Tag Archive | historical fiction

Exiled to Freedom: Author Interview + Excerpt + Giveaway

Exiled to Freedom
This is my stop during the blog tour for Exiled to Freedom by SGD Singh. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 August. See the tour schedule here.

Exiled to FreedomExiled to Freedom
By SGD Singh
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult

Blurb:
Seventeen year old Joti lives a peaceful life on her ancestral farm in Punjab, far from political turmoil, foreign wars, and the struggle for independence. Until the summer of 1947, when her country is suddenly partitioned to create two sovereign nations—Pakistan and India.

Punjab erupts into a shattered land of nightmares, torn apart by death and destruction. Before the violence subsides, millions of people will have lost their lives and Joti will find herself amongst the countless refugees fighting to survive one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era.

In the summer of 2018, seventeen year old Priya travels from her home in New York City to her great grandmother’s farm in Punjab. Searching for meaning in her materialistic and shallow existence, she becomes determined to uncover the mysteries of the past and heal her family’s wounds, left too long unattended.

Priya soon finds herself on an adventure of discovery, learning what it is to love and what it means to know true peace.

Exiled to Freedom backcover

You can find Exiled to Freedom on Goodreads

You can buy Exiled to Freedom here on Amazon

Excerpt:

Monsoon season should have begun by now.

Armies of clouds gather their forces on chariots of distant thunder, darkening the summer sky, growing more engorged each day. But still, not a single drop of water falls to the earth.

Do the clouds hear the prayers of the farmers, toiling beneath them in the dust?

Perhaps thunder is their laughter, a call to celebration. Maybe they wait for the moment when their audience is most attentive, most frantic with anxiety, before they decide to pour blessed relief onto the choking crops far below them.

Or perhaps the elements mock our faithlessness in their ability to remember the season.

I watch the clouds blend together in a happy dance of reunion and I wonder, as I have wondered countless times before: Did the sky cry for us all those years ago? Was it the earths tears that tried to wash away the rivers of our blood? Was it her grief that covered our world in mud, disguising the bodies of countless dead and smothering the cries of the dying?

I turn from the sky to look down at my wrinkled hands, and I am suddenly and for the first time filled with a certain and inescapable realization. Those of us who witnessed the flames of hate rise into a raging infernowe are vanishing.

And those who acted as embers hidden beneath the ashes, waiting to ignite horror within mens heartsthey are each and every one dead and gone.

Very soon to be forgotten.

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Exiled to Freedom?

I always thought more people should be aware of the events of India’s Partition in 1947, but it wasn’t until I heard the stories of my friend Parnita’s grandmother’s experiences during that horrific time that I had the inspiration for Exiled to Freedom.

Who is your favorite character in Exiled to Freedom?

Rohit was my favorite character to write while working on this novel.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I think I’ve always been a writer, even as a little kid telling stories in boarding school in India, writing plays I forced my classmates to act out, or short stories even the senior girls would pass around. What makes us become writers? We are writers because we write—that’s it. Wether we’re published by big companies or not, we write because we love it. We write because we must.

What is your favorite book?

This is an impossible question. Impossible! I’ll try to answer with the first three favorites that pop into my brain for various genres:

CLASSIC: The Three Musketeers, Germinal, The Brothers Karamazov

MYSTERY: Everything Sherlock Holmes, Curtain, Everything Nero Wolfe—they could be one volume, right?

SCI-FI: The Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dune

ROMANCE: Pride & Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Sense & Sensibility

FANTASY: The Princess Bride, The Chronicles of Narnia, Circe

HORROR: The Shining, Swan Song, Dracula

YOUNG ADULT: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Including Strange the Dreamer duology—it’s connected), The Scorpio Races, LIFEL1K3.

NON FICTION: Born A Crime, We Are Displaced, I Am Jackie Chan

CONTEMPORARY: I’ll Give You The Sun, Before I Fall, Call Me by Your Name

Okay, no. That didn’t work at all. What about Shakespeare? What about the rest of the COUNTLESS awesome books in the world?

What other books do you have planned?

I’m currently working on a zombie story—and trying not to think about my next trilogy!

What is your favorite color?

Blue. No, yel—aaaaaaaah!!

What is your favorite book you’ve written?

The Infernal Guard One: Emergence. The first will always hold a special place in my heart, even though the second was more fun to write.

SiriGuruDev SinghAbout the Author:
SiriGuruDev Singh lives in New Mexico and Punjab, India with her husband, two daughters, and various extended relatives and animals. She is the author of the YA urban fantasy trilogy The Infernal Guard and Exiled To Freedom, a YA historical fiction novel about India’s bloody Partition of 1947.

You can find and contact SGD Singh here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Exiled to Freedom. There will be 5 winners who all win a signed copy of Exiled to Freedom. Open International.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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What did you think about the author interview?

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Review: The Mermaid

Title: The Mermaid

Author: Christina Henry

Date of Publication: June 19th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn’t bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.

P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he’d heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.

Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he’s determined to hold on to his mermaid.

My Review:

When I first looked at the cover, I was like, oh, it’s a Little Mermaid retelling. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was actually about Barnum’s Feejee mermaid when I read the summary!!

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Photo Credit

This was quite the lovely tale with beautiful prose and enveloped in cool world building. I’m always a big oddity fan so I found everything about Barnum’s oddities fascinating, even though the man himself was quite the fool!

I struggled with Amelia at times. I loved her yet was annoyed with her because yes, she was strong, but when it came to the religion and feminist-type talk I got quite annoyed. I’m all for the strong and independent woman but sometimes it can be too much. This, of course, didn’t affect the book from being five stars! Levi, on the other hand, was so sweet and caring and he still had some “manly” views, but he always wanted what was best for Amelia—for her to have a choice.

Overall, this was a great read, but don’t expect it to be fast pacing. It was a slower journey, but one where I cared about all the words inside!

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What’s your favorite mermaid book?

Scattered Seeds by Julie Doherty with Excerpt + INTERVIEW!

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Scattered Seeds

Julie Doherty

Genre: Historical fiction, elements of romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication: April 27, 2016

ISBN: 1-68291-050-4

ASIN: B01E056H1Q

Number of pages: 339

Word Count: 100,000

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

Book Description:

 

In 18th century Ireland, drought forces Edward and Henry McConnell to assume false names and escape to America with the one valuable thing they still own–their ancestor’s gold torc.

Edward must leave love behind. Henry finds it in the foul belly of The Charming Hannah, only to lose it when an elusive trader purchases his sweetheart’s indenture.

With nothing but their broken hearts, a lame ox, and a torc they cannot sell without invoking a centuries-old curse, they head for the backcountry, where all hope rests upon getting their seed in the ground. Under constant threat of Indian attack, they endure crushing toil and hardship. By summer, they have wheat for their reward, and unexpected news of Henry’s lost love. They emerge from the wilderness and follow her trail to Philadelphia, unaware her cruel new master awaits them there, his heart set on obtaining the priceless torc they protect.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/bNzrVFnl9Ts

Amazon

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

County Donegal, Ireland
1755

Henry stood next to his father surveying their largest field. He longed to say that the seeds might yet sprout, that there was still time to yield a return, but the undeniable truth lay right before them: drought had come to Ireland. Their investment in imported flaxseed was lost.
“A hundred days, Henry.” Father’s face bore the pained expression of a man whose hope was as withered as his crops. “A hundred days was all we needed, all that stood between us and prosperity.” He kicked a clod of dirt, and it turned to dust. “It’s all gone, gone along wi’ the horse that harrowed the ground.”
A lump rose in Henry’s throat. He ached for his father, and he missed their horse. Paddy was a fine animal purchased ten years ago after a bumper crop of rye, when Edward McConnell’s luck was good and Henry’s only chore was to stay out of his mother’s hair. Elizabeth McConnell moldered in the ground now, and Paddy plowed another man’s fields.
“We will pray, Father. God will help us.”
“God?” Father kneaded his forehead with calloused fingers. “God’s groping in our pockets right along wi’ your Uncle Sorley. Praying did nae pay our tithes or the hearth tax, did it?”
Surely he didn’t mean that. Everyone knew Edward McConnell to be a godly man.
“We’ll get more seed, Father. It’ll grow next year.” He squared his shoulders and tried to look confident.
“Will nae do us any good. Your Uncle Sorley plans to decrease our tillage in favor of pasture.”
“Wi’ no cut in rent, I’ll wager, and early payment again this year.”
Father spat on the parched ground. “He stopped by yesterday looking for it. Said he’ll call in after services on the Sabbath.” He ground his teeth together. “I’d gi’ anything to see the look on his face when he finds our empty hoose.”
Henry’s chest tightened. Were they moving again? He rubbed the back of his neck and looked across the rolling patchwork of fields to the northeast, where their last home rose above a copse of ash, and where his mother’s daffodils still swayed in the Ulster wind. Four years ago, the cattle plague put them out of that house and into the windowless shack they now shared with Phoebe, their only remaining sow. The hut contained a hearth, a curse necessitating the payment of tax despite the fact that it never contained a fire.
With no peat left and no horse to haul more from the bog, the McConnells relied on a moth-eaten blanket and Phoebe’s body heat for warmth.
They had room to fall; many Catholics lived in the open, bleeding cattle and boiling the gore with sorrel for sustenance. Perhaps his father intended to join them.
“Are we moving again?” he asked.
Father slipped two fingers under his brown tie wig and rubbed his temple, something he often did when puzzled.
Henry followed his gaze to the ruins of Burt Castle, which sat atop a knoll, just above Uncle Sorley’s grand plantation house.
“Nine years we’ve suffered bad luck, Henry. E’er since I buried . . .”
Buried what? Maw? She died five years ago, not nine.
Father sunk his head into his hands, muffling his speech. “I . . . I guess it’s time to . . .”
Henry stepped into the hard, hot field, directly in front of his father. “Father, what in the name of heaven is it?”
Father tilted back his head and whispered to the sky, “Forgive me, Elizabeth.” He looked at Henry. “I buried something. Your maw insisted on it, said it was pagan and she did nae want it in her hoose. I did as she asked. A woman can talk ye into cutting off your own hand, Henry, remember that if ye can.”
Henry nodded, not comprehending, wondering what pagan thing lay buried. He’d never heard it mentioned before, and he was a skilled eavesdropper. “What was it? What did ye bury?”
Father inhaled deeply, removed the worn tricorn from his head, and tucked it under his arm. “I’ll tell ye the whole tale, but first, we have to dig it up. We canny do that until after dark.” He turned without warning and headed for home.
Henry followed him, volleying questions against his back.
Father said nothing until they reached their hut. There, he stormed past Phoebe, flung open the door, and nodded toward a worm-ravaged chest sitting next to a heap of rushes that served as their bed.
“Gather up our claithes and shoes. Use my good cloak for a sack. Bring the dried nettles.” He grabbed the peat spade, the only tool left from his once abundant array of implements, and used it to prop open the door.
“Why bring the nettles?” Henry hated the bitter leaves. “There are more nettles than rocks in Ulster.”
When his father offered no reply, he lobbed another question, desperate for clues as to their destination. “Will ye not wear your good cloak, if we are traveling far?”
“My auld cloak will draw less attention.”
So, they were going to some populous place where good cloaks were bad.
Henry spread the cloak across the dirt floor, careful to avoid Phoebe’s manure. The cloak was long out of fashion, but still a quality garment that Edward McConnell could not afford to replace. He threw their scant belongings into the middle of it, brought the cloak’s corners together, then tied them together to form a sack. Excepting Phoebe and the clothes they wore, the sack contained everything worth saving.
He sat on the rickety chest to watch his father pace.
When Burt Castle became a silhouette against an amber horizon, Father donned his hat and cloak and ducked outside.
Henry followed him to the stone wall separating their field from Uncle Archibald’s.
Father began to tumble a section of wall.
With his perplexity and fear mounting, Henry assisted until there was enough of a breach to push Phoebe through the wall.
She trotted away, grunting and wagging her curly tail, while he helped restack the stones to prevent her from returning.
He could no longer hold his tongue.
“What are we doing? Why are we putting Phoebe in Uncle Archibald and Aunt Martha’s field? Are we going somewhere? Where are we going? Why are we taking nettles?”
In his frustration, he grabbed his father’s arm.
Father whirled around and gave Henry’s shoulders a fierce shake. “Get hold of yoursel’, lad, or I’ll cloot ye upside the noggin. No more questions. Just do as ye’re told.”
Henry stared at his father, who had never once laid a hand on him, nor threatened to.
“I’m sorry, lad. Go on in the hoose and get the bundle.”
When Henry returned with their belongings, his father was holding the peat spade.
“Get a good look around ye, son. It’s the last time ye’ll clap eyes on your hame.”

Interview

  • Give us the history of you. (family life, where you’re from, etc.)

I’m a native Pennsylvanian, but I lived in Virginia for two years and Ireland for six months. I spend a lot of time reading colonial documents, thanks to a fascination with early American history.

  • Tell us about your new book in 10 words or less.

Father/son duo seeks love and fortune in frontier Pennsylvania.

  • Walk me through the process that you went through to write your new book.

At the end of my debut novel, SCENT OF THE SOUL, an American woman shows up at a Scottish gift shop with a gold torc she unearthed at her Pennsylvania farm. Here’s a photo of it.

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Readers know who the torc belongs to, but they are left to wonder how it got to Pennsylvania. I wanted SCATTERED SEEDS to tell that story. I decided my own ancestors, Edward and Henry McConnell, would be the ones to deliver the torc from Ireland to America in 1755.

Once I had the basic plot, it was just a matter of fitting the story within known events, which meant lots of research about the French & Indian War. It also meant studying immigrant vessels of the day and learning sailing terms. I assure you, my head was spinning by the time I typed THE END on this one, but I firmly believe it was worth it.

  • How did you come up with your book’s name?

My characters are connected to seeds in several ways. Because they descend from a king (Somerled from my debut novel), they consider themselves scattered seeds. My character puts it this way:

“His descendants are many, and scattered like windblown seeds. Many of them rooted in Scotland, some floated across the sea, and some, like us, blew into this godforsaken muckhole called Ireland.”

For tenant farmers like Edward and Henry McConnell, prosperity always seems to hinge upon the next harvest. In the beginning of the novel, drought kills their expensive flaxseed, which plunges them into poverty. They flee Ireland for America, where they again look to seed to save them. They haul bags of it across unforgiving wilderness, and break their backs to plow and plant their fields. But my young character, Henry, endures crushing toil and hardship, knowing that once the grain is winnowed and bagged, they will haul it back to civilization . . . where he hopes to find his lost love.

 

  • What made you decide to write this book?

I ask myself that very question about each book I write. It’s not a great time to be an author. The market is saturated, which means it’s tougher than ever to stand out. It doesn’t help that I always seem to set my novels in lesser known (and therefore, lesser read) time periods. I can’t help myself, though. I love early America, and I hold hope that one day, readers will, too.

  • How many characters are based on people you actually know? Do those people know they were the basis for your characters?

Edward and Henry McConnell existed, but of course, I can only guess what they were like. They are Scots-Irish, so they sound very much like my Glasgow-born Irish husband. Some characters take on traits of people I know or have seen. Like many writers, I’m a skilled eavesdropper. I observe and tuck away little behavioral tidbits for future use.

  • How many publishers did you send your book to before it was picked up?

I only queried one publisher this time around, but I entered the book in the Dixie Kane contest and tied for second in the historical category.

  • What book did you read most recently that you loved, and would recommend to everyone?

I recently re-read THE FOREST AND THE FORT by Hervey Allen, one of my favorites. I love those older books, written before worldwide ban on purple prose and adverbs.

  • Any tips for new writers?

Write what you are passionate about. Zeal in literature is infectious. If you love what you write, your readers will, too.

  • Have you ever liked the movie more than the book? Be honest

I really don’t think so. We watch movies, but we live books. Books allow us to become the characters. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good movie, and certainly, film producers can take a mediocre book and turn it into something spectacular.

  • Are there any popular books you know you would never read?

If there are, it would only be because the subject matter doesn’t interest me. I’ll read just about anything, though.

  • What are you working on now?

Another frontier story featuring a female protagonist. Picture LAST OF THE MOHICANS meets THE REVENANT, only with one bad-ass German widow who’s sick of living in a man’s world.

  • Anything else you would like to add?

Just that I appreciate you featuring me here. Thanks, too, to anyone willing to give my novel a chance. You can read the first five chapters for free at Amazon. Give it a try. You might just find a new favorite setting—the French & Indian War period.

 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SquareSails

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites

Blog: http://juliedoherty.com/blog/

Thanks so much to Julie Doherty for agreeing to be on the blog today!!! ❤

About the Author:

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Julie Doherty expected to follow in her artist-father’s footsteps, but words, not oils, became her medium. Her novels have been called “romance with teeth” and “a sublime mix of history and suspense.”

 

Her marriage to a Glasgow-born Irishman means frequent visits to the Celtic countries, where she studies the culture that liberally flavors her stories. When not writing, she enjoys cooking over an open fire at her cabin, gardening, and hiking the ridges and valleys of rural Pennsylvania, where she lives just a short distance from the farm carved out of the wilderness by her 18th century “Scotch-Irish” ancestors.

 

She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, Perry County Council of the Arts, and Clan Donald USA.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SquareSails

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532434.Julie_Doherty

Web: http://juliedoherty.com/

Blog: http://juliedoherty.com/blog

 

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Tour giveaway

 

$30 Amazon gift card

 

5 free Kindle copies of SCATTERED SEEDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

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The lovelies over at the Broke and the Bookish host a weekly meme called Top Ten Tuesdays! Here is this weeks topic:  Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim (however you decide to interpret that (bought or read or something else) — I know most people read based on recommendation but we want to know those books you picked up without really hearing about or knowing much about!)

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