unlikeable or villainous characters onstage – the audience may hate them, but you as an actor don’t have that luxury. To create a multi-dimensional character, you have to understand and justify their choices, no matter how heinous, and that creates a sympathy with the character you can’t get watching from the outside. If readers dislike or even hate Samuel, I’ve done my job as a storyteller, but I also hope they see a glimmer of decency in him, however faint. It was sad for me when he’d served his purpose in the story and it was time to let him go. Simply put, villains are fun to write.

2- Where did you get the names for your characters in The Blue Hour?

Emily is named after my maternal great-grandmother, who lived to the age of ninety-six; I was lucky to have her in my life until my mid-20s. Emily was supposed to be my name, too. As the story goes, the whole time my mother was pregnant with me, it was “Emily, Emily, Emily.” But when I was born and the maternity nurse asked her what she planned to name me, without missing a beat she said: “Vicki.” She never explained why.

Andrew was the name of my father’s older brother. My mother wanted to name my younger brother after him, but my Italian grandmother insisted it was bad luck to name a baby after someone who was killed in WWII. So Mom named my brother David. (Just think, we could have been Em and Andy.) Norman is the first name of my maternal great-grandfather (Emily’s husband). I decided to use it for Andrew’s surname.

I’ve always believed I chose Samuel’s name at random, but have since changed my mind about that. Samuel’s character is a composite of three men I have known, but he’s largely based on my father, who had an identical twin named, you guessed it: Samuel. The two were so identical that as a kid I couldn’t tell them apart. I think perhaps my subconscious mind was at work when I chose Samuel’s name.

3- How much time and effort went into your research for the book?

In some respects, I’ve been researching this book all my life. As a child I was fascinated by the Western Expansion and the pioneers. I also come from a pioneering family: my mother’s side came to Pennsylvania from Germany in the 1700s; then moved to Kentucky and Illinois in the 1800s; then in the 1940s my mother and grandmother came to California, where I was born. I always imagined I’d have been one of those hardy pioneers, but after researching the book, I’m no longer so sure!

When I started the book in 2001, I wrote the prologue and the first couple of chapters before doing any formal research. Once I realized I had a story, I knew I had to put it into historical context, and to get my facts right. I began by visiting the End of the Oregon Trail Museum in Oregon City, where at the time there was a wonderful exhibit on childbirth practices of the era, home building, and details of daily life. I took copious notes and came home with a stack of books from their bookstore, including maps of the Oregon Trail, 1860s cookbooks, and books on Victorian era customs and style of dress. I also raided local bookstores for herbalism manuals, 19th century poetry, and more books about the Trail. My great-aunt also shared a journal from a family member who lived back then, which gave me a feel for the daily life and speech style of the period.

In all, I spent about six months poring over these materials and cataloging my notes, then about a year finishing the first draft and doing bits of additional research as questions arose. (For example, I wanted Samuel and Emily to celebrate Thanksgiving in Oregon, until my research showed that it wasn’t a national holiday until much later.)

During revisions I was aware that the second part didn’t adequately portray the hardship and sacrifice of the journey. Frankly, it sounded no more difficult than driving cross-country in a car without air-conditioning. So, I spent another year researching and rewriting that section until I was satisfied. Together, the writing, research, and revisions took about seven years from start to finish (not counting the eight years the first draft sat in a drawer, waiting for me to gather the courage to work on it). I was still fact-checking right up until publication, certain that some expert on the Oregon Trail would nail me on some tiny detail. It hasn’t happened yet, but…

4- Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?

The cover was a joint effort between the designer at the publisher and myself. I knew I didn’t want covered wagons, women in gingham and bonnets, or cabins in the distance with tendrils of chimney smoke. In other words, no pioneer clichés. I was advised that omitting these images might confuse potential readers, but I felt strongly that Emily’s story is universal enough to appeal to a wider readership than just fans of pioneer tales.

It was challenging, however, getting the designer to deliver what I did want; not because he didn’t understand, but because it’s impossibly hard to describe a vision. It’s like trying to describe music, or flavor, or scent. He delivered some great artwork, just not what I envisioned.

So I took the bull by the horns and spent hours scouring the internet until I found the perfect image. Once the designer had that in hand, the rest was easy. I love the cover and think he did a terrific job. And the argument that it would confuse readers? I’ve had more people tell me they were drawn to the book precisely because of the beautiful cover. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

5- What are you currently working on?

Several readers have asked for a sequel to The Blue Hour, and it thrills me that they care deeply about the characters and want more. I made a stab at it, and have about forty manuscript pages, but the story wasn’t grabbing me. If I’m going to spend five or so years working on a book, it has to be something I’m obsessed with. Also, in writing The Blue Hour, I set many family and personal issues to rest. Now that I’ve done battle with those ghosts, I feel the need to move on. Perhaps with the passing of time, I’ll revisit Griffin Gulch and its denizens.

Right now, I’m switching genres and working on a mystery series that takes place in Portland, Oregon, a city I know and love. My amateur sleuth is Camilla Reed, a free-lance singer and voice teacher. Camilla is a transplanted Texan: funny, earthy, and smart, with a heart as big as her home state. But she just can’t seem to get her love life together. Her next-door neighbor, Ted Sullivan, a retired Boston cop and fellow transplant, would like to be more to her than just a friend, but he seems to mainly end up helping her with cases and house repairs.

An added detail is that Camilla is prone to migraine headaches. This puts her at a disadvantage, but it also grants her unusual powers of perception. Her heightened sense of smell, hearing, and other sensitivities, especially right before an attack, turn out to be remarkable sleuthing tools. This fits into the category of “write what you know.” As a chronic migraineur, I have years of personal experience to draw from. I’m enjoying turning this affliction around and showing it in a positive light.

In all, I’m planning a series of three books. The first manuscript is finished, and the second is underway. I’m having a blast writing these stories, so stay tuned.

6- I always enjoy looking at the names that authors choose to give their characters. Where do you derive the names of your characters?  Are they based on real people you knew or now know in real life? How do you create names for your characters?

I place tremendous significance on names and their meanings, including images a name conjures up. As stated earlier, I specifically chose names from my family for the central characters in The Blue Hour. But for the rest, and for naming in general, I use several methods:

  1. Pick something out of the air. I trust my intuition and this works most of the time.
  2. When that fails, I check one of one of three retired address books I keep in my writing desk. Many names in The Blue Hour came from there.
  3. If neither of those work, I pull out my book of baby names and page through until I find a name that fits the character’s personality and status.
  4. If I need a name from a specific culture or era, I’ll search the internet, looking for names with unambiguous pronunciation, and that won’t be too tricky to spell repeatedly.

Whichever method I use, I always check the origin and meaning. It’s uncanny how close I often get to the character’s traits without realizing it. For example, Emily is German for “industrious;” Andrew is Greek for “strong, manly, and courageous;” Darwin is English for “dear friend.”

Honestly, I can spend an entire day just on names!

 

About Vicki RighettiniBlue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Vicki Righettini is an award-winning, nationally produced playwright, and her recently-published historical novel, The Blue Hour, was a badge winner and Pitch Perfect Pick at Underground Books. Originally from Los Angeles, Vicki lived in Oregon for over twenty years, where she developed an abiding love of the land and the Oregon way of life. Before turning to full-time writing, she worked for forty years as a singer/actress and performing arts instructor. Her blog, Between a Book and a Hard Place, focuses on the ups and downs of the creative process (http://www.vickirighettini.com). Vicki lives in San Diego with her software-developer, Jeopardy!-champion husband, and the world’s shyest cat.

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2h2UZGy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VRighettini

Buy Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound
Book Depository

Giveaway Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

This giveaway is for the choice of one print or ebook.  Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide.  This giveaway ends on April 28, 2017 at midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Mar 3 Kick Off, Interview, & Giveaway

Indie Review Behind the Scenes Mar 4 12 pm cst Live Interview

Rockin’ Book Reviews Mar 6 Review, Interview, & Giveaway

Second Book to the Right Mar 7 Excerpt

Book Reviews Etc.. Mar 8 Review

The Book Diva’s Reads Mar 9 Guest Post & Giveaway

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers Mar 17 Review

Secret Pearls Reviews Mar 22 Review, Excerpt,  & Giveaway

Infinite House of Books Mar 23 Interview

Reviews From The Heart Mar 27 Review

A Holland Reads Mar 29 Guest Post

Rainy Day Reviews Mar 31 Review

Wall-to-wall books Apr 4 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway   

Library of Clean Reads Apr 5 Review & Giveaway

Reading Bliss Apr 7 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 10 Review

Hardcover Feedback Apr 18 Review

What U Talking Bout Willis? Apr 21 Review

Lisa’s Writopia Apr 24 Review & Interview

Celticlady’s Reviews Apr 26 Excerpt & Giveaway

A Room without Books is Empty Apr 27 Review

Turning the Pages Apr 28 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. JohnLady of the Tower
by Elizabeth St. John


Publication Date: January 30, 2016
CreateSpace
eBook & Paperback; 246 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

 

 

Orphaned Lucy St.John, described as “the most beautiful of all,” defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I are a time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one can do is fall in love . . . or make an enemy of Frances Howard, the reigning court beauty. Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk, but her envious sister Barbara is determined to ruin her happiness. Exiling herself from the court, Lucy has to find her own path through life, becoming mistress of the Tower of London. Riding the coattails of the king’s favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, the fortunes of the St.Johns rise to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes betrayal, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of deceit and debauchery. Elizabeth St.John tells this dramatic story of love, betrayal, family bonds and loyalty through the eyes of her ancestor Lucy and her family’s surviving diaries, letters and court papers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Praise for Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John


“Elizabeth St.John has brought the early Stuart Court in the years before the English Civil War vividly to life.” – Historical Novel Society Review

“Elizabeth St.John offers great drama and intrigue in her compelling debut novel The Lady of the Tower.” – M.K. Tod, author of Lies Told in Silence

“The Lady of the Tower is a good combination of a historical romance that is well researched, with the added spice of the author being directly related to the heroine.” – Tobsha Learner, best-selling author of The Witch of Cologne

Interview With Elizabeth St.John

T.R.: Please tell us something about the book that is not in the summary.  (About the book, character you particularly enjoyed writing etc.)

E.S.J.: The Lady of the Tower is based on a diary from the 1660s that I discovered many years ago in Nottingham Castle. Written by the heroine’s daughter, the vivid story of her mother brought my ancestors to life, and I was determined to honor the truth of her account of my seventeenth century family. As I researched more, I made the decision to only use contemporary sources to inform my fiction, and so as I read letters, court pleadings, despatches, their voices started to come alive. And, as I immersed myself more in their world, they became part of my life. Because they were real people, and connected to me, I felt I had an obligation to interpret their lives authentically, while at the same time describing human behaviors that transcend time and place.

T.R. Describe the room you are sitting in as though it was a scene in one of your books.

E.S.J: Through the window to her herb garden, Lucy watched a chaffinch gathering seeds to take back to its young in the nest. So you too are responsible for your children, alone, carrying a burden that should be shared. She looked at her well-stocked bookshelves, the elegant furnishings, paintings and tapestries. So many riches. And yet, empty, meaningless, with her husband away on yet another mission for the king. Her gaze returned to the verdant garden, purple lavender and blue-flowered rosemary flourishing. No time for regrets. There was work to do.

T.R.: What words do you use over and over that drive your editor crazy?

E.S.J. Grey. I think it’s the English weather. Grey. Grey. Grey.

T.R.:Which character do you love to hate?

E.S.J.: Well, not Barbara, who is the natural antagonist in the book. She was delicious to write. I think Aunt Joan. The diary described her as “ so ill-natured in her jealous fits…that her cruelties to my mother exceeded the stories of stepmothers.” That made me furious, that she could treat a little girl that way. I delighted in making her as nasty as I could.

T.R. Using the title of your book as an acrostic, describe your work or yourself.

E.S.J.: That’s a long one. Here’s how I feel about my work / the process I went through – and I picked the first words that came into my head!

T ruthful
H eartfelt
E xciting

L oving
A dventurous
D espairing
Y earning

O ptimistic
F earful

T entative
H eroic
E nterprising

T ender
O bservant
W inning
E picR edemptive

T.R.: Using only adverbs, describe the writing process for you.

Ha! I can never remember parts of speech, so I downloaded a handy dandy adverb mat. Here are the adverbs I chose! That was fun.

How – joyously
When – often
How Often – constantly
Where – everywhere
How Much – completely

T.R. You are sitting in a coffee shop. What does your writer mind see?

E.S.J.: Stories. People with stories. Faces that should be read. Conversations to eavesdrop. Gestures. Emotions – boredom, nerves, anxiety, happiness, sorrow, loneliness, friendship. Welcomes. Farewells. Meetings. Breakups. And people outside the window, intent on their destination, never seeing me as the observer. Spend a morning in a coffee shop and the whole world passes by.

T.R. What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

E.S.J.: My favorite scene is set at Fonmon Castle, Wales, and it is when Allen returns to Lucy, realizing that she has captured his heart and he has to marry her. She is forced to consider his proposal and make the biggest decision in her life. I wrote this during a difficult time in my life, and have always gone to the sea to think things through. This drew on the actual account of Lucy and Allen’s courtship, fictionalized by my own experiences of decision making by the ocean. It is also set in one of my favorite parts of England, that I know well, and it was a joy to revisit it in my imagination as I wrote this scene.

T.R. What draws you to the historical fiction genre? 

E.S.J.: As a child growing up in England, history surrounded me, and my ancestors were my family. My parents loved history and reading, visiting churches and castles, and exploring our rich history. I never remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about or reading historical fiction.

T.R.: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

E.S.J. Mmm..that’s easy – I’m just waiting for the call from Hollywood! Colin Firth as Allen, and Cate Blanchett as Lucy.

T.R.: How much time and effort went into your research for the book?

E.S.J.: About twenty years of general research as a hobby, and two years of concentrated research to create and support the story.

T.R.: If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why?

E.S.J.: Lucy Worsley, curating at HRP or making a series at Hampton Court or the Tower. I think she has one of the best jobs in the world!

T.R. What do you do when you are not writing?

E.S.J.: I am a management consultant in biotech providing support and education programs for patients with chronic health issues, which I find incredibly rewarding. I also love to spend time with my husband, dog and two cats, and read, swim, hike, cook, travel, entertain friends and visit my daughter who’s at Uni in England.

T.R: Thank you so much for being our guest today Elizabeth. 


About Elizabeth St.JohnLady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John


Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and sites from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and the British Library to Castle Fonmon and The Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

Elizabeth is currently writing a sequel to The Lady of the Tower, following the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War. The working title is “By Love Divided”, and it is due to publish in early 2017.

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook and Goodreads.

Giveaway Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John


This giveaway it is for one copy, paperback or eBook (winner’s choice). Print copies are open to US addresses only. Ebooks are open internationally. This giveaway ends on August 26, 2016 midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule for Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John

Monday, August 8
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Tuesday, August 9
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Wednesday, August 10
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, August 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, August 12
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Interview & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Saturday, August 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Sunday, August 14
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, August 15
Review at A Book Drunkard
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John