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My Next Big Thing – religious conflict in Lowland Scotland

When Barbara Gaskell Denvil asked me if I wanted to participate in the Next Big Thing ”bloghop”, I was thrilled – and intimidated. Now the funny thing about Barbara nominating me, is that our main characters share a name. Her Alex (in Satin Cinnabar) is a man attempting to find his feet in a society  turned upside down after the battle of Bosworth, my Alex is a woman trying to find her feet in an entirely new environment after having been flung three centuries backward in time. There, dear reader, the similarities end, but for those keen on enjoying vivid depictions of life under Henry Tudor, Barbara’s books might be just your cup of tea. I’d recommend a visit to her blog,

Now to the questions all participants in the blog hop are required to answer:

What is the Working title for your next book?

The Prodigal Son. I rather like titles that refer to biblical stories – or poetry from the period I write about. In this particular case, the biblically inspired title is very apt, as religious conflict plays a central role in the story.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The Prodigal Son is the third in a series of books set in the seventeenth century, the first two being A  Rip in the Veil (August 2012) and Like Chaff in the Wind (March 2013). My main protagonist, Alex(andra) had the misfortune of falling several hundreds of years backwards in time, there having to cope with a life very different from the one she’d expected to live, and one of the fundamental differences between her time and the seventeenth century is religion. I am fascinated by religion and especially by the conflicts between Catholics, protestants, Presbyterians, Quakers – well, more or less every Christian faction – that exploded into so many bloody wars during the seventeenth century.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical fiction with a dash of the old-fashioned love story, although by the time the events in this book transpire, Alex and her husband Matthew are well over the rush of first love, having instead to sort a number of conflicts between them – such as Matthew’s stubborn insistence that he must risk his neck for his faith.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oooh, what a difficult question! I’m not sure I want to answer it either, as I want my readers to create their own pictures of my characters. If pushed, I’d say Joe Manganiello would make a good Matthew (yummy, yummy) and as to Alex … Tuva Novotny perhaps. (She’s a Swedish actress)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

I just love that; how to condense 116 000 words into one measly sentence, hey? Still, here goes:

Man risks it all for his faith but realises – too late – that the price is way too high.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published, which in many ways suits a control freak like me. Not that I’d mind if a mainstream publisher were to approach me, as doing it all yourself is bloody hard work at times!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Six weeks, give or take. I go into the zone when the story takes hold and all I want to do is write, write, write. Then I re-write it all like a hundred times during the editing process (which is very long), but generally the plotline doesn’t change much from draft to finished product.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

Not all that many books deal with obscure Scottish Presbyterians standing up for their faith … But this is also the story of a marriage, of loss and pain, and as such I’d like to compare it with Pamela Belle’s wonderful book The Moon in the Water and its sequels. (Oh dear; I gulp a bit …)

Who, or what inspired you to write this book?

Alex and Matthew did. Already halfway through the first book about them, my head was thronged with future episodes and adventures. Besides, these my creations took on a life of their own and I was so curious as to what would happen next I just had to write the sequels.

Also, I had recently been reading a lot about Alexander Peden, an outlawed preacher who spent two decades of his life evading the English soldiers. Alexander’s life and adventures dovetailed neatly with Matthew’s experiences, and I found it very inspiring to build the story round a real life person, albeit that Alexander (Sandy to his friends, ergo to me ) has a cameo role.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

While the book is set in the past, I think it addresses a lot of modern issues, such as my kids/your kids/our kids – no easier to solve then than they are now.

LATE EDIT: I suddenly noticed that I’d written a whole post about my books without really pushing mu published book. This is probably because the promotional aspects of writing don’t come naturally to me. Definitely  a weakness I must strive to overcome! Anyway, more inf re my books can be found on my website, and you can find me on amazon – both on the .com site and the site.

6 thoughts on “My Next Big Thing – religious conflict in Lowland Scotland”

  1. Sometimes when I read things like this, halfway through the text I loose the image of you which is being replaced by An Author. Then, coming to the end, I realize that it’s you. You ARE An Author!!!

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