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Monday, November 26, 2012

Author Interview with Susanna Fraser & Giveaway!!

I am excited to welcome historical romance author, Susanna Fraser, here to The Maiden's Court today - please help me to welcome her!  Although I don't typically read a lot of historical romance but her newest novel, An Infamous Marriage, sounds very interesting.  Stay tuned after the interview for a giveaway.

Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.
Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he's back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her… 
Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife's love may be the greatest battle he's faced yet.

I noticed from your website that you like to write about the period revolving around the Napoleonic Wars. What is it about this period that captures your attention?

Much of it is the incredible amount of upheaval that took place between 1789 and 1815. I imagine what it would’ve been like to be born in France or Britain in the 1760’s or 70’s, into a relatively stable world. Then, just as you’re coming of age or establishing yourself as an adult, what you’d always thought of as the natural order of the world explodes in a chaotic reinvention, and stays unstable and almost constantly at war for a good quarter century. I’m drawn to writing characters negotiating their lives and loves in the midst of that shifting world.

Was writing something that you always aspired to do or was it something that snuck up on you? Why did you choose to write historical romance as opposed to another genre?

I dreamed of being an author from the time I wrote a long story for a fourth grade class assignment. But all through middle school and high school I fell into a pattern of starting stories but never finishing them, and by my early 20’s I’d concluded I wasn’t really meant to be a writer, or I wouldn’t keep stopping 50 pages in.

Then, right around my 30th birthday, I had an idea for a story that I couldn’t get out of my head. Eventually I started writing it just to get the characters to shut up, thinking I’d get three chapters in and stop just like every other time. A little over a year later I had my first completed manuscript, and I haven’t looked back.

As for why historical romance, it’s one of the main genres I read--the others being mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and adventurous historical fiction (think Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin). I write the kind of books I like to read. So far that’s meant historical romance, but I could definitely see myself branching out into fantasy or historical fiction in the future. (Mystery NSM--I rarely figure out whodunnit before all is revealed, so I’m not sure I could produce a sufficiently twisty plot.)

When you set out to write a novel where do you start - with a historical storyline or event that intrigued you or with a romantic storyline that you want to pursue and the historical part just will fall into place?

Somewhere in between. I’ve done enough general research on the era to have a rich mental stock of interesting facts and events, and I’m always thinking about character types and story tropes I’d like to explore. So my initial brainstorming process is putting my character/trope file next to my history file and figuring out which combinations would work well together. For example, An Infamous Marriage was marriage-of-convenience/infidelity-and-forgiveness/Waterloo.

How has the experience of writing your newest novel, An Infamous Marriage, differed from your previous novels? Anything that has become easier to do or something that you encountered with this subject that was difficult?

An Infamous Marriage was the first time I’ve sold a book on proposal rather than as a complete manuscript. That made it the first time I had to commit to and deliver by a deadline, all without deviating too much from the synopsis my publisher had accepted. The feeling of triumph I got from delivering it to my editor on schedule was almost as great as the first time I finished a manuscript.

Are you working on anything currently and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

My first novella will be coming out in 2013. Its title and release date remain TBD, but it’s an interracial romance set in the aftermath of the Battle of Vittoria in 1813, with a black British soldier for a hero. I’m working on a proposal for a full-length sequel to the novella, and I’m planning to try my hand at a Christmas novella as well.

When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I like to cook, read, and go to Mariners games. I never miss a new episode of Castle or Chopped, and lately I’ve been catching up on Doctor Who. When I had more spare time I used to sing alto in a choir, and I’d like to get back to that someday. For now I just try to find a sing-along Messiah or two every December.

I look forward to replying to your comments, but it’ll be late in the evening in most North American time zones before I get a chance. I have a full-time 8-5 day job and don’t get much time online till the evening.

Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.

Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still tends to give her heroines great hair.

Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, watches Chopped, Castle, and The Legend of Korra, and cooks her way through an ever-growing cookbook collection.

You can find Susanna on her: Website, Facebook, Blog, and Twitter

Now for the giveaway - there are 2 parts to this.

Hosted here, on The Maiden's Court, there is a giveaway for 1 E-book copy of An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser (you can indicate the file type you want).  Open Internationally.  The giveaway ends December 16th.  You can enter to win by filling out the Rafflecopter below - please be advised, there is one mandatory entry - leave a comment on this blog post!

Also - there is a *grand prize* giveaway following the completion of Susanna Fraser's blog tour.  One commenter selected from all commenters throughout the tour will be selected for the grand prize - a $50 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Powell's Books (see why the note about commenting above is so important).  You get one entry per blog tour stop that you comment on.  You can follow along with the blog tour at Susanna Fraser's blog. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. This book looks good! I am looking forward to reading it.

  2. Wonderful interview! I loved hearing about Ms. Fraser's reason for her interest in that Napoleonic War era -- I find wartime stories so fascinating for the reasons she mentioned -- the upheaval and societal changes -- so interesting!

    Selling a book on a proposal sounds frightening! Kudos and congrats to Ms. Fraser for her success in doing so -- I can appreciate why she felt so victorious!

    Thanks for this interview, Heather -- I always love the 'insider' peek into authorial life. :)

    1. I too think that some of the most interesting stories come from periods of war - there is just so much going on that there is a lot for a writer to play with.

  3. Hi, Susanna! I have been following you on your tour and feel like I'm stalking you. I love to read books that take place during a war in historical times, and am looking forward to reading AN INFAMOUS MARRIAGE.

  4. Oops! I forgot to leave my email.

    kscathy AT yahoo DOT com

  5. Hi Susaanna!

    I love to read about the time period involving King George III and his son George, Prince of Wales who took over ruling when his father was deemed incompent. with France in revolution in France and Nepolean a treat until 1815 along with the rioting occuring in England the entire Napoleonic era is so interesting to read about!

    I love that your story begins with Jack coming home at last because the war is over! Since my husband was in the Navy during Vietnam it reminds me of how today how many of our servicemen and women are coming home to families that they haven't seen for not exptended periods of time but also additional tours as well! I'm sure that Elizabeth has similar reservations a husband she barely knows returning! Since war can change a person I can idenity as can many others going through similar circumstances I know that many readers of An Imfamous Marriage with relate to your story on many levels you might have considered when writing your story.

    1. I think you hit on something that really connects readers of any time with a war story - during war there are similarities across time. I'm not the biggest fan of this time period (especially in England or France) but the premise of the book does sound interesting.

  6. @Jen - I hope you enjoy it!

    @Audra - I wonder sometimes if part of my interest comes from having lived through some similar experiences myself--taking the Cold War and the Soviet Union for granted as a child and teen, then finding myself in a completely different world, with new challenges and threats, including worrying about my nephew serving tours with the National Guard in Iraq and Afghanistan, places I never would've imagined us having troops when I was growing up.

    @Cathy - But you're stalking me in the nicest possible way. :-)

    @Jeanne - I honor your husband for his service. While I'm not an Army brat, the men in my family have a long military tradition--which is probably yet another reason I'm drawn to write about soldiers.

  7. SUZ GLO
    Hi Susanna! I am following your tour and discovering some great new book blogs. Looking forward to reading your new book. suz_glo (at) yahoo (dot) com

  8. it's quite a ride from talking horses to historical romance. LOL thanks for the interview and giveaway.

  9. Another great interview! Yay for the Doctor Who mention! (Very excited for the Christmas special) --

    A question for Susanna: do you plan to write a Christmas-theme story in the future? ^_^

    1. Thanks a great question that I would be interested in hearing the answer to as well.

  10. Soundfs like a good read! Love Jimmy Thomas on the cover lol!

  11. The Regency is a favorite time period of mine and I think uncertainty and changing times are always interesting.

  12. I am really intrigued by the process by which you write a book. How the brainstorming happens? Do you set aside a time for brainstorming or are you always thinking of new ideas? Do they tend to come to you in times when you're alone or when you're with a group of people. I have times when I think... "Man, that would make a good book." But actually setting aside the time to tackle an entire novel is daunting.
    Maybe the best way to relieve some anxiety would be to start small... with a novella, perhaps?

    I enjoyed reading the interview and am very interested in this book.
    I follow via GFC: Meghan Stith

  13. This book looks awesome...I cant wait to read it! :)

  14. don't know much about this period of history - books sounds interesting
    annefitza at yahoo dot com

  15. I have never read anything by this author and would love to start. It is also a time period that I don't read much of either.



Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!