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INTERVIEW with Marci Jefferson and Kate Kerrigan, 2 of the authors of Fall Of Poppies ~ GIVEAWAY

09 Mar

Thanks for joining me on the blog today! We have something a little different going on that I’m excited about and I think you’ll enjoy it, too. We have 2 authors who have agreed to sit down and answer a few questions about themselves as well as the latest book that they collaborated on with various authors. 

Please help me welcome Marci Jefferson and Kate Kerrigan as they share some details about themselves as well as their book FALL OF POPPIES!

Afterward, check out their giveaway. The link to enter is toward the end of the post 🙂

Let’s get started …

Marci Jefferson Responds:

Tell us about Fall of Poppies in tweet form. That’s right, you get 140 characters.

November, 1918, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed.

How did all the authors for this work hook up and decide to write a book?

We are all connected to Heather Webb in some way, and by our love for historical fiction. But she invited each of us to participate because of our individualized perspectives on the impact of WWI. She knew we’d each researched the period and even written on it before.

What was your first thought when you saw the cover of Fall of Poppies?

OMG I totally love it!

I love choosing character names. Can you tell us how you chose the character names for one or more of the stories in the anthology?

The main character in Daughter of Belgium the patriotic and politically active Belgian, and so her name needed to be culturally appropriate. However, she is a rape victim, and she gave birth to a war child. This devastating plot twist was chosen to symbolize the German occupation of Belgium during WWI, a period termed “The Rape of Belgium.” This character is a symbol of the Belgian struggle. The little girl she gave birth to was named to symbolize he own inner strength. I’ve been asked, and I’m unable to answer for certain, whether the main character or the child is the true “Daughter of Belgium.”

How do you feel about writing love scenes?

I adore writing love scenes, for love is one of life’s greatest lights. Writing them can be a little technical, but a pleasant challenge.

Do you have a writing ritual … as in do you have a lucky pair of socks you must wear, a certain drink in hand, music playing, total quiet?

I must have total, uninterrupted quiet. And tea.

When writing do you try and reach a certain word count each day, or do you write for a certain amount of time, or do you just write and don’t worry about either?

If I set a word count goal for the day, I find I’m more productive. But I don’t beat myself up if I fall short one day, because the next day I might exceed it. The more I relax about the whole thing, the more I exceed it.

Tell us the inspiration for your story in the anthology?

My seventeenth century historical novels are rife with royal intrigue, love and hate, politics and glamour. All of my characters up to this point have been actual historical figures, so their stories were constrained by historical events. In Daughter of Belgium I jumped at the opportunity to create an entirely fictional character. As I sat to outline her, I found I was itching to write someone gritty, someone who’d come against hard times in a gut-wrenching way like none of my historical figures had. I had so much fun with it! Though, when you read Daughter of Belgium, you might question my sanity for thinking such a conflicted character was fun to write.

When did you first know you wanted to write?

I have always written or narrated stories in my head. There has never been a time when I wasn’t writing. But I first decided to try a novel after my children were born. Becoming a mother placed me at a great life-crossroads, and my writing took on new color.

What is a location you’d like a story to take place that you haven’t written about yet and why that specific place?

Actually, I’ve been working on a story that takes place in exactly the same spot as Daughter of Belgium; at Edith Cavell’s clinic in Brussels. The British nurse referenced in Daughter of Belgium was a real historical figure. An innovative and brilliant nurse, she was executed by the Germans during the occupation. But hers is a challenging story to tell.

 

Kate Kerrigan Responds:

Tell us about Fall of Poppies in tweet form. That’s right, you get 140 characters.

#ArmistaceDay #France #Britain #Ireland Nine stories -one historic day.

How did all the authors for this work hook up and decide to write a book?

Hazel Gaynor Interviewed me as an Irish literary festival some years ago  and we became friends.  When the wonderful Heather Webb asked Hazel if she knew any writers interested in contributing to  this anthology – Hazel suggested me.

What was your first thought when you saw the cover of Fall of Poppies?

I just think the cover of the book is breathtaking. Poppies are an flower that are so thoroughly connected to the first world war, and this image just gives them such an evocative, feminine feel. War is always presented as the preserve of men – so it’s wonderful to see a  wartime book  with such visual, feminine appeal.

I love choosing character names. Can you tell us how you chose the character names for one or more of the stories in the anthology?

I hate  choosing character names – but I must   admit it was fun coming up with a name for ‘Clive Postlethwaite’. Such a quintessentially English name – when most of my characters are Irish or American. I have always picked name somewhat out of a hat – and that has got even worse since I started using voice recognition technology due to a hand injury. I now choose names based on my computer’s ability to recognise them!

How do you feel about writing love scenes?

I love writing love scenes – but I’m hopeless at writing sex. Everything always ends with a kiss. Not even heavy petting! I’m not a prude – I just can never seem to find the right words for erotic acts without making them sound cheesy. Emotion is where the sex begins and ends I’m afraid.

Do you have a writing ritual … as in do you have a lucky pair of socks you must wear, a certain drink in hand, music playing, total quiet?

Having a writing ritual is too much of a luxury these days. With a young family it’s as much as I can do to get myself  sitting in front of a computer. At the moment the only place that I can write is in a room which is kindly on loan to me from my accountant’s office. I am so easily distracted these days that being surrounded by other people diligently working on stuff that is of no interest to me whatsoever is the only way I can discipline myself to get down to it.   I used to enjoy writing  anywhere and everywhere – in a camper van overlooking the sea,  in bed,  sitting in cafes. But  arthritis and typing injuries mean that I now have to work ergonomically.  Which is boring – but the books come out the same  which is all that matters, I guess!

When writing do you try and reach a certain word count each day, or do you write for a certain amount of time, or do you just write and don’t worry about either?

Office hours – 10 till 4 aiming for 2000 words a day. If I aim for that I will usually get 1200 words done on a bad day and 2000 on a good day. If I don’t set myself daily targets I could be meandering around for years before getting the book finished.  Word counts and office hours keep me sane.  Writing if and when the muse strikes  is just about the most stressful thing possible for a working writer.

Tell us the inspiration for your story in the anthology?

I was inspired by an anecdote that I’d heard from a historian specialising in that era. A group of British soldiers attacked a house party near, what was then Queens Barracks (now Collins Barracks) in Dublin city centre, after they heard what they thought to be Irish rebel music  being played on Armistice night. They assumed that it was a rebel party insulting the English, whereas, many people in Ireland, regardless of their Republican sensibilities,  or Ireland’s neutral status, celebrated the end of the war. Many Irish soldiers fought in the war, but it is only in recent years that they have been recognised for their efforts on behalf of Britain and the free world.  The Queen’s visit to Ireland in 2011,  where she commemorated the Irishmen who fought for the British in  both world wars, was a turning point  in Irish modern history that nodded back to that time in a very significant way. There is always so much pointless confusion born in wartime and I thought that would be the perfect setting for a thwarted love story. Thwarted love stories  are always the best ones.  not least because they mean I don’t have to write any sex scenes!

When did you first know you wanted to write?

I have always written,  since I was a  small child.  And I always wanted to be a writer.

What is a location you’d like a story to take place that you haven’t written about yet and why that specific place?

I would quite like to set a story in Texas. I’m not sure why –  just some crazy instinct. I have a friend that lives there so I’m thinking of spending some time over there next year to see what I can drum up. Sometimes seeking out the location works and sometimes it doesn’t. At the moment I’m drawn to the American suburbs in the 1950s – that post war period really interests me politically and culturally. But you can’t force these things. After my first son was born I went to Marrakech in Morocco, on my own,  convinced I would find a book idea there. I had a completely fascinating 10 days, meeting really interesting people from all over Europe and riding through the Sahara on a camel. However,  I ended up not writing anything about it at all.   I wrote a couple of travel/non-fiction pieces,  but learned that some settings are just too exotic and interesting in themselves – they dwarf the characters.

 

 

 

Enter to Win a 
Print Copy of FALL OF POPPIES

 

Fall of Poppies
Stories of Love and the Great War
Contributions by: 
Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, 
Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, 
Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson, edited by Heather Webb
Releasing March 1st, 2016 
William Morrow
Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.
A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…
A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…
A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.
Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

EXCERPT

from “Hour of the Bells” by Heather Webb

Beatrix whisked around the showroom, feather duster in hand. Not a speck of dirt could remain or Joseph would be disappointed. The hour struck noon. A chorus of clocks whirred, their birds popping out from hiding to announce midday. Maidens twirled in their frocks with braids down their backs, woodcutters clacked their axes against pine, and the odd sawmill wheel spun in tune to the melody of a nursery rhyme. Two dozen cuckoos warbled and dinged, each crafted with loving detail by the same pair of hands—those with thick fingers and a steady grip.

Beatrix paused in her cleaning. One clock chimed to its own rhythm, apart from the others.

She could turn them off—the tinkling melodies, the incessant clatter of pendulums, wheels, and cogs, with the levers located near the weights—just as their creator had done before bed each evening, but she could not bring herself to do the same. To silence their music was to silence him, her husband, Joseph. The Great War had already done that; ravaged his gentle nature, stolen his final breath, and silenced him forever.

In a rush, Beatrix scurried from one clock to the next, assessing which needed oiling. With the final stroke of twelve, she found the offending clock. Its walnut face, less ornate than the others, had been her favorite, always. A winter scene displayed a cluster of snow-topped evergreens; rabbits and fawns danced in the drifts when the music began, and a scarlet cardinal dipped its head and opened its beak to the beauty of the music. The animals’ simplicity appealed to her now more than ever. With care, she removed the weights and pendulum, and unscrewed the back of the clock. She was grateful she had watched her husband tend to them so often. She could still see Joseph, blue eyes peering over his spectacles, focused on a figurine as he painted detailing on the linden wood. His patient hands had caressed the figures lovingly, as he had caressed her.

The memory of him sliced her open. She laid her head on the table as black pain stole over her body, pooling in every hidden pocket and filling her up until she could scarcely breathe.

“Give it time,” her friend Adelaide had said, as she set a basket of jam and dried sausages on the table; treasures in these times of rations, yet meager condolence for what Beatrix had lost.

“Time?” Beatrix had laughed, a hollow sound, and moved to the window overlooking the grassy patch of yard. The Vosges mountains rose in the distance, lording over the line between France and Germany along the battle front. Time’s passage never escaped her—not for a moment. The clocks made sure of it. There weren’t enough minutes, enough hours, to erase her loss.

As quickly as the grief came, it fled. Though always powerful, its timing perplexed her. Pain stole through the night, or erupted at unlikely moments, until she feared its onslaught the way others feared death. Death felt easier, somehow.

Beatrix raised her head and pushed herself up from the table to finish her task. Joseph would not want her to mourn, after two long years. He would want to see her strength, her resilience, especially for their son. She pretended Adrien was away at school, though he had enlisted, too. His enlistment had been her fault. A vision of her son cutting barbed wire, sleeping in trenches, and pointing a gun at another man reignited the pain and it began to pool again. She suppressed the horrid thoughts quickly, and locked them away in a corner of her mind.

With a light touch she cleaned the clock’s bellows and dials, and anointed its oil bath with a few glistening drops. Once satisfied with her work, she hung the clock in its rightful place above the phonograph, where a disk waited patiently on the spool. She spun the disk once and watched the printed words on its center blur. Adrien had played Quand Madelon over and over, belting out the patriotic lyrics in time with the music. To him, it was a show of his support for his country. To Beatrix it had been a siren, a warning her only son would soon join the fight. His father’s death was the final push he had needed. The lure of patrimoine, of country, throbbed inside of him as it did in other men. They talked of war as women spoke of tea sets and linens, yearned for it as women yearned for children. Now, the war had seduced her Adrien. She stopped the spinning disk and plucked it from its wheel, the urge to destroy it pulsing in her hands.

She must try to be more optimistic. Surely God would not take all she had left.

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Jessica Brockmole is the author of the internationally bestselling Letters
from Skye
, an epistolary love story spanning an ocean and two wars. Named
one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2013, Letters
From Skye
 has been published in seventeen countries.


Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling
author of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of
Violets
. She writes regularly for the national press, magazines and
websites in Ireland and the UK.
 
 Evangeline Holland is the founder and editor of
Edwardian Promenade, the number one blog for lovers of World War I, the Gilded
Age, and Belle Époque France with nearly forty thousand unique viewers a month.
In addition, she blogs at Modern Belles of History. Her fiction includes An
Ideal Duchess
 and its sequel, crafted in the tradition of Edith
Warton.
 
Marci Jefferson is the author of Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of
Frances Stuart
, which Publisher’s Weekly called
“intoxicating.” Her second novel, The Enchantress of Paris, will
release in Spring 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books.
 
Kate Kerrigan is the New York Times bestselling author of The
Ellis Island trilogy. In addition she has written for the Irish Tatler,
a Dublin-based newspaper, as well as The Irish Mail and a RTE
radio show, Sunday Miscellany.
 
Jennifer Robson is the USA Today and international bestselling
author of Somewhere in France and After the War is Over. She holds
a doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where she was a
Commonwealth Scholar and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. Jennifer lives in Toronto with
her husband and young children.
 
Heather Webb is an author, freelance editor, and blogger at award-winning
writing sites WriterUnboxed.com and RomanceUniversity.org. Heather is a member of
the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and
she may also be found teaching craft-based courses at a local college
 
Beatriz Williams is the New York TimesUSA Today, and
international bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet
Grant 
and A Hundred Summers. A graduate of Stanford
University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York
and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a
corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home
producer of small persons. She now lives with her husband and four children
near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and
laundry. William Morrow will publish her forthcoming hardcover, A
Certain Age
, in the summer of 2016. 
 
Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of
eleven works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a
dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and
chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre
fiction. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.
 

 

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1 Comment

Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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One response to “INTERVIEW with Marci Jefferson and Kate Kerrigan, 2 of the authors of Fall Of Poppies ~ GIVEAWAY

  1. redreviewsit

    March 9, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Great interview! Thank you for hosting FALL OF POPPIES today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours

     

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