20 September 2009

Guest Author: Leanna Renee Hieber

This week on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming new Dorchester author Leanna Renee Hieber as she celebrates the release of THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER. Here's the blurb:

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria's Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent--and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death....

Hello, Unusual Historicals! I'm very glad to be here, thank you, and excited to answer a few questions about why my debut novel, THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER is just perfect for this site...an unusual historical indeed!

So what's unusual about this historical?

Here's just some of the Unusual you'll find in this book:

1. The Heroine, Miss Percy Parker, is nineteen, can see visions and ghosts, and she looks like a spectre too. Deathly pale skin, hair, eyes; she's striking, but eerie--an unusual looking woman to say the very least. In a world of kick-ass heroines, Percy is unique in her timidity, but her sweet nature shines with passion and strength when she is given the opportunity.

2. The cross-genre nature of this book. It has a slew of different influences, genres and archetypes, combined in a new way. New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine show called the book "Bulfinch's Mythology and Harry Potter and Wuthering Heights in a blender."

3. Reviewers have said this book is a fresh take on the Gothic novel and have commented that there's nothing like this book on the market today.

4. A tender, slow-building, palpable and often aching discovery of a passionate romance.

5. There is a whole lot of Paranormal going on. There's ghosts and sacred rituals, myth and legend, darkness and light, prophecy and portents. And you've never seen a Jack the Ripper quite like this.

What's your favourite part of this book?

Two scenes--scenes that have been with me since the beginning of the book--remain my favourite. 1. An irreverent and banter-filled pub scene where The Guard lets down their guard a bit. 2. The night of the Academy Ball there's a private, tender, moonlit waltz between my hero and heroine.

What about the Victorian era fascinates you?

The grit and the grandeur, the polar extremes--a Jekyll and Hyde society of civility and monstrosity. Constraints and ingenuity. Romance and restriction. An age rich with skeptics and mystics, spiritualists and body snatchers. I've been obsessed with the 19th century for as long as I can remember, it has always compelled me; a rich muse that continues to be as fascinating to me as it first was when I first discovered it; playing a role in an adaptation of Oliver Twist around age 9. I've never looked back from that inspiration, I've only gone deeper inside. The more I examine the era, the more I see.

What's your favourite aspect of writing Historical novels?

The escapism and world-building that you can create when you apply real facts to your imagination. Historical constructs are like sandboxes in which to play and build things within a specific framework. I find a historical setting comforting because often the most interesting ideas can come from having limitations, and the specifics of a historical setting can provide that structure. But what's great about writing a Historical Paranormal / Historical Fantasy is that I can play even more boldly and fantastically within that world and the moment I'm too limited, I've any number of magical or paranormal possibilities. The two play off one another so well, the historical and the magical, they're such delightful companions.

How can people find out more about you and the Strangely Beautiful series?

My website, Miss Percy Parker Facebook Page, Twitter, my blog, and my no-spam mailing list.

I've also posted four excerpts here for you to enjoy.

Blessings and thanks for your time!


Thanks for joining us today, Leanna! For readers of Unusual Historicals we have...wait for it...a giveaway! Just leave a comment or question for Leanna and you'll be entered in a drawing for one free copy. I'll draw a winner next Sunday, so spread the word! Void where prohibited. Good luck to everyone!