Monday, February 3, 2014

Manor of Secrets Blog Tour

Today as part of the blog tour for Manor of Secrets I have Katherine Longshore stopping by with a guest post. Be sure to enter the US ONLY giveaway at the bottom as well! 

First here is a little about Manor of Secrets

Release Date: January 28, 2014

Pages: 320

Publisher: Point (Scholastic)

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.
Accuracy in historical fiction is something that is normally discussed when reviewing. I always wondered if remaining historically accurate helped or hurt while writing/plotting a novel. I got to ask Katherine that exact question and here is her amazing answer:

Here’s a secret: people who write historical fiction are a little obsessive.
Historical accuracy is important to us.

I once heard that Hilary Mantel (author of WOLF HALL, and BRING UP THE BODIES) claimed that she would invent the thoughts in a character’s head, but would research the color of his wallpaper.  (This is not a direct quote, and I can’t remember where I read it, but you get the gist).  With that level of obsession, how does one ever write a book?

Research is, of course, the foundation.  Events, important historical figures, societal dictates and attitudes, basic daily structures.  But once you start researching, the rest becomes important, too.  What was the weather like on a certain day?  How did one travel by train from Romney Marsh to Penshust Station in 1911?  What kind of car would a duke’s son drive?  And what color could it be?  And what word would they use to describe that color?

Next thing you know, five hours have passed and you’ve written one sentence.


During the next round of revisions, that sentence gets cut because it’s extraneous.

Now, some people might throw up their hands in disgust and cry, “What a waste of time!”  But we don’t see it that way.  Because in the course of all that research and all that extraneous detail, we also got a better idea of what life was like for our characters. How much it would cost and what kind of effort it would take to buy that make, model and color of car.  Which might give us an idea of the kind of person who would buy it.

My Tudor novels (GILT, TARNISH and BRAZEN) are all about real people living through real events.  Historical accuracy is absolutely essential in these stories because, as we all know, history cannot be changed.  Anne Boleyn has to marry Henry VIII, and then she has to die.  There is no way around it.  But even with that knowledge, those events are not what drives the stories forward in my Tudor books.  The stories are about the characters—their choices move the story forward.

MANOR OF SECRETS was, in some ways, a little easier.  The historical events are background.  During the summer of 1911, King George V was crowned, the Ballets Russes came to London and caused a sensation, dockworkers went on strike and an extended period of record-breaking temperatures pushed the country into drought.  All of these events are mentioned in MANOR, but again, none of them are the impetus behind the stories of these two girls.

What affects these characters are societal dictates.  What’s expected of them.  What their communities have said they can and cannot do.  And again, historical accuracy is key.  Lady Charlotte doesn’t have the freedom to wander off on her own, to go to university or even to get her hands dirty.  Janie is not allowed to see three quarters of the house she lives in, have a boyfriend or take a day off work.

These are the rules of the story world.  But part of the fun of writing fiction is having characters break a few rules (because, obviously, if they just did what they were told all the time, the story would be quite boring).  Perhaps it’s not historically accurate for a lady of the house to befriend a servant.  But it makes for a good story, because therein the tension lies.

However, you can only break the rules of the story world once they’ve been established—once you’ve done the research.  So even when dedication to historical accuracy can seem like a hindrance (having to cut a sentence that took five hours to write), it’s still really a help.  Because every single detail—used or unused—cements the author and the reader further into the story world, and can be used to propel the story forward.

Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever. Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.


Here are the rest of the Manor of Secrets tour stops! Please, do check them out!

Week One:

1/27/2014- Fiktshun- Guest Post

1/28/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post

1/29/2014- Good Books and Good Wine- Review

1/30/2014- Hobbitsies- Review

1/31/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Interview

Week Two:

2/3/2014- A Glass Of Wine- Guest Post

2/4/2014- Mundie Moms- Interview & Review

2/5/2014- Read My Breath Away- Guest Post

2/6/2014- Page Turners- Review

2/7/2014- Tales of a Ravenous Reader- Guest Post

Do not forget to enter the giveaway below. FIVE copies of Manor of Secrets are up for grabs, so be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter, and good luck!

A huge thank you to both Katherine, and the Rockstar Book Tours ladies for organizing this (and letting me take part). My review will go up tomorrow (spoiler, I LOVED this novel) so stop by to check it out.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I know as a fan of historical fiction I really appreciate the time the author's take to fully research something. And you can always tell which authors were really thoughtful about it because there books are often that much more compelling. Looking forward to Manor of Secrets!


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