Interview with Susan Higginbotham

Today I’m welcoming Susan Higginbotham to my series of author interviews.

Susan is the author of five historical novels: The Traitor’s Wife, about Eleanor de Clare, favorite niece of King Edward II, wife of Hugh le Despenser, and lady-in-waiting to Queen Isabella; Hugh and Bess, about Bess de Montacute, who King Edward III chooses to marry Hugh le Despenser, the son and grandson of disgraced traitors; The Stolen Crown, about Kate Woodville, sister-in-law to King Edward IV and wife to Harry Stafford who must decide where he stands when the country is torn apart by the Wars of the Roses; The Queen of Last Hopes, about King Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, who must hold her family and her country together when her husband goes mad.

Susan’s most recent novel is Her Highness, the Traitor.

Q: Can you give us a brief description of your most recent book ?

A: Her Highness, the Traitor is narrated by Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk, the mother of Lady Jane Grey, and by Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland, the mother of Guildford Dudley, Jane’s future husband. It’s the story of Jane Grey’s crowning and tragic end, but it’s chiefly the story of Frances Grey and Jane Dudley, whose lives are changed drastically when Edward VI decides to change the royal succession laid out by his father.

Q: What is different about Frances and Jane when compared to some of your other heroines?

A: What drew me to Frances was the enormous difference between the historical Frances and the dreadful Frances that we usually see in historical fiction and popular nonfiction; I wanted to tell her story in a way that freed Frances from all of the myths that have grown up around her. As for Jane Dudley, when I read her will and a letter she wrote I was impressed immensely by her tenacity, her dignity of spirit, and her devotion to her husband. She hadn’t originally been slated to play a major part in the novel, but I came to admire her so much, I knew that she deserved a leading role.

Q: How much historical fact is woven into Her Highness, the Traitor?

A: There’s a great deal of historical fact in Her Highness, the Traitor. All of the characters are based on real people—even Jane Dudley’s green parrot existed, as it’s mentioned in her will. Many of the letters, and all but one of the scaffold speeches, are based on contemporary documents or accounts.

Q: How do you go about researching your novels?

A: I usually start out researching my novels with secondary sources and then use the references in those sources to find as many primary sources—wills, letters, inventories of household goods, diplomatic correspondence, and so forth—that I can. The wonderful thing about the Tudor period is that so much of this material has been put online, I can do much of my research without ever leaving my computer. I still have plenty of opportunity to buy Tudor books, though!

Q: Although your novels cover different time periods, they all focus on English royalty. Why are you drawn to this topic?

A: I’m mainly drawn to stories about English royalty and nobles because they lived such dramatic lives—or at least the ones I choose to write about did! There are characters from other periods and countries that interest me as well, however. For instance, there are a couple of stories from the American Civil War I would like to tell. I won’t say whose, because I may well get to them one day! There are a couple of French women whose stories I would like to tell also, but they’re women who aren’t well known outside of France, and I think I would have to be able to read French sources in order to do them justice. So I’ll stick with England for now! My late mother always wanted me to write about Regency England, but it’s a period I prefer to read about rather than to write about.

Q: Enough of your books—tell us about yourself.

A: In a moment of insanity, I chose to major in political science in college. Fortunately, I spent a great deal of time hanging out at the student newspaper, which was far more beneficial to me as a writer than anything else I did in college. I later got a master’s degree in English literature and a law degree. Both have helped me in my career as a novelist. My English literature courses helped me learn to read critically, while my legal training helped me develop my research skills.

In preparing us to conduct a mock criminal trial, one of my law school professors told us about the defendants who we had been assigned to defend, “All of these people have some good qualities. It’s your job as their attorney to make the jury aware of them.” I think that’s excellent advice for a novelist too—all of our characters have something in them that can appeal to our readers. We just need to show them what it is.

Q: How difficult do you find balancing your writing career and your full-time job?

A: I’m very lucky, because I have a home office and a fairly flexible work schedule, so if the Muse comes calling while I’m at my day job, I can drop everything and go to my own computer and start writing! But the fact that I do have a full-time job means that I can’t write as quickly as some full-time novelists do.

My day job involves writing summaries of legal cases, so by the time I finish for the day, writing my novels is sometimes the very last thing I want to do. It’s all too easy to start surfing online, and before I know it, the time’s gone. Disciplining myself is something with which I still struggle.

We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Coffee or tea?

Iced tea, but for me, it’s really Coca-Cola!

Ocean or mountain?


Hiking or shopping?


Violin or piano?


Mystery or fantasy?


Darcy or Heathcliff?


Love scene or death scene?

Death scene.

To learn more about Susan Higginbotham, visit her website, her History Refreshed blog,  her Facebook page  and/or her Amazon author page.

Thanks to Susan for visiting today!

Interview with David LeRoy


Today I’m welcoming David LeRoy to my series of author interviews. David is the author of The Siren of Paris.

Q: Can you give us a brief description of your novel?

A: The Siren of Paris is a story of survival of World War Two, told primarily in the point of view of a young French born, American male who returns to Paris to study art in 1939. World War Two broke out on Sept 1st, 1939. What many do not know is that at that time there were over 30,000 Americans in Paris alone. After Sept 3rd, they would have a terribly tough time getting home, because the Germans sank a British Passenger ship, the RMS Athenia, killing 98 passengers, and 19 crewmen. Nearly all trans Atlantic service stopped after the sinking which trapped many Americans in Europe during the war, including this young student.

Q: Sarah’s Key, I believe is during the same time period. Is Marc Jewish? Is that how he ended up in Buchenwald in the story?

A: Sarah’s Key is during the same time period, but unlike the young girl Sarah, who is Jewish and caught in the round up during 1942, Marc is Catholic. You would think that this would be something of a protection, but that is not the case. Marc ended up in Buchenwald because he was caught up in the arrest of a ring of various Paris underground resistance members in the spring of 1944. The Gestapo and Milice had hired thousands of plain-clothes undercover agents to smoke out the Paris underground, and tragically they were immensely successful. Paris was liberated in the summer of 1944, but at the same time, members of the resistance were being shipped east to concentration camps. The program was called “the fog and the night,” meaning that anyone who resisted the Nazis were sent someplace where they simply disappeared.

Q: How much historical fact is woven into your novel?

A: The Siren of Paris is packed with historical figures and facts of the time period. Better-known figures are Ambassador William Bullitt, Under Secretary Sumner Wells, Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company, and Jacques Lusseyran. There are also lesser-known individuals such as Joan Rodes, know as the Angel of Saint-Nazaire, and Drue Tartiere, another American woman who helped with the underground. The unfortunate victims of the RMS Lancastria sinking on June 17th, 1940 are also within this story. Researching for this book was incredibly challenging. I have books in English, French and even a few in German. One book I have told me district by district in Paris of Nazi collaborative activities, and buildings taken over by the Germans. I tried to incorporate the real events of the time, whenever possible without the text feeling like a history book instead of a dramatic story.

Q: What is the RMS Lancastria? How did Marc get on that ship?

A: The fall of France was a terrifying event. About 10 million people evacuated from the North to the South of France as the German Army swept over the country. Nearly all the roads became clogged with abandoned cars that had run out of petrol, and refugees feeling on foot. Marc became swept up in this hoard of refugees and he boards the ship with a group he was traveling with. He was trying to get back over to England so he could go up to Ireland and catch an American ship home. At the time, American ships would only leave from neutral countries, which made the task of getting home even more difficult. Most of the passengers were from the British Expeditionary Force, but the ship took on civilians along with soldiers. It is estimated the ship took, in all, about 9,000 refugees. Most people do not know of the sinking because the British Government suppressed it during the war. To date, it is the single largest loss of life of any British Ocean liner and still one of the few war wrecks that is not recognized formally by the British Government.

Q: You chose to self-publish your novel as an e-book. Can you tell us how you came to that decision?

A: When I started writing, I had every intention of publishing it through a traditional publisher. It seems like the entire world of publishing is changing daily. The success of many authors in 2011 with self-publishing changed my opinion, and I began to consider self-publishing over a traditional publisher. It is still a lot of work. The most recent events with the DOJ have convinced me that I honestly do not want to sign a contract at this time with an agent or publisher. I can’t imagine signing a long-term contract now with all of the uncertainty out there in the market. Self-Publishing has evolved to the point that it has become a particularly attractive option. Honestly, five years ago I would never have considered Self Publishing, and the way things are going, in five more years this will not even be a question.

Q: So, who is the Siren?

A: You will have to read the book. Do not be so sure you know who the Siren is too early.

Q: Enough of your book—tell us about yourself.

A: I have a day job in the world of communications. My other passion is art. It was the reason I went to Europe back in 2010, and discovered the facts around this story. I was studying the artwork of various European modern artists. For the longest time, I was into large format black and white photography. Then one day, it just was not enough anymore, so I took up drawing and painting.

We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Coffee or tea? I drink too much coffee and should drink tea.

Ocean or mountain? Ocean, but my friends love the mountains.

Hiking or shopping? Urban Hikes, through malls, or REI, where I can make believe I am hiking as I shop.

Violin or piano? I am in recovery from a classical Piano background.

Mystery or fantasy? There is a difference? I didn’t know.

Hester Prynne or Scarlet O’Hara? Hester Prynne, as a secret lover to Scarlet O’Hara.

Love scene or death scene? Love leads to death, and death of self, leads to love. They are the one and the same.

To learn more about David LeRoy, visit his webpage. You can buy his book here.


Dyeing Hair with Henna, Part 2

The blog post that gets looked at the most is the one I wrote after dyeing my hair with henna the first time.  That was written about a year and a half ago, and I’ve learned a lot since then, and thought I would share that information.

First, let me note that I’ve only used Light Mountain Natural Henna products.  I’ve not been paid by that company to write this blog.  It is the only henna product I’ve tried.  Others might be just as good, better, not as good—I don’t know.

My intent in dyeing my hair is to hide the gray.  The first few times I used henna, I was not successful in that goal.  The henna seemed to slide off the gray hairs a few days after dyeing.  Doing a little research, I discovered that there are henna products made especially for hiding the gray, and I switched Light Mountain Natural’s Color the Gray (light brown)!

Unfortunately, this new product requires two steps. You mix the first packet, let it cure, apply it, let it sit, rinse it out.  On me, the first dyeing turns the gray hair bright orange:

Next, you mix the second packet, let it cure, apply it, let it sit, rinse it out.  This second henna dye covers the orange and makes my hair uniformly light brown with reddish highlights (which is pretty close to my original color).

I’ve been extremely happy with the results.

Drawbacks:  This whole process usually takes about three hours, and then I can’t wash my hair for another 12 to 24 hours.  (Forget swimming, which I try to do regularly).  I almost always get a crick in my neck because of the difficulty of applying the dye.

Advantages:  Huge money savings.  Each package of dye contains a lot of dye.  At first, I used one package for a dyeing, but I had a lot left over.  After awhile, I decided to divide the packages in half, use half and save the rest in a plastic baggie for the next time, and I still had plenty of dye.  I have quite a bit of hair, too.  After doing that for a number of months, I now divide the packages into thirds.  This seems to be the perfect amount of dye for my shoulder-length hair.

The product I buy costs $7; that’s $2.33 per dye.  A lot less than the $70 I used to pay at the salon.

And, of course, the henna is plant-based and doesn’t make me sick, which the chemical dyes did.

Other Tips:

Don’t worry about getting the dye on your forehead, ears, fingers, etc.  You need to get it close to the scalp to cover the gray, and I’ve found that the dye washes off my skin easily.  That said, I have fair skin that is still (at age 46) extremely oily, so  I can’t promise this will be true for everyone.

Save plastic shower caps from hotel rooms to use to cover your hair.  The plastic head covering that comes with the box isn’t very good.

Those are all the tips I can think of right now.  If you have any questions, ask them in the comment section below, and I’ll answer to the best of my ability.

Author Interview: Debra Brown

Today I’m welcoming Debra Brown to my series of author interviews. Debra is the author of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire.

Q: Can you give us a brief description of your novel?

A: Sure! In about 1820 England, Emma was found and raised by a squire and then sent to work as a servant in the household of the Countess of Holmeshire. The widowed lady chose her as a companion and sent her for training in the ways of gentility. Emma was then dragged along into polite London society, where she received a rude reception. She had eyes for the young Earl of Holmeshire, but he was out of her class and engaged by arrangement. The story has elements of suspense and sweet romance.

Q: How much historical fact is woven into The Companion of Lady Holmeshire?

A: Some historical persons are mentioned, such as Caroline, Princess of Wales and her daughter Charlotte of Wales, as well as Queen Victoria. Everything mentioned about them in the book is fictional, but based on historical truth.

Q: What made you interested in this time period?

A: It started in my childhood with, believe it or not, Nancy Drew mysteries. I read them all, but all I really remember is a picture in my mind of Nancy Drew in an old Victorian house. Over the years there were other novels and movies that I loved- all historical fiction and pretty much English. When it comes to movies, I just don’t have much interest in anything but period drama.

Q: What moved you to start writing?

A: I had both a day job and a jewelry business. In the evenings, I would watch period movies and make jewelry. During the recession, my job ended and my business slowed down drastically. But the real crisis was that I ran out of movies! I thought it would be fun to write something like the Jane Austen stories, and so I did, starting as just a hobby.  I’m happy to say that my book has a four star rating- so I guess most of my readers didn’t realize I was writing just for fun!

Q: Do you have another book in the works?

A: Yes, I do. It has a working title of For the Skylark. It is about some young adult twins who have been raised on an estate by their mother, a strange and mysterious woman based on Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham. She has secluded them from society, and they pretty much just have each other, as she spends her time in an attic-dome and the servants are not allowed to chat with the children. They live by a set of strict household rules. The story starts as the young man starts to want to see the outside world- and his sister wants to prevent that. She has been content and feels that they must leave well enough alone.

Q: Are your books part of a series?

A: Companion is not. Skylark is intended to be the beginning of a series. I can hardly wait to start on the next one! And who knows, I might have them meet the Holmeshires someday.

Q: What do you do to promote your books?

A: I was lost in the beginning, to be perfectly honest. I had a publisher, but I knew I needed to do more. I set up a Facebook profile and learned to use Twitter, and through that I became acquainted with other authors, and I began to see how they promoted their books. I started blogging, and later started a multi-author blog called English Historical Fiction Authors. Our goal is to have a new historical post every day, and so far we have done so since our launch on Sept. 23rd, 2011. We have a great group on Facebook where we chat with readers and other authors. Join us there!

Q: Enough of your book: tell us about yourself.

A: How boring is that! Well, I grew up in Minnesota and then the San Diego area. I went to nursing school and then spent years raising children and being too sick to work. During those years, I studied homeopathy and art, and I got my health back. I enjoy oil painting and all kinds of creative pursuits, but I must admit to being tired of making jewelry, at least for now. Writing books has been a great joy, and I really have gotten to know some wonderful people through this pursuit.

We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Coffee or tea?

Green tea, thank you, since coffee causes my eczema to flare up.

Ocean or mountain?

Ocean. Could I have a clipper ship please?

Hiking or shopping?

Shopping and out to eat.

Violin or piano?


Mystery or fantasy?


Darcy or Heathcliff?

Can I say Knightley?

Love scene or death scene

Yikes! Love please.

Thanks, Debra, for visiting today. If you’d like to learn more about Debra and her books, visit her blogs: and

To order her books:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Thanks so much for the interview, and for all who came to read!

Thank you, Debra, for joining me today.  If you’d like to learn more about Debra, visit her blog:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Thanks so much for the interview, and for all who came to read!

Camp NaNo

For the past three Novembers, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month journey, and this year I’ve signed up for Camp Nano.  I’m going to use the month of June to try to get  Wilde Wagers, my historical mystery, cleaned up and ready to submit to publishers.

Writing Wilde Wagers has been a long road.  It was my favorite book while writing i t– the characters were so alive, and the story flowed beautifully.  It was my mom’s favorite too — after each chapter I’d send her, she’d proclaim, “Write faster!”

I often wonder if she knew what was coming.

She died suddenly before I’d gotten to the end.  Finishing the story was difficult, but I felt I had to.   Unfortunately, I was so depressed and so unhappy that I couldn’t bring myself to have anything bad happen to any of my characters.  I also couldn’t force myself to create evil or nasty-behaving people.  Not an effective technique when writing a murder mystery.

My mom died about 18 months ago, and although I’m still sad and depressed, I think I can start murdering characters again.

At the end of June, I’ll let you know how my revisions at Camp NaNo went.


Interview with Beth Elliot

Today I’m welcoming to my series of author interviews Beth Elliot.

Beth writes about adventure and romance in Regency England.

Q: Beth, can you explain to my readers who may not know, what is Regency England, and why have you chosen this time period for your novels?

A: Strictly speaking, the Regency lasted for just eleven years, from 1811, when King George III became too ill to be capable of ruling and 1820, when he died. His oldest son, Prince George, acted as Regent during that time. However, the influences, social changes and political events of what we call the wider Regency period began about 1790 and blended into the Victorian era in about 1830.

This wider Regency period is when Jane Austen lived. Her wonderful novels inspire many writers including myself. We are all fascinated by the society she describes, with its strict social conventions and especially the situation of women. Women of the upper classes were almost completely dependent on men. They could not work, except as a companion or a governess. As a general rule they could not inherit property. Their only option was to find security in marriage, so finding a suitable partner from the same social level was vital and had nothing to do with love. For a writer, this is a goldmine of material. The delightful fashions, the vast wealth and contrasting poverty, the long war with Napoleon, the celebrities, such as Byron, Beau Brummell, even the Regent himself, all provide plotlines. It’s so easy to think: ‘What If…’ and another story just creates itself.

Q: Tell us more about your stories.

A: My first two heroes are two friends, who each have their own story. In 1810, moody Theo struggles to readjust to civilian life in London [The Wild Card]. Two years later, his friend, Greg, has to sort out a potential family scandal in Bath [In All Honour]. In both cases, the heroines are determined not to be married off, even though they are both poor and marriage is the only ‘career’ option for girls. April and May is set in 1804. Rose, a gifted artist, seemingly jilted by Tom four years earlier, meets him in Constantinople [Istanbul] and has to work on a secret report with him. This is a story of trust destroyed and rebuilt. The Rake’s Challenge is the tale of a summer holiday in Brighton in 1814. Giles, the bored, elegant Rake, is obliged to rescue a very young damsel in dire distress. She is determined to model her life on Byron’s Childe Harold but falls from one disaster into another. Giles rescues her each time, stronger feelings stirring when the Prince Regent shows an interest in her.

Q: Are you working on anything currently?

A: I’ve just completed Scandalous Lady . This is another Ottoman Regency story, set in Constantinople in 1811, when Lady Hester Stanhope is living there. I enjoy blending real people into my stories, although they are never the main character. This story takes place against the background of negotiating peace between the Ottoman Sultan and the Russian Czar. Again, Napoleon casts his shadow over events, but as always, I keep the tone light. Olivia is an intrepid English heroine and she encounters a half-French, half-Turkish diplomat with the most beautiful eyes she has ever seen. Cue smoulder! This story has some exotic scenes.

Q: What is your favorite part of writing ?

A: Research, especially the practical kind, is fun. I pace out routes in London, Bath and Brighton and even Istanbul to check how long it would take my characters to walk from A to B. And it’s a pleasure to visit stately homes or costume museums. Perhaps the best part is when I read through my current WIP and eagerly turn the page to see what happens next – but am brought up short as there is no more – the shock has me rushing back to the computer at once to move the story on.

Q: Enough of your books—tell us about yourself.

A: My early life was full of sound. My grandmother used to switch between English and Welsh and I loved the rhythm of both. My parents both played the piano, and my Welsh aunt sang opera – but I never could sing a note. Words, however, came easily, whether reading or writing them. I was always telling stories. Later I studied modern languages and added one rather unusual one as my husband was Turkish. He was also a linguist and a poet. We wrote our first historical story together. We lived in eastern Turkey for some years before moving to England. I experienced wonderful kindness and hospitality during those years in Turkey, and have used that in my two Ottoman stories. I taught French and Italian and classroom teaching means a pretty busy life! One hobby is metallic embroidery, where I love overdoing the gold thread and beads, so that the finished piece shines, sparkles and gleams.

We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Coffee or tea?

Tea, please, anytime, anywhere.

Ocean or mountain?

I’m a Celt, so feel happier on a mountain.

Hiking or shopping?

Hiking [see above]. Shopping makes me tired.

Violin or piano?

Piano. Both my parents played Chopin, which filled the house with delicate melody. I was not gifted at that keyboard, but I still listen to Chopin as I type.

Mystery or fantasy?

I think they go together. I love both and seem to live in them. I only have to walk down a country lane in the dark to imagine fantastical creatures behind every tree or in every rustle from the leaves. I see castles in the clouds and faces on the trees. And don’t get me started on what kind of personality I imagine for the person sitting next to me on a plane or train.

Darcy or Heathcliff?

I’m a Darcy girl. Just give me the chance to pierce that stoic front he hides behind

Love scene or death scene?

Love scene, of course!

For more about Beth, visit her blogs:


Beth’s books are available on and from

Thanks to Beth for joining me today!

Videos and Marketing

Cornerstone Press has created a number of videos, which can be viewed on youtube, to market Syncopation.  I’m going to see if I can imbed some of these videos in this blog.  Wish me luck!

Of course, we should start off with the amazing book trailer:

Next, is Chalk Talk:

The next three are readings from the text:





I think I did it!  I hope you enjoyed the clips.

Come back tomorrow for my author interview with Beth Elliot.



Interview with Linda Collison




Today I’m welcoming Linda Collison to my series of author interviews. Linda is the author of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series.

Q: Can you give us a brief description of your books?

A: Stripped to the bone, it’s about a girl pretending to be a man aboard a ship in the 18th century.

The series begins in 1761 during the Seven Years War and is told in first person by Patricia, the illegitimate daughter of a dissolute English sugar planter. When her profligate father dies, sixteen-year-old Patricia finds herself without funds, family or interest. How is she to survive? She chooses to portray herself as a young man and make her living at sea. Living in disguise aboard ship with so many men (and a few women) is fraught with its own risks and rewards and I’ve drawn on numerous historical accounts of 18th century women who really did pass themselves off as men.

Q: How did you come to write this series?

A: My first novel, Star-Crossed (Knopf;2006) was the inspiration for the Patricia MacPherson Series. Knopf originally published it as a stand-alone and they weren’t really interested in doing a series. But Tom Grundner, publisher and senior editor of Fireship Press was! He published Surgeon’s Mate, the sequel, and waited to acquire the rights to Star-Crossed, once I obtained the reversion of rights after it went out of print with Knopf. Tom recognized that Star-Crossed was adult historical fiction, not YA, and he was committed to publishing the series. Tragically, Tom died suddenly last fall, but his publishing company Fireship Press lives on. Star-Crossed will soon be republished as Barbados Bound, the first book of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series, and the third book in the series will hopefully see print early 2013.

Q: In 2007, Star-Crossed was named by the New York Public Library as a “Book for the Teen Age.” Did you write it for adults or teens?

A: Funny you should mention that! I didn’t write Star-Crossed specifically for young adults; I wrote it from the perspective of a young woman, a sort of coming-of-age historical. The character is impetuous and she doesn’t always make good decisions. But she does what she can to survive.

My agent at the time, Laura Rennert, was keen to sell it as YA. She assured me she could attract a big publisher if she marketed it as YA, and she did. I was thrilled to be published by Knopf and to be included on the Books for the Teen Age – but throughout the series Patricia matures, and if the series continues she will grow old –which makes it more of an historical maritime saga than YA. So it’s a “cross-genre, cross-gender” book.

I do write young adult novels. Looking for Redfeather, a contemporary young adult literary novel I’ve recently completed, is represented by literary agent James Schiavone. I’m also working on a YA paranormal thriller set at sea that I’m very excited about.

Q: You studied history in college. How has that influenced you as a writer?

A: I’ve been a life-long student of history but the first time I went to college I majored in nursing to become a registered nurse (there being more jobs for nurses than historians — and I with a family to support!) I worked in acute care for over a decade, specializing in emergency and critical care. At the same time I worked as a freelance writer and had numerous articles, essays and short stories published by various magazines including Ladies Home Journal, Caribbean Travel& Life, Sail, Cruising World, Sailing, Parachutist, Nursing, etc. I wrote two guidebooks with my husband, which were published by Pruett, back in the ‘90s.

Over the years I’ve taken many college level history courses, mostly in history and French. Studying history has helped me examine sources objectively; it has helped me approach my research more efficiently and given me a wider perspective.

Q: How did you come to write historical fiction with a nautical setting?

A: In 1999 my husband and I served as voyage crew members aboard HM Bark Endeavour, an Australian-built replica of Captain James Cook’s 18th century sailing ship. The Endeavour was the closest thing to a time machine I have ever experienced and one of the most accurately reproduced historical ships in existence. We voyage crew members helped to sail her from Vancouver to Hawaii, a crossing that took nearly three weeks. We were expected to stand our watches, climb aloft and go out on the footropes to make and furl sail, take our turn steering the ship and keeping a look-out, as well as other duties necessary to keep the traditional vessel in good working order. We slept in hammocks strung from the deckhead, just as sailors did in the 18th century.

In many ways the experience changed my life. When I got off the ship in Hawaii I had a much better understanding what it was like to have sailed on an 18th century sailing vessel. And I carried inside the seeds for a novel. I had lived the time period, and the setting; I knew the ship intimately. I was getting to know the main character, the cross-dressing surgeon’s mate. But I still had years of research and writing ahead of me before Star-Crossed would be published. What a journey that was! And Star-Crossed was only the beginning. Book three of the series is taking me into the period leading up to the American Revolution where Patricia and her lover will find themselves on opposite sides of the war.

Your whole series sounds fascinating.  I look forward to reading about Patricia.

We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Q: Coffee or tea?

A: Coffee, black! Except when I’m in England eating scones and clotted cream, then I’ll have tea.

Q: Ocean or mountain?

A: You might think I would choose the ocean because of my nautical books. But that isn’t necessarily the case! I divide my time between ocean and mountain. Today I’m at the ocean but next week I head for the Rocky Mountains. I need them both!

Q; Hiking or shopping?

A: Today I am hiking. Tomorrow I might be shopping. Life is broad!

Q: Violin or piano?

A: How about clarinet or cello? I played them both in high school, but maybe I should have learned piano, it’s so versatile and expressive. I do love piano — Adele, Elton John, Duke Ellington and Frederic Chopin jump to mind.

Q: Mystery or fantasy?

A: What about a mysterious fantasy? Actually, I don’t care for the mystery genre. Literary mysteries, such as Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, now that’s a different story!

Q: Darcy or Heathcliff?

A: Heathcliff, of course!

Q: Love scene or death scene?

A: The best love scenes are usually lovers’ quarrels. It’s all about the conflict! Throughout the series I’m writing, Patricia tries to get together with her lover, and only sometimes are the trysts successful.

Death scenes are the best. “Out, out brief candle!”

Learn more about Linda and her writing at Linda’s website and at the Fireship Press website.

You can also order her books and learn more about her at Linda’s page

Thank you, Linda!


Book Launch with Pictures

The book launch was fabulous! I thank everyone who came, and I am totally in awe of the staff at Cornerstone Press for doing such a marvelous job putting it all together. We estimated a crowd of about 150 (there were 150 chairs, nearly all filled, and people standing). I’m still waiting to hear how many books were sold.

So, here are some photos:

Cornerstone Press staff setting up the book table.  In addition to Syncopation, other Cornerstone titles were available, as was The Stolen Goldin Violin.

I greet a table of very important guests.

Guests check out the book table.


The place is starting to fill up!

Boone Sorenson (program emcee, on left) and Per Henningsgaard (Cornerstone editor-in-chief, in center) discuss the order of the program.

The frightening moment arrives and I have to take the stage.  I talk about writing Syncopation and then read an excerpt.

I sign books.

Kristen and Boone draw the names of the raffle winners.(Don’t the raffle prizes look wonderful?)

Again, a heartfelt thanks to those of you who came and those of you who made the event so wonderful.

If you live outside central Wisconsin and would like me to visit a bookstore in your area, please contact me: elizabethcfelt at  I love to travel!!