and The Honor Due a King), Isabeau (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist for
Historical Fiction) and The King Must Die.
She holds degrees in Education and Biology from Wright State University where
she ran cross country on athletic scholarship. She’s also an avid gardener,
serial remodeler, dog sport enthusiast and gradually decaying 40-something
your current release.
England has been dethroned by his queen, Isabella, and her lover, Sir Roger
Isabella’s son is installed as King Edward III at the callow age of fourteen.
Young Edward, however, must bide his time as the loyal son until he can break
the shackles of his minority and dissolve the regency council which dictates
his every action.
When the former king is found mysteriously dead in his cell, the truth becomes
obscured and Isabella can no longer trust her own memory . . . or confide in
those closest to her. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep her beloved Mortimer at
her side and gain yet another crown—France’s—for the son who no longer trusts
revenge, as well as accusations of murder.
write this book?
me, more than one editor said that historicals about men didn’t sell well and
what they were looking for was historical fiction with female protagonists. One
of the viewpoint characters in the Bruce books is King Edward II of England, so
I had to do a lot of research about him and his wife, Isabella of France. More
and more, I found myself drawn to Isabella’s story and it was one of those
comments from an editor that made me say, “All right, then. I’m going to write
a story about her, because it hasn’t been done before.” After all, who could
resist the intrigue of a queen who takes a lover, invades her husband’s country
and overthrows him to put her son on the throne of England? You can’t make that
it was only a nightmare, I slapped at my cheeks to bring a rush of blood to my
clattered. More shouts. Then … sword clanged against sword, struck
flesh. Chaos. The cries of the wounded.
heart clogged my throat. The realization struck me with the deadly force of one
of Sir John’s cannons: we were under attack. Swallowing hard, I groped in the
darkness for my sword. Frantic, I flailed my hand in a wider circle, my palm
swatting at a mat of crushed grass. Then, my fingers smacked against my shield.
My bones screamed in pain. Great, burning throbs. I pulled my hand to my chest
and tried to move my fingers, but couldn’t.
sounds were coming closer, growing louder.
dull glint caught my eye. I flexed aching fingers, wrapped them around the hilt
and pulled my sword to me. Then I grabbed at the edge of my shield, dragging it
over a crumpled shirt, and slipped my left arm through the loosened straps. No
time to pull them tight. Rolling over onto my knees, I scooted around the
center pole toward the opening. My blade clunked against metal—my helmet.
Tucking my sword on my lap, I reached out, grasped it, and settled it snugly
onto my head.
shrill neigh of a horse ripped through the night air. Hooves crashed to a halt
just outside the opening of my tent. I froze.
are you working on next?
on my living room floor right now. It takes place in the 15th
century and is about Owain Glyndwr, the last Welsh Prince of Wales. When Henry
Bolingbroke usurps the throne from King Richard II of England, Owain is caught
in the middle. A peaceful family man and country esquire, he has no wish to
become involved in England’s upheaval, but circumstances compel him to lead a
Welsh rebellion. He’s forced into hiding, separating him for long periods from
his beloved wife, Margaret, and his eleven children. Little by little, though,
he takes control of critical strongholds and turns the tide of English
domination – but not without a cost.
consider yourself a writer?
I’d written scientific articles and later I wrote editorial articles for dog
breed journals. Then, while my kids were still young and life was often chaos,
I wrote to escape, to be in control of something. But I never really felt like
a ‘writer’ then. It was just a hobby and a dream.
“Holy cow, I really am a writer! I
have a reader.” To this day, I print out every letter I get from every reader
and tape it to the wall behind my desk.
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?
If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
hard time starting a new book, because I don’t know the characters yet. It’s
like sitting in a room with strangers, trying to make conversation. I avoid
writing by reorganizing the basement or pulling weeds in the garden. My house
and yard look great at that stage!
become. I drive towards the end like a Wall Street stock trader on crack. At
that point I forget my family even exists. The computer goes on at 8 a.m. and I
don’t shut down until midnight. This is when my house is overrun by piles of
dirty laundry, stacks of bills and shin-high grass in the front yard. It’s
exhilarating and exhausting and is usually followed by a weeklong emotional
meltdown when I’m nearing completion of a book.
your interesting writing quirk?
two dogs at my feet, a cat on the windowsill, a TV on my desk, and a CD playing
a continuous loop of Florence and the Machine . . . and yet I can’t write a
single word if there’s a family member in the house within eyeshot. Too
distracting. I know – it makes no sense.
you want to be when you grew up?
job shadow, we watched a vet neuter a cat. Ergh. Okay, next plan. Writer? I
parked a little metal desk and a 1950’s Royal typewriter in my closet, closed
the door and turned the light on. Then I disappeared into my own little make-believe
world. Yes, perfect.
you want to share with the readers?
because they remember history class in high school as being about dates and dry
facts – boring, in other words. But historical fiction is about finding the
‘story’ in ‘history’. It can be adventure, romance, mystery . . . I try to make
my characters matter as much as the setting and the period in time. The
greatest compliment I can get from a reader is when they say the cried at the
end – not that I want to make people cry, but it’s so rewarding to know they
got attached enough to the characters to care about them that much.
the tour. All you need to do is comment below. And if you want more chances to win, check out the other tour dates and comment on other stops. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win!