Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interview with English Historical Romance Author Debra Brown

The English Historical Fiction Authors Group started working together in September, 2011. They created a blog in which they post one British historical article each day, sharing information they gleaned from their education and research done in preparing novels. The group includes authors who range from mainstream-published authors to Indies, from multi-published to debut novelists.

Hello, Debra. You’re a member of the English Historical Fiction Group and all of you have participated in writing this book. Please tell us about it.

Some of us felt that history lessons in school were boring. I’m sure it depended greatly on the teacher, but in general we had to sit for another hour, listen to another lecture, and memorize more information. Dates seemed to be important—to the teachers. I remembered dates, indeed, but not always what happened that day. School, of course, is important, and the teachers do their best. But with vast centuries to cover, little time can be spent on the humorous aspects or the human-interest details that bring history to life while the turning points of the past must be learned. The EHFA blog and our book were written to bring out many fascinating true-to-life stories which can be read in a leisure setting and stir up thirst for more knowledge. Truth can be stranger than fiction.”

This book keeps a person’s attention. Each “chapter” is a page or two long, so it is wonderful for reading in short sittings. It would be a great waiting room book, lobby or break-room book, or a book to be read on public transportation. These essays from different time periods would also help to interest high school students in history.

Where did you get your inspiration to write this book?

Shortly after we celebrated the first year anniversary of the blog, one of the authors (wisely) suggested we select posts for an anthology. This idea was received with great enthusiasm, and the work began.

What kind of research did you have to do?

The historical research had been done earlier, of course, and the articles written. It became a matter of selecting, organizing, and compiling. A publisher was contacted, proofing and editing followed, and the book became a reality.

You love to write stories surrounding England’s history. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

The research is a huge draw. I devour the history itself. England is a beautiful, awe-inspiring country that had a class structure and its related customs that make for situations and conflict that cannot occur in a place where “all men are created equal”.

Writing is also a great pleasure; creativity simply feels good. An author develops a relationship with their characters—“people” who no one else even knows for quite some time. It is fun to see how they take over and add their twist to what I had planned.

Thank you for this opportunity to visit and let your friends know about the recently released Castles, Customs, and Kings!

Thank you, Debra, for sharing this new book with us. It sounds quite intriguing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Celebrating Veterans Day: An Interview with Author Bill Christy

Bill Christy is a Korean War Army Veteran, a retired certified public accountant and a retired financial administrator in higher education. He said, “This is my 3rd book. The first 2 books were family history books based on my mother’s family name, Burke. Burke is the English spelling of the French name De Burgh. Tommy de Burgh, A Soldier’s Legacy, is my first historic fiction but comes out of about 10 years of research and 2 trips to England and Ireland.”

A Soldier’s Legacy is a series of letters that Tommy wrote. It tells how he suffered after being wounded in the Korean War, about his release to return home, and how he was honored. This story begins on a hospital ship where Tommy has been taken. With each letter he writes, Tommy is learning to forgive and to survive from being a POW (prisoner of war). When he gets an invitation to the Vatican, he is elated and that is where he begins to heal. This is a short read of only 91 pages.” Reviewed by Linda Weaver Clarke

Hello, Bill. Please tell us about A Soldier’s Legacy: Tommy De Burgh.

Tommy de Burgh is historic fiction about a Kansas youth drafted into the very early days of the Korean War. He is a composite of many of my High School Classmates and the events that they suffered through. This is a different slant of telling their story and their search for faith & hope in a war they felt unprepared for. Many did not survive but those who did were forever changed. Tommy suffers the loss of many friends, my friends, but gains faith and hope from people who reached out to him in mysterious ways.

I’m sure there are many soldiers who understand and feel what Tommy felt. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

The memories and stories of high school friends and my own de Burgh family legacy research. I wanted to write the history but have found by mountains of research that absolute truth is impossible to come by. Historic writers can’t seem to agree on it or define it and Historic Fiction writers by faithful research and basis in fact can spin a story that touches all the bases in an interesting way and tell the story.

I absolutely agree. I have read some historical fiction books that helped me to understand what the patriots, years ago, really had to go through to get this freedom we enjoy so much. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

The military part of Tommy’s service came from my friends and events during the beginning of the Korean War and the startup of the military draft system along with their experiences. Many of these events I still feel emotional about. The Korean War is now the “Forgotten War”. The de Burgh legacy comes from the ten years of research and travel to England & Ireland and family still living in Ireland.

I bet the research was fun to do. When researching your own families, it can feel very personal. Please tell us your feelings about this subject.

We must never forget the service of those who risk their lives for us. I hope we can all take pride in the fact that South Korea is now free and a major democratic and economic power in the world today. America is now prepared to defend our own democracy.

That's right. We, as Americans, need to support the soldiers of our country. Thank you, Bill, for joining us and celebrating Veterans Day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Interview with Author Shirley Raye Redmond

An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond has 27 books and over 400 magazine and newspaper articles. Most of her children’s books are nonfiction on American history topics. Even her novels, including Rosemary’s Glove and Stone of the Sun, have a strong emphasis on history. She’s been married for 38 years and has two grown children, an adorable 9-year-old grandson and a “silly” Scottish terrier named Duncan McPiddle.

Welcome back to my blog, Shirley. Please tell us about this sweet romance.

I love my opening sentence: “She’d witnessed a murder—or so she’d been told—and nothing would ever be the same again.” It sets a tone of intrigue, don’t you think? Finding out that she witnessed her own father's murder is a shock, but when April Cortes receives a letter from the grandmother she hasn't seen since she was five, she knows she must make peace with her past. The mysterious summons to her grandmother's sprawling Arizona ranch is irresistible. Collie Cortes relates the family's ancestral history, including the legend of the Stone of the Sun, an ancient Aztec heirloom that was stolen at the time of April's father's death.

Collie also confides that someone—maybe someone on the ranch—is trying to kill her. April hates to believe it's anyone she's growing close to, but she has already lost too much at this ranch and has no intention of letting anything end her new relationship with her grandmother. She will not drop her guard—not even for the handsome Del Spurgeon. If she does, she might not be around to ensure her grandmother's safety.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

When visiting my parents in Arizona some years ago, they took me to see a reenactment of the shootout at the O.K. corral in Tombstone. The gunfire was loud and the injuries appeared realistic. One gunman was stretched out on the roof of a building across from where I stood. He aimed his rifle and shot one of the re-enactors in the street. I thought to myself at the time what a clever way to actually murder someone—during a reenactment when the spectators would be expecting to see people “die.” No one would realize until the killer had escaped, that the “dead person” was not acting!

You’re right. No one would even know. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did some research on the conquistador Hernando Cortes and his Aztec mistress so that I could come up with a believable back-story for the heirloom, the Stone of the Sun, and I’ve spent considerable time in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where the novel takes place.

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?

Oh, yes. Everything April does in Tombstone—touring the Wells Fargo
Museum, drinking a sarsaparilla and riding a stagecoach—I did when I was there. And the scene that takes place in Ramsey Canyon while April and her grandmother are watching the hummingbirds actually happened when my mother took me there.

I hope your readers will read the novel and enjoy it. If your readers have any questions or comments, they may contact me at my website at I’d love to hear from them.

Thank you, Shirley, for this great interview. This book sounds very intriguing.