A handful of historical authors brave the wilds of unusual settings, times, and characters to create distinctive, exciting novels just outside of the mainstream. Join us as we chronicle the trials and rewards of our quest - from research and writing to publication and establishing lasting careers.
Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Alison Stuart on THE KING'S MAN
This week, we're pleased to welcome author Alison Stuartagain with her latest novel, THE KING’S MAN (Guardians of the Crown Book 2). The author will offer a free copy of The King's Man to a lucky blog visitor. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's author interview for a chance to win. Here's the blurb.
The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry, and the women that help them heal.
London 1654:Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress, and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.
Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything. Terrified, in pain, and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell, and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.
Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.
Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.
Tell us a little about yourself and your interest in the English Civil War?
I was born and brought up in Kenya and only moved to Australia when I was ten. Outside of writing I trained and practiced as a lawyer and now work as a Company Secretary. I am married with two grown sons, two gorgeous daughters in law and I am owned by a very loving cat.
My father loved history and every Sunday he would read to us from HIS favourite books (in retrospect, not always suitable for an 8 year old!). One of the books he chose was Daphne Du Maurier’s THE KING’S GENERAL, a fictional account of the real life Sir Richard Grenville, set in the English Civil War which tore England apart from 1642 until the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. I was mesmorised by the romance of the period, the intrigues and dangers of civil war and these dashing heroes in broad brimmed hats and bucket top boots. That was it. I was lost.
All through my growing up I would scribble stories in notebooks (some of which are still in existence), most of which were set in the English Civil War. I kept scrapbooks and saved up my pocket money for any reference book or novel I could lay my hands on.
I made the mistake of formally studying the period at University which just about killed the passion off and then there was marriage, children, careers etc.
It wasn’t until I dislocated my shoulder in a skiing accident that I returned to the English Civil War and started on what would be my first novel, now published as BY THE SWORD (the first in the Guardians of the Crown Series).
THE KING’S MANis the second in the Guardians of the Crown series, tell us a little about the series and what we can expect.
The series covers the stories of three men (and the women who love them) across the years 1651 to 1660. It begins with the Battle of Worcester (the last attempt by King Charles II to regain his throne). That battle is pivotal to the lives of Jonathan Thornton (the hero of BY THE SWORD), Kit Lovell (the hero of the KING’S MAN) and Kit’s brother Daniel, who we meet as a callow youth in the first book but has his own story in Book 3 – EXILES’ RETURN which comes out in February.
Where the first two books can be read in isolation, it will probably help readers to have read Books 1 and 2 before Book 3 because EXILES’ RETURN brings the loose ends of the previous two books together.
What was your inspiration for THE KING’S MAN?
Inspiration can come from the strangest sources. THE KING’S MAN began as a snippet about a ‘Miss Granville’ who hurled a brick at Oliver Cromwell. I never discovered who she was or why she threw the brick so I made my own story. It happened to coincide with a time in London where every second inn was frequented by disillusioned royalists all plotting the death of Cromwell and the return of the King. They were universally unsuccessful owing to Cromwell’s brilliant spy network but as a plot for a book, it practically wrote itself.
Readers’ reactions to Kit have been very interesting. Like all my heroes he comes with baggage and is probably one of the most complex men I have written. He is not an easy man to like, let alone love, mostly because he doesn’t like or love himself. I really struggled with his motivations for some of the truly heinous things he does until he himself told me Daniel’s story (OK…that sounds weird… but that’s how writer’s roll – we know it’s working when our characters start talking to us) and then it all became clear.
Notwithstanding that Kit and Thamsine do earn a happy ever after and the worst of their problems are resolved, I do leave the fate of Daniel unresolved at the end of the book and I hadn’t realised how much that still affected Kit until I began to write EXILES’ RETURN. Normally my stories are told only in two points of view, hero and heroine but In Exiles’ Return, Kit gets a say. I hope that makes sense.
You live in Australia, can you share with your Northern Hemisphere readers a little picture of life ‘downunder’ at this time of year?
I live in Melbourne, the capital of the State of Victoria, which is right at the bottom of Australia. We wave (figuratively!) at Tasmania. Our last winter was pretty cold, for us. I know it surprises my American friends when I say it does snow here… not in Melbourne itself but certainly in the hills surrounding us.
Unfortunately I think we are in for a hot summer. Even in our little inner suburban garden we now have a large water tank for the plants and we are now self sufficient with solar power (go us!). We don’t ‘celebrate’ Halloween or Thanksgiving so it is a little shocking to find Christmas decorations appearing in our shops by the end of August!
But summer holidays are coming which for us means cricket (that inexplicable game!) and of course the Australian Tennis Open which is played right here in Melbourne so if you tune in, be sure to wave! Our family will take a week outside of the school holidays (which are only 5 weeks) to drive for TWO days to my husband’s childhood home in South Australia.
Today is the last day to enter my RAFFLECOPTER CONTEST for a chance to win a 6” Kindle Ereader… all you need to do is click HERE.
Allow me to take you back to 1654 … the years after a bloody civil that tore the country apart and saw a King executed. The new King, Charles II, sits in exile and England is ruled by a ‘Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell…
Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion from history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published 6 full-length historical romances and a collection of her short stories. Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long-suffering husband around battlefields and castles.