I’m joined today by Swedish author Saga Hillbom. Her latest novel will be published in August but is available to pre-order from now. She is sharing #TenThings she’d like her readers to know about her and her work.
- I was born, grew up, and currently live in Lund, a relatively small town in the south of Sweden. Lund was founded as far back as 990 A.D, and growing up in this historical environment, my interest in history begun at an early age. This interest has increased ever since, partly because my father is a classical archaeologist and my mother an economic historian at Lund University.
- When I wrote my first novel—which was set during WWI—at the age of 15, I aspired to have it published the traditional way. However, although I received a couple of offers of representation from literary agents, I soon realised that self-publishing was my ideal route, considering that I value creative control above most things in the process of creating a book. Thankfully, I have found an amazing editor and a cover designer whom I can always trust to assist me.
- I really enjoy cooking, but I cannot claim to be a great talent in the kitchen. At the moment, my favourite dishes to both cook and eat usually includes chicken or salmon.
- ‘Productive’is a word I am fond of describing myself with, but I have to confess that this has not been entirely true ever since the covid-19 pandemic came to Sweden. As I type this, I have just spent another day procrastinating and thinking about the crisis.
- My upcoming novel City of Bronze, City of Silver has been an absolute delight to write, not least because I had the opportunity to reference and research plenty of Greek mythology as well as various aspects of Ancient Greek society. I am currently sharing little pieces of knowledge on this topic on my Instagram page @writing_history_; these posts are titled It’s all Greek to me.
- England is by far my favourite country. This is largely due to its history and culture, in which I have immersed myself since I was nine years old and visited the Tower of London for the first time. However, I prefer Greece and Italy in terms of landscape and cuisine.
- I recently finished the second draft of my work in progress, meaning my fourth historical novel. It is the longest book I have written so far, but I found it impossible to squeeze the plot and characters into fewer pages. The novel follows Cecily of York and stretches from 1482-1502. Cecily is a rather obscure figure in history, so for those of you whose initial reaction to her name is a big question mark, I will embark on a slight digression: Cecily was the third daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, making her the niece of Richard III and the aunt of Henry VIII. Her life, though short by our modern standards, was bursting with intrigue and massive social changes.
- I have had four hamsters, all adorable and all dead, but at the moment I do not have any pets. In the future, however, I would love to get a cat, preferably by adopting a street cat.
- Villains and antiheroes are my favourite characters to write. Alethea, one of the main characters in City of Bronze, City of Silver, is definitely an antihero; moreover, she is strongly opinionated and her Spartan mannerisms clash with the Athenian characters’ sense of what is proper. Cosimo, who is one of the villains in the book, is someone I quite frankly love to hate. He is not your typical physical brute, but instead arrogant and too perfect in appearance, and it was great fun to write his lines.
- There are few things I strive to include as much in my books as feminism and issues concerning the oppression of various minorities. While this can be difficult when writing from the perspective of a character indoctrinated in the norms and values of a historical civilization, I nonetheless try to emphasize the injustices that I discover in my research.
Paperback preorder at Barnes&Noble: https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/city-of-bronze-city-of-silver-saga-hillbom/1136898173?ean=9789151938301
From the back of the book
431 BC. Greece is torn apart by war. The city states split into leagues: one headed by the militarized Sparta, the other by the sophisticated Athens. Alethea, a young Spartan woman, leaves her home to accompany her brother on the military campaign. Taken prisoner by the enemy and enslaved in an Athenian household, Alethea’s heart is set on revenge. However, her feelings are complicated as she is drawn to her abductor’s amiable cousin, Eucleides.
Meanwhile, Efigenia, a child bride and Alethea’s new mistress, struggles to navigate in a world dictated by men. The rigid norms she lives by are consuming her little by little. Can the arrival of the Spartan help her break loose from her chains?
City of Bronze, City of Silver is a tale of bloodshed and vengeance, oppression and love, set against the backdrop of an ancient civilisation steeped in myth