Monday, August 18, 2014

Author Interview: Catherine Aerie and "The Dance of the Spirits"

Today I would like to welcome Catherine Aerie, the author of "The Dance of the Spirits", to the blog. Catherine's new novel takes a look at the Korean War.

02_The Dance of the Spirits

CW: Tell me a bit about the ancestor that inspired "Dance of the Spirits".

CA: My mother was born and raised in an estate which name, when translated into English, literally meant The Garden of Melody. Shortly after the communist takeover, my mother, still a child, remembered how she once saw one of the [indescribably large] family’s young ladies, whose name was only known to her as Big Sister, descend from the stairs and walk out of the door in a military uniform.  Some adults in the household told my mother that the Big Sister was going to war in Korea and she was doing something to honor the family. However, the Big Sister never returned, and the estate was lost as the large family was dispersed.  No one heard what had happened to the young lady.

CW: The Korean War is in the "recent" past for some people. Why do like this period? What would be an important takeaway about the period?

CA: Personally, I found the time period interesting to learn about due to the massive effects that it, as with countless other conflicts of the Cold War, had upon the modern world’s political landscape; not only was Korea was divided into two, but the Chinese Communists were able to demonstrate their power on the world stage, while the remnants of their Nationalist enemies in Taiwan was preserved due to the greater U.S military assistance stimulated by the Korean War. The conflict also drove home to the U.S the theory of a communist-driven domino effect falling across Asia, which would play a key part in motivating the superpower to undertake its eventual campaigns in Indochina.  

I was genuinely moved by the whole United Nations’ effort to enforce the voluntary repatriation program regarding the (especially communist) prisoners of war during the Korean War; by itself, this was a major and bold change especially when compared to the Allied powers handling of surrendering Axis prisoners at the close of World War II, where thousands of Axis prisoners who originally surrendered to the Western Allies were then deported back to the Soviet Union against their will.

CW: Do you have any specific authors or books that you like or that have inspired you?

CA: I’d have to say that my writing influences stem primarily from the language styles of Pearl S. Buck, Margaret Mitchell, and Ernest Hemingway. Some extra mentions can also go to Dr. Otto F. Apel, whose memoirs of his Korean War service served as a major source for my book, and Max Hastings with his excellent overall history of the conflict.

CW: Have you always enjoyed writing or was it a later development in your life?

Yes, I have always enjoyed writing ever since I learned how to read a complete newspaper article as a child. I’ve always wanted to publish my own book.

CW: Lastly, tell us a bit about your writing process.

CA: I tend to start off by drawing a general outline of the plot’s structure, which is modified in response to developments in research. Although, sometimes such ideas or changes simply pop out of thin air at a moment’s notice.  

CW: Thank you for stopping by Catherine!


The Dance of the Spirits

 Add to GR Button

 Spring 1951: it is the fiery zenith of the Korean War, a war that the youthful US Army lieutenant Wesley Palm and his men thought that they had won until the Chinese swept across the Yalu River. Traveling with the million-man army bent on driving back the march of American imperialism is Jasmine Young, a Chinese surgeon who has volunteered herself into the war for unspoken, grave reasons. Through a chronicle of merciless battles, freezing winters, and the brutality and hypocrisy of human nature, the two will find themselves weaving through the twists and turns of fate and destiny. Though their love is forbidden, their passion and pursuit of liberty cannot be quenched.

Praise for The Dance of the Spirits

"...On the surface, The Dance of the Spirits is a story of love and of war, but on a deeper level, it is a story of the misery that the communist ideology brought to millions of souls in the twentieth century. Whether that philosophy is related to nationalism, internationalism or faith, Catherine Aerie reminds readers that when a system that will entertain no contradiction in thought or deed comes to power, no one is safe -- and no one is free. Aerie draws a vivid picture of war and its price, and a tender image of love..." - Readers' Favorite (5 Stars) "...a love that is stronger than all the horrors that war can throw at them... compelling...poignant... sensitive and beautiful..." - San Francisco Book Reviews (4.5/ Stars) "Adversaries in the Korean War find love in Aerie's debut novel. The story starts in the middle of a firefight... Out of the rubble, two characters emerge: an American officer... and a Chinese military doctor... Their paths cross again and again... In the intimacy of the war, these coincidences don't feel forced, nor even particularly fated--it's just the way things went... Readers will likely find Palm a decent, very human person, but Young has more complexity and vibrancy... As the war rages around them, Palm and Young fall in love... but their romance is ill-starred and open to tragedy. Aerie keeps readers on their toes with the twists...fleeting but intense... An often engaging tale of a flickering moment of love during a forgotten war." - Kirkus Reviews

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Catherine Aerie, a graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a master degree in finance, grew up in China as the daughter of a Shanghai architect. She was inspired to write The Dance of the Spirits while researching a family member�s role in the Korean War, deciding to revive an often neglected and overlooked setting in fiction and heighten the universality of resilient pursuit of love and liberty. Her debut novel was finished after about two years of research. She currently resides in southern California. For more information please visit Catherine Aerie's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Dance of the Spirits Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11 Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Spotlight at Mina's Bookshelf Interview at Library Educated Tuesday, August 12 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, August 13 Review at Book Nerd Thursday, August 14 Review at Queen of All She Reads Friday, August 15 Review at JM Ledwell Review at Based on a True Story Spotlight at Passages to the Past Monday, August 18 Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes Tuesday, August 19 Review at Book Babe Wednesday, August 20 Review at Unshelfish Spotlight at Princess of Eboli Thursday, August 21 Review & Interview Back Porchervations Friday, August 22 Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Giveaway

To win a copy of The Dance of the Spirits please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 23rd and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Author Spotlight: Alison Atlee and "The Typewriter Girl"

Author Alison Atlee's The Typewriter Girl is now an audio­book, nar­rated by Audie win­ner Ros­alyn Lan­dor, and in celebration she'll be touring the blogosphere from August 4-29 with HF Virtual Book Tours! 02_The Typewriter Girl
Audible Audio Book Edition Audible.com
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Listening Length: 12 hours and 39 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English
ASIN: B00JH0L9HW
 Genre: Historical Fiction
  Add to GR Button   

A Pub­lish­ers Weekly Best Books of the Year pick: The Type­writer Girl is a “spec­tac­u­lar debut, set in a per­fectly real­ized Vic­to­rian England.”

When Bet­sey Dob­son dis­em­barks from the Lon­don train in the sea­side resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After an attempt to forge a let­ter of ref­er­ence she knew would be denied her, Bet­sey has been fired from the typ­ing pool of her pre­vi­ous employer. Her vig­or­ous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her char­ac­ter per­ma­nently besmirched. Now, with­out money or a ref­er­ence for a new job, the future looks even bleaker than the deba­cle she left behind her.

But her life is about to change … because a young Welsh­man on the rail­road quay, wait­ing for another woman, is the one finally will­ing to believe in her. Mr. Jones is inept in mat­ters of love, but a genius at things mechan­i­cal. In Idensea, he has con­structed a glit­ter­ing pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Bet­sey, he rec­og­nizes the ideal tour man­ager for the Idensea Pier & Plea­sure Build­ing Company.

After a life­time of guard­ing her secrets and break­ing the rules, Bet­sey becomes a force to be reck­oned with. Together, she and Mr. Jones must find a way for her to suc­ceed in a soci­ety that would reject her, and fig­ure the price of sur­ren­der­ing to the tides of love.

Praise for The Typewriter Girl

“Atlee’s out¬standing debut unflinchingly explores … the unforgiving man’s world of Victorian England.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review) “Easily one of the most romantic books I’ll read all year … John and Betsey are compelling and worth rooting for.” –DEAR AUTHOR (a Recommended Read) “Sweeps readers to a satisfying conclusion.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL

Buy the AudioBook

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Audible.com

About the Author

03_Alison AtleeAlison Atlee spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky. For more information please visit Alison Atlee's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

The Typewriter Girl Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 4 Review at Peeking Between the Pages (Audio Book) Book Blast at Mina's Bookshelf Book Blast at Princess of Eboli Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse Book Blast at What Is That Book About Tuesday, August 5 Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews (Print) Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time Wednesday, August 6 Book Blast at Let Them Read Books Thursday, August 7 Book Blast at Mari Reads Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise Friday, August 8 Book Blast at Book Blast Central Saturday, August 9 Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes Sunday, August 10 Book Blast at Book Nerd Monday, August 11 Review at Just One More Chapter (Audio Book) Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books Tuesday, August 12 Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads Wednesday, August 13 Review at Historical Tapestry (Audio Book) Book Blast at The Lit Bitch Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews Thursday, August 14 Review at A Bookish Affair (Print) Guest Post at Historical Tapestry Friday, August 15 Review at Brooke Blogs (Audio Book) Guest Post at A Bookish Affair Saturday, August 16 Book Blast at Broken Teepee Sunday, August 17 Interview at Closed the Cover Monday, August 18 Review at The Maiden's Court (Audio Book) Tuesday, August 19 Book Blast at Layered Pages Book Blast at Always with a Book Wednesday, August 20 Book Blast at Literary, Etc. Thursday, August 21 Review at Books in the Burbs (Print) Book Blast at Bibliotica Friday, August 22 Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book) Saturday, August 23 Book Blast at Reading Lark Book Blast at Ageless Pages Reviews Sunday, August 24 Book Blast at Passages to the Past Monday, August 25 Review at Flashlight Commentary (Audio Book) Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection Tuesday, August 26 Interview at Flashlight Commentary Wednesday, August 27 Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing Thursday, August 28 Review at Luxury Reading (Print) Review at The True Book Addict (Audio Book) Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Print) Friday, August 29 Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

The Typewriter Girl Swag Giveaway


One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print) Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels) A vintage style postcard "from" Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl A "dream wildly" ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  photo c8a944a5-7d21-4826-aaba-c397ae052e01.png

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Author Spotlight: M.K. Tod and "Lies Told in Silence"


Publication Date: June 29, 2014
Tod Publishing
 Formats: eBook, Paperback
 Genre: Historical Fiction

 Add to GR Button

 In 1914 Paris half the city expects war while the other half scoffs at the possibility. With knowledge gained from his role at the War Department, Henri Noisette fears that Germany may soon attack Paris. He therefore sends his wife, mother and two younger children to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. By late 1914, instead of a safe haven, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front. As war unfolds, Henri�s daughter, Helene, grows up quickly and in 1917 falls in love with Edward Jamieson, a young Canadian soldier. The novel examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice and the unexpected consequence of lies.


Praise for Lies Told in Silence

"Dramatically depicts the horror and heartbreak of war, while also celebrating the resilience of the human spirit." - SHARON KAY PENMAN author of A King's Ransom 
"An intricate, well-researched novel of life forever changed by WWI yet still sweet with the tender innocence of the age." - DONNA RUSSO MORIN author of The King's Agent
"M.K. Tod is a powerful new voice in the historical fiction genre." - AMY BRUNO Historical fiction blogger at Passages to the Past
"An absorbing and rewarding historical read .. depicting the ruinous impact of war on human lives across the generations." - MARGARET EVANS PORTER author of The Proposal  "A compelling read right up to its taut page-turning ending." - RICHARD LEE founder of the Historical Novel Society


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK


About the Author

03_M.K. Tod

M.K. Tod has enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in her early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During her twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, she embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise. In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband and no job. To keep busy Mary decided to research her grandfather's part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand her grandparents' lives blossomed into a full time occupation as a writer. Her debut novel is UNRAVELLED: Two wars, Two affairs. One Marriage. LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, her second novel, is set in WWI France and tells the story of Helene Noisette who featured in Unravelled. Mary has an active blog - www.awriterofhistory.com - which discusses all aspects of historical fiction and includes author and reader interviews. Additionally, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Mary lives in Toronto where she is happily married with two adult children. Connect with M.K. Tod on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Lies Told in Silence Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28 Review at Unshelfish Review at Flashlight Commentary Book Blast at Our Wolves Den Tuesday, July 29 Review at Just One More Chapter Book Blast at Book Babe Book Blast at A Book Geek Book Blast at Mel's Shelves Wednesday, July 30 Review at Bookish Guest Post at Just One More Chapter Book Blast at Passages to the Past Thursday, July 31 Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction Friday, August 1 Book Blast at Back Porchervations Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time Saturday, August 2 Book Blast at Mythical Books Monday, August 4 Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair Book Blast at Historical Tapestry Tuesday, August 5 Book Blast at Layered Pages Book Blast at Princess of Eboli Book Blast at What Is That Book About Wednesday, August 6 Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes Thursday, August 7 Review at The Book Binder's Daughter Book Blast at Kinx's Book Nook Friday, August 8 Book Blast at The Maiden's Court Monday, August 11 Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog Book Blast at Svetlana's Reads and Views Tuesday, August 12 Book Blast at Book Nerd Book Blast at The Bookworm Wednesday, August 13 Review at The Writing Desk  Thursday, August 14 Book Blast at Words and Peace Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews Friday, August 15 Review at Lost in Books Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer Sunday, August 17 Book Blast at Brooke Blogs Monday, August 18 Review at The Librarian Fatale Review at Historical Fiction Notebook


Giveaway

To win a copy of M.K. Tod's Lies Told In Silence please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 19th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo 0739464c-670b-4fd2-87af-2b2ad8119519.png

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Giveaway! Carol Bodensteiner's "Go Away Home"


















Today on the blog, I'm hosting a spotlight giveway for Carol Bodensteiner's "Go Away Home". A copy of the novel will be given away courtesy of the author, so follow this link for a chance to win!

Tour Schedule: 
http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/goawayhometour
Hashtags: #GoAwayHomeBlogTour #HFVBTBlogTour #HistNov #HistFic
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @CABodensteiner

Publication Date: July 1, 2014Rising Sun Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button


Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.
Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.
GO AWAY HOME is a coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

Praise for Go Away Home

“Go Away Home is … a tale of choices, dreams realized and rejected, and how values evolve … gently compelling and highly believable.” – D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Excellent characters and an extremely realistic plot … Go Away Home is the perfect story of coming home.” – Samantha Rivera, Readers’ Favorite reviewer

“… a heart-warming and heart-wrenching tale … a story that promises to fulfill what it is to be alive when one chooses the life one wants to live, despite the consequences” – Paulette Mahurin, author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

“Go Away Home is a coming of age novel that is well-written, compelling, and endearing … a strong sense of place, excellent character development, and an engaging plot line.” – Kara Logsden, Iowa City Public Library

“Every life is a story, no matter how mundane it may appear on the surface, but it takes a writer like Carol Bodensteiner to draw a reader in and keep them turning the pages. Bodensteiner … writes characters with depth … she’s captured the era … with meticulous historical detail.“ – J. P. Lane, author of The Tangled Web


About the Author

Carol Bodensteiner grew up in the heartland of the United States, and she continues to draw writing inspiration from the people, places, culture, and history of the area. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, a memoir. Her essays have been published in several anthologies. Go Away Home is her first novel. For more information please visit Carol Bodensteiner’s Website/Blog

You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and LinkedIn. Sign up for Carol’s Newsletter.


Go Away Home Blog Tour Schedule











Tuesday, July 8
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 10
Guest Post at Closed the Cover
Friday, July 11
Review & Giveaway at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, July 14
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, July 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, July 17
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Friday, July 18
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, July 21
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, July 22
Spotlight & Giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, July 24
Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover
Friday, July 25
Tour Recap at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: "The Fortune Hunter" by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune Hunter is an interesting tale that twines the lives of the famously beautiful Elizabeth of Austria (or ‘Sisi’ as she was known to her familiars), Captain “Bay” Middleton, and his fiancée Charlotte Baird.

Loosely based on historical fact, the novel opens with Charlotte, a plain girl in possession of a great inheritance. As such, she is a prize on the marriage market, but getting married is the last thing on her mind. Her obsession with the burgeoning art of photography is what holds her attention, much to her brother’s chagrin. When she comes into contact with Captain Middleton, she is swayed by his charm and is soon promising to marry him. Middleton is not unaware of her fortune, but truly cares for his fiancée and her various quirks. As a well known ladies man and superior horse rider, he is soon tapped to play pilot to visiting royalty--Sisi--and wrapped into her spell of beauty and mystique.

Ms. Goodwin excels at creating flawed but sympathetic characters. Even though Bay’s behavior is spoiled and self-serving, he still displays guilt at betraying Charlotte, the real woman of his heart. Charlotte is virtuous without being annoying. As for Sisi, she is cast into the role of usurper of Bay’s affections, which could easily spoil the reader’s perception of her. But instead, she comes across as sad--a woman who fleeing from her royal responsibilities all while still expecting full and undivided loyalty.

In short, The Fortune Hunter is an interesting read. And just look at that cover! While I did not like it as much as The American Heiress, it is still worth the read. And now I want to visit Vienna even more! Apparently Schonbrunn Palace has a whole Sisi Museum complete with the empress’s original clothing. Very cool!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Interview with an Author: Glen Craney and "The Spider and the Stone"

Please help me welcome Glen Craney to the blog today. His novel "The Spider and the Stone" is a fascinating account of Scotland in the time of English repression and clan upheaval. It is very well written and I enjoyed reading it. Here is a quick summary...


As the 14th century dawns, Scotland’s survival hangs by a spider’s thread. The maniacal Edward Longshanks of England schemes to annex the ancient kingdom to his growing realm. But a slight, dark-skinned boy named James Douglas—inspired by his headstrong lass—refuses to move from the monarch’s path. Here is the thrilling story of the war and forbidden love that saved Scotland and destined the founding of America.

Welcome Glen! First off... Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you turn to writing?

First, thanks for inviting me to join your marvelous blog, Caroline. 

I came to writing novels in a roundabout way. I grew up in Indiana and worked as a trial lawyer in Indianapolis for a few years. I took a sabbatical from the law practice to attend Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and quickly discovered that I'd rather dig up stories than sit in boring depositions. After New York, I join the Washington D.C. press corps and covered national politics and the Iran-contra scandal as an editor-reporter for Congressional Quarterly magazine. 

For fun, I enrolled in a screenwriting class at Georgetown University, and the instructor encouraged me to pursue movie writing. On a whim, I moved to southern California and eventually won the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting, which is awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. After snagging a Hollywood agent and pitching my ideas to studios, I took the advice of my late mentor, Harry Essex, a renowned writer of old Hollywood, and turned my screenplays into novels. I'm often told that my books have a cinematic bent, so that's probably the reason.


Scotland seems to be getting a lot of attention in historical fiction world lately. Were you inspired by this sudden interest or have you always been interested in the topic?

This year marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland's greatest military victory. And in September, the Scots will vote on their long-anticipated referendum for independence from the United Kingdom. Those of us with Scottish heritage worldwide have have greeted the Bannockburn commemoration with much celebration. Although the battle plays an important role inThe Spider and the Stone, the novel's release this year was purely coincidental.

The ghosts of Auld Caledonia apparently tapped me to write this novel. I don't know why, but I often get inspiration for my books in dreams. About ten years ago, I awoke from a vivid one in which I was a mounted knight fighting a duel near a stream with a black-robed hag who was armed with a sickle. In the midst of this death struggle, the dream shifted to a photograph of me standing with six other knights around a seated king in a pose of celebration. Below the photograph, a caption read: "Americans aid the King at Bannockburn."

Baffled, I went on a quest to decipher the dream's meaning. Within weeks, I was in Scotland walking the fields below Stirling and around the famous burn of Bannock. I thought I had traveled there to research a novel with King Robert Bruce as my protagonist. But two weeks later, when boarding the plane for home, I had two new main characters returning with me: Sir James Douglas, the Bruce’s friend and commander who terrorized northern England with his dashing raids; and Isabelle MacDuff, the Countess of Buchan, who turned against her clan to crown the Bruce. Their story unfolded so quickly in my mind that, when I got off the plane eight hours later, I had my novel outlined.


So who is your favorite character in the novel?

James Douglas, nicknamed the Black Douglas by the English, is a fascinating hero, but Isabelle MacDuff hasn't received the recognition she deserves. I have a special fondness for Isabelle. I don't want to give away the story line for readers, but she paid a horrid price for her decision to put Scotland's freedom ahead of her personal welfare. In my opinion, history has given short shrift to the role that Scot women in general played in the wars of independence. I hope Spider helps corrects that injustice.


Do you have any other works in progress?

I've had three other novels released this year, although all have been years in the making. Unlike many authors who stay within a particular era and genre, I can't avoid chasing a good historical tale wherever it leads me. 

The Yanks Are Starving recounts how a charismatic hobo led twenty thousand jobless World War One veterans into the nation's capital in 1932, only to be driven out by General Douglas MacArthur and the regular U.S. Army troops. The Virgin of the Wind Rose is a historical thriller about two espionage conspiracies, a half-millenium apart, that converge to expose the real identity of Christopher Columbus. The Lucifer Genome, which I wrote with fellow Columbia grad John Jeter, is a mystery-thriller about a holy relic and a desperate chase for the oldest human DNA on earth.

Currently, I'm at work on a novel set in Georgia during the last days of the American Civil War. I can't get into specifics, but if I were in a Hollywood producer's office, I'd pitch it as A League of their Own meets The Patriot.


Who is your favorite author?

My dirty little secret is that I read so much for research, my list tends to be mostly non-fiction. Robert Caro is a master at biography. When I do have the opportunity to enjoy good historical fiction, I've found that Sharon Kay Penman and the late Nigel Tranter rarely disappoint.

And finally, if you could live in any time period, what would it be?

If I could play centerfield for the Yankees, I'd choose the golden era of New York City baseball, the 1950s. Seriously, I'm not much of a romantic when it comes to historical eras. Life was so brutal and disease so rampant until the latter half of the last century that I don't know why anyone would want to trade our existence with that of another time period.


Thanks again for stopping in Glen. Getting to know is a worthy pursuit in my mind! "The Spider and the Stone" is now available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions. To learn more about Glen and his other literary endeavors, please visit his website.

Interview with an Author: Glen Craney and "The Spider and the Stone"