17 August 2018

Special Guest Interview with Sam Burnell, Author of the Tudor Mystery Trials Series


New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

I'm pleased to welcome historical fiction author Sam Burnell to my blog today:

Tell us about your latest book 

The latest book in the Tudor Mystery Trials Series, A Queen's Mercenary, was released on Amazon on 8th August. This follows the lives of two very different brothers set in the 1550's. Richard Fitzwarren, a childhood friend of Elizabeth I, has very fixed loyalties not entirely shared by his older brother Jack. Mix in politics and religion and it all makes hopefully for a highly charged read. In this book they are attempting to improve their fortunes by selling a lost arms shipment to the highest bidder. The setting is Europe and the destination they have in mind is Malta.

What is your preferred writing routine? 

After my three children and my partner have gone to bed on goes Nickelback and I write usually between midnight and three in the morning when I am trying to get something done. Those silent hours are quiet precious, the phone does not ring, facebook is silent and I can get five times as much work produced compared to any other time of day. Regularly it ends up as five in the morning, but a constant supply of Tassimo coffee keeps me going.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

Set yourself achievable goals. This could be 2000 words a day. Also plan ahead. In general I have a plan for what I'm going to write and then I sit down and fill in the framework. I have learnt that without a plan I will end up sitting and staring at the screen, but with a plan I can easily achieve the days goals. Writing is very much like any other process the more you do it the better you become.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books? 

Making them free or practically free on Amazon seems to do the trick. My first book - A Queen's Spy - has been live for over a year now and this has provided with lots of critical reviews. Currently I am taking these on board and the book is going to be re-launched in 2019 and I am hoping the second edition will tick more boxes for readers.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research.

Recently research has covered the production of black powder, or gun powder as we generally know it. There were so many recipes, often well guarded, and some of the ingredients were highly amusing. The key ingredients are ground to a paste, a highly dangerous pastime, however one recipe I found added urine to the mix to keep it moist and avoid embarrassing explosions. The added note was that "monks piss" if you could afford it was the best additive. It just conjured up an image of the enterprising monks gathering buckets of said ingredient and peddling it on the open market. I would have liked to know the price difference between the standard and the monk variety however that fact eluded me.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Definitely a suicide scene. I'd not really expected this to hit home, however I did a little research and tried to get into the mind of the character and I have to admit it wasn't pleasant. Trying to get across the feeling of total isolation and a feeling of utter and complete hopelessness was not easy. Although my books are set way back when they recognise that mental illness was as prevalent in 1550 as it is now.

What are you planning to write next?

My current project is the fifth book in this series, and I am hoping to have that on pre-order on Amazon shortly with a release date of early November. Then a second book is on the way charting the progress of the second referendum in Scotland with of course some nice Jacobean history included.

Sam Burnell 
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About the Author

Sam Burnell lives in the North East of England and has had a passion for history and archaeology all her adult life. Originally trained as a Solicitor, while studying Law at Durham University she enjoyed a sideline in legal history. Various jobs followed, including researcher for a local museum, public sector audit work and finally running her own successful scuba diving business both on-line and in a bricks and mortar store. During a career break a return to University was possible where she studied Archaeology, and Sam is never happier than when she is stood in a castle wondering what when and why, and trying to unlock the secrets in the stones. Find out more at Sam's website samburnell.com and follow her on Twitter @samburnellbooks.

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