21 July 2017

Interview with Stephanie Churchill, Author of The King’s Daughter


Available for pre-order
on Amazon US and Amazon UK

In this gripping sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, a young woman finds herself unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of power, intrigue, and shifting perceptions, where the line between ally and enemy is subtle, and the fragile facade of reality is easily broken.

Today I'm talking to Stephanie Churchill about her second book, The King’s Daughter, a sequel to The Scribe’s Daughter.

There may be readers who haven’t read the first book yet, so why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about it?

The Scribe’s Daughter is fantasy, though it will appeal to historical fiction readers because everything about it echoes the historical without actually being historical.  I used my comfort and familiarity with history and historical novels to recreate a world that would be similar in feel.

At the beginning of the novel, we meet Kassia, a seventeen year-old orphan who is faced with a tough decision in her daily quest for survival.  She is a younger sister but finds herself in the position of providing for both herself and her older sister, Irisa.  The sisters cannot afford to pay rent, and when their landlord gives them an ultimatum -- pay up or become whores -- Kassia must make a difficult decision.  Events become complicated when very soon after, a stranger shows up at her doorstep to hire Kassia for a job that is ridiculously outside her skill set.  Not seeing any other choice, she takes him on.  Before long, Kassia finds herself swept away on a sometimes treacherous journey where she must use her resourcefulness and every measure of witty bravado to survive.  Along the way, mysteries of the sisters’ family history, a history they never knew existed, are realized and revealed.

Tell us a little bit about The King’s Daughter.

Much of this book overlaps the timeline of the first book as the sisters’ perspectives weave together to form a more complete view of what readers learned earlier.  Kassia and Irisa part ways early on in The Scribe’s Daughter.  The first few chapters of The King’s Daughter follow that overlapping timeline as Irisa learns about the same mysteries her sister did in the first book; however, Irisa’s story continues on from there, and she discovers even deeper mysteries than Kassia ever knew existed.  Facts are twisted sideways so that the mysteries take on new life.  Ultimately it is a character-driven book.  Irisa grows and develops as a person, but in her strength, she helps the development of the other significant protagonist in the story as well.  All of this is wrapped in mystery, political intrigue, a little love story, as well as action and adventure.

Your book reads like historical fiction.  Did you base any of the plot or characters on any real figures from history?

Without giving too much away for the sake of the plot, I’ll say that Edward IV and his daughter Elizabeth of York, who married Henry Tudor, were probably the biggest influences on two of my characters, though only loosely.

Did you plan to write multiple books when you started The Scribe’s Daughter?

When I began work on The Scribe’s Daughter, I had no long-range plan.  It was simply an experiment in writing first person.  Once I started writing Kassia however, I fell in love with her character and couldn’t stop.  Irisa was originally just a sub-character, and I had no real plan to develop her.  Once I got nearly half way through writing the first draft though, I realized that Irisa had a tale of her own to tell, and it was going to be very compelling.  I was intrigued by the idea of perspective and the differing views multiple people can have of the same events.  This was really the seed idea for the second book.  Once I got writing it, I discovered another selfish perk: I found that I missed Kassia terribly, and creating a book for Irisa allowed me to revisit the same world while taking off in a new direction even while inventing new people and places.  I can totally understand now why so many authors write a series!

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are there necessary connections between each book?

One of my advanced readers thought The King’s Daughter could be read as a stand-alone.  It’s hard for me to judge that as the author since I can never read the book with new eyes.  I would say however, that if a person wants to read it without having read the first one, it’s probably doable.  My caution would be though, that they would miss out on a lot of depth.  The second book weaves many tiny details from the first book: characters, places, mysteries, back stories, etc.  In fact, there are so many connections that many of the details may even be missed by most readers!

I have a plan for a third book, the story of Naria, Irisa and Kassia’s mother.  I left some dangling threads at the end of The King’s Daughter, and I really want to tie those up for readers.  This third book will have even more connections, ties, and connections to characters and events from the first two books.

Who should read your books?

I have found that my audience is more women than men, but both audiences have very dedicated fans.  The books were written for adults, though I tried to be sensitive to a wide audience so wrote it with that in mind, including teens.  Genre is difficult to pin down.  As I said earlier, the books read like historical fiction but are no doubt fantasy, even if not traditional fantasy.  There is no magic, no dragons or other fantastical beasts.  Everything is based in reality.  Readers of historical fiction should feel right at home with the books however, because I love history and historical fiction and attempted to inject the feel of that genre into my writing.  I often tell people that my books echo historical fiction even if they aren’t history.  More than that though, if you love deep characters, evocative settings, and a good plot, it doesn’t matter what genre you read.  You’ll enjoy the books!

The King’s Daughter will be released on September 1 and can be ordered from Amazon.

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About the Author

Stephanie Churchill grew up in the American Midwest, and after school moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a paralegal, moving to the Minneapolis metro area when she married.  She says, 'One day while on my lunch break from work, I visited a nearby bookstore and happened upon a book by author Sharon Kay Penman.  I’d never heard of her before, but the book looked interesting, so I bought it.  Immediately I become a rabid fan of her work. I discovered that Ms. Penman had fan club and that she happened to interact there frequently.  As a result of a casual comment she made about how writers generally don’t get detailed feedback from readers, I wrote her an embarrassingly long review of her latest book, Lionheart.  As a result of that review, she asked me what would become the most life-changing question: “Have you ever thought about writing?”  And The Scribe’s Daughter was born. Find out more at Stephanie's website www.stephaniechurchillauthor.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @WriterChurchill.

2 comments:

  1. Love how you started writing! How fun to have your sequel coming out soon!

    ReplyDelete

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