Interview with E.M. Powell & Giveaway of The King's Justice

Hello dear readers & happy Friday! Today I am very excited to be kicking off E.M. Powell's blog tour for The King's Justice! I had a chance to interview Powell and I also have a chance for you to enter to win a copy of her new book!

Hello and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The King’s Justice!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Amy. It’s a pleasure to be here!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and The King’s Justice?

I’m E.M. Powell, the author of the medieval thriller Fifth Knight series. I’m delighted to be able to introduce my new medieval murder mystery series, the first of which is The King’s Justice.

What inspired you to write The King’s Justice?

The original inspiration came from my publisher, Thomas & Mercer, who are the crime/thriller/mystery imprint of Amazon Publishing. I had written the third Fifth Knight book, The Lord of Ireland. We had a conversation about what I might do next. They said that they loved the 12th century world I wrote in and wondered if I had ever thought of doing a spin-off series. I hadn’t! But they told me to go away and have a think and gave me the luxury of time to do so.

That ‘think’ consisted of a whole lot of research to see if I could find something that would work for me as a writer as well as then many (wonderful!) people who buy and read my books. And I found the golden nugget. I found that King Henry II reformed the English legal system. He introduced a travelling law court, where his justices would travel the country, hearing cases where the most serious felonies had been committed: robbery, theft—and murder. The dates worked perfectly. I’m a lover of crime fiction. It was as if the stars aligned. Fortunately, my publisher agreed!

This is your second book series that is set in the Medieval era. What about that time period fascinates you?

It’s gritty, grimy, violent and passionate. What’s not to like? I say ‘what’s not to like’ as an author, as it gives me so much material to go at. As for living in it? No, thanks!

What type of research did you do for the book?

Anything and everything, as is the historical novelist’s lot. Midwifery, the different classes of peasant, outlawry, writing materials: you name it. I also had to extensively research 12th century law, which was a pretty big challenge. To make things even more fun, there wasn’t just Henry’s, the King’s law. The Church was a hugely powerful institution that had its own system, Canon Law. There was enormous conflict between the two systems, with each vying for the upper hand. That conflict was starkly represented in the ongoing feud between Henry and his Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. Things reached their peak with the murder of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, which my first novel, The Fifth Knight, is based on. Most of my research was through works by established historians. It means a lot of reading and when that fails to tell me what I need to know, I have academics being so kind and generous to steer me the right way.

What was your favorite scene to write?

This is a very hard question to answer in a mystery! If I answered honestly, it would be a massive spoiler. I did however really enjoy writing the opening scenes where three men accused of brutal murder undergo the ordeal by water. The ordeal by water may be familiar to many from witch trials, where the accused was tied and lowered into water which had been blessed. If they sank they were innocent, guilty if they floated. People truly believed that God’s judgement was playing a part.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Again, I can’t reveal a spoiler! But it’s one near the end where, finally, somebody gets to have their say where they have been silenced for a very long time.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

At age twelve at school in Ireland. I went to a convent school but we had a very progressive nun in charge of careers who did psychometric testing. She said I should become a journalist, which I was thrilled about as I loved to write. Unfortunately, that idea wasn’t received very well at home. It only took me another thirty-five years to finally see my name in print!

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

Like many writers, self-doubt. I don’t think I’ll ever really overcome it. I find that the support of other writers is what carries me through. Most understand that feeling and are so kind in helping me through it.

Who are your writing inspirations?

On the historical side, it has to be C.J. Sansom for his sublime Shardlake novels. On the crime side, it has to be the one and only Agatha Christie. I’ve loved her novels since I was a teen. But I don’t think I ever guessed whodunnit in one of hers!

What was the first historical novel you read?

The Young Mary Queen of Scots and The Young Elizabeth by Jean Plaidy. I first read both books, which were aimed at young readers, when I was about ten, so I can’t say which came first. But I read them both so many times, I practically wore them out.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Bound for Gold by William Martin. It’s a dual timeline (present day and 1890s) thriller about the California Gold Rush. It’s not actually out until July 3rd, 2018. But I got an Advance Review Copy as I was doing an article on it for International Thriller Writers.

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. My day job was in social care for over two decades.
2. I developed a chocolate allergy- which disappeared after eleven years. Yippee!
3. I can’t touch type. But I really, really, really need to learn.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

The past has made us who we are and is still part of it. If you want answers to what’s going on right now, the past will tell you.

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

It’s contemporary crime/thriller/mystery. I avoid reading historical when I’m writing, in case I get unduly influenced by it. That’s possible even at a subconscious level.

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

When is that?! Seriously, time with my family is always #1.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

The next book on the Stanton & Barling mysteries. It’s called The Monastery Murders and it’s due out on September 27th, 2018. The duo are summoned to investigate the heinous murder of a Cistercian monk at a remote abbey on the North York Moors. It’s only the first murder of many and it’s a race against time to find out who’s responsible so they can stop the killing.

Thanks for the great questions, Amy!

Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Elaine! I'm excited to follow along with the blog tour!

The King's Justice by E.M Powell

Publication Date: June 1, 2018
Thomas & Mercer
Paperback & eBook; 288 Pages

Series: Stanton and Barling #1

Genre: Historical Mystery

A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.

Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.

Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

E.M. Powell’s historical thriller Fifth Knight novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers. The King’s Justice is the first novel in her new Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine, blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors and is the social media manager for the Historical Novel Society.

Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in North-West England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.

Find out more by visiting You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, June 1
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 4
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Wednesday, June 6
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, June 7
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, June 12
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, June 13
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, June 16
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Friday, June 22
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, June 27
Review at Hoover Book Reviews
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Monday, July 2
Interview at Reading the Past

Tuesday, July 3
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, July 5
Review at Bri's Book Nook

Friday, July 6
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Monday, July 9
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, July 11
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Friday, July 13
Review at Bookramblings
Review at A Darn Good Read


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 6 paperback copies of The King's Justice! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– 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.

The King's Justice

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