The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
THE KING MUST DIE
by N. Gemini Sasson
What is done cannot be undone.
England, 1326. Edward II has been dethroned. Queen Isabella and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, are at the pinnacle of their power.
Fated to rule, Isabella’s son becomes King Edward III at the callow age of fourteen. Young Edward, however, must bide his time as the loyal son until he can break the shackles of his minority and dissolve the regency council which dictates his every action.
When the former king is found mysteriously dead in his cell, the truth becomes obscured and Isabella can no longer trust her own memory . . . or confide in those closest to her. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep her beloved Mortimer at her side and gain yet another crown—France’s—for the son who no longer trusts her.
Amidst a maelstrom of shifting loyalties, accusations of murder propel England to the brink of civil war.
In the sequel to Isabeau, secrecy and treason, conspiracy and revenge once again overtake England. The future rests in the hands of a mother and son whose bonds have reached a breaking point.
Isabella – Westminster, February, 1327
The reminder that I was still married to Edward of Caernarvon stung like an open cut, fresh and deep down to the vein. Except for the sharp whistling of my indrawn breath, the room was silent. Bishop Orleton must have sensed the tension between Mortimer and me, for he excused himself, closing the door firmly behind him.
I turned away to face the row of windows, the world beyond dark with night. In moments, Mortimer’s arms encircled my waist from behind, tugging me gently against him. I kept my body stiff, tempering my resolve against his nearness, but already my knees were weakening beneath me.
“Isabeau ... sweet heaven of mine.” Light fingers traced over my hips, wandering slowly up toward my ribs. His breath stirred on my neck, a fiery breeze of longing. “Let me hold you tonight, hour upon hour, until the dawn.”
I shook my head, even as I felt myself wanting to yield, to abandon all. “I’m afraid, Roger.”
He turned me around, his lips brushing against the crown of my hair, over my ear, the slope of my shoulder. Not until my breathing slowed and I half-closed my eyes, waiting for more, did he lift his head to speak. A smirk, hinting of something sinister, flashed across his mouth. Or perhaps I merely imagined it? His thumb stroked tenderly at my cheek, soothing away my worries. “Afraid of what—that he’ll go free? You needn’t worry, my love. I’ll make sure he never has the chance.”
1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
The movie Braveheart. Actually, I’d thought about being a writer a long time before that, but nothing had ever sparked my motivation. There are a fair number of inaccuracies in it, but the story – the tragedy, sacrifice and struggle for freedom – captured my imagination. I remember riding home with my husband from the movie and thinking to myself, “I want to write something epic like that.” It was one of those defining moments in life. It changed the direction of mine.
2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?
That’s an easy one – from history. There are so many stories that deserve to be told.
3. What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
Historical fiction varies so much. I think a lot of people believe all a writer needs for a historical novel is a basic knowledge of the times and to include physical details. But a story that relies too much on descriptions and a series of events soon falls flat. You can set the framework for a novel within historic occurrences, but if you don’t convey the characters’ hopes, fears, challenges and triumphs, the story will fail to draw readers in.
4. What expertise did you bring to your writing?
It’s probably unusual among writers, but my educational training was in scientific research. While I didn’t study a single subject in college that has anything to do with my books, what it did teach me was how to research something – and that even supposedly objective scientists looked at things with a bias. Historians, I later learned, do that, too. Other than the research aspect, my only expertise is my passion for 14th and 15th century history.
5. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
That I’m a dedicated runner – when I’m not injured, which is most of the time now that I’m, uh, over forty. The great thing is that my kids are both competing in collegiate track and field, so I get to live vicariously through them. Back in the day, though, I held my high school’s mile record for seventeen years and ran on athletic scholarship at a Division I university. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover until a few years ago that I was running around with one leg ½” shorter than the other, thus the chronic injuries.
6. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
I have one more novel of biographical fiction about Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr well under way, but after that I plan to change gears a little. Maybe a romance that incorporates past lives or a piece of contemporary literary fiction. I try not to get too far ahead of myself on projects, but do keep a trusty notebook of ideas to draw from.
7. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
James Douglas! I’m obsessed with him and it probably shows in my Bruce stories. He was Robert the Bruce’s right hand man and closest friend. Stealthy, soft-spoken and good with a sword, he’s not a man you’d want to meet in a dark alley, but one you’d definitely want watching your back. Okay, maybe I’d like to be his love interest, rather than him, but I have a bad-boy crush on him.
8. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I have in the past and it was a very enriching experience. I still stay in touch with several members from the group. More recently, though, I’ve stuck with a couple of trusted crit partners who write as fast as (or faster than) I do. These two gals let me know when something works, but they’re also not shy about telling me when a scene needs to be hacked apart and redone. When I gave my friend Reb the critical scene for The King Must Die, she kept asking me, “Why? Why are they in the tunnel? Why are they getting drunk? Why didn’t they just stay put or leave or…” She made me think, darn it.
9. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
Best advice? “Tell stories you’re passionate about. It shows in your writing.” Worst advice? “Don’t write in first person because it sounds like self-indulgent rambling.”
10. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Oh, I outline at the beginning. But often the story takes on a life of its own. Chapters appear and disappear spontaneously, it seems. While outlining The King Must Die, I had far more chapters planned than what it ended up with. As they say, sometimes less is more.
11. Do you have an all time favorite book?
I’m going to cheat, since I can’t pick just one and list three: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce Cameron.
12. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
Just a snatch, since I’m not sure which project I’ll finish first, but I have a rough draft finished of a historical about 15th century Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr and also a burgeoning synopsis for a time-slip Scottish novel.
13. What is your favorite reality show?
Great question, thank you! I’m a reality TV show freak. The singing/performance shows like X-Factor, The Voice and American Idol usually have me glued to the screen, but my guilty pleasure is The Bachelor or Bachelorette. My husband swears it’s junk, but by the finale he’s standing next to my shoulder going, “I can’t believe he picked her. That other chick is so much hotter.”
Thanks letting me stop in to chat with your readers, Christine. It’s been fabulous fun!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
N. Gemini Sasson is also the author of The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy: Book I), Worth Dying For (The Bruce Trilogy: Book II), The Honor Due a King (The Bruce Trilogy: Book III) and Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist for Historical Fiction). She holds a M.S. in Biology from Wright State University where she ran cross country on athletic scholarship. She has worked as an aquatic toxicologist, an environmental engineer, a teacher and a track and cross country coach. A longtime breeder and judge of Australian Shepherds, her articles on bobtail genetics have been translated into seven languages.
Web site: http://www.ngeminisasson.com
Don't forget to leave a comment.