Interview with Sandra Gulland and a MOTHER of a giveaway!!!

In honor of Mother's Day and with thanks to Diane Saarinen and the incomparable Sandra Gulland, I have a fabulous interview and giveaway to bring to you, my lovely readers! 

Up first is a Q & A with author Sandra Gulland, whose books include the superb Josephine B. trilogy and Mistress of the Sun.  Then scroll down for all the giveaway details.

Before becoming an author, you worked as an editor and even school principle, when was the moment you decided to write a book? Did you know then that you wanted to write historical fiction in particular and had you always had an affinity for HF?

I had always wanted to write, but life got in the way. When I turned 40, I realized that I couldn’t put it off forever, that if I was going to write a novel, I had to begin ... that day. And I did.

I had read Historical Fiction, but not very much. I came to Historical Fiction through the back door, so to speak. I wrote a contemporary novel (never published) about a woman possessed by Josephine. One chapter was Josephine’s diaries. Canadian novelist Jane Urquhart, who was writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa at the time (and who could give feed-back to anyone, not just students), read this manuscript and told me that that one chapter was the one that came to life. “Just write that.” It had never occurred to me to write historical fiction.

What for you is the most challenging part of the research process?


I love research, but at some point it’s time to put it on the back burner and start writing.

What’s challenging now, in a way, is that there is so much available on-line — entire libraries!

Your novels take place in 18-19c France, what is it about that time period and place inspires you to write about it?

Actually, add the 17th century now!

It all began with Josephine.

You’ve written about two very remarkable women, is there anything you learned from them during your time with them?

That’s an interesting question. From Josephine, I learned courage. I would often tell myself, when faced with a challenge: “If Josephine could do it, I can do it.” Jo: courage. From Louise I came to understand the beauty and richness of the contemplative life.

What authors have inspired your writing?

I have such a long list! I will mention one, however: one author, one slender book: A Walk with Love and Death by Hans Koning. (Koningsberger, when I first read him.) His simple, elegant style was the first to inspire me. It’s the one novel I return to again and again.

What are you reading now?

I tend to read a number of books at a time, especially now that some are in book form, and others are digital. I’m reading Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay in the Kindle edition. In book form I’m reading the delightfully witty autobiography of a friend, The Perennial Freshman by George S. Whiteman, as well as The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.

According to your website your novel in progress is about another one of Louis’ mistresses, Athénaïs de Montespan (Madame de Montespan), who is portrayed as being rather scandalous. How is it progessing and what is can your readers look forward to in this new novel?

I’ve the second draft behind me, and I’m just now setting off on a research trip. It’s the story of Claude des Oeillets, waiting maid to Athénaïs. Claude was the daughter of a theatrical diva. As part of the theatrical world of that period, she knew Corneille, Moliere, Racine. But it was a hard-scrabble life, and she considered her family’s problems solved when she became waiting maid to Athénaïs, a position that was well-rewarded, but for a price: she was ultimately required to sleep with the King when Athénaïs was indisposed and to act as go-between to Madame Voisin, who was burned at the stake for witchcraft during the Affair of the Poisons. Claude managed to escape and build a life for herself and her daughter by the King. Happily ever after!

And last, but not least, a question dear to me heart (and a few of my bloggy friends too)…what advice can you give to aspiring historical fiction writers?

Don’t aspire to be published, but to write a novel that readers find irresistible. Test your work on a wide range of readers. Demand to be told what’s working, and what’s not. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And move on. Don’t stop. Never give up.


To enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Mistress of the Sun OR the complete Josephine B. trilogy, see below...


- Open to US and CANADA entries ONLY (sorry to my peeps across the water).
- Only one entry per person.
- To enter, just leave a comment below and include your email address.  Please also specify if you are entering for either the Josephine B. trilogy or Mistress of the Sun or BOTH/EITHER.
- Ends on May 20th.




  1. Great interview! Thanks for the advice Sandra...very helpful.

    Amy, please do not enter me, as I already own all of these wonderful books!

  2. I'd love to win the Josephine trilogy. Ever since I read MISTRESS OF THE SUN, I've had it on my wishlist! Great giveaway!


  3. I would love to be entered for both! Fantastic giveaway.

  4. I'm in for the JB trilogy! What an awesome giveaway thanks!
    You have my email girlfriend!

  5. Both giveaways sound incredible! Thank you for this delightful opportunity.

    estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

  6. I would be happy with either prize.
    How delightful.

    Life got in the way....doesn't it always?
    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  7. Can I enter for both?

    If not, I want the Josephine B. Trilogy. :)


  8. I've heard such great things about the Mistress of the Sun. That's the one I would want if I was forced to choose. =) Thank you.

    sliugarcia at gmail dot com

  9. Amy, you always know how to ask the best interview questions! I use you and Arleigh as my guidepoints when I'm trying to write my own - working on it, but not quite up to par yet! I recently acquired the Josephine B Trilogy through PBS and SwapTree but I would love to enter for Mistress of the Sun. I don't actually remember hearing about that one - shocker I know! Thanks Amy! dolleygurl[at]hotmail[dot]com

  10. What a terrific interview! Amy- you so know what to ask! Sandra is a phenomenal writer- and Such a NICE person:) I love her advice for aspiring writers and cannot wait for her new novel.
    You obviously know I have her books (so no need to enter me;)

    Thanks for the marvelous interview and what a great Giveaway...I posted about this on my blog today;)

  11. Fantastic interview!! The Josephine series looks really interesting!! I'm interested in winning either of them :)

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thank you!

  12. Thanks for the giveaway! I've read and loved Mistress of the Sun so please enter me for the Josephine trilogy.

  13. Great interview! I would love to be entered for both:)
    bangersis at msn dot com

  14. Wow what an outstanding interview! And now I'm looking forward to hearing about her latest work in progress (you know I love me some scandal haha). But I would love to be entered for both giveaways since I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of her work yet. but now I definitely want too! Thanks for all the great giveaways you do and your posts always brighten my day!


  15. What a great interview and giveaway! I'd love to be entered into both contests. Thanks!
    NotYourStar11 at yahoo dot com


  16. a fabulous posting...and giveaway :)

    i'm interested in either one...thanks for the chance to read these wonderful books.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  17. Great interview and thank you for hosting this.

    Please count me in for both giveaways.


  18. Super interview! You are a new to me author - I love finding them! Please enter me for either/both!

    I follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  19. I'd love to be entered to win these books for my mom! Thanks. :D



  20. Enjoyed this interview. I already have Mistress of the Sun, so I'd love to be entered for the Josephine B trilogy. Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. I liked the interview. I am always interested in what books authors are reading as sometimes they are so not what I thought they would read and other times they are.

    Thanks for hosting and I would be thrilled to win either of the books!

    kdhaney at gmail dot com

  22. Interesting interview! And thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me for Mistress of the Sun - it's been on my list to get for some time! mclean416(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!

  23. Would love love to win!

  24. I would love to win Mistress of the Sun.

    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  25. %Thanks for the interview & hosting the giveaway :) would love to win either

    rubs.escalona [at]

  26. it would be fun to see the "woman possessed by Josephine" contemporary story come to life.

    i would love a chance to read any of Sandra's books. thanks.
    vvb32 at

  27. Wow...what a wonderful giveaway! This sure would help me complete my French Historical Fiction Challenge...ohh la la! Just posted about this giveaway and added the link to my sidebar Amy. Thanks as always for hosting such fantastic fun :D
    Fondly, Roberta

  28. Great giveaway, I'd like to be included!

  29. Oh, both and either! I'm a librarian, her passion for research really, really speaks to me!

    as always - wonderful giveaway!

    teabird17 atyahoodotcom

  30. What a wonderful interview!
    I would love to enter the giveaway for both!

    Thank you so much,


  31. What a great interview. I would love to be entered for either! Thanks so much.

  32. What a great contest! Please enter me for the Josephine trilogy.

    comethespring at gmail dot com

  33. Hello :)
    Please enter me into the contest for both or either.

    I will send you my contact info. Thanks!

  34. Oooo! Both/either, please!

    sidhekist at gmail dot com

  35. Enter me for both, please and thank you! chellebcool(at)hotmail (dot)com

  36. enter me for both.

  37. having none of them, i will take any or all!
    spvaughan yahoo com

  38. It is really a shame we don't know in our youth what we do 30, 40 years later. I wish i had had the foresight to write down family stories and Histories. There are so many that are vaguely familiar but I don't remember the details. There were some wonderful stories, some referring to our relationship to Bonaparte, although more correctly Josephine.

    Please enter me for Both/Either.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  39. Enter me for both please. Great interview.

    maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

  40. Great interview, I'll definitely start following you.

    I'd love to be entered for either/both: teawench (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thanks so much!

  41. Excellent interview ladies. I love this, "Don’t aspire to be published, but to write a novel that readers find irresistible." What wonderful advice.

    Please enter me for the Josephine B. trilogy.




  42. I would love to win both. They all look so good. Happy Mother's Day to all!!

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  43. I would love to win Mistress of the Sun. Thanks for a great offer!


  44. Please enter me in both giveaways, I would love to win either!

  45. Please enter me for the Josephine B. trilogy. Thanks for the interview! :)

    My email is:

  46. What a good interview-I enjoy learning about the author. Please enter me for Mistress of the Sun

    thank you

    chocolate and croissants at yahoo .c om

  47. What an interesting interview! I would love to be entered for both giveaways. Thanks!

    truthinfictionblog at

  48. Amy you have to enter me for a chance at the trilogy,

    I LOVED Mistress of the Sun, I listed it as one of my top reads in 2009. Dang good book and I am a sucker for white horses!

    Rocking giveaway keep on ROCKIN'!

  49. Awesome! I'd love to read EITHER! Thanks for an awesome giveaway!


  50. This is an amazing author interview and a Mother of a Giveaway! I first fell in love with Mrs. Gulland's novels when I read Mistress of the Sun - I loved Petite from the begining! I also recently started reading Tales of Passions, Tales of Woe.

    Please enter me in both giveaways: Mistress of the Sun for my collection and reread, and the Trilogy. Thanks.

    nunezbella at hotmail dotcom

  51. Amy, thanks for the interview post. It was insightful. Put me in for either of the giveaways, I've not read any of those and they sound intriguing.
    layrichelle at gmail dot com

  52. Thanks for the interview and contest - I've heard good things about the Josephine trilogy.
    reader047 at gmail dot com

  53. Ooh, please enter me for either/both of them.
    The Josephine B. series has been on my tbr for a long time, and the Mistress of the Sun looks very good too!
    Thanks for posting a link in the Historical Fictionista's group on GR!
    You can email me at seeford at yahoo dot com. = )

  54. After a long cold winter in Saskatchewan,I can't think of a better way to start my spring than to read both the Mistress of the Sun and the Josephine B. trilogy!! I'm so glad my friend gave me your site! Great reading ahead! I'm at

  55. I have not read any of these books, and they all look so good. Please enter me for either/both.


  56. Both/Either - free books - YEAH!
    Great post. Thanks so much.


  57. Sounds awesome!

    Both please

  58. What could be better than winning a book or 3 books?
    Please enter me for Both/Either

    Cheli's Shelves

  59. Oh my either prize sounds delightfully good. I am entering for BOTH/EITHER since I cannot choose.

    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  60. This is right up my reading alley!! I'd love to win either or both, thanks!

    tnshadylady at

  61. I wonder if she'll ever rewrite that original Josephine possession story? Sounds interesting.

    I'm in it for Mistress of the Sun, thanks!

  62. Great contest. I would love to enter for both.

  63. I adored "Mistress of the Sun," partly because it was so vividly imagined, and partly because it introduced me to another era of French history. Please enter me for the trilogy!

  64. Great interview, I would love to read the JOsephine B. trilogy.

    nancysoffice at gmail dot com

  65. Wow, another great giveaway!!!

    I would love to win the Josephine B. trilogy :)


  66. Please enter me for the giveaway...I would love to read Mistress of the Sun and the trilogy! I actually know a good bit about Louis XIV but would love to know even more especially on the take on this Mistress.

  67. I'd love to be entered to win either/both, but if I have to choose one, I'm desperate for the Josephine B. trilogy. Ms Gulland just hooked me with those three books -- I teared up at the end of the third. Such delicious writing!

  68. Hey there. I would love to enter both giveaways if possible. They all look so good. My e-mail is lsm(dot)meadows(at)gmail(dot)com.

  69. Please enter me for both.

  70. Please enter me for both and thanks for the fantastic giveaway!


  71. Great interview! Thanks for the advice, Sandra! Amy, please enter me for both giveaways!

  72. Thanks for the great giveaway! Please enter me in both giveaways. I'd be happy with either prize.
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

  73. What wonderful giveaways. I would love to be entered in both. The interview really sparked my interest.
    Thank you!

    debraldufek AT hotmail DOT com

  74. I would like to enter for both giveaways - thank you for the chance!
    The books sound so fascinating.


  75. I would be happy with either entries please enter me for both.
    Thank you so much.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique