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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Sonia Faruqi, author of The Oyster Thief


Please welcome Sonia Faruqi to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Oyster Thief will be published on October 16th by Pegasus.



Interview with Sonia Faruqi, author of The Oyster Thief




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Sonia:  When I was nine, I wrote a story about a little girl my own age taking care of pigeons.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sonia:  Definitely a plotter! I spent three months plotting The Oyster Thief scene by scene.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sonia:  The solitary aspect of it.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sonia:  Coming across good writing that inspires me to do better.



TQDescribe The Oyster Thief using only 5 words.

Sonia:  Mermaid novel of a lifetime.



TQTell us something about The Oyster Thief that is not found in the book description.

Sonia:  As far as I know, it is the world's first fantasy featuring a detailed, real-feeling underwater culture of merpeople.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Oyster Thief? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Sonia:  The idea of an underwater world fell into my mind on January 1st, 2015. It was a freezing-cold morning in Canada, and I wished I could escape into tropical waters. But it was too expensive to book a last-minute flight, so I decided to escape in my mind. With a cup of tea in hand, I started inventing an underwater world. I like that fantasy allows us to escape without escaping. And science fantasy allows us to enter a world that exists (the ocean, for instance) but to which we may have more access through the imagination than real life. Parts of the ocean are less known than the moon!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Oyster Thief?

Sonia:  I snorkeled, scuba-dived, swam with sharks, and pored over books and countless articles about the ocean.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Oyster Thief.

Sonia:  The cover shows an artistic underwater scene, with a mermaid tail in the foreground.



TQIn The Oyster Thief who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sonia:  Coralline, the protagonist, was easy to write in some ways because I could relate to her. Izar, the other protagonist, was a little harder to write because he is an engineer and inventor whose strong suit is physics - not my strong suit.



TQDoes The Oyster Thief touch on any social issues?

Sonia:  Absolutely! I find that literature can be an important tool for education and social change. The Oyster Thief touches on themes of ocean conservation.



TQWhich question about The Oyster Thief do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sonia:  Hmm.... Why a mermaid novel? Because it would be amazing if mermaids existed!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Oyster Thief.

Sonia:  “In order to heal others, you have to first heal yourself. . . . Success is an outcome not of imitation but of authenticity—of not abiding by the rules but changing them. The questions are more important than the answers.”


“Infidelity is not an act but a feeling.”



TQWhat's next?

Sonia:  I am considering a sequel to The Oyster Thief.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sonia:  Thank you!





The Oyster Thief
Pegasus Books, October 16, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Sonia Faruqi, author of The Oyster Thief
Two worlds collide when a mermaid and human man meet, plunging readers into a vast underwater realm brimming with adventure and intrigue.

"The mermaid’s scales were bronze, and they shimmered like hundreds of pennies arranged close together. Her immense blue-green eyes gave a look of fragility to her face, yet he found her eyes unsettling. She was leaning against a thirty-foot-long shark, which emerged from behind her and opened its mouth to reveal a great big cavern lined with hundreds of teeth—a black tunnel ready to swallow him."

Coralline is a mermaid who is engaged to the merman of her dreams. But when an oil spill wreaks havoc on her idyllic village life, her little brother falls gravely ill. Desperate to save him, she embarks on aquest to find a legendary elixir made of starlight.

Izar, a human man, is on the cusp of an invention that will enable him to mine the depths of the ocean. His discovery will soon make him the richest man on earth—while threatening merpeople with extinction. But then, suddenly, Izar finds himself transformed into a merman and caught in a web of betrayal and intrigue. Meeting Coralline in the ocean, he decides to join her on her quest for the elixir, hoping it will turn him human again.

The quest pushes Coralline and Izar together, even though their worlds are at odds. Their pasts threaten to tear them apart, while a growing attraction adds to the danger. Ultimately, each of them faces an impossible choice. Should Coralline leave her fiancé for a man who might betray her? And Izar has a dark secret of his own—one that could cause him to lose Coralline forever.

Magnificent and moving, set against a breathtaking ocean landscape, The Oyster Thief is a richly imagined odyssey destined to become a classic.





About Sonia

Interview with Sonia Faruqi, author of The Oyster Thief
Sonia pushes the boundaries of imagination in her debut novel The Oyster Thief, an underwater odyssey. She is also the author of critically acclaimed Project Animal Farm, about the world’s food system. A skilled storyteller and speaker, she lives in Toronto, Canada.











Website  ~ Twitter @Sonia_Faruqi  ~  Facebook

Interview with Julie McElwain, author of A Murder in Time


Please welcome Julie McElwain to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. A Murder in Time was published on April 11th by Pegasus.



Interview with Julie McElwain, author of A Murder in Time




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Julie:  Thank you — I’m excited to be here! I’ve actually been writing since I read my first Nancy Drew in fourth grade. I desperately wanted to be Caroline Keene. I’m a huge reader and fell in love with words. I spent my entire childhood writing and discarding novels. Despite that, I decided to pursue fashion design in college (Go figure!) When I took a journalism course and was asked to work for the student newspaper, I realized I could make a living at writing. I graduated with a double major in textiles and clothing and print journalism from North Dakota State University, and moved to California, where I landed a job as a business reporter covering the fashion industry, before shifting to the entertainment industry. I’ve spent my career writing. I love journalism, but I’ve always had a passion to write fiction.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Julie:  I would love to be a plotter, but I am definitely a pantser! Whenever I try to plot chapters out, I lose steam and the process becomes less interesting to me. I have the entire story in my head, but I’m constantly surprised at what the characters say and do. Of course, there is always a fear that I will draw blank. So far that hasn’t happened, but I’m learning to live in a constant state of fear.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Julie:  This may seem ironic given the whole time-travel element of my book, but time is always a factor. I love it when I can find those huge blocks of uninterrupted time to sit down and create, but it’s not easy. I have to force myself to snatch an hour here or there. If I’m stuck on a chapter, unable to find the right words or tone, it can be frustrating, and really requires patience and persistence to keep writing, rewriting and revising until I’m satisfied.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Julie:  Reading good books. I’ve been influenced by so many amazing authors. I love Tess Gerritsen, Karen Slaughter, Tami Hoag, and Lisa Gardner. Their work is dark and gritty and so compelling. Nora Roberts is an incredibly skillful writer who knows how to drill down into the human dynamic like no one else. I’m in awe of Dean Koontz’s imagination and ability to weave words together to create magic. I could go on and on, so I’ll just say that good storytelling always inspire me.



TQDescribe A Murder in Time in 140 characters or less.

Julie:  FBI agent Kendra is transported back to Regency England. Hunts a serial killer. Is tested in ways she could never imagine.



TQTell us something about A Murder in Time that is not found in the book description.

Julie:  Kendra has spent her life excelling, but she’s knocked completely off-kilter when she finds herself in 1815. She’s demoted for the first time ever. She was the youngest FBI agent accepted into Quantico, so it’s hard for her to wrap her mind around failing. Especially failing in a society that she views as inferior to her own. How can that happen? Kendra knows she has something to teach her 19th century counterparts… but she may learn a thing or two as well.



TQWhat inspired you to write A Murder in Time? What appeals to you about writing historical mysteries?

Julie:  I gave an old TV — one that actually had a dial, no remote — to a friend’s son so he could play videogames. He was probably about 14 at the time, and seriously brilliant. But when the dial got nudged to another channel he and an equally brilliant friend could not figure out how to fix the TV. It made me laugh. Then it made me wonder how any of us would fare if we no longer had the technology that we’ve come to rely on. Even smart people may have a difficult time adapting! As far as writing historical mysteries, I find history appealing — period. It’s fascinating to me how people lived, how we’ve evolved and continue to evolve. It’s equally fascinating to me how we’ve remained the same. I love exploring this broader human dynamic within the more narrow confines of a mystery.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for A Murder in Time?

Julie:  It was important to me to be as accurate as possible, so I did a tremendous amount of research. Kendra might not have access to 21st century technology, but she still had to have knowledge of forensics and criminal investigation. I have my own “murder” library (which might scare some of my visitors) that includes everything from books on serial killers to autobiographies and first-hand accounts written by the country’s leading FBI agents. I also subscribe to newsletters and blogs from romance writers specializing in Regency England. And I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Great Britain several times, where I’ve explored some of the great estates and wonderful museums to get a feel for both the country and its rich history.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Julie:  Lady Rebecca came very naturally to me. I have three brothers — no sisters — and grew up fighting for “girl power” in my household. Rebecca is always arguing for girl power in a society where women didn’t even have the right to vote. She was a suffragette before that movement was really organized. The hardest wasn’t a character, but how to address characters in the early 19th century, and the entire title system for the British aristocracy. It’s very specific and complex. Perhaps because I’m an American, nothing about it came naturally to me.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in A Murder in Time?

Julie:  I didn’t consciously choose to include or exclude social issues. I felt that everything in the story came up organically. A 21st century person would be hard pressed not to compare and contrast modern day life with life in the early 19th century. For the lower classes, there was no childhood as we know it. Children were put to work by the time they were 10. Of course, one might argue our society has extended childhood well into our 20s. Kendra is in the perfect position to observe how culture has changed — for the better and for the worse.



TQWhich question about A Murder in Time do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Julie:  Why did you name your heroine “Kendra”? Answer — I researched a lot of names before I settled on Kendra. Depending on the resource, it means “prophetess” or “knowledge” or “greatest champion” — all of which I felt suited my heroine perfectly. Being from the future, she recognizes what will happen in the world. She has knowledge that no one else has in this era. And she’s a champion for justice. I love that.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from A Murder in Time.

Julie:  Both quotes come from Mrs. Danbury, the housekeeper:

“Miss Donovan, you will never address his Grace as Duke again. He is your Grace or the Duke of Aldridge or sir. And you will curtsy when you leave a room with one of your betters.”

“You will not speak to your betters unless they ask you a specific question. You will, in fact, blend into the background. A good servant, the perfect servant, is not noticed.”

Nothing, I think, points out the class system and the difference between the 21st century and the 19thcentury mindset — and shows Kendra just what she will be up against living in this era.



TQWhat's next?

Julie:  I’m busy writing a sequel to A Murder In Time. On the surface, Regency England is a glittery era filled with parties and frivolity, but it has a dark underbelly. Kendra Donovan may be just the person to take that on. Her story is far from over!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Julie:  Thank you!





A Murder in Time
Kendra Donovan 1
Pegasus, April 11, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Julie McElwain, author of A Murder in Time
When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.


See Melanie's review here.





About Julie

Julie McElwain began her journalistic career at California Apparel News, a weekly Los Angeles based trade newspaper. She has freelanced for numerous publications from professional photographers magazines to those following the fashion industry. Currently, Julie is West Coast Editor for Soaps In Depth, a national soap opera magazine covering the No. 1 daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. Julie lives in Long Beach, CA.


Twitter @JulieMcElwain  ~  Facebook

Review: A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain


A Murder in Time
Author:  Julie McElwain
Series:  Kendra Donovan 1
Publisher:  Pegasus, April 11, 2016
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $25.95 (print); $12.99 (digital)
ISBN:  9781605989747 (print); 9781681771151 (digital)

Review: A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.



Melanie's Thoughts

Kendra Donovan is a highly gifted FBI profiler with a career on the rise until a raid goes tragically wrong and most of her team are killed. Kendra almost dies and spends months in rehab plotting the demise of the man who killed her teammates. Haunted by what happened, she makes the drastic decision to go rogue and seek justice for her team by assassinating the man responsible. She follows him to England and to Aldrich Castle where something happens that changes not only her life but the very fabric of time. Another assassin kills her target and in the process of fleeing she ends up in a stairwell that takes her not only to safety but 200 years in the past. Mistaken for a ladies maid Kendra tries to figure out what has happened to her. When a young prostitute's body is found on the estate, having been tortured and murdered, Kendra can't resist trying to solve the crime. Can she solve this case without the use of the tools of her trade and with the restrictions of society and class structure of the early 1800's? A serial killer is targeting young women and Kendra may be the only person capable of stopping him.

Kendra is a genetically engineered child of two scientists, highly intelligent but emotionally stunted with no friends or family that she was close to. Her career is everything to her and seeking justice for her teammates ruled her life until she 'fell through the rabbit hole' into 1815. The majority of the story is set in the 1800s and involves the murders at Aldrich Castle. I think the murder plot was well executed and I wasn't sure who the serial murderer was. In fact I had a couple of late nights trying to finish the book. I have A Murder in Time to blame for my sleep deprived puffy eyes twice last week! I used to read a lot of murder mysteries and usually guess who 'dunnit' but this time I couldn't figure it out. My main criticism, however, is with Kendra herself. While I think that McElwain excelled in plot development I don't think the character development was as strong. I find Kendra a bit superficial and not that likeable. I feel that McElwain could have spent more time developing Kendra at the start of the story before she ended up in 1815 which would have made her a much more rounded character.

Overall, I enjoyed A Murder in Time. I am not sure I liked it as much as Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series which has a similar time traveling basis. For a debut A Murder in Time is a good read. McElwain leaves the reader with an ending that will obviously lead into future novels and I hope that can produce another plot that can keep me up at night.

Review: Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter


Bohemian Gospel
Author: Dana Chamblee Carpenter
Publisher:  Pegasus, November 16, 2015
    November 8, 2015 (eBook)
Format: Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  $25.95 (Hardcover); $12.99 (digital)
ISBN:  9781605989013 (print); 9781605989020 (digital)
Upcoming: Trade Paperback, October 4, 2016

Review: Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter
Set against the historical reign of the Golden and Iron King, Bohemian Gospel is the remarkable tale of a bold and unusual girl on a quest to uncover her past and define her destiny.

Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who—or what—she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor's arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse's unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone—especially herself—she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?

A heart-thumping, highly original tale in the vein of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Bohemian Gospel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice for historical fiction.



Doreen’s Thoughts

Living in an Abbey, Mouse is a young girl who has learned about Christianity but never been allowed to fully participate herself because of her mysterious birth. While both Abbott Father Lucas and Mother Kazi love her despite her birth, her ability to see souls and demons could label her as a witch, and she is always an outsider in her only home. When a wounded King Ottakar arrives at the Abbey, Mouse uses her healing skills to save him, and he invites her to come to Prague as his personal healer. Ottakar, son of King Vaclav, became king by rebelling against his cruel father; however, his father has invited him to Prague to reconcile and end the war. In Prague, the politics of the court and the church nearly overwhelm Mouse. Mouse does feel an overwhelming attraction to Ottakar and he also responds to her. As she works to protect the king from his enemies, he works to discover the name of her unknown father.

Bohemian Gospel is an intriguing read. There is the mystery of Mouse’s parentage and the question of why she appears to lack a soul. In addition, there are the mysterious black demons that seem to follow her from place to place. Finally, there is the intrigue and plotting in the court. Altogether this makes for a robust story. It is easy to feel Mouse’s longing to belong, to anyone. Her mysterious birth, her magical powers, and her position in the court all create a tremendous isolation.

However, while the first two-thirds of this novel work very well, the last third seems rushed and almost forced. Instead of telling about a single day in a chapter, one chapter covers decades. In addition, the relationship between Ottakar and Mouse seems almost one-sided. Ottakar obviously wants her physically, and if he were not a king, he might be able to be the person that Mouse needs, but his position requires him to take actions for the good of the kingdom, not for himself and Mouse.

This novel is not a quick read, but the characterization of Mouse is excellent. Dana Chamblee Carpenter has created a character with whom readers can relate, even if they lack her unique powers. The politics are interesting, but there are almost two stories here. I would have preferred if Carpenter had divided this one into two separate novels and spent more time on the last half. That said, I definitely recommend Bohemian Gospel as a terrific read.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Julie McElwain

A Murder in Time
Pegasus, April 11, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

Interview with Dana Chamblee Carpenter, author of Bohemian Gospel


Please welcome Dana Chamblee Carpenter to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bohemian Gospel was published in November 2015 by Pegasus.



Interview with Dana Chamblee Carpenter, author of Bohemian Gospel




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Dana:  Thanks for having me! I actually started writing in the third grade, but after a bit of a detour into the halls of academia to get my Ph. D, I came back to my dream of being a writer. Stories are like food or air for me--I need them to live. When I was a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on, and it didn't matter if the protagonist was a boy or a dog or a girl kind of like me; I could slip into the skin and become any of them. But there was still a part of me that knew that even the female characters I could most relate to—a Jo March or Laura Ingalls—weren't quite free enough or wild enough or strong enough. So I wrote my own stories with my own free, wild, strong girls.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or hybrid?

Dana:  I am so absolutely a pantser that I have a hard time associating with plotters (just kidding). I still occasionally peek over the fence to see if the grass is really greener on the plotters' side (knowing where your story's going before you get there sounds SO nice), but then I start panicking at the idea of getting boxed in and trapped. I like to feel my way through a story.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Dana:  Blocking off the time to do the actual writing. I wear so many hats—mom (and the whole subset of jobs that involves), homeschooler, professor, wife, friend—that I have to be pretty fierce with myself to schedule my writing time and not forfeit pieces of it to something else.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Dana:  I'd like to think that almost any writer I've read is an influence on me in some form or another. But one of the touchstones for me is Eudora Welty—there's something in her writing that speaks to my soul, and I will likely forever be striving to emulate the fluidity of her narrative. There’s also Neil Gaiman, who so masterfully blends light and dark in his work and who is such a powerful role model for staying positive and encouraging in a very critical and competitive industry. I want to be him when I grow up.



TQDescribe Bohemian Gospel in 140 characters or less.

Dana:  Girl named Mouse. Girl has powers. Girl meets king. Girl fights demons. Girl lives in 13th Century Bohemia. #NotBohemianRhapsody



TQTell us something about Bohemian Gospel that is not found in the book description.

Dana:  Things get really dark and scary. Mouse is an extraordinary young woman and so extraordinary things happen to her. She has magical moments of joy and uncommon tragedy.



TQWhat inspired you to write Bohemian Gospel? What appeals to you about writing historical fiction and, in particular, historical fiction set in 13th Century Bohemia?

Dana:  Mouse was my inspiration. She came to me first, and I didn't know when or where she belonged. As she slowly revealed some of her secrets to me, her story led to Bohemia and the 13th Century, which is where I learned about Ottakar, and I was hooked. I've always loved historical fiction, especially the books that focus on typically overlooked characters or develop fictional characters that challenge conventions in a particular historical setting. I want to go somewhere I've never been or see a familiar world in an entirely new way.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Bohemian Gospel?

Dana:  Anything and everything. The typical surface-level internet research served as breadcrumbs to lead me into the deeper waters of really old books that only lived in the dusty archives of a library, digitalized copies of rare and out-of-print books, music, art, architecture, and loads of research into the practices of Premonstratensian monks.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Dana:  Mouse was the easiest character to write because I knew her so well by the time I actually started drafting. It didn't take lots of mental work to imagine what she would do or say in any particular situation because I'd been living with her for a year in my head. But she was also the hardest character to write because I love her deeply and it breaks my heart (weeping and gnashing of angry teeth) when crappy stuff happens to her. I hear from readers who get so mad at certain parts of the story when bad things happen to Mouse, and I SO understand. I feel the same way. But I have to the let the story go where it needs to go; I have to let Mouse make her own decisions. And sometimes, life is really hard.



TQWhich question about Bohemian Gospel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Dana:  It's actually not a question I can say here because it would be a spoiler, but it’s one my big brother asked over the holidays. He loved the book but he was upset about something that happens toward the end. His question was: Why? And we spent hours talking about Mouse's choices and the deeper underlying themes in the book. It was a great question that led to a great discussion. I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any better than that.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Bohemian Gospel.

Dana:  I love Father Lucas' reprimand of King Ottakar when he's being "protective" and trying to keep Mouse from doing something she needs to do. Father Lucas tells the King, "We both know that she is not just a girl."

Then later, at a time when Mouse is wrestling with figuring out her place in the world, Ottakar tells her "You do have value, Mouse, not lent you by parents or a family name, but a worth all your own." I love him for that.



TQWhat's next?

Dana:  I'm working on revisions to the sequel to Bohemian Gospel right now. The first book was only a part of her story and I can’t wait to share with readers what happens next.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Dana:  My pleasure!





Bohemian Gospel
Pegasus, November 16, 2015
    November 8, 2015 (eBook)
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Dana Chamblee Carpenter, author of Bohemian Gospel
Set against the historical reign of the Golden and Iron King, Bohemian Gospel is the remarkable tale of a bold and unusual girl on a quest to uncover her past and define her destiny.

Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who—or what—she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor's arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse's unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone—especially herself—she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?

A heart-thumping, highly original tale in the vein of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Bohemian Gospel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice for historical fiction.





About Dana

Interview with Dana Chamblee Carpenter, author of Bohemian Gospel
Dana Chamblee Carpenter is the award-winning author of short fiction that has appeared in The Arkansas Review, Jersey Devil Press, and Maypop. Her debut novel, Bohemian Gospel, won Killer Nashville’s 2014 Claymore Award. She teaches creative writing and American Literature at a private university in Nashville, TN, where she lives with her husband and two children.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @danaccarpenter


Interview with Sonia Faruqi, author of The Oyster ThiefInterview with Julie McElwain, author of A Murder in TimeReview: A Murder in Time by Julie McElwainReview: Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Murder in Time by Julie McElwainInterview with Dana Chamblee Carpenter, author of Bohemian Gospel

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