I’m pleased to be joined by Vivienne Brereton today as she steps into my Author Spotlight and answers a few questions about herself, her writing and what books she enjoys. If A Phoenix Rising sounds like your kind of read, then just leave a comment for your chance to win one of two copies. UK and Northern Ireland entries only please and leave your comment by midnight on 22nd November for your entry to count.
1) Tell me about yourself.
I was born near the ancient city of Winchester in England, supposedly home to Arthur’s Round Table. I have lived in six different countries and currently live in France with my husband, and our three sons who flit in and out. I’ve always been obsessed with the Tudors, right from a small child which led me to writing a novel in which they play a large part.
2) What inspired you to start writing?
I think it was a natural progression from being an avid reader, especially of historical novels. I wanted to write a novel from my early twenties but it wasn’t until I was in between historical novels that I thought ‘why don’t I try and write my own.’ And, forgive the pun, the rest as they say, is history.
3) Tell me about your journey to publication
With the huge impact of Amazon publishing, these days it’s had a profound effect on the traditional publishing houses, lessening your chances still further of being published via an agent. I was lucky because the right people came into my life at the right time: someone to design a cover, someone to copyedit, and someone to format the book. It was exciting and exhausting but well worth the effort when I got to see the finished product
4) In a nutshell, what is your book about?
As it says on the cover, it’s about power and passion at the Tudor court. But it’s about so much more than that. It’s about ambition; rivalry between England and France; infertility; illegitimate children; family secrets; arranged marriages; younger sons forced to join the Church; young men forced to marry for money; rich older men and women marrying youth. I wanted to have a wide canvas on which to depict my characters and a sweeping plot line so I opted to write the novel through several characters and in four European courts. In order to simplify matters, I included maps from 1500; a page of historical background; and a list of all the Houses included.
5) How did you come up with a title for your book?
The House of the Red Duke seemed perfect to describe the series and A Phoenix Rising seemed perfect for Book One because Thomas Howard, the central character, was definitely a man who overcame extreme adversity during his exceedingly long life.
6) How did you celebrate on publication day?
With champagne, of course, and family and plenty of friends around. What could possibly be better than that?
7) Do you have a work in progress now?
Absolutely. Book Two of ‘The House of the Red Duke’. ‘The Lizard lurking in the grass.’ What happens to Thomas next….
8) What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months?
With so much to do, I haven’t had as much time to read as I would have liked. But I did manage Katie Hickman’s very enjoyable ‘The House at Bishopgate’.
9) What are you reading just now?
I’m reading one by someone I ‘met’ on Twitter. That’s the fun thing about being on Twitter. It’s a fun fast read by Amy Rose Bennett. ‘How to Catch a Wicked Viscount’.
10) If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Oh, that’s a very difficult one to answer but just because I’d get so many for the price of one, I think I’d have to take The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
11) Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film?
My own, of course. Ha ha. In my daydreams, I’d like Jonathan Rhys Myers exactly as he was in ‘The Tudors’. Ditto Natalie Dorman. Tristan would be the late great Heath Ledger, Nicolas, Francois Arnaud from ‘The Borgias’; Thomas Howard; David Bradley (aka Walder Frey) from The Blood Wedding in GOT.
12) If you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Scarlett O’Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’ who was so magnificently Irish, beautiful, a contradiction of just about everything. Imagine being her walking down a street.
My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours for inviting me to be part of the tour. A Phoenix Rising is available now in ebook and paperback formats. You can order a copy here: A Phoenix Rising
From the back of the book
“If I have anything to do with it, we Howards will live forever.” Thomas Howard Charismatic head of one of the most powerful Houses in Tudor England. An indomitable old man approaching eighty: soldier, courtier, politician, a ‘phoenix’ rising from the ashes. After a calamitous period of disgrace, the Howards, renowned for their good looks and charm, are once more riding high at the court of Henry VIII. Set against the backdrop of the extraordinary 1520 ‘Field of Cloth of Gold’, it is a tale of ambition, love, and intrigue, with Thomas at the centre of this intricate tapestryWill Thomas’s bold vow be fulfilled? Danger stalks the corridors of the royal courts of Europe. Uneasy lies the head beneath a crown. Every other ruler – a fickle bedfellow…or sworn enemy. The action takes place in England, Scotland, and France. On either side of the Narrow Sea, four young lives are interwoven, partly unaware of each other, and certainly oblivious to what Dame Fortune has in store for them. “Nicolas de La Barre laid his lute to one side, hardly bothering to stifle a yawn of boredom. Nevertheless, he couldn’t escape the fact he’d agreed to take on a new wife….” Explosive family secrets are concealed behind the ancient walls of castles in three lands. But… “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.”