Hello and welcome to Gwendalyn’s Books,
Happy Tuesday to you! I hope your week will be is overflowing with great reads.
I am delighted to welcome a wonderful author to the blog today, CANDACE ROBB
#AConspiracyofWolves #CandaceRobb #HFVBTBlogTours
A Conspiracy of Wolves
by Candace Robb
Publication Date: August 1, 2019
Severn House/Crème de la Crime
Hardcover & eBook; 256 Pages
Series: Owen Archer, Book 11
Genre: Historical Mystery
When a prominent citizen is murdered, former Captain of the Guard Owen Archer is persuaded out of retirement to investigate in this gripping medieval mystery.
1374. When a member of one of York’s most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim’s father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim’s household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she’s not telling?
Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen’s enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy.
GWENDALYN’S BOOKS INTERVIEW – CANDACE ROBB
1. If you could choose a book character to be for a day, who would it be and why?
One? That would be Magda Digby, the Riverwoman. She is so wise and comfortable in her own skin. How I created her I don’t know, but she’s become my guide. When life challenges me I find myself asking “What would Magda do?” I’d love to spend time in her stillness, living on her tidal island, in her house redolent with dried herbs and roots, the aroma of her tinctures and poultices. I’d love to walk the forest with her, seeing through her eyes, learning all she knows. She’s my first choice.
But if I could have a second choice, I’d be Lucie Wilton for a day—or a night, because…Owen Archer’s in her bed, you know?
2. Which scene or chapter in the book is your favorite? Why?
I love how I shaped the first chapter of A Conspiracy of Wolves. I begin with Alisoun Ffulford, Magda Digby’s apprentice, feeling her way as a healer working solo while the Riverwoman is away. Alisoun’s so connected to the earth and such a complex young woman—I feel I finally caught that in the early scenes. And then I shift to Owen being bored to tears by Geoffrey Chaucer’s prattle as the latter composes poetry aloud while they ride back to York. That moment is hilariously vivid for me. Then the sharp contrast when Brother Michaelo and Bartolf Swann ride up, clearly in crisis. A bit of everything, even some Magda Digby.
3. Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
I certainly think an eye-catching cover attracts readers in brick and mortar bookshops and libraries, particularly when piled face up on a table with many other books. That aspect might not be as important online, except in a publisher’s ads in which it might stand out. What is on the cover is just as important as the overall design—far too many historical novels written by women are marketed with covers that appeal to women, not men. That the majority of male readers shy away from anything that looks in anyway romantic is a fact the publishing industry can’t seem to learn. I was so happy to see Severn House’s cover for A Conspiracy of Wolves. I love it. The color, the design, the feel of it—I couldn’t be happier.
4. Which of your books took you the most time to write?
A Triple Knot, a novel about Joan of Kent, written under the pseudonym Emma Campion, took four years. I had an absentee editor, pulled away from her fiction titles to work on celebrity books, so her response rate was glacial. She learned when I was several months away from delivering the manuscript that marketing demanded it be MUCH shorter than originally agreed. So the tempo of the book was all wrong, and, once we’d agreed that I would focus on Joan of Kent’s early marriage(s) and end the book shortly after she wed Prince Edward, I felt I needed to start over. An excellent editor, but spread far too thin.
5. Were you a young writer, a late bloomer, or something in between? What advice would you give to others who took up writing at a similar life phase?
If you’re asking about when I began to write, my answer is early—the first poem my Dad saved and dated was written when I was 7. But I wasn’t published until my early 40s, so in that sense I’m a late bloomer—to my mind that was late. Advice? If spinning tales is as necessary to you as breathing, just keep doing it. And if you hope to reach an audience, submit your work!
6. Which of your books took you the most time to write?
Same question as #4
7. Is writing book series more challenging?
I presume you mean is it more challenging than writing standalone novels? Not for me. Once the characters are well established they become collaborators, their skills and predilections providing ideas or ways into the story. Each series has its own rhythm, and the overall tone is fairly well set, although some stories are heavier than others. All of these decisions are made afresh for a standalone.
8. Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play?
I love theater, and, yes, I would love to experience one of my stories as theater. A play brings together a variety of talents and visions—the playwright’s script, the director’s take on the script, the actors’ interpretations of their roles, set design, costuming, lighting, any ambient music… What a thrill to see what they would bring to one of my books. It would be entirely different in their hands. I’d enjoy their insights.
9. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?
My mother was a reader. Some of my happiest memories are our weekly trips to the library. We alternated between two in the neighborhood, for variety. When I’d exhausted the juvenile section she convinced the librarians to issue an adult card so I could read the classics. Mom put Jane Eyre into my hands, and Wuthering Heights. When I visited in her last years we’d sit side by side in the reading chairs in her living room, lost in our separate books, but interrupting each other now and then to share choice passages.
10. Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
I need solitude in which to pace and think, and I prefer being in my office with all my reference works and music in the background—early music or Bach’s cello concertos.
11. What other projects are in the works?
My current focus is the Owen Archer series. I’m writing the 12th novel and playing with future plot concepts. Now and then I fiddle with ideas that have nothing to do with my deadline, just for a change of pace and the experience of writing something entirely different. Keeps me fresh! I don’t worry about whether it will ever amount to something I’ll complete, which in itself is liberating.
About the Author
I’m Candace Robb, a writer/historian engaged in creating fiction about the late middle ages with a large cast of characters with whom I enjoy spending my days. Two series, the Owen Archer mysteries and the Kate Clifford mysteries, are set in late medieval York. The Margaret Kerr trilogy is set in early 14th century Scotland, at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Two standalone novels (published under pseudonym Emma Campion) expand on the lives of two women in the court of King Edward III who have fascinated me ever since I first encountered them in history and fiction.
I am a dreamer. Writing, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, being with friends—there’s always a dreaming element.
Blog Tour Schedule
Friday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek
Saturday, August 3
Feature at The Writing Desk
Monday, August 5
Feature at Book Addict Rambles
Wednesday, August 7
Interview at Bookish Rantings
Saturday, August 10
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All
Sunday, August 11
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read
Tuesday, August 13
Review at Passages to the Past
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a Hardcover copy of A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.