A warm welcome to Amy Maroney with a spotlight on her new book, The Queen’s Scribe. As a bonus, an interview with Amy follows the spotlight.
Book 3 of Sea and Stone Chronicles. Published: 25 April 2023 / 388 Pages
@wilaroney @amymaroneywrites #HistoricalFiction #TheQueensScribe #RoyalHistory #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub
Praise for the Sea and Stone Chronicles: “Island of Gold is a nimbly told story with impeccable pacing.” / —Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice Review / “Sea of Shadows is stunning. A compelling tale of love, honor, and conviction.” / —Reader’s Favorite Review
This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited. / Universal Link: https://mybook.to/QueensScribe / Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Queens-Scribe-Sea-Stone-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0BX8857Z5/ / Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Queens-Scribe-Sea-Stone-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0BX8857Z5/ / Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Queens-Scribe-Sea-Stone-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0BX8857Z5/ Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Queens-Scribe-Sea-Stone-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0BX8857Z5/
A broken promise. A bitter conflict. And a woman’s elusive chance to love or die.
1458. Young Frenchwoman Estelle de Montavon sails to Cyprus imagining a bright future as tutor to a princess. Instead, she is betrayed by those she loves most—and forced into a dangerous new world of scheming courtiers, vicious power struggles, and the terrifying threat of war.
Determined to flee, Estelle enlists the help of an attractive and mysterious falconer. But on the eve of her escape, fortune’s wheel turns again. She gains entry to Queen Charlotta’s inner circle as a trusted scribe and interpreter, fighting her way to dizzying heights of influence.
Enemies old and new rise from the shadows as Estelle navigates a royal game of cat and mouse between the queen and her powerful half-brother, who wants the throne for himself.
When war comes to the island, Estelle faces a brutal reckoning for her loyalty to the queen. Will the impossible choice looming ahead be her doom—or her salvation?
With this richly-told story of courage, loyalty, and the sustaining power of love, Amy Maroney brings a mesmerizing and forgotten world to vivid life. The Queen’s Scribe is a stand-alone novel in the Sea and Stone Chronicles collection.
Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading.
Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an Amazon-bestselling historical mystery trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy’s award-winning historical adventure/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.
An enthusiastic advocate for independent publishing, Amy is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.
Here’s my interview with Amy:
Hello Paul! Thanks so much for welcoming me to your blog.
How did you become an author?
I was one of those kids who always had my nose in a book, and I dreamed of writing fiction one day. I studied literature in college and went on to become a writer and editor of nonfiction. When I had a stroke at age 40, I realized the time to make my dream come true was limited. So I began writing a pharmaceutical thriller in the style of Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell, which I affectionately dubbed The Sunscreen Caper. Soon after I began writing the book, my family had the opportunity to move to Europe for a year. While there, I had a “Eureka” moment about what I really wanted to write: the story of a Renaissance-era woman artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Four years later, I published my first novel, The Girl from Oto. I’m now launching my sixth novel, The Queen’s Scribe, which is the tale of a young Frenchwoman who navigates a dangerous game of cat and mouse at the royal court of Cyprus.
Tell us about your writing process.
I get most of my ideas from travel and research. I begin by writing a compelling book blurb that contains the story’s hook and main conflict. Then I do a bit of plotting to get a bird’s eye view of the story, knowing full well that I will end up changing things as I go. I immerse myself in research for as long as I can get away with it, and then I hunker down and begin writing scenes. Usually my first drafts are heavy on dialogue and light on world-building and depth of character. As I write the story, I get to know my characters better and I fill them and their world in with rich layers and color. Revisions are critical, and some chapters get a dozen rewrites. Others seem to flow out of me with magical ease and I barely have to revise them at all. I wish I knew how to make that happen on command! Feedback from trusted critique partners and my editor is important at various points along the way.
How would you persuade readers to buy your book (s)?
People who are fascinated by medieval/Renaissance Europe, enjoy art mysteries, or are curious about history’s hidden stories tend to enjoy my books. I write to entertain first and foremost, so my books are fairly fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns along the way to a happy ending. And there are plenty of fascinating historical details to soak up, too.
What is your all-time favourite book? What makes it special?
This is such a hard question to answer! I find that I gravitate to different books at different times in my life, re-reading certain novels several times as sources of inspiration and comfort. I also really love nonfiction. I was hugely influenced by the books of Wallace Stegner, Isabelle Allende, and Barbara Kingsolver as a young writer. I think the book that most influenced my path to historical fiction was Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, both for the tremendous world-building and the unforgettable characters. Two other books that helped propel me into historical fiction were All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.
What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished the excellent A Matter of Faith by Judith Arnopp, and I’m happily immersed in The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, one of the best murder mysteries I’ve read in a long time.
Which author (s) (past or present) would you invite to dinner?
Let’s assume we have an enormous table! All the authors I mentioned above are invited. And Jane Austen, Vanessa Riley, Elif Shafak (I read her novel about Cyprus, The Island of Missing Trees, when I was preparing to write The Queen’s Scribe), Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Oscar Wilde, and Dorothy Dunnett (her novel Race of Scorpions was a key part of my research for The Queen’s Scribe as well).
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or passions?
I love to hike, swim in mountain lakes and ponds, travel, draw, paint, and dance, not necessarily in that order.
How important is it to have your historical facts right and are there any instances when you would bend history to fit your story?
I think it’s essential to respect the historical record and I spend a lot of time cross-referencing and verifying facts when I’m researching. But I’m also conscious of the truth about history: it’s full of holes. We’re dealing with an imperfect record. There are countless untold stories we are never taught about. Some of them were simply forgotten or overlooked; others were silenced by those in power and by those who wrote the histories. That’s why I search in unusual places for evidence of women and marginalized populations who aren’t featured in the standard historical narratives. For example, notarial records, municipal records, tax records, and wills all offer glimpses of women working at various trades, buying, selling, and bequeathing goods and property, and conducting business deals.
I generally don’t feel comfortable conflating events or moving dates around to suit my stories. That’s why The Queen’s Scribe takes place over a period of four years. There is so much juicy history packed into those four years that I couldn’t leave any of it out. It took some creative wrangling to weave my story around the history, but in the end I was thrilled with the results.
Can you give novice writers some tips? (do’s/don’ts)?
My main tip is: do what’s right for you. There’s no one size fits all approach to writing. I think reading a lot helps improve one’s writing, as does writing a lot. But how much to write and how often is an individual choice. I go through phases of churning out 2000-3000 words daily when I’m writing a novel, and the revising process is very time intensive. I don’t worry about how bad my first draft is, because, for me, the best work comes with revising. When I’m stuck on a plot point or I’ve painted a character into a corner with no way out, a long walk helps unravel the problem in my subconscious mind. Often I come up with the answer when I’m not even actively thinking about the issue. For me, the main motivation to write is twofold: first, uncovering hidden histories; and second, my enjoyment of the story and characters. My characters even inhabit my dreams when I’m close to finishing a book.
What are your future plans as an author?
I’m going to continue writing historical fiction, probably delving back into my first love, art mysteries. I’m also going to start creating short audio works about my research and possibly start a podcast.
Social Media Links:
Website: https://www.amymaroney.com/ – Twitter: https://twitter.com/wilaroney – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amymaroneyauthor – LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-maroney-582636b4/ – Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amymaroneywrites/ – Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amyloveshistory/ – Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amy-maroney – Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Amy-Maroney/author/B01LYHPXEO – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15831603.Amy_Maroney
Thanks for the interview, Amy and wishing you continued success with Sea and Stone Chronicles series and The Queen’s Scribe