Join the 2019 HF Reading Challenge Facebook Group

For those that are joining the 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, I set up a Facebook group for all of us! We can share review links and give updates on the challenge!

Hope to see you there!

Join the 2019 HF Reading Challenge Facebook Group


Sign Ups are still open for the Reading Challenge. Click HERE to sign up.


Interview & Giveaway: A Fisher of Women by Catherine Magia

Happy Monday, dear readers! Today on the blog I have the pleasure of interviewing author Catherine Magia who is currently on blog tour for A Fisher of Women!

I hope you enjoy the interview! We also have a giveaway for an eBook, so be sure to enter!


Hello Catherine and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about A Fisher of Women!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I am storyteller and a dreamer. Traveling is a lifestyle for me (I am currently working in Tokyo, Japan during this blog tour.) I am most interested in the idiosyncrasies of people. What makes individuals and where they come from special? For example, did we know that waving is the same as flashing the middle finger in South Korea? Or a mountaintop in Switzerland may have been named after Pontius Pilate? Or for a woman in Spain, going about without earrings makes her feel naked?

I am also a poet. To me, language is the source of indescribable beauty. I am Asian-American, the daughter of immigrant parents from South Vietnam. I was raised to be practical, so I have a corporate day job in a pharmaceutical company, working with cancer medicines and figuring out ways to connect the pharmaceutical industry with the patients. I specialize in helping executives and employees get in touch with the stories, dreams, and experiences of the cancer patient.

What inspired you to write The Fisherman’s Bride and A Fisher of Women?

Stories about ancient healing have always fascinated me. As I focused on the miracles of Jesus, I began to think about what that world must have really been like. It was multi-faceted, the intersection of Hippocratic medicine, biblical miracles, and magic/sorcery of the Roman pagan world. I also work in healthcare, so the amalgam of myth and medicine, and the re-imagining of the old tales using a modern medical vocabulary was eye-opening in what those ancient illnesses could have been. This novel is a sequel, continuing the journey of Simon Peter’s wife, a woman who is as extraordinary as her famous husband. At its core, A Fisher of Women is ultimately the story of a woman, her evolution, and finding her voice. What was the role of women in those days, and how could a disciple of a new faith transcend the boundaries of her time by discovering unique talents within herself?

What research did you undertake when writing the books?

I sought to be as authentic to history/Bible as possible by an academic and comprehensive study of medicine, history, and politics. I read the documents of Hippocrates. Three different doctors (oncologist, neurologist, and pain management specialist) had reviewed my novel for medical accuracy. I studied the historian Josephus, as well Bible in great detail. I also visited the Middle East several times to provide a vivid and cinematic vision of atmosphere, the angle of the trees, colors of the sky, spices of the market, the glittering limestone of Jerusalem. I also spent a fair amount of time researching pagan rituals and did a crash course on hypnosis, in order to understand a magician/sorceress of the ancient era.

What would you like readers to take away from reading A Fisher of Women?

I would like readers to imagine an elusive, beautiful, and dangerous world during the times of Jesus, and the coming of age adventures of one woman. However, the key message of A Fisher of Women and the Fisherwoman Trilogy, is the story of invisibility. It is the story of the evolution of love. Initially, the way she loves is very conditional, focused upon her husband. However, as she encounters Jesus and imbibes his teachings, the way she loves is transformed. It becomes unconditional, as she learns to love beyond herself. That, I believe, is the mission of every human being. To love more today than we did yesterday. To love more expansively tomorrow than we do today. And it doesn’t matter if our names are remembered or not. Because love is not about us. It is about giving, and the giving is invisible.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The healing of the dancer Zionna was my favorite scene. She had become a leper because she had loved the wrong man, she was deceived, and she was wrongly imprisoned. She is actually based on a friend of my mother’s, a privileged girl who attended boarding school and ran away with her boyfriend. Only after, did she realize he was already married, and her parents disowned her. Trying to survive, she became very sick and my mother never knew if she lived or died. The redemption of Zionna, and the restoration of her body through love, was something I always wished for this friend of my mother’s that I had never met.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Writing the scenes with Simon Peter were hard for me, presenting a flawed character who was insecure and blamed his wife, yet simultaneously loved her and attempted to protect her. It was very hard for me to make him sympathetic and demonstrate his maturity. As a woman, it is challenging for me to think like a man.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have always known that I wanted to be a writer. I just did not always have the courage to make it happen. Sometimes we get caught up in life, and we forget our dreams. But I have known I was a storyteller since I was six and a poet at the age of ten.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I don’t have a daily routine. I write when I am inspired. Sometimes, I write for several hours in the day for months. Sometimes, I don’t write for months. The critical thing to me is to have the freedom to write when inspiration knocks, and to give myself the permission to break away from daily activities when there is a story that is writing itself.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

The Discipline. I am a perfectionist, so for many years I was afraid to write prose because it required so much editing. Even now, there are days when I force myself to write even if the words are not flowing, and my writer friends challenge me to keep refining my story even when I think I am done.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Margaret Atwood, Emily Bronte, Geraldine Brooks, Ian McEwan, Lan Cao, Andrew Pham. I love the elegance of their prose, and how original/expansive their thoughts are. To me, it is not just about writing a good story. It is when their prose style thrills me with its beauty in addition to an unforgettable story.

What was the first historical novel you read?

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I loved the character of Sydney Carton, who sacrificed his life so that his beloved Lucy Manette could have a happy ending with another man.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Even though it is not connected to a specific event in history, its sense of atmosphere, time, and place were so potent, that it feels somehow very historical.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I wanted to be a kung-fu actress as a child, I knit, and my priorities tend to differ from social convention.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

Being able to be very imaginative within a given historical context, almost like connecting the dots or problem solving. Similar to life, we don’t get to create the circumstances, but we can color it and invent within certain boundaries. Historical fiction is like that. You can’t change the facts, but you can play with perspective and imagination, and the gaps in the known to create something no one has realized could exist.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading? 

None in particular.

I tend to appreciate a certain mastery of language, and to gravitate towards themes that are out of the ordinary. My love of Margaret Atwood is an example.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I tend to be traveling, taking long solitary walks in nature or shopping malls (doesn’t seem to really matter when you are daydreaming half the time), and going to the opera.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am currently working on the third book of the Fisherwoman Trilogy. This final book juxtaposes the revolutionary history of Israel against the well-known stories of the Bible. Additionally, I am working on my mother’s memoirs, who was an immigrant who fled the Communist invasion of South Vietnam.

Those both sound fascinating! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions!



A Fisher of Women by Catherine Magia

Publication Date: October 3, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 184 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Biblical


When the wife of Simon Peter returns to Galilee, she brings nothing but her faith in an enigmatic carpenter named Jesus, who has an extraordinary gift of healing the sick. But as she spends time in the presence of this divine leader, she discovers the gift of healing comes at a devastating cost. A terrible burden Jesus bears for the sake of his love for humanity.

In her quest to alleviate Jesus’s eternal suffering, the wife of Simon Peter befriends a pagan magician named Helen. Helen possesses a wisdom and healing power exceeded only by Jesus himself, but bears an unsavory reputation. Can Helen be trusted to ease Jesus's suffering? Or is she a rival seeking his ultimate destruction?

Simon Peter is immortalized as a devoted pillar of the early Church. This is the untold story of his wife, forgotten as a healer and invisible to the pages of history. Her journey leads her to understand the inevitable price of healing, and what it truly means to love.

Available on Amazon

Praise for A Fisher of Women

"Catherine Magia has penned an affecting narrative, weaving a woman's journey of discovery with pagan sorcery, ancient medicine, and the Christian faith. Biblical details are given a fresh and unconventional interpretation, particularly the very human suffering of Jesus and the alienation of the sick in this enthralling chronicle of miracles. A thrilling sequel." - Lan Cao, author of The Lotus and the Storm and Monkey Bridge

"Catherine's name springs from the root for magic, which perhaps explains her uncanny skill at conjuring fictional worlds. We quickly fall under the spell of her heroine in A Fisher of Women, the wife of Simon Peter, a healer who learns not only the virtues of plants but the restorative power of forgiveness. Be transported back to Galilee: its fragrant spices, its pagan magicians, its wealth and danger, the golden light in Jesus's eyes. More than a great read -- it's a revelation." - Duncan W. Alderson, author of the Harper's Bazaar Must-Read Magnolia City

"The story is smoothly written, with clear characters, a mix of scripture and historical events presented in an easy to follow manner... Letting go of fear, learning to forgive, and healing with more than just faith, will require a journey Simon Peter's wife did not expect." - Sarah Bradley, Ind'tale Magazine

"Author Catherine Magia presents an intense story of Peter's wife who struggles against many odds, including the her husband's refusal to accept his wife as his equal as a disciple. The story takes place in and around the Sea of Galilee, the home base of the first disciples of Christ, which comes alive in the readers imagination. Familiar biblical characters are portrayed as deeply human, both in their flaws and in their redemptive moments."-E. Ann McIntyre, author of Lazarus of Bethany and Feast of Pontius Pilate, member of Catholic Writers' Guild

About the Author

Catherine Magia's debut novel The Fisherman's Bride won the 2017 New England Book Festival. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to New Jersey at the age of ten. At eighteen, she won a creative writing scholarship to Drew University, where she studied political theory and chemistry. Although her formal education was in the hard sciences, Catherine has always maintained a passion for the written word, publishing her poetry in several literary journals including the Michigan Quarterly Review.

She discovered the voice of Simon Peter's wife on a soul-searching journey, a trek through the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. She spent seven years researching and writing her debut novel, traveling as far as Ephesus, Turkey.

The Fisherman's Bride was described as "unique and authentic" by the Booklife Prize, indie division of Publisher's Weekly. The Historical Novel Society has praised the book as "complex and engaging," while Reader's Favorite Magazine has lauded it as "literature," awarding it the Silver Medal for Historical Christian Fiction.

A Fisher of Women, the sequel to The Fisherman's Bride, was released on October 3rd. She is currently writing and researching the third book of The Fisherwoman Series.

By day, she works as a director of market insights in the development of new cancer medications. She is focused on connecting cancer patients and their stories to the executives and employees of the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently based in Boston.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 3
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 4
Feature at Donna's Book Blog

Thursday, December 6
Excerpt at T's Stuff

Sunday, December 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Monday, December 10
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, December 11
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, December 13
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, December 14
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, December 15
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, December 17
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 19
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of A Fisher of Women! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Fisher of Women


Review & Giveaway: A Murder By Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe


A Murder By Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover & eBook; 326 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery


When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo


My Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you've been following this blog for a while then you probably know that I'm a huge Elizabeth I fan, so when I saw A Murder By Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe listed on Amazon a while ago I immediately added it to my wishlist. And when the chance came up to read it you can be sure that I jumped on that right quick!

Now, I was a tad hesitant when starting it because I am such a huge Elizabeth I admirer and this was my first time reading Suzanne's writing, but after the first few lines, I was immediately sucked in.

"God's bollocks, girl! I'm freezing my tits off!" I mean, how can you not be drawn in by this first line? It's classic EI snark and vulgarity and I love it!

Suzanne's description captures EI perfectly...

"If the nights were the province of men, the days were ruled by women, with Elizabeth Regina the sun that shone above them all, a source of light as well as blistering heat that seared and shriveled any who were foolish enough to incur her wrath."

A Murder By Any Name takes place late in EI's reign. A young lady in waiting has been murdered and Nick Holt, a spy and brother of an Early, has been asked by EI to investigate. I absolutely adored Nick! And his loyal partner, his dog Hector, the Irish Wolfhound that stole my heart.

I don't want to give too much away because if you're like me then you like going in as fresh as possible. Trust me when I say that you will want to pick this up! Suzanne's superb writing and the masterful mystery will keep you turning the pages until the killer is revealed.

I thorough enjoyed every minute reading A Murder By Any Name and cannot wait for the next book in the series!

Praise for A Murder By Any Name

“Captivating… Fans of Fiona Buckley’s Ursula Blanchard and Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Rosamond Jaffrey will be delighted to add Wolfe to their reading lists.” ―Booklist

“[A] promising series launch… Fans of Elizabethan historicals will be satisfied.” ―Publishers Weekly

“An excellent series kickoff by Wolfe that cleverly highlights both the mystery and the many ills of Elizabethan times.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“In vivid passages, Suzanne Wolfe’s novel brings to the reader the light and dark of Elizabethan England, its squalor and splendor, filth and riches, intrigues and delights.” ―NY Journal of Books

“A deeply atmospheric and richly textured Elizabethan mystery... I was captivated by Nicholas and Hector as they navigated court treachery and the dark recesses of the lower classes in this compelling Elizabethan mystery.” ―Shelley Freydont, New York Times bestselling author

"Wolfe’s descriptions are unparalleled, immersing the reader in the time period as they join her wily protagonist on his quest to catch a cold-hearted killer.” ―Anna Lee Huber, bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mysteries

"I stayed up reading much too late to finish this book! Wonderful Elizabethan atmosphere, well-drawn and unusual characters, action and intrigue and excitement―I felt like I was in the 1570s" ―Amanda Carmack, award-winning author of the Elizabethan mysteries

“Bewitching! Suzanne Wolfe opens the door to Elizabethan life through her masterful creation of the sympathetic spy, Nicholas Holt. An exciting start to a promising new historical mystery series.” ―Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai series

“A classically plotted whodunit set against the background of Elizabethan London and the court of Queen Elizabeth the First, both of them well researched and vividly realized, with a wealth of detail. One can almost smell the reek of the 16th century streets and waterways.” ―Fiona Buckley, author of the Ursula Blanchard Elizabethan mysteries

About the Author

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

For more information, please visit Suzanne M. Wolfe's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 17
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 18
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, December 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, December 20
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.

Friday, December 21
Feature at What Is That Book About

Sunday, December 23
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Thursday, December 27
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 28
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Review at Amy's Booket List

Monday, December 31
Review at Tudor Enthusiast

Wednesday, January 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Thursday, January 3
Excerpt at T's Stuff
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, January 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, January 7
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, January 8
Guest Post at On the Tudor Trail

Wednesday, January 9
Review at Reading the Past

Thursday, January 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Friday, January 11
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, January 14
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Tuesday, January 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 16
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, January 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 hardcover copies of A Murder By Any Name! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Murder By Any Name


New Release: Brandon - Tudor Knight by Tony Riches


Brandon - Tudor Knight by Tony Riches

Publication Date: December 3, 2018
Preseli Press


From the author of the international bestselling Tudor Trilogy comes a true story of adventure, courtly love and chivalric loyalty.

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US


About the Author


Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony was a finalist in the 2017 Amazon Storyteller Awards and is listed 130th in the 2018 Top 200 list of the Most Influential Authors. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website and his popular blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Review: Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton


Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton

Publication Date: September 6, 2018
Unbound Digital

A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life. A tale of love and survival – of courage and the quest for wisdom – it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters: One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery.

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny – and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love.

Bone Lines stands alone as a novel but also marks the beginning of the intended ‘Children of Sarah’ series.

My Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

When I received the tour invite from Anne Cater for this one I was immediately drawn in by the description. I'm a sucker for dual timeline stories and was fascinated by the premise of a present-day scientist studying a woman that lived tens of thousands of years ago and how their lives intersect. You get the best of both worlds - the past and the present! This also pulled on my love for archaeology and anthropology. It is evident that the author also has a passion for it and her knowledge shown through in the book. I don't think I've ever highlighted so many passages in a book before. I was completely intrigued!

As with most dual timeline novels that I read I preferred Sarah's story. Could you imagine trudging through freezing cold and snow, delivering a baby on your own, and then keeping that baby and yourself alive in the most dangerous environment possible, while you forage and hunt for food and attempt to not freeze to death!? When it was Sarah's time in the story, I was gripped! So much so that I devoured the last hundred pages to see what happened to Sarah and her baby.

This is Bretherton's first novel and you bet I will be following her now to see what else she writes. I really enjoyed her writing and she definitely knows her research.

Philosophy, human nature, history, and science combine in Bone Lines to make for one captivating and thought provoking read!

About the Author

Who do you think you are? A daunting question for the debut author… but also one to inspire a genre-fluid novel based on the writer’s fascination for what makes humanity tick. Born in Hong Kong to expats from Liverpool (and something of a nomad ever since) Stephanie is now based in London, but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast.

Before returning to her first love of creative writing, Stephanie spent much of her youth pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing.
For the past fifteen years Stephanie has run her own communications and copywriting company specialised in design, architecture and building. In the meantime an enduring love affair with words and the world of fiction has led her down many a wormhole on the written page, even if the day job confined such adventures to the weekends.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is intrigued by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity has been channelled most recently into her debut novel, Bone Lines. When not bothering Siri with note-taking for her next books and short stories, Stephanie can be found pottering about with poetry, or working out what worries/amuses her most in an opinion piece or an unwise social media post. Although, if she had more sense or opportunity she would be beachcombing, sailing, meditating or making a well-disguised cameo in the screen version of one of her stories. (Wishful thinking sometimes has its rewards?)

Website: http://www.stephaniebretherton.com/
Twitter : @BrethertonWords
Instagram: @brethertonwords2



Interview & Giveaway: The War Between Us by Sarah Creviston Lee

Happy Friday eve, dear readers! Today on the blog I have an interview with Sarah Creviston Lee as part of her blog tour with HF Virtual Book Tours. I had the pleasure of reading her novel The War Between Us and absolutely loved it and was so happy when she was able to answer some questions for me.

You can read my review of The War Between Us here. I hope you enjoy getting to know Sarah!


Hello Sarah and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The War Between Us!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Sure! I live in Maryland with my husband and homeschool our three kids. I blog about history, museums, and WWII rationing at History: Preserved (history-preserved.com). At university, I earned my degree in History and a certificate in Museum Studies. I’m an Indiana native who grew up loving to read, spending a lot of time outdoors, and discovering a passion for history. I’ve worked in museums since I was 13.

As for my writing, I squeeze it in when and where I can, at the library, but mostly Starbucks (because they’re open late!). I pretty much write there until they kick me out. It’s a slow process in the midst of my busy life, but even slow progress moves a book forward!

What inspired you to write The War Between Us?

My inspiration came from two different places.

I’ve loved studying WWII since I was a teenager, so that’s been apart of me for a long time. I rediscovered that love about five or six years ago, and in the midst of that time I also got hooked on watching Korean dramas. After awhile, the historian in me thought, “I wonder what the Korean Americans were doing during WWII…” I went on a hunt to find out, and that’s where I got excited. There was almost nothing out there about their experiences. Of course, this presented its own research problems, but as a historian, finding an incredible story like this that hasn’t been written about is so rare. I knew I wanted to be the first one to write about it.

The other inspiration was a story I’d heard since I was a girl about my Great Aunt Elaine and her Chinese husband, Harry. They’d married in the 1930s, had four beautiful children, and then she sadly died of an illness. A few months later, all four children died in a tragic house fire – my Great Uncle Harry had lost his whole family in less than 6 months. Their sad story stuck with my through my childhood, and as I begun writing my book, I wanted to know some of my great aunt’s motives for taking such a risk in marrying a minority in a time when that was really frowned upon. While my story isn’t based on their lives, my journey into finding more about them served as a muse for my own main characters’ love story.

What research did you undertake when writing The War Between Us?

Securing research about Korean Americans during WWII was my top priority. I was so grateful someone had written their doctoral dissertation on that very subject, so that served as my main resource and it was so valuable. Secondly, and this might sound funny, but I drew upon my 2 years of watching Korean dramas to serve as my foundation for learning about the Korean culture, family/society social structures, language, mannerisms, food, etc. Of course, I didn’t let that be my only resource. I gave my draft to my friend and her mother, who were Korean, and they were able to correct a few mistakes and give their stamp of approval for the rest. This step was very important to me, because I wanted to represent the Korean story in the best and most correct way that I could.

As for everything else with 1940s home front America, I collected original women’s magazines, studied fashion, drew on my experience of ration cooking from my collection of wartime cookbooks, learned about specific towns in Indiana to base my fictional town on, read 1940s newspaper articles, etc. Anytime I wasn’t sure about something, I dug until I found an answer. One example was pinpointing the exact times and details of the draft age changes in the midst of the war. It was pretty confusing, but I was able to enlist the help of two stellar professional genealogists to answer my questions! While I was able to do a lot of research up front, it was really an ongoing process in the midst of writing the story.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The War Between Us?

I’d really love readers to come away from the book having learned about an untold story from wartime America – that prejudice existed in many forms and these stories in history can serve as valuable lessons for us today. Another thing that was important for me to convey was that what people usually see in stereotypes of the 1940s shows the garish and wild side of the time and people. While my book isn’t meant to be religious, I wanted to portray that most people during that time were religious, and it was a huge part of their lives. I think this aspect of American life tends to get swept under the rug in favor of more exciting things, but being religious was just so ordinary then.

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene to write was Alex’s reaction the next morning after he and Lonnie have kissed, and he’s freaking out because he doesn’t know what to do next.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The most difficult scene to write was near the end where Teddy attacks Lonnie and fights with Alex for the last time. My characters had been through so much up to that point and I knew what else still had to happen (more violence), and knowing this made it very difficult for me to face. I think I put it off for at least a week, and even then I was still in tears for much of the writing.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In 1st grade I decided I wanted to be a writer after my teacher gave us hardcover blank books to write in. I was hooked on the possibilities! In 7th grade I wrote my first novel (rubbish of course), but it was lots of fun. I knew I wanted to publish a book after that and made it a goal to do just that.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Because of the demand homeschooling and caring for my 3 kids takes, my routine is more weekly. I’m able to go out 1-3 nights a week to work on writing, marketing, historical research, or planning my writing projects. Sometimes it’s just blog posts I’m writing, other times it’s working on scenes that come to me for one of the four books I have going right now (!!!). I think once I have my own office I’ll have a more organized method to things, but my routine now is just getting work done pieces at a time.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I currently have three writing inspirations:

First, is Temple Bailey who was an early 20th century American writer. She perfected the art of beautiful, descriptive writing with lovely depth of thought. I always come away from her books with my mind opened and my heart inspired.

Secondly, is Nigel Tranter. He was a prolific Scottish writer whose organic way of plotting his books, by taking long walks in the countryside, treading the earth of where his stories were set, has inspired me deeply about how important it is to embrace your writing process, and about all the love and passion we, as writers, can bring to the page.

And lastly, is Jonathan Stroud. His Lockwood & Co. series is phenomenal. I’ve learned so much about suspense, description, and world building from reading his books. Not to mention, he writes a deliciously spooky story!

What was the first historical novel you read?

I actually don’t remember the first one, but one book from my childhood that I’ve read multiple times, and has always stuck with me is the Civil War fiction book Red Cap by G. Clifton Wisler. My memories of reading WWII fiction books run together. I read every single YA WWII book my library had and, not surprisingly, ended up with nightmares.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The last historical novel I read is In Another Time by Caroline Leech. It’s a WWII fiction set in Scotland with a Women’s Timber Corp member as the protagonist. It was a great read!

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. I was born in a car in front of a cathedral.
2. When I was a nanny in New York back in 2000, I spent most of my spare personal time at the NY Public Library scrolling through newspapers on microfilm to do research on the newsboy strike of 1899, and I met a cast member of the movie Newsies. #teenagergoals Haha!
3. I own almost 200 cookbooks, most of them historical. Eek! (It’s a good thing most of them are skinny pamphlets…)

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love the hunt of research for historical fiction. I think it’s the most fun part. I also enjoy recreating a time gone by with realistic characters.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

It really varies. I like reading all kinds of time periods – from the Celtic times to Regency to Industrial Revolution to WWII. I’m especially drawn to stories involving evolution of technology and its uses in society.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I love hanging out at antique shops, dabbling in photography, catching up on some Korean, British or Canadian shows I love, or diving into my historical cookbook collection to find new recipes to experiment with. I go through cycles of reading, sewing, crafting, and knitting too.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

Oh boy, I’ve given myself a full plate! I’m about a third of the way through the first draft of my next WWII book called Through Fields of War, which is a continuation of wartime in River Bluff, but from the perspectives of Walter and Rose, two friends of Lonnie in my first book. I’ve also got a contemporary romance I’m actively working on, a fantasy adventure story in the planning stages, and a historical/fantasy that I’ve started writing too.

Oh those sound great! I look forward to hearing more about those. Thank you for spending time with us today! Thank you for giving me the chance to read your amazing book!


The War Between Us by Sarah Creviston Lee

Publication Date: December 14, 2015
Paperback & eBook; 330 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


Editor's Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society.

Alex Moon is not the enemy.

Six months after Pearl Harbor's tragedy, Korean American Alex Moon is sent away from his home in California for refusing his father's request to join the fight against the Japanese. On his journey, Alex is attacked and stranded in the small town of River Bluff, Indiana just for looking like America's most hated enemy.

Unexpectedly, Alex is befriended by a local girl, Lonnie Hamilton, who comes to his defense, saving him from doubt and despair while placing herself in the cross hairs of prejudice. Alex falls in love with his ally---a love that is clearly forbidden. Torn between his dual identities, Korean and American, and grappling with how everyone sees him, Alex must wage the war within himself---of defending who he is, resolving his tortured feelings about the war, and fighting for the woman he loves.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound



Praise for The War Between Us

"Sarah Creviston Lee crafts a smart, fast-paced, uncensored, and quite moving story of embattled love and obstacles overcome. Even her unsavory characters are warmly, believably drawn, and the character of Lonnie Hamilton herself is wonderfully authentic. I read hungrily as the story picked up pace. Highly recommended." -Laura Fahey, The Historical Novel Society

"Lonnie and Alex are perfect renderings of their time, cultures, and upbringings. Anyone familiar with multicultural literature will find a new author to love, and readers new to a beautifully developed look at a culture unlike ours will find a new genre to love. Lonnie isn't immune to her town's prejudice against Alex, but she is able to think things through before reacting. Alex is a moving and heartbreaking picture of a young man caught between two cultures and hated for events not of his making. Together, they are remarkable." -Julie York, InD'Tale Magazine

"Debuting author Sarah Creviston Lee bursts into the historical fiction market with The War Between Us, a distinctive glimpse at post-Pearl Harbor America and the Asian American citizens caught in the resulting backlash of heightened nationalism and fear. Her honest and empathetic handling of the issues, as well as her complex characters, make this a read that remains with you after the cover is closed." -Laurie L. C. Lewis, award-winning author of the Free Men and Dreamers series

About the Author

Sarah Creviston Lee was born and raised as a proud Hoosier. She can usually be found tinkering in the kitchen with WWII ration recipes, haunting local antique shops, homeschooling her kids, clacking away on her laptop writing one story or another, or watching old school movies with her family.

She currently lives in Maryland with her husband, three children, and flock of feisty chickens.

In 2016, her book, The War Between Us, received the Editor's Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, December 7
Feature at Tar Heel Reader
Review at Passages to the Past

Saturday, December 8
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, December 10
Review at Bri's Book Nook
Feature at Old Timey Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, December 11
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, December 12
Feature at A Book Geek
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, December 13
Review at Creating Herstory
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 14
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All
Review, Excerpt, and Q&A at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Saturday, December 15
Feature at The Chocolate Lady's Book Review Blog

Monday, December 17
Excerpt at Jathan & Heather
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 paperback copies of The War Between Us! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The War Between Us


Candace Robb's A Murdered Peace Book Blast & Giveaway


A Murdered Peace by Candace Robb

Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Pegasus Books
Paperback & eBook; 304 Pages

Series: Kate Clifford, Book 3
Genre: Historical Mystery


It is deep winter in York, 1400, the ground frozen, the short days dimmed with the smoke from countless fires, the sun, when it shines, low in the sky. It is rumored that the Epiphany Uprising, meant to relieve the realm of the Henry the usurper and return King Richard to the throne has, instead, spelled his doom. As long as Richard lives, he is a threat to Henry. So, too, the nobles behind the plot. The ringleaders have been caught, some slaughtered as they fled west by folk loyal to Henry, and the king’s men now search the towns for survivors.

A perilous time, made worse for Kate Clifford by the disappearance of Berend, her cook and confidante, shortly after Christmas. Her niece saw his departure in a dream—he said he was honor bound to leave. Honor bound—to a former lord? One of the nobles who led the uprising? Is he alive? She is hardly consoled when Berend reappears, wounded, secretive, denying any connection to the uprising, but refusing to explain himself. When he is accused of brutally murdering a spice seller in the city, Kate discovers a chest of jewels in his possession. Some of the jewels belong to her old friend Lady Margery, wanted by the king for her husband’s part in the uprising. For the sake of their long friendship, and the love she and her wards bear for him, Kate wants to believe his innocence. So, too, does Sir Elric. And he has the powerful backing of the Earl of Westmoreland. All she need do is confide in him. If only she trusted her heart.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo


Praise for A Murdered Peace

“Those who meddle in the affairs of kings live to regret it. A...tale of love and murder set in a turbulent period when death and betrayal lurk around every corner.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Superior. Robb effortlessly integrates the era’s intrigues into a whodunit framework and peoples the plot with a wide array of characters readers will come to care about.” -Publishers Weekly (starred)

“A fine flowing narrative and a genuine sense of mystery and peril.” -Writers & Readers

About the Author



Candace Robb is the bestselling author of sixteen crime novels set in fourteenth century England, Wales, and Scotland, including the acclaimed Owen Archer series and the Margaret Kerr trilogy. Candace lives in Seattle, Washington.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, December 11
100 Pages a Day
Bookish Rantings

Wednesday, December 12
The Lit Bitch
Bri's Book Nook
Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 13
Creating Herstory
Just One More Chapter

Friday, December 14
What Is That Book About
Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

Saturday, December 15
Old Timey Books
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, December 16
Donna's Book Blog
Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, December 17
The Writing Desk

Tuesday, December 18
A Book Geek
Tea Book Blanket

Wednesday, December 19
Umut Reviews
The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, December 20
Clarissa Reads it All
For the Sake of Good Taste

Friday, December 21
Jathan & Heather
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed set of Candace Robb's Kate Clifford series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Murdered Peace


Review & Giveaway: From Across the Room by Gina L. Mulligan


From Across the Room by Gina L. Mulligan

Publication Date: September 15, 2016
Five Star Publications
Hardcover & eBook; 271 Pages

Genre: Historical/Epistolary


Self-indulgent young writer Thomas Gadwell has traveled from Boston to the new Hotel Del Coronado in California to at last finish his novel when he meets the clever and headstrong Miss Mary Harting. At once Thomas tosses aside his literary pursuits for a charmed summer of romance that ends with the happy couple making future plans. However, Mary Harting is the only unmarried daughter of notorious railroad tycoon Charles Harting, and he has no intention of letting a useless wordsmith derail his own critical plans for Mary. The couple must continue a clandestine courtship, but Thomas' ingenuity has unexpected repercussions and he unwittingly uncovers a sinister plot of deception, greed, and blackmail. Guided by mentor Henry James, to win Mary, Thomas must step from the pages of the world he creates to explore his own insecurities, battle against worldly corruption, and expose family demons.

Told through a series of clever, heartfelt, and engaging letters, From Across the Room is a voyeuristic escapade that delights at every twist. Reflecting back to a time when letters were saved in the imagination of the reader, the lost art of letter writing brings to life the opulent Gilded Age and unfolds the universal passions of love, ambition, and the resilient bonds of family.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters | IndieBound

Praise for From Across the Room

"A passionate love story set in a brilliantly recreated Gilded Age, this intimate epistolary novel takes the reader from a wide-open California to the salons of literary and industrial New York. Colorful and indelible characters stride across the pages of this exceptionally vivid historical novel that brings the past stirringly to life." -Diana Birchall, Bestselling Author of Mr. Darcy's Dilemma

"Gina Mulligan's impeccable prose, engaging characters, and original style reminds us all why we love to read." -Reza Kahlili, 2010 National Best Books winner for A Time to Betray

"The characters have richly defined voices and fascinating lives that sparkle against a transcontinental history of America at the beginning of the twentieth century." -Jessica Klein, Award-winning Writer/Producer of Northern Exposure, Beverly Hills 90210, Gabriel's Fire and other popular TV series.

Review

Well, I just finished the most amazing and unique novel that made me stay up way too late last night! From Across the Room is the first book by Gina Mulligan that I've read but it won't be my last!

Set during the Gilded Age, this book tells the story of Thomas Gadwell, a wanna-be writer who meets a woman outside of his class, Mary Harting. Told exclusively in letter form, we are privy to the inner thoughts and words of Thomas as he writes his love, Mary, and his mentor, Henry James (!!), among others. I have never read a book formatted before but Gina made it work very well. It's awesome to get to know a character that much, and to see the events taking place through his eyes.

Forbidden love, intrigue, and history all combine and make for a remarkable read in From Across the Room! I highly recommend it to all historical fiction fans, and those that enjoy a charming love story.

About the Author

Gina L. Mulligan is a veteran freelance journalist for numerous national magazines and the author of the award-winning novel, REMEMBER THE LADIES and FROM ACROSS THE ROOM. After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement for women with breast cancer. She was honored for her charitable work on the nationally syndicated television talk show The Steve Harvey Show, People.com, and TODAY.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 26
Review at Creating Herstory
Excerpt at Spellbound by History

Tuesday, November 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, November 28
Review at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, November 29
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, November 30
Review at A Holland Reads

Saturday, December 1
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, December 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, December 4
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 5
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 6
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.

Friday, December 7
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, December 10
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, December 11
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 12
Review at Laura's Interests

Friday, December 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, December 17
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, December 18
Feature at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, December 19
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, December 20
Review at Bri's Book Nook

Friday, December 21
Review at The Book Mind
Guest Post and Excerpt at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 copies of From Across the Room & Stationary! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

From Across the Room


Interview & Giveaway: Mistress of Legend & Guinevere's Tale Trilogy by Nicole Evelina

Happy Monday, dear readers! Today on the blog author Nicole Evelina stops by to talk about her Guinevere's Tale Trilogy and the latest release and last book in the sereies, Mistress of Legend. We also have a giveaway for a set of the trilogy so be sure to enter!


Hello Nicole and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Mistress of Legend & the Guinevere's Tale Trilogy!

Thank you for having me!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Sure. I write across genres. Historical fiction/historical fantasy is where my heart truly lies, but I also write non-fiction (history and biography) and contemporary romance.

Regardless of the genre, the thing that unites my writing is that it is always about strong women. They may be able to wield a sword, use magic or simply stand firm to what they believe in. History has had enough passive, docile women. It’s time for new role models to have their say. I am especially attracted to those whose stories are in danger of being forgotten. I feel like there are so female stories we have yet to tell!

What inspired you to write the Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy? How & when did your fascination with Guinevere and King Arthur begin?

I’ve loved Guinevere since I was a little girl. Thanks to my dad, I grew up on the musical Camelot, so she was the role model for me that most girls find in Disney Princesses. When I was in college, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Mists of Avalon for Christmas. I LOVED it, but I hated Marion Zimmer Bradley’s portrayal of Guinevere as meek and well, stupid. That made me seek out other books about Guinevere and I read Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, which tells the story of what happened to Guinevere after the fall of Camelot. That made me wonder what happened to her before and after Arthur, which is something you don’t hear much about. Then Guinevere came into my head, telling me she wanted me to write her story, which I thought at the time would be all one book. I’ve known the ending all along.

What research did you undertake when writing the Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy?

A lot. I read so many books – on Arthurian Legend, Guinevere, myths, history, you name it, watched TV specials and did expert interviews. I actually went to England twice, once especially of an Arthurian Legend’s tour, which was run my Jamie George, one of the people who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

I actually have a research page on my website for each book in the trilogy if anyone is interested in specifics:
Daughter of Destiny and Camelot’s Queen (information is the same on both pages)
Mistress of Legend

Did you come across anything in your research that surprised or fascinated you?

Even though Guinevere is a pagan, I found the early Christian church a lot more interesting. To me it’s fascinating to see what has and hasn’t changed. For example, Advent didn’t exist in the early Church, so Christmas actually had three Masses which people were required to attend. On the other hand, many of our Lenten practices date back more than 1,500 years.

There are quite a few historical novels written about Guinevere. How does your vision of Guinevere differ?

I think it stands out because I’ve done things with Guinevere that few, if any, other authors have done. My goal in writing the trilogy was to explore Guinevere’s whole life, not just the parts that include King Arthur. So, just like I covered her youth in Daughter of Destiny, I wanted to shed light upon her life after the fall of Camelot in Mistress of Legend. Guinevere was her own woman, independent of the men history associates her with, and it was important for me to show that in order to dispel the long-held belief that she couldn’t function once Arthur died. She still had very much living to do, thank you very much. I also made her pagan and equal with Morgan in many ways, plus her love interest in Daughter of Destiny is definitely not canon.

If you could debunk one myth about Guinevere, what would it be?

Oh this is a great question! I think the biggest one is that she was just a tool of the men around her. I mean, when we think of her the first thing that comes to mind is “wife of Arthur who had an affair with Lancelot.” This really devalues her as a character and a fictional person. As I said above, she was so much more. She had hopes and dreams and a full life before Arthur came along to mess things up; even when she was with him, she did her own thing, and she certainly lived a full life after he died. All the men she loved were important influences on her, but they were not her be-all-and-end-all.

What was your favorite scene to write in Mistress of Legend?

I don’t want to give too much away, but I think my favorite is one that takes place about ¾ of the way through the book. It really sets the whole last section in motion. At this point, Guinevere is in what is now called Scotland and is present at the Votadini Summer Solstice ritual. Evina, the tribal leader meets out some harsh justice there. The whole scene was fun to write and really unexpected because I just let the character loose and she did what she wanted. To see such primal energies on display and know I was somehow channeling them into my writing was a humbling experience.

What was the most difficult scene to write in Mistress of Legend?

The Battle of Camlann, hands down. There were a lot of logistical questions in my mind: Is it one battle or three (scholars are divided)? How do I handle the fact that Guinevere isn’t physically present? Plus, it SUCH an emotional scene. I was basically killing off two characters we have come to know and love, and doing it through the eyes of Guinevere and Morgan, the two people who loved them the most. So on top of logistics and battle/swordplay details, I had to be sure I evoked the appropriate level of emotion so the reader could experience the loss, not just read about it. I have to admit that by the final draft, I made myself cry!

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am actually working on two non-fiction book proposals that have to do with the suffrage movement in America. With the centennial anniversary of women getting the right to vote coming up in August 2020, now the time to get that story out there. It’s much more complex – and interesting – than what we were taught in school. The suffragists were not all rainbows and sisterhood. Many were racist and classist and they fought bitterly amongst themselves. Plus, the general story only includes the efforts of white women. I want to be able to show how women of color, men, and people of all sexualities contributed to the fight for women’s rights.

Wow, that sounds fascinating! I can't wait to hear more! Thanks for spending time with us today, Nicole. Hope you have a great blog tour!


Mistress of Legend by Nicole Evelina

Publication Date: September 15, 2018
Lawson Gartner Publishing
Paperback, eBook, AudioBook; 412 Pages

Series: Guinevere's Tale, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction/Arthurian/Fantasy


Legend says Guinevere spent her final days in penance in a convent, but that is far from the truth.

Having escaped death at the stake, Guinevere longs to live a peaceful life in Brittany with Lancelot, but the threat of Arthur’s wrath quickly separates the lovers. Guinevere finds herself back in Camelot, but it is not the peaceful capital she once knew; the loyalty of the people is divided over Arthur’s role in her death sentence. When war draws Arthur away from Britain, Mordred is named acting king. With Morgan at his side and a Saxon in his bed, Mordred’s thirst for power becomes his undoing and the cause of Guinevere’s greatest heartache.

In the wake of the deadly battle that leaves the country in civil war, Guinevere’s power as the former queen is sought by everyone who seeks to ascend the throne. Heartbroken and refusing to take sides in the conflict, she flees north to her mother’s Votadini homeland, where she is at long last reunited with Lancelot. The quiet life she desires is just beginning when warring tribal factions once again thrust her into an unexpected position of power. Now charged with ending an invasion that could bring an end to the Votadini tribe and put the whole island in the hands of the Saxons, Guinevere must draw upon decades of experience to try to save the people she loves and is sworn to protect.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooksKobo | Smashwords


A box set containing Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, and Mistress of Legend


Guinevere is remembered for her role as King Arthur’s wife and for her adulterous affair with Lancelot. But there is so much more to her story…

Priestess. Queen. Warrior. Experience the world of King Arthur through Guinevere’s eyes as she matures from a young priestess who never dreamed of becoming queen to the stalwart defender of a nation and a mistress whose sin would go down in history. Throughout it all, Guinevere she faces threats from both foreign powers and within her own court that lead her to place her very life on the line to protect the dream of Camelot and save her people.

This compendium of Nicole Evelina’s two-time Book of the Year award-winning trilogy – Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, and Mistress of Legend – gives fresh life to an age-old tale by adding historical context and emotional depth. Spanning more than three decades, it presents Guinevere as an equal to the famous men she is remembered for loving, while providing context for her controversial decisions and visiting little-known aspects of her life before and after her marriage to King Arthur.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author

03_Nicole Evelina
Nicole Evelina is a historical fiction, non-fiction, and women’s fiction author whose five books –Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, Been Searching for You, Madame Presidentess and The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend (nonfiction) – have won more than 30 awards, including three Book of the Year designations.

Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness.

Nicole is currently working on Mistress of Legend (September 15), the final novel in her Guinevere's Tale historical fantasy trilogy and researching two future non-fiction books. She also teaches online writing and business classes for authors at Professional Author Academy.

Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 10
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Daughter of Destiny)

Wednesday, December 12
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 13
Review at A Book Geek (Daughter of Destiny)

Friday, December 14
Interview at Donna's Book Blog

Saturday, December 15
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Daughter of Destiny)

Sunday, December 16
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective (Mistress of Legend)

Tuesday, December 18
Review at Book Nerd (Camelot's Queen)

Thursday, December 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Camelot's Queen)

Friday, December 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 27
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Camelot's Queen)

Friday, December 28
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit (Mistress of Legend)

Saturday, December 29
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Mistress of Legend)

Sunday, December 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Mistress of Legend)

Monday, December 31
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Curling up by the Fire (Mistress of Legend)

Wednesday, January 2
Review at Book Nerd (Mistress of Legend)

Thursday, January 3
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Mistress of Legend)

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a boxed set of The Guinevere's Tale Trilogy in paperback (US only) and one set in eBook (international)! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– PB Giveaway is open to US residents only & eBook Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Mistress of Legend


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