Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blog Tour Interview + Giveaway with Donna McDine

Please join me in welcoming award-winning children's author Donna McDine to Let Them Read Books! Donna is touring the blogosphere with her historical fiction novels, The Golden Pathway and Powder Monkey, and I got the chance to ask her a few questions about writing historical fiction for young readers! And she's brought along a copy of each book for one lucky reader to win!

Hello, Donna! Thank you for appearing on Let Them Read Books!

Thank you for taking the time out to interview me. It’s a true pleasure to meet with you and your visitors.

What inspired you to start writing historical fiction for young readers?

As a child and then as an adult I have always enjoyed history. Once my writing bug ignited I was drawn into the world of historical fiction in a writing course. The research into historical facts and developing believable characters to make a story come alive inspire me.

Your characters often face unpleasant and sometimes shocking situations that were considered typical during the eras in which they take place. What kind of challenges do you face in writing about these events for today's children?

It’s important for me, as a writer to develop a well-rounded character the reader will feel empathy for. Often times the theme bullying comes into play for the shocking events throughout history, providing a connection to modern day bullying situations.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spotlight: The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans

Passionate embryologist, Savarna Sikand, is in a complicated relationship, with two different women, when she is told that she MUST have a baby. Her East Indian American parents are desperate for her to conceive, in spite of her "not being married". They insist that she is the last in line of a great spiritual lineage. In the process of choosing her lover and having doubts about her ability, or desire to conceive, Savarna begins to question the necessity of biology and lineage within her parents' beliefs and becomes forever fascinated with the process of conception and the definition of family. Threads of Dan Brown (DaVinci Code), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart) and the film The Kids Are All Right, flavor this colorful tale of awakening, romance and mystery.

Praise for The Last Conception

Gabriel Constans' inspiring new novel delves into the framework of our purpose in life; explores the tenuous balance between destiny and personal truth and the struggle we undergo when those forces are at odds. Constans weaves the two together seamlessly and in the end, we are certain that love surpasses tradition, destiny and our own selfish wants. --Syd Parker, best-selling author of Secrets of the Heart, Love’s Abiding Spirit and Immediate Possession

Often, when tradition and technology meet they collide without forgiveness. Gabriel Constans manages to bring these opposites together with an open heart and the result is a story of compassion, love and the gifts that a generous partnership can provide. --Joan Tewkesbury, award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I've Got Some Winners to Announce!




Emails have gone out to the winners.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment on these posts! Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spotlight: Betraying Mercy by Amber Lin

Please join Amber Lin as she tours the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for her new dark historical romance novel Betraying Mercy from August 4-22. Read on for more info about the book, the tour schedule full of reviews, interviews, and more, and a chance to win a signed copy of one of Amber's books!

Publication Date: August 4, 2014
Harlequin E
Genre: Historical Romance

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Can she be more than a mistress? With a tarnished reputation, Mercy Lyndhurst expected to become the Earl of Rochford’s mistress, not his wife. Immediately abandoned by her husband after their wedding, Mercy transformed herself from commoner to countess, vowing to protect the lands and people her husband was forced to leave. Over the past six years, William has restored the family fortune all the while tortured by his memories of Mercy…and the dark night he killed a man. When a threat draws him home, William learns just how much has changed—including his wife. While the passion still flares between them, he fears he has wounded her too badly to regain her trust. But as the danger grows, they must unite to save the estate…and possibly their marriage.

Praise for Amber Lin’s Books

"Amber Lin shows us that romance isn’t just for the rich and shiny. Love can find its way even into the dark corners of the most damaged hearts." - Tiffany Reisz, bestselling author

“Amber’s work cuts deeper than that of anybody else I can think of—her prose is beautiful, the dark emotions are darker, the sex is sexier.” - Ruthie Knox, New York Times Bestselling Author 

“She has a beautiful, atmospheric writing style and you’re not going to find sentimental love here, nor are you going to find hearts and flowers. This is taut, compelling, thoughtful and also gritty, earthy and unembellished.” - Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews

“Oh and as for Amber Lin, well she was already on my shelf as a favourite Author of mine and yet again she proved just why. Her writing style is beautiful, flawless and so evocative you live and breathe her stories.” -TotallyBooked Blog

“Amber Lin has created an incredible story that is a captivating mix of redemption, love, and psychological suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I highly recommend it to more adventurous readers!” - The Autumn Review

“Since the release of Giving It Up, the first book in her Lost Girls series, I have been a die-hard fan of this author and have been singing her praises to everyone who wants to listen. Four full-length novels later and it is evident that Amber Lin’s talent is not restricted to dark romances, she also writes wonderful steamy and sweet contemporaries.” - Swept Away by Romance

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blog Tour Q&A: The Splintered Kingdom

Please join me in welcoming author James Aitcheson to Let Them Read Books! James is touring the blogosphere to celebrate the US publication of the second novel in his Norman Conquest trilogy, and I got the chance to ask James a few questions about bringing this tumultuous time period to life. Read on and enter to win a copy of The Splintered Kingdom!

The brilliant second novel in James Aitcheson’s trilogy of the Norman Conquest of England.

Summer, 1070. Renowned for his valor in the battle for York, Tancred a Dinant is now a lord in his own right, with knights of his own to command and a manor to call home in the turbulent Welsh borderlands. But his hard-fought gains are soon threatened, as a coalition of enemies both old and new prepares to march against King William.

With English, Welsh and Viking forces gathering, and war looming, the Normans are forced to make common cause with some unlikely allies in defence of their newly conquered realm. For Tancred, meanwhile, there are also enemies closer to home: Norman barons envious of his fame, who regard him as a threat to their own power and who are only too eager to see him brought low.

Amidst the turmoil, Tancred is chosen to spearhead a perilous expedition into the heart of Wales. Success will bring him glory beyond his dreams. Failure will mean the ruin of the reputation that he has worked so hard to forge. As shield-walls clash and the kingdom burns, not only is his destiny at stake, but also that of England itself.

A gripping tale of battle, honor, and vengeance, The Splintered Kingdom is an epic saga of the struggle for England—and through it, the western world.


Thanks for joining us, James! What were the challenges of researching this time period?

The idea for a series set during the Norman Conquest came to me while I was studying History at Cambridge. That’s where I first became fascinated with the Middle Ages as a whole, and with this subject in particular. So when I began working on Sworn Sword, the first book in the Conquest Series, I already had a very good grounding in the period.

Even so, I found that there were many small details I still needed to research. While writing the series, I’ve read up on everything from the design of Norman longships to the practice of medieval medicine, musical instruments, food and drink, the different stages involved in the production of parchment, and even fashions in clothing and hairstyles.

Probably the biggest challenge that the historical novelist faces, though, is getting inside the heads of his characters. To write convincingly about the Middle Ages, you need to get into a medieval mindset, and understand their thought-world: that is to say, their attitudes towards religion, family and society. All of those things will have an impact on how your characters reason, speak and behave.

In many ways this is the hardest aspect to research, but it’s very necessary, since without this knowledge your characters can only ever come across as twenty-first century people dressed in period costume. One of the ways in which I tackle this is to go back to the primary sources: the original chronicles, poetry and other writings that provide us with the voices of the past, and which offer useful glimpses into the preoccupations of people living at the time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Blast + Giveaway: 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 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours! Enter to win a copy at the end of this post!

Audible Audio Book Edition
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Listening Length: 12 hours, 39 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios

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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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Q&A with Paula Margulies, Author of Favorite Daughter, Part One

Please join me in welcoming author Paula Margulies to the blog! Paula is celebrating the release of her newest historical fiction novel, Favorite Daughter, Part One, a first-person retelling of the life story of the famous Native American legend, Pocahontas. Check out this Q&A with Paula and enter to win your own copy of the book!

Set in the time of the Jamestown settlement and the English explorer John Smith, Favorite Daughter, Part One recounts the story of Chief Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, as she prepares to take her place as one of our nation's earliest leading women. Pocahontas invites readers to experience her native world when strangers appear on the shores near her village. From forging a relationship with the charismatic Smith, to experiencing love for the first time and creating a role for herself in her father’s plans for peace, this young girl takes us on a poignant and harrowing journey through the turbulent events of her life. Eventually betrayed by all of the men she loves, Pocahontas matures into a heroine of tremendous nobility, courage, and heart. 

Told in first person, in a voice brimming with compassion and wisdom, Favorite Daughter, Part One provides a compelling look at the early days of one of the most remarkable legends in American history.

Editor’s Choice Award Winner, 21st Annual San Diego State University Writers’ Conference

Where and when do you write?

In my home office mostly, although I try to sneak away to artist residencies whenever my teaching and client work schedule will allow. I usually write on Sundays, but that all depends on how much life intrudes (and it does that often, believe me!).

Why did you write your book?

I’ve always been fascinated with the story of Pocahontas, and since so much of her history has been told to us by English explorers like John Smith, I decided that retelling her story, from her perspective, might make for an interesting read.