Guest Post by Susanna Kearsley + Giveaway of The Shadowy Horses

Please welcome the magnificent Susanna Kearsley to Passages to the Past today! Susanna is here with a guest post and giveaway in honor of the Sourcebooks release of her novel THE SHADOWY HORSES

Take it away, Susanna....

One of the key things I have to decide when I start a new book is what method I’m going to be using to make the connection between past and present. In The Shadowy Horses, which isn’t a time slip—the whole story happens in one place and time—the nature of the history itself meant an archaeological dig would be perfect to give me the link that I needed, a link that was helpfully physical.

I have to confess, archaeology’s one of my “things”. I love reading about it, and learning about it, so losing myself in the research was easy. But reading about something can only take you so far, and with every book there comes a time when I have to get out there and find a real person to help me.

I wrote this book back in the mid-1990s. Although I’d been published by then, I was still shy of saying that I was a writer. And while I’d left my job as curator of a community museum, I’d stayed active in the Ontario Museum Association and was keeping up my qualifications, just in case. It was actually during an OMA seminar that I  got talking to one of the presenters, an archaeologist, who seemed approachable enough that I got brave enough later to dig out his business card and call his office in hopes I could ask a few questions about doing actual field work. It turned out that he wasn’t working that day, but by a stroke of luck his business partner, fellow archaeologist Heather Henderson, picked up the phone when I called, and as soon as she heard what I wanted she offered to help me herself.

Heather became an invaluable consultant for me, helping me set up my fictional field crew and telling me what they would need, and advising me, from her experience, how they should tackle the field.

Some of the work was familiar to me. The whole process of cleaning and cataloguing finds, for example, was much like what I had done as a curator. I knew how to do that, and knew how it felt.

Here’s my heroine, Verity, starting to deal with a day’s worth of finds in The Shadowy Horses:

‘It took a certain twist of mind to do this work. Jeannie, after watching me labor for twenty minutes, had pronounced my job “fykie”, and when I’d later looked up the word in my trusty Scots dictionary I’d thought it awfully appropriate. Like cleaning whorled silver or painting in miniature, dealing with finds was indeed a fykie task.

I’d always felt a wistful sense of envy for my colleagues who broke open long-sealed tombs, or for film heroes who scraped about in the dirt for twenty seconds before pulling out some rare bejewelled and golden statue, carefully preserved, intact.

Almost everything I’d ever touched—with the notable exception of one small military dagger—had come to me in pieces, dull with dirt and worn with age.

The Rosehill dig, so far, was no exception. Every new day brought more bits of animal bone and shattered pottery and broken metalwork. And every scrap and fragment, no matter how unimpressive it might appear, had to be cleaned, sorted and labeled with an identifying number.’

It’s the kind of unglamorous, tedious work no one talks about much when they write fiction set in museums, although it consumed a great part of my time when I worked in one.

I knew, from having seen archaeologists in the field, that their work was just as unglamorous and tedious in places—all that digging and scraping and mapping and sieving and measuring—but with Heather’s help I was able to balance realism with a close view of the parts that I found fascinating (why you don’t smoke cigarettes on dig sites, for example, or why you don’t sit on the edge of a trench).

She told me, as well, there’d be differences between the way we did things on this side of the pond and the way that they did things in Scotland, so to help me at that end I contacted an archaeologist at the University of Edinburgh—the very place my hero, David Fortune, would be working.  Not only did I learn what it would take to plan and run a dig in Eyemouth, in the Scottish borders, but the people I was dealing with took Davy on as if he were a member of their faculty, scheduling him for meetings and informing me he couldn’t possibly go down to work in Eyemouth one week, because he should be invigilating end-of-term exams!

The Field at "Rosehill", in Eyemouth"
I loved that whole year I spent learning about archaeology, and I can honestly say that The Shadowy Horses is the only book I’ve written where the modern-day research was sometimes even more compelling than the history, thanks to my own expert tutors in the field.

And now I’m curious—if you could join (or lead!) a field crew digging anywhere at all, where would you want to go, and what would you be digging to uncover?  

A huge thanks to Susanna Kearsley for such an interesting guest post!  I've been fascinated by archaeology since I was little and it's always been a dream of mine to be on a dig in Egypt.  One day, maybe!?

About the Book

Publication Date:  October 2, 2012
Sourcebooks Landmark


With its dark legends and passionate history, the windswept shores of Scotland are an archaeologist’s dream. Verity Grey is thrilled by the challenge of uncovering an ancient Roman campsite in a small village. But as soon as she arrives, she can sense danger in the air.

Her eccentric boss, Peter Quinnell, has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it – not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has ‘seen’ a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Surprisingly, Verity believes in Peter, and the boy, and even in the Sentinel, who seems determined to become her own protector...but from what?

About the Author

Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.

Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.

Susanna Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of Emma Cole.

Giveaway (US & Canada)

- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page.
- +3 additional entries follow PTTP on Twitter.
- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook or Google+.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on October 15th.
Good luck to all!



  1. Would love to read this book thanks for giveaway.I am fb follower and twitter follower will tweet at

  2. This was such an interesting post, and especially timely considering the recent dig and findings re. Richard III. thanks for the giveaway.

    +5 - Google follower

  3. I loved this book -- read it from the library and would love to own a copy.
    +1 tweeted it!

  4. Oh, I can't wait to read this!

    jeninquincy at

  5. I am a GFC follower and a fan on FB.

  6. What a fascinating book and a talented and creative author. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Google follower
    facebook follower
    Shared on Google+

    lafra86 at gmail dot com

  8. I have read the author's other novels and enjoyed them greatly. This was a great post. Thanks for this chance. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. This sounds like a story I will really enjoy. I like the archaeology aspect.

    +5 GFC follower
    +3 Twitter follower: @fieryna


  10. I saw the remains of a few Roman forts in England, and it was fascinating! I would love to be a part of that dig :)

    Loved The Rose Garden & would love to read & win this one!

    I'm already a follower.
    I'm already in the FB group.
    I already follow on Twitter.
    I tweeted.
    I shared on my Facebook wall.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  11. This was an interesting post. Thanks for an exciting giveaway! I am a follower.

  12. I would love to read this one!

    +5 GFC follower: Lilian Cheng
    +3: Joined FB fanpage as Lilian Cheng
    +3: Followed on Twitter as @ctoybox1

  13. This book sounds like it has a bit of mystery to it. I would love to read it.

    I am a gfc follower

  14. Sounds like a good book!

    + gfc mamabunny13
    +3 FB-mamabunny shelor
    +3 Twitter @mamabunny13

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  15. I've several of this author's works. Would love to read another. thanks.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  16. When I lived in France, I had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge in the UK. With all of the questions surrounding it, I wonder if a dig in a that area would reveal any answers to the question of how it actually got there. I would be willing to participate in a dig pretty much anywhere that might reveal bits of history. How cool would that be?

    Looking forward to reading The Shadowy Horses as I love the history of Scotland. Those of us from the US don't fully comprehend the word "history" until we visit countries with REAL history.

    Connie Fischer

    Follower of PTTP
    Follower of PTTP on FB
    Follower of PTTP on Twitter
    Will tweet this giveaway on Twitter

  17. Thank you for the guest post, I'd love to win this brilliant looking book. Scotland is one of my favorite countries to visit.

    I follow this blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

    I am a member of the Facebook page: Carl Scott

    I also follow on twitter: @carlrscott

    And I tweeted about the giveaway:


  18. I always loved archaeology and read as much as I could and watched the specials on TV. If I could participate in a dig, I'd like to either participate in one in the American Southwest that I toured re: Anasazi culture or maybe one in the British Isles re: the Iron age.

    The book sounds good and I appreciate the giveaway opportunity.

    Points for the giveaway:
    GFC follower (old): Sophia Rose
    FB follower: Sally Michele Shaw
    Twitter follower: sophiarose1816
    Google+1: Sophia Rose
    FB post:
    Total: 14 points

  19. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. It sounds very interesting and good.

  20. Sounds like a great book.

  21. I really enjoy Susanna's books, thank you for the chance to win this one. griperang at embarqmail dot com

    +5 follower (griperang)
    +3 facebook follwer (Angela Holland)
    +3 Twitter follower (@griperang)
    +1 blogging
    +1 tweeting
    +1 Facebook
    +1 Google

  22. Love the cover, thank you for hosting this giveaway.

    +5 for being a follower
    +3 for following in twitter
    +1 blogged:

    +1 tweeted:

    +1 shared on FB:

    +1 shared on Google+:


  23. I LOVE her other books, have read and reread both The Rose Garden (2 times)and Winter Sea (3 times) I would love to read this new book.

  24. I forgot to give you my email address I was so eager to enter -

  25. The Shadowy Horses sounds like a book i would enjoy!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

    +5 entries = follower of Passages to the Past
    +3 entries = liked the Passages to the Past FB Page
    +1 = sharing on Facebook

  26. I still haven't had a chance to read anything by Susanna Kearsley, but I've heard so many great things about her books that I can't wait to get started on her.


    And I'm a follower.

  27. As an ex-archeologist, I'm utterly intrigued! Thanks for the giveaway, and my fingers are crossed.

    Jo Ann Butler
    +5 entries = follower of Passages to the Past
    +3 entries = liked the Passages to the Past FB Page
    +1 = sharing on Facebook

  28. This sounds like a great read!

    GFC: Twisty J
    Facebook Fan


  29. One of my favorite authors, can't wait to read this one.

    I am a follower via GFC and on facebook.

  30. Ohhh my fingers are itching to hold this book and dive right into what I know will be an amazing read! I'm already a follower and FB member!

  31. I love this book, and am so excited for Robbie's story in "Firebird"!!
    Thanks for the giveaway!


    p.s. I am a follower of this blog :) +5!!

  32. I think it is interesting that this is not a time slip book but rather takes place the whole time in one place and time. It sounds like a great read. I hope I win it but I'll be reading it never the less.
    i am a follower of pttp
    i follower on twitter and facebook
    i shared on facebook

  33. My Dad tells a childhood story of playing in a field surrounded by American Indian markings on several trees in the southern parts of Alabama. I have often wondered what mysteries must lie beneath the soil of that field, and would love to join a dig there.

    Thank you for the chance to enter this giveaway! This books sounds as fantastic as the other Kearsley novels I have read.

    +5 added you to my Google Reader
    +3 joined on FB
    +3 followed on Twitter
    +1 tweeted about the giveaway


  34. I don't know you as an author but I do very much enjoy historically based novels.


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