Interview & Giveaway: The Spirited Mrs. Pringle by Jillianne Hamilton

Happy Bookish Tuesday, dear readers! I am so excited to share with you my interview with Author Jillianne Hamilton. Her newest release, The Spirited Mrs. Pringle, is on blog tour and I had the chance to ask her some questions!

The book is SO much fun! I loved every single page! You can check out my review here. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Hello Jillianne and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Spirited Mrs. Pringle!

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

My path to being a historical fiction author hasn’t exactly been a straight line. My first novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was published in 2015 and nominated for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. It’s an action/comedy trilogy that was a lot of fun to write. I wanted to try something different after that. I’ve had a general history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and published The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII in 2018. It combines my love of Tudor history with a light and witty look at what was generally a crap time in history for women— particularly these ones. It was around that time that I started getting into historical fiction and came up with the idea for The Spirited Mrs. Pringle. My next project is already in the works—the first novel in a historical romance series.

What inspired you to write The Spirited Mrs. Pringle?

I met Cora Pringle, my main character, in a really roundabout way. I found a Facebook group where users wrote penpal letters to one another using characters they made up based in the Jane Austen universe. I found it interesting and started a similar group for any period in history. The group didn’t really get much traction but I ended up creating the character of Cora for that purpose. I can’t remember how I came up with her but I’ve always had a fascination with women who make professions out of unwholesome activities. (Example: my first three novels were about a professional thief.) The more I looked into spiritualism, the more I knew I had to write this story.

What research did you undertake when writing The Spirited Mrs. Pringle?

Probably far too much! Several books about spiritualists and mediums in the 19th century, an academic book about the overlap between the early suffrage movement and spiritualism, a Nellie Bly biography and many books on life in Victorian England.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Spirited Mrs. Pringle?

Everything can be looked at from multiple angles, including motivation for doing something. And sometimes two people who seem very different from one another are actually more similar than they themselves might realize.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Any scene where Cora or her companions are performing on stage was super fun to write. Late Victorian audiences were wowed by anything relating to my mysticism and magic and anything deemed “exotic” so Cora’s spiritualism act would have been well received. Most of these performances would be considered so over-the-top by today’s standards. With that being said, I researched“cold reading” techniques used by modern mediums for Cora to use on her audiences. It’s funny because these methods still work on “sophisticated” modern audiences. I don’t want to give too much away but there’s also a scene with some rodents that was also really fun to write. Silliness is always the best stuff to write. 

What was the most difficult scene to write? 

There’s a scene where one of my favorite characters gets into some trouble. He’s such a sweetheart. Putting him into those situations made me feel guilty.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Like a lot of writers, I knew very early on that I would be a writer. Probably around age five. I was one of those precocious little twerps who wrote a book and did the pictures on looseleaf and then stapled it together. I started writing my first historical fiction story in junior high, set during the Tudor era. Obviously, it was hot garbage.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Well, it’s not every day for a start. Hahaha I’m trying to get better about that though. Tracking the days I write and the days I don’t helps. Usually, in the evening, I get comfy on the sofa or on my bed with a lap desk and my iPad (equipped with a Logitech ComboTouch keyboard case—I love that thing). I have a bottle of water and I usually put on some instrumental music, sometimes from the era I’m writing in, sometimes not. I usually have Scrivener, Notion, Chrome and Goodnotes open on my iPad as I’m working. (I made a TikTok about it if you want to share that: 6961567118689094918)

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

Finding the time! Or, making the time, rather. I know a lot of writers who have day jobs have this same complaint but there are lots of people who manage to do both. It took me too long to learn this but when I finally did, it helped a lot: you don’t need 3+ hours to dedicate to writing. You can still get a lot of words written if you have only an hour.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I like to include humour in my novels. Louise Rennison was an incredible YA author and her Georgia Nicolson series made me want to be a writer. As for historical fiction authors specifically, I am continually blown away by Deanna Raybourn, Kate Quinn, Jennifer Ryan and Mandy Robotham. I admire them so much.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I’m pretty sure it was Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor (Royal Diaries) by Kathryn Lasky. Scholastic put out a bunch of those middle-grade books; fictional diaries written by actual queens and princesses.and my friend loaned me the Elizabeth one and I became instantly obsessed with Tudor history. Two others that I read around the same time were Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer and Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. I’m positive these books were the gateway drug for many historical fiction readers today.

What is the last historical novel you read?

A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women) by Evie Dunmore. I love this series so much. 

If you could read one book again for the first time ever, what would you choose? 

Ooh! That’s a tough one! Probably Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. I almost always listen to fiction audiobooks and read non-fiction books. (And just for the record, your brain reacts the same if you’re listening to audiobooks and reading them, so, yes, listening to audiobooks is reading.) 

2. If I get an audiobook or an ebook and really love it, I will usually end up getting a hardcover or a paperback version just to keep on my shelf. 

3. I adored Anne of Green Gables as a kid—still do. I would visit Prince Edward Island every summer with my cousins and grandparents and ended up moving to Charlottetown for college. After I met my own Gilbert Blythe, I made sure to mention Anne of Green Gables in our thank-you at the wedding reception.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I think it’s probably because it’s an incredibly flexible genre combined with one of my most favorite things—history! There are so many different things a write can create or a write can experience within the genre because of its flexibility; you can have romance, you can have adventures, you can have friendships and family drama, you can have betrayal, you can have mysteries, etc. Writing and reading historical fiction is the closest thing we have to time travel right now—and this version is probably much safer anyway.

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

I’ve been reading a ton of WWII novels lately but I also read novels based during the Regency, Victorian era (obviously), 20th century. I would say I am more attracted to the setting of a novel (western Europe) and tone of a novel, moreso than the period it’s set in.

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

Reading, crafting, painting, watching documentaries and costume dramas, playing video games, and walking my dog.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m currently working on a historical romance series featuring linked standalone novels, all taking place in the first half of the 20th century. It’s my first traditional romance novel and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

The Spirited Mrs. Pringle by Jillianne Hamilton

Publication Date: June 30, 2021
Tomfoolery Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

LONDON, 1888.

Upon the death of her husband, self-involved social climber Cora Pringle assumes her recent dalliance with a wealthy gentleman will be her second chance at a happily ever after. That is until her paramour turns out to be a penniless imposter. Despite his betrayal, Cora can’t quite let go of the tug the handsome playwright has on her heart.

Desperate for an income, Cora becomes a séance-performing spiritualist and gets a taste for celebrity—and it’s so delicious. So what if she can’t actually communicate with the dead? Her eager patrons don’t need to know that.

Amelia Baxter, an ambitious journalist and suffragist, is discouraged when her editor refuses to let her cover the horrific Jack the Ripper murders. Instead, Amelia pours her frustrations into bringing Cora’s deceptive and manipulative act to an end, even if it means risking her family’s reputation.

“Like the most memorable of its vividly drawn characters, The Spirited Mrs. Pringle is clever, lively, and unabashedly entertaining. Perhaps most enjoyable of all is the seemingly endless series of surprises. A string of sometimes astonishing pleasures to the last page.” - Award-Winning Author Leo McKay Jr.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

About the Author

Jillianne Hamilton is the author of three novels and one non-fiction book. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire (2015), was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. The Molly Miranda sequels were published in 2016 and 2017.

Her lighthearted look at the 16th century, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, was published in 2018.

Jillianne has been published in Macleans, the Truro Daily News, the Sackville Tribune-Post, and Career Options Magazine. She also blogs about history at The Lazy Historian. Jill graduated from Journalism at Holland College in Prince Edward Island in 2010.

She lives in Charlottetown on Canada’s beautiful east coast.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 30
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Tuesday, August 31
Review at Booking With Janelle

Wednesday, September 1
Review at Novels Alive

Thursday, September 2
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, September 3
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, September 6
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, September 7
Guest Post at Books & Benches
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Wednesday, September 8
Feature at I'm All About Books

Thursday, September 9
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Friday, September 10
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 13
Review at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, September 14
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 15
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at The Lotus Readers

Monday, September 20
Review at Bonnie Reads and Writes


Enter to win a paperback copy of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle by Jillianne Hamilton!

The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on September 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Spirited Mrs. Pringle

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