Thursday, December 9, 2010

Author Spotlight & Giveaway featuring Susanna Kearsley

Susanna Kearsley!

I am honored today to have author Susanna Kearsley on my blog to participate in my author spotlight. Keep your eye out for my review of "The Winter Sea".

1.  I know you get asked this question over and over but can you tell us a little about yourself? Maybe something juicy. ;)

Oh, how I wish there were something juicy for me to tell you! The truth is, I’m a 44-year old stay-at-home mother of two, who spends a large part of the day sitting in front of a computer  screen making up stories, with a coffee cup in hand and a sleeping dog on my feet. Which can actually be more exciting than it sounds…


2. When did you first start writing? Are you a full time author or do you do it on the side?

I honestly can’t remember when I started writing – it was always the way I explored the world around me and tried to make sense of it, making up stories and poems and plays. After I read Little Women and got inspired by the character of Jo, I made a more organized effort to write a book myself, but never got past the first chapters of anything until, when I was in my early twenties, my sister finally dared me to sit down and finish a novel. I did it, and after a couple of years of rejection it was finally published by Avalon Books in New York, by which time my second novel, Mariana, had won the Catherine Cookson Prize in Britain and been accepted by Transworld Publishers. And a few books after that, my advances and royalties had reached a level that allowed me to write full time, which I’ve been doing ever since (although I also now have children, so I have to balance the writing time with being a full-time mother, as well).

3. How long does it normally take you to write an average book?

On average, it takes me between a year and eighteen months to write a book, from the time I begin to the end of my second, revised draft – the one I hand in to my agents and editors.

4. What do you think makes a story great?

I’d imagine the answer to this would be different for everyone. For me, it comes down to the characters. I think To Kill a Mockingbird is a great, great book, but even if you changed the setting and altered the plot, those characters alone – the way they’re drawn, the way they interact, the way that I connect with them – would still keep me reading. If I can really care about the characters, and feel what they feel, and if at the story’s end I’m satisfied they’re happy, then the story will in my eyes be a good one. If the characters become a part of who I am, like treasured friends, as Scout and Jem and Atticus became for me, I deem that story great.

5. Can you describe your book "The Winter Sea" in one sentence?

The Winter Sea is the story of a woman who comes to the north coast of Scotland to work on her novel about a failed Jacobite uprising, only to find that the story she’s telling is more fact than fiction, and that she may have inherited memories from one of her ancestors, giving her knowledge about the rebellion that no one else has.  (OK, so it’s a Very Long sentence…)


6. I see that you have written multiple books set in Scotland. Have you ever been there or have you done lots of research for your books. I also see you have written several other historical novels do you have a love for history or possibly some kind of degree in history?

I don’t have a degree at all, in history or anything else, because I left university midway through my studies (in Politics and International Development) to take a job I’d been offered at a museum. I loved museum work, and eventually became the curator of a community museum, but my love of history goes much, much further back than that, to the stories my mother used to read to me in childhood and the family history research that we all did together, travelling to retrace the footsteps of our ancestors and piecing the puzzle of their lives together, bit by bit.

As for Scotland, it’s always been one of my favorite places. I went there as a child with my family and have returned several times to do research for books, and I have a great love of the people, the land, and the history of Scotland.

7. What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m working on a sort-of sequel to The Winter Sea, which picks up the past story a few years after it left off and continues to follow the lives of the characters through more adventures in France and St. Petersburg, Russia. But the present-day characters framing that story are new ones, and the method by which they learn about the past events is different, too.

8. I see that in May of 2011 you have a new book coming out called "The Rose Garden". Can you tell us anything about this book.

Yes, of course. Thanks for asking! The Rose Garden is an actual time travel story, about a woman who returns to the old Cornish manor house where she and her family spent the summers of her childhood, and where she now finds herself sharing the house with the people who lived there three centuries earlier. The book will be out, as you say, this coming May in the UK and Canada (and Germany), but my American readers will have to wait until the fall, when Sourcebooks will be bringing out their edition of it. In the meantime, you can learn a bit about the book and read the first two chapters at my web site. (

9. I see a lot of books that you have written that I would love to read. Is there one that is your favorite that you could recommend to me and anyone else interested?

The Winter Sea is actually my favorite, because I think it’s the best and most mature work that I’ve ever done, and it was such a joy to write. The writing just “came”, much as it does for Carrie in the book, and that’s a rare thing when it happens. On the other hand, Mariana has always been my sentimental favorite, because it was the first “big” book I wrote, and the one that really opened all the doors for me, and it, too, was a joy to write. But I’m bad at choosing books for other people. When my readers write to me, the three books they seem to love most are The Winter Sea, Mariana, and The Shadowy Horses, if that helps!

10. Is there anything that I didn't cover that you would like to talk about or say to your potential readers?

Only that I’ve seen it mentioned in a few places lately that The Winter Sea is a re-issue, and I wanted to correct that, because it really isn’t. It’s my most recent book, published in 2008 in the UK, Canada, and Germany, and since then in a handful of other countries. Sourcebooks bought the manuscript in 2009, from my American agent, and they’re the first people to publish it in the U.S., so it’s technically not a re-issue of an old book, but the first U.S. publication of a new one. (Which probably doesn’t matter to most people, I know, but I just thought I’d clear that up!)

Thanks so much again for having me here as your guest, and for asking such interesting questions.

What would you like to ask the readers?

I’d like to ask, what country and/or time period do you most like to read about?


Sourcebooks has been kind enough to provide 3 copies of "The Winter Sea" for this giveaway. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. I intend to make the entry into this giveaway as simple as possible. 

1. You must comment answering Susanna's question above. 
2. Being a follower is appreciated and worth extra entries but not required.
3. You must fill out the FORM.
4. Extra entries for spreading the word.
5. Drawing will be held on December 18, 2010. All winners will be chosen using



stacey said...

I Like all defrent time but the late 1800 early 1900 have a lot of things starting like trains, lights and other stuff that makes that time entresting

J. L. Jackson said...

I enjoy reading Ancient Egyptian historical fiction.

Kristen said...

I would enjoy reading back in the victorian times from England I would have loved to see what it was like back then

My Bloody Fairy Tale

Marcie said...

I love reading about ancient Egypt or Elizabethan times.

Crystal ♥ said...

I love the regency era and also the 'old west'.

Tore said...

I would love to read about the days of King Arthur and Camelot.

Vivien said...

I love either the ancient Egyptian time period or the Victorian era. Simply amazing.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Jules@OneBookShy said...

Great interview. I like to read pre-1900s, especially Scotland, England, Ireland, etc.


onebookshy at yahoo dot com

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i just read the winter sea!! it was really intriguing!

Linda Henderson said...

I like the regency period in England and the old west in the USA.

seriousreader at live dot com

Nightly Cafe said...

I love Ireland, any time period. Great interview :).

Carol L. said...

My favorite and 31 read is always Scottish Highlanders and Scotland. I also enjoy and love anything Celtic. I really enjoyed your interview. You are a new to me Author and I'm so glad I found you because I now have your books on my wish list.I'm a GFC follower under Lucky47.
Carol L

Carol L. said...

ooops, that was supposed to read "#1" read.
Carol L

Laura H. said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! My favorite country is England and the time period is anything prior to the modern era. I also like to read stories set in the Scottish Highlands during the 1600-1700s.


Brooke said...

I love reading about England.

wanda f said...

My favorite times and place to read about is 1700"s - 1800"s Scotland I cannot get enough of those highlanders .I love paranormal romances set in today preferably the US

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