07 February 2016
Author Interview & Book Giveaway: JOSEPHINE MONTGOMERY on FITZGERALD HALL
This week, we're pleased to welcome author JOSEPHINE MONTGOMERY with her latest release, FITZGERALD HALL, set in the 7th and 21st centuries. One lucky visitor will get a free ebook copy of Fitzgerald Hall - this giveaway is open internationally. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.
An historical fiction adventure charts a course from southern California to the magnificent Fitzgerald estate located in southern England where archeologists discover a 7th-century bed burial grave in Fitzgerald Hall meadows. Valeska, an Anglo-Saxon teenager, is unable to join her ancestors in the next world; she knows if her bones are removed from the burial bed grave, and archeologists take them to a laboratory for study, she can never join her spirit family. It will take the co-operation of people in the 21st century and there isn’t much time. Valeska needs someone to see and believe in her spirit that appears by the baptismal font, in the Anglo-Saxon church in Fitzgerald village, between Winter Solstice, around the 21st December through December 30th.
An Anglo-Saxon poem in Fitzgerald Hall library reads,
Did the sword of Wulfhere strike the blow
That echoes through the meadows still.
Eternity won’t settle scores
When brothers of my tribe they kill.
The graves and barrows of our land
Are filled with men who did not fight
The cowards killed us in our beds
We’ll vanquish them come solstice night.
No, I am currently finishing my third book in the Fitzgerald Hall trilogy. I studied written and spoken Arabic at Amman University in Jordan and have traveled the Middle East extensively and may write my next book set in Egypt in the time of the Heretic Pharaoh, Akhenaten.
Q&A with Josephine Montgomery
An Anglo Saxon teen burial in an ornamental bed is an unusual subject, was it difficult to write?
I love of archeology and history and if I am inspired by an archeological discovery my imagination takes flight. The research can a lot take time because I base my stories on available, researched fact. The extraordinary 7th century discovery in Trumpington Meadows, England, offered unique insights into the origins of English Christianity.
What information did the archeologists discover from the bed burial?
Bed burials were a very limited Anglo-Saxon practice in the mid to later 7th century. The girl, aged around 16, was buried on a beautiful, ornamental bed with a pectoral Christian cross on her chest; it was probably sewn onto her clothing. The cross, fashioned from gold, was intricately set with cut garnets; the artifact dates this grave to be the very early years of the English church, probably between 650 and 680 AD. To be buried in this elaborate way, with such a valuable artifact, tells us the girl was undoubtedly high status or even royalty.
Where does the story take place?
It begins in San Diego, USA where three girls, university students, two American, one British, share a house. Chloe, the Brit, has no concept of domestic duties which doesn’t sit well with Anna the neat-nick. They accept Chloe’s offer to spend Christmas with her family in England, a chauffeur picks them up at London Heathrow airport and drives to Fitzgerald Hall, one of England’s Great Houses. The American girls soon realize why Chloe is inept at domestic chores, she has never done any. Emily and Anna had a challenging time adapting to life with the privileged, wet bath towels were left on the floor for the house maid to pick up, their beds were made, everyone dressed for dinner and it wasn’t done to thank the servants. As Lady Fitzgerald mentioned, ‘Servants are people too, but only on their days off.’ At dinner Anna and Emily meet two male British aristocrats, Chloe’s cousins, and so, from the 21st century to the 7th century, an extraordinary journey begins that will change the American girls lives forever.
As a Brit. how challenging was it to write from the perspective of American students in California?
Not too difficult, I lived in both Northern and Southern California. Also, my granddaughter, from London, England, was an exchange student in the USA and stayed with us during university holidays, along with her American student friend. I had to make sure when writing American dialogue that I did not use long, enunciated English words that are part of the vocabulary of the Upper Classes.
Does this book stand alone and do you have another book planned?
Learn more about author Josephine Montgomery.
Fitzgerald Hall draws on the British writer’s knowledge of the nobility and class structure in England and their struggles to keep the Great Houses of England from falling into ruin. Living and working in both Northern and Southern California heightens the writer’s awareness of the difference between England’s class structure and the California lifestyle.