Mastodon The Writing Desk: Blog Tour: Find Me in the Stars, by Jules Larimore ~ a Cévenoles Sagas novel - Book Two in the Huguenot Trilogy

2 April 2024

Blog Tour: Find Me in the Stars, by Jules Larimore ~ a Cévenoles Sagas novel - Book Two in the Huguenot Trilogy

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

IFrance, 1697. A sweeping adventure during the time of Louis XIV's oppressive rule and persecutions, this compelling narrative follows the intertwined destinies of two remarkable protagonists, Amelia Auvrey, a mystic holy-woman healer, and Jehan BonDurant, an apothecary from a noble Huguenot family, in a riveting tale of enduring love, faith, and the search for light in the darkest of times. 

I'm pleased to welcome author Jules Larimore to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, Find Me in the Stars: a Cévenoles Sagas novel, is the second book in my Huguenot trilogy series. Inspired by a true story, this refugee’s tale of sacrifice, separation, and abiding love unfolds in the rugged Cévennes Mountains of Languedoc, France. Amelia and Jehan are fierce champions of tolerance and compassion in their cherished Cévenole homeland, a region plagued by renewed persecutions. The escalated danger forces their paths to diverge, each embarking on their own dangerous journey toward survival and freedom. The Knights Hospitaller provide protection for Amelia and her ailing sage-femme grandmother, even as they come under suspicion of practicing witchcraft. To avoid entanglement in a brewing rebellion, Jehan joins a troupe of refugees who flee to the Swiss cantons seeking sanctuary—a journey that challenges his faith and perseverance. He arrives to find things are not as he expected; the Swiss have their own form of intolerance, and soon immigrants are no longer welcome. The utopian Eden he seeks remains elusive until he learns of a resettlement project in the New World.

During their time apart, Amelia and Jehan rely on a network of booksellers to smuggle secret letters to each other—until the letters mysteriously cease, casting doubt on their future together. Seemingly ill-fated from the start, their love is tested to its limits as they are forced to navigate a world where uncertainty and fear threaten to eclipse their unwavering bond. 

Find Me in the Stars is a stand-alone sequel to the award-winning The Muse of Freedom, a bestseller in Renaissance Fiction, and is based on true events in the life of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac—who happens to be my eighth great-grandfather.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I am fortunate to reside most of the year in Ojai, California, so my writing routine is centered around enjoying the outdoors. A cup or two of strong tea, (oolong is my current favorite), starts the day, followed by a brisk walk. I am most productive in the morning hours and when I write in my outdoor living space—a covered patio. I’ll sit there until around noon, letting my characters and my muse shape new chapters, occasionally distracted by songbirds that flit around the garden birdbath. After lunch, I like to work on a little editing. Later in the afternoon, I take some time for promotions, usually in the form of social media posts. Publishing time has an entirely different routine and, while in the midst of it, my mind is filled with thoughts of desperately wanting to get back to research and writing!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read as much as possible, especially well-written novels set in the era you are writing about. For historical fiction, my advice is to do your background research before you start writing. Visit the settings in your novel if you can—in person or on Google Earth. Then fill in with research on the small details as they are needed.

I would also caution about following the advice of bloggers on the “rules” of writing. Know the expertise level of the blogger before taking the advice verbatim. When I first transitioned from writing non-fiction magazine articles to writing novels, I spent a lot of time consuming the latest blogs and webinars. After a while, I found myself freezing up, afraid I would violate the latest “rules” that were being touted. Often these rules are exaggerated or even a matter of opinion. Write in a way that you find enjoyable then, before handing it off to an editor, utilize editing software and seek out critique partners and beta readers from a circle of other authors.

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

I’ve used a variety of ways to get the word out about my books. The ancestor who was the inspiration for the book, Jean Pierre Bondurant, has his own following—the Bondurant Family Association. This group has over one thousand social media followers who have a special interest in all things “Bondurant”. They are my best source for spreading awareness. Also, interviews, such as this, podcasts, guest blog posts, and social media posts (with hashtags) are very helpful. Interacting with social media groups that are specific to the topics and history in my book has offered some success. Awards and press have also been key to raising awareness. 

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research.

While researching on Geneanet in search of more information on the Bondurant family, I came across the genealogy of a distant cousin in Paris. He had found documents in the regional archives revealing Jean Pierre Bondurant’s father, Sieur Bondurant de Cougoussac, had been imprisoned in the Tour de Roi (King’s Tower) dungeon in Uzès, France, for a month. Sieur Bondurant, a nobleman with an estate, was arrested for his refusal to pay the king’s newly imposed taxes, despite having the financial means to do so. It must have been his way of protesting the king’s many new measures meant to stifle the nobles, especially Huguenot nobles. Finally, Sieur Bondurant’s wife hired a lawyer and paid the fine for his release. This bit of information gave me more insight into the sort of man Jean Pierre’s father was.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The death scene of my female protagonist’s grandmother was the most challenging scene to write because, like an actor, I tapped into my own emotional experience. I used elements of my mother’s passing to create feelings and reactions for both my protagonist and her grandmother.

What are you planning to write next?

I am currently working on the research for two novels. One is the third book in the Huguenot trilogy which takes my characters to the New World in their search for “Eden”. The other is about Adelaide de Toulouse, Comtesse of Burlats, Carcassonne, and Beziers. She was the mother of the infamous Raimond-Roger Trencavel, a character in Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth and the Count of Carcassonne and Beziers who met his death during the crusade against the Cathars. Which of these books receives more of my attention and gets published first is yet to be seen.

Jules Larimore

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About the Author

Jules Larimore is the author of emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories and inspire positive change. She is a member of France’s Splendid Centuries authors’ collaborative, a board member of the Historical Novel Society of Southern California, and lives primarily in Ojai with time spent around the U.S. and Europe gathering a rich repository of historical research in a continued search for authenticity. Find out mpre from her website and find Jules on Facebook and Twitter @jules_larimore

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting Jules Larimore today, and for such a fabulous interview!

    Take care,
    Cathie x
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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