05 May 2013

Guest Blog: E.M. Powell

This week, we're welcoming author E.M. Powell with her latest title, The Fifth Knight a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Historical and Action & Adventure.   The author will offer a free paperback copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor. Here's the blurb:

To escape a lifetime of poverty, mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to one final, lucrative job: help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. But what begins as a clandestine arrest ends in cold-blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. For not only is Theodosia’s virtue at stake, so too is the secret she unknowingly carries—a secret he knows Fitzurse will torture out of her. Now Palmer and Theodosia are on the run, strangers from different worlds forced to rely only on each other as they race to uncover the hidden motive behind Becket’s grisly murder—and the shocking truth that could destroy a kingdom.

**Q&A with E.M. Powell**

The Fifth Knight was originally published as a Kindle Serial. What’s a Kindle Serial and how does it differ from usual publication?
Kindle Serials were launched by Amazon in September 2012. A reader pays a one-off price and gets their chosen novel delivered automatically to their Kindle in two-week segments, called Episodes. There’s a discussion forum for each episode, where readers can chat to each other and to the author about how the story is unfolding. They can of course also post reviews. It was really exciting to do it in that way. The biggest challenge for me was keeping spoilers under control when responding to readers!

So you wrote the story as it was being serialised?
Not in my case. The Fifth Knight was already a completed novel. Some of the other Kindle Serials writers write an episode at a time. I’m afraid I’m far too much of a control freak to do that! Once the serial was finished, the novel was released in complete form.

What was it like for your debut novel to top not one, but two Amazon.com charts: Historical and Action & Adventure?
Truth be told, I was completely shocked. When I saw the Action & Adventure charts, with my book above Life of Pi and Dan Brown’s forthcoming Inferno, it was like a dream. A very nice one, but definitely not real. Same with the historical charts. My bedside reading’s on that list, so to top it was indescribable.

What do you think it is about The Fifth Knight that appeals to both audiences?
My agent, the wonderful and tireless Josh Getzler at HSG, describes it as car chases with chain mail. That probably sums up what readers can expect! But the phrases that crop up in 5* review after 5* review are ‘page turner’ and ‘couldn’t put it down.’ That means so much to me. People love the medieval setting but they also love the pace of the action.

There’s also a lot of love for the hero, Sir Benedict Palmer, in the reviews. Why do you think readers connect with him?
I think it’s because he’s not a typical hero. He’s not been born with a sliver spoon in his mouth, he’s had to work to get as far as he has. And he’s very conflicted when we meet him first. He’s not rushing in to rescue the young Sister Theodosia Bertrand- he just sees her as a means to earning a whole lot of money. But when his values as a man are tested by the knights’ leader, Sir Reginald Fitzurse, Palmer shows us what he’s really made of. What’s also really nice is the positive reviews about him have come from male reviewers as well as female reviewers. I think that shows I’ve made the right call with him as a character.

Are we going to hear any more from Benedict and Theodosia?
I’m working on the sequel, The Blood of The Fifth Knight, as we speak. King Henry II will be calling on Sir Benedict Palmer’s help once more.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
I’d love to be able to thank every single reader individually for buying the book and for people who took the time to post reviews. That includes the people who reviewed it and who didn’t like it! But unfortunately I can’t because there are far too many readers of my book. But just to say that readers are what make a writers’ career. To get a review or an e-mail from a reader who has spent a few hours lost in your book and who has loved being in the world you’ve created is the best feeling in the world. So for those that do see this: thank you! And thank you too, Lisa- it’s been so nice to guest here.

Author Links:
Twitter: @empowellauthor