Q & A with author Kate Murdoch #historicalfiction

stone circle

Today I am pleased to welcome author Kate Murdoch to my blog answering a few questions about her work and inspiration.  Her debut novel Stone Circle is available NOW in ebook and paperback format and was published by Fireship Press.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2nPc4ZZ

Hello Kate and welcome …

  • I understand you were a widely recognised artist prior to writing.  Has your love, skill and experience in painting helped at all with the research work for your writing?

In the case of Stone Circle, it helped in that I’d done a lot of study of the Renaissance period at art school, so I had a sense of the aesthetic, the culture and the society. Most importantly, the art history gave me a fascination with the period in Italy. As a result, I enjoyed delving into further research focusing on alchemy, the role of women and the social hierarchy.

  • Where did the inspiration come for Stone Circle?

Originally from a dream I had of two young men and an old man, rowing in a canoe on a calm stretch of water. I knew the old man was imparting knowledge and that the time period was long ago. Then it was a matter of narrowing down the period, which led me to alchemy and the fact that it was practised at the time. 

  • Can you give us a brief overview of Stone Circle?

Stone Circle tells the story of Antonius, a fisherman’s son with psychic abilities, who wins a competition to be apprentice to the town seer. The son of a nobleman also wins, and there is intense rivalry between them for their mentor’s favour and the affection of his daughter as they study alchemy and magic rituals.

  • Do you have a set writing time in your day?  And, do you have a writing room?

Not really. Although my most productive time is the middle of the day and, quite often, the hour before I must pick up my children from school. I don’t have a dedicated writing room – I mainly write in the living room, looking out to the garden. If I have something more challenging, like intensive edits, I sit at the dining table.

  • Do you prefer writing a full length novel or short stories?

I love both. I’ve written many short stories and flash fiction pieces as well as two novels. There is satisfaction in creating a complete narrative in fewer words, but there’s also much enjoyment to be had in long-form, where you can create more detailed descriptions and delve deeper into characterisations. I also like the mystery of long-form – I enter it fairly blindly, never sure where the story will go.

  • If you’ve had time to relax and read this last year, what was your most outstanding book?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was a book that impressed me for many reasons. The luminous prose and the exploration into choices and moral ambiguity. The fact that there is so much we don’t understand about peoples’ actions and the turmoil that can provoke them. Along with the heartbreak of being unable to turn back the clock. I found it deeply moving.

Thank you so much Kate for joining me today.  To learn more about Kate Murdoch and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  https://katemurdochauthor.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@KateMurdoch3/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/katemurdochauthor/

 

Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite book review

charlatan

Charlatan written by Kate Braithwaite, publisher Fireship Press is available in ebook and paperback format from THURSDAY 15th September 2016.

To pre-order/buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charlatan-Kate-Braithwaite-ebook/dp/B01L11HOX2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473670283&sr=8-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

HOW DO YOU KEEP THE LOVE OF THE KING OF FRANCE?

1676. In a hovel in the centre of Paris, the fortune-teller La Voisin holds a black mass, summoning the devil to help an unnamed client keep the love of the King of France, Louis XIV.

Three years later, Athénaïs, Madame de Montespan, the King’s glamorous mistress, is nearly forty. She has borne Louis seven children but now seethes with rage as he falls for eighteen-year-old, Angélique de Fontanges. Athénaïs must do something to keep the King’s love and secure her children’s future, but how? And at what length is she willing to go?

At the same time, police chief La Reynie and his young assistant Bezons have uncovered a network of fortune-tellers and poisoners operating in the city. Athénaïs does not know it, but she is about to be named as a favoured client of the infamous La Voisin.

love-potion-clipart

I’d like to thank the author, Kate Braithwaite, for an arc in return for a review.

Charlatan is a fictional historical read based on the real life revelations of the Affair of the Poisons.  I have to admit this is the first historical novel I’ve read set in the 17th century.  The story begins in Paris, 1676, with a dark, terrible mass ceremony is undertaken with words of witchcraft and sorcery and unimaginable scenes all in the name of snaring a lover.  The story continues 3 years later with the King’s Officers of the Law conducting extensive interviews, interrogations, torture and executions to try and find out the truth around the rumours of all the witchcraft conducted in the most stately of places, the court of King Louis XIV of France.

It did take me a little while to get into the novel with all the different characters but I’m so pleased I read on as I became quite fascinated by the deceit, the guilt, the greed, the lies, the witchcraft.  I was shocked by how far someone would go to greedily get what they want.  The story is quite raw and honest with some graphic historical scenes but this makes the words from the book come alive.  At the end of the book I appreciated the author’s take on the story, one that I hadn’t known about, and I enjoyed this shocking tale of events in history that you can’t quite believe happened.   A dark historical read full of secrets, greed, deceit, guilt, tragedy, witchcraft … 4/5*

I love how fiction can bring history alive …

About the Author

Kate Braithwaite grew up in Edinburgh but has lived in various parts of the UK, in Canada and the US. Winner of the University of Toronto Marina Nemat Award and Random House Student Writing Prize, she writes atmospheric historical fiction exploring dark secrets and unusual episodes from the past: the stories no one told you about in history class at school.

Her novel, CHARLATAN, was long-listed for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Novel Award in 2015.

Kate and her family live in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

To find out more about Kate Braithwaite and her work please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.kate-braithwaite.com

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/KMBraithwaite