Getting Started with Lady Macbeth

137_3783 Staring at a blank page, whether it’s yellow lined paper or a white screen with a patiently blinking cursor, waiting for those first few sentences of a story to form…it’s one of the most fundamental challenges of writing. The process of beginning a book is unique each time…

I’ve had stories hit the ground running with an action scene so clear in my head that I couldn’t wait to put it on paper—like the chase and abduction scene in STEALING SOPHIE (w/a Sarah Gabriel); other books have started out as a few sentences that haunted me until I wrote them down:

Wild as blackberries she was, sweet and dark and unruly, and she would never be his. Lachlann knew it, had always known it. Yet he paused in his work and leaned in the doorway of the smithy to watch her. He allowed himself that much. (THE SWORD MAIDEN, w/a Susan King).

Still others have started out clumsy and clunky, with one deleted sentence after another, taking forever to form before finally moving. I won’t give you an example on that one, just trust me–and it’s more than one book. Thankfully no one ever seems to notice that but me.

Ladymacbeth_new When I began writing LADY MACBETH, my challenge was this: where the heck should I begin a story as big and complex as this might be?! The story covers decades, and my main character would have to change and mature through the span of many years. And the ending would be known to many readers, since Macbeth and his queen are historically documented persons.

Lady Macbeth would need to be very much a product of her place and time – not Shakespeare’s place and time, but that of 11th century Scotland, where the real queen lived. She would be a young woman raised in a warrior society, accustomed to the equality common to the Celts, steeped in poetry, legends, and traditions; a woman to whom truth and honor were all, and in whom anger burned pretty brightly. I figured she would just go for it—no-holds-barred, no prancing around the truth. And a first-person narrative would allow her to be blunt, honest, and opinionated about…well, just about everything.

Waterhousecrystalball_2 So I started the book at a point later in her life, as she looks back—it’s a convention, yes, but a pattern that often works so long as it’s a bit unpredictable. Lady Macbeth is not dictating her story, but pondering it—maybe she’ll let someone record it on parchment, and maybe she won’t—she’s still deciding. I framed the story in present tense, prologue and later chapters, with the body of the story in past tense. That way, we know just where we are with her–she’s in media res, on the verge of an action that could be very dangerous. But first she’d better think it through ….

Castle_moy Scotland, 1058

Snowflakes dazzle against the evening sky and fall gentle around this stark tower. The false King of Scots expects us to trudge our ponies through that cold deep, so that I may tuck myself away in some Lowland monastery. Malcolm Canmore, he who murdered my husband and now calls himself king, would prefer I went even farther south into England, where they have priories just for women. There his allies would lock me away, as the Scots will not.

But my son is the true crowned King of Scots, and I am under the protection of his name, and the strength of my own. Had I agreed to marry Malcolm Canmore despite all, I would be honored now.    

Weeks ago, at the turn of the new year, he sent a messenger with a length of green silk, gold-embroidered, and pots of spices and perfumes, with a request for my hand in marriage.
If power of that sort was what I craved, the gifts and request would have intrigued me. But I am a Celt and value honor more, and prefer Scottish wool to Oriental silk. Coarse by comparison, our weavings have the honest strength and handsomeness of this land.

I wrote an answer with the very hand Malcolm wanted, though my Gaelic script is worse than my Latin. Only a few words were needed for a refusal. I sent the note and most of the gifts back, and kept the silk. My handmaid, Finella, likes it.

As for convents, I will send another message to the usurper Malcolm: the dowager Queen Gruadh, lately wife to King Macbeth whom you have slain, chooses to remain in her fortress.

A dare of sorts, and we shall see what he will do.

The winds howl—it is no wonder February is called the wolf-month—and we sit, my companions and I, before the fire basket absorbing warmth and brightness. Dermot, my household bard, plays a melody on his harp. Shivering, I draw my cloak about my shoulders. Though I have lived scarce forty years and still burn with life, the chill riding the air this night is keen….

To read the full prologue, go to www.susanfraserking.com .

BTW — LADY MACBETH is featured in the February 2008 GLAMOUR MAGAZINE, just out in stores now, as one of their Buzz picks of the month, under "900 Years of Kick-Ass Women"… and I’m thrilled! The book will be released in bookstores on February 12 …. please watch for it!

I’d love to give away a copy of LADY MACBETH, but I don’t have any hardcover copies yet!

So I’ll offer the Advanced Reading Copy of LADY MACBETH to one of the commenters to this post.

Good luck — and I wish all of you great beginnings in 2008!

Susan

145 thoughts on “Getting Started with Lady Macbeth”

  1. Fantastic opening, Susan/Sarah! Fantastic! I can feel Lady Macbeth gritting her teeth in angry determination. I love that she’s “scarce forty years and still burn[s] with life.” Strike a big one for us older broads. But my favorite line is “I wrote an answer with the very hand Malcolm wanted…” Bravo!

    Reply
  2. Fantastic opening, Susan/Sarah! Fantastic! I can feel Lady Macbeth gritting her teeth in angry determination. I love that she’s “scarce forty years and still burn[s] with life.” Strike a big one for us older broads. But my favorite line is “I wrote an answer with the very hand Malcolm wanted…” Bravo!

    Reply
  3. Fantastic opening, Susan/Sarah! Fantastic! I can feel Lady Macbeth gritting her teeth in angry determination. I love that she’s “scarce forty years and still burn[s] with life.” Strike a big one for us older broads. But my favorite line is “I wrote an answer with the very hand Malcolm wanted…” Bravo!

    Reply
  4. Fantastic opening, Susan/Sarah! Fantastic! I can feel Lady Macbeth gritting her teeth in angry determination. I love that she’s “scarce forty years and still burn[s] with life.” Strike a big one for us older broads. But my favorite line is “I wrote an answer with the very hand Malcolm wanted…” Bravo!

    Reply
  5. Fantastic opening, Susan/Sarah! Fantastic! I can feel Lady Macbeth gritting her teeth in angry determination. I love that she’s “scarce forty years and still burn[s] with life.” Strike a big one for us older broads. But my favorite line is “I wrote an answer with the very hand Malcolm wanted…” Bravo!

    Reply
  6. When I first read that someone (I think I came across the title as being on order at out library before I realized you were the author) had written a book about Lady Macbeth, I was a little puzzled until I remembered that Nigel Tranter had written a book called “Macbeth” in his historical series of Scotland. I had forgotten that Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” was based on history.
    I’m very intrigued by your book about this woman and just in reading this blog, I learned a lot of things about her and the Scotland of her time. You must have done a lot of research on her.
    Was it difficult to find accurate historical information on her? Is there a historical reading list in your book?
    What is it about Lady Macbeth that prompted you to write a historical novel about her? Have you always had a special interest in her?
    As with Susan S.H.’s book, I must confess that I haven’t been a regular reader and you may have already touched on these questions previously. If so, please just let me know where.

    Reply
  7. When I first read that someone (I think I came across the title as being on order at out library before I realized you were the author) had written a book about Lady Macbeth, I was a little puzzled until I remembered that Nigel Tranter had written a book called “Macbeth” in his historical series of Scotland. I had forgotten that Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” was based on history.
    I’m very intrigued by your book about this woman and just in reading this blog, I learned a lot of things about her and the Scotland of her time. You must have done a lot of research on her.
    Was it difficult to find accurate historical information on her? Is there a historical reading list in your book?
    What is it about Lady Macbeth that prompted you to write a historical novel about her? Have you always had a special interest in her?
    As with Susan S.H.’s book, I must confess that I haven’t been a regular reader and you may have already touched on these questions previously. If so, please just let me know where.

    Reply
  8. When I first read that someone (I think I came across the title as being on order at out library before I realized you were the author) had written a book about Lady Macbeth, I was a little puzzled until I remembered that Nigel Tranter had written a book called “Macbeth” in his historical series of Scotland. I had forgotten that Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” was based on history.
    I’m very intrigued by your book about this woman and just in reading this blog, I learned a lot of things about her and the Scotland of her time. You must have done a lot of research on her.
    Was it difficult to find accurate historical information on her? Is there a historical reading list in your book?
    What is it about Lady Macbeth that prompted you to write a historical novel about her? Have you always had a special interest in her?
    As with Susan S.H.’s book, I must confess that I haven’t been a regular reader and you may have already touched on these questions previously. If so, please just let me know where.

    Reply
  9. When I first read that someone (I think I came across the title as being on order at out library before I realized you were the author) had written a book about Lady Macbeth, I was a little puzzled until I remembered that Nigel Tranter had written a book called “Macbeth” in his historical series of Scotland. I had forgotten that Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” was based on history.
    I’m very intrigued by your book about this woman and just in reading this blog, I learned a lot of things about her and the Scotland of her time. You must have done a lot of research on her.
    Was it difficult to find accurate historical information on her? Is there a historical reading list in your book?
    What is it about Lady Macbeth that prompted you to write a historical novel about her? Have you always had a special interest in her?
    As with Susan S.H.’s book, I must confess that I haven’t been a regular reader and you may have already touched on these questions previously. If so, please just let me know where.

    Reply
  10. When I first read that someone (I think I came across the title as being on order at out library before I realized you were the author) had written a book about Lady Macbeth, I was a little puzzled until I remembered that Nigel Tranter had written a book called “Macbeth” in his historical series of Scotland. I had forgotten that Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” was based on history.
    I’m very intrigued by your book about this woman and just in reading this blog, I learned a lot of things about her and the Scotland of her time. You must have done a lot of research on her.
    Was it difficult to find accurate historical information on her? Is there a historical reading list in your book?
    What is it about Lady Macbeth that prompted you to write a historical novel about her? Have you always had a special interest in her?
    As with Susan S.H.’s book, I must confess that I haven’t been a regular reader and you may have already touched on these questions previously. If so, please just let me know where.

    Reply
  11. BTW, my first love is historical novels and not historical romances. I grew up reading my father’s books in the late 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s before the historical romance burst upon the scene. I’m very glad to see that they are making a comeback.

    Reply
  12. BTW, my first love is historical novels and not historical romances. I grew up reading my father’s books in the late 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s before the historical romance burst upon the scene. I’m very glad to see that they are making a comeback.

    Reply
  13. BTW, my first love is historical novels and not historical romances. I grew up reading my father’s books in the late 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s before the historical romance burst upon the scene. I’m very glad to see that they are making a comeback.

    Reply
  14. BTW, my first love is historical novels and not historical romances. I grew up reading my father’s books in the late 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s before the historical romance burst upon the scene. I’m very glad to see that they are making a comeback.

    Reply
  15. BTW, my first love is historical novels and not historical romances. I grew up reading my father’s books in the late 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s before the historical romance burst upon the scene. I’m very glad to see that they are making a comeback.

    Reply
  16. I really love when someone takes a look at history through the eyes of a woman – even if the account is fiction. It brings it to life in a way that allows us to really empathize with that woman. I especially love it when that particular woman has been villified or ignored in history. There are two sides to every story – so let’s hear the other side.

    Reply
  17. I really love when someone takes a look at history through the eyes of a woman – even if the account is fiction. It brings it to life in a way that allows us to really empathize with that woman. I especially love it when that particular woman has been villified or ignored in history. There are two sides to every story – so let’s hear the other side.

    Reply
  18. I really love when someone takes a look at history through the eyes of a woman – even if the account is fiction. It brings it to life in a way that allows us to really empathize with that woman. I especially love it when that particular woman has been villified or ignored in history. There are two sides to every story – so let’s hear the other side.

    Reply
  19. I really love when someone takes a look at history through the eyes of a woman – even if the account is fiction. It brings it to life in a way that allows us to really empathize with that woman. I especially love it when that particular woman has been villified or ignored in history. There are two sides to every story – so let’s hear the other side.

    Reply
  20. I really love when someone takes a look at history through the eyes of a woman – even if the account is fiction. It brings it to life in a way that allows us to really empathize with that woman. I especially love it when that particular woman has been villified or ignored in history. There are two sides to every story – so let’s hear the other side.

    Reply
  21. I’d love to win this arc. It sounds wonderful. The only Shakespeare I’ve ever read was Romeo and Juliet and that was in the 10th grade for English class. Not a fun experience. This is different in that I want to read your version of MacBeth.

    Reply
  22. I’d love to win this arc. It sounds wonderful. The only Shakespeare I’ve ever read was Romeo and Juliet and that was in the 10th grade for English class. Not a fun experience. This is different in that I want to read your version of MacBeth.

    Reply
  23. I’d love to win this arc. It sounds wonderful. The only Shakespeare I’ve ever read was Romeo and Juliet and that was in the 10th grade for English class. Not a fun experience. This is different in that I want to read your version of MacBeth.

    Reply
  24. I’d love to win this arc. It sounds wonderful. The only Shakespeare I’ve ever read was Romeo and Juliet and that was in the 10th grade for English class. Not a fun experience. This is different in that I want to read your version of MacBeth.

    Reply
  25. I’d love to win this arc. It sounds wonderful. The only Shakespeare I’ve ever read was Romeo and Juliet and that was in the 10th grade for English class. Not a fun experience. This is different in that I want to read your version of MacBeth.

    Reply
  26. I agree with the comments above. It’s wonderful to read a historical novel, thoroughly researched that has a different “take” on a character who has been uniformly vilified. If I don’t win the ARC lottery I’ll still buy it ASAP.

    Reply
  27. I agree with the comments above. It’s wonderful to read a historical novel, thoroughly researched that has a different “take” on a character who has been uniformly vilified. If I don’t win the ARC lottery I’ll still buy it ASAP.

    Reply
  28. I agree with the comments above. It’s wonderful to read a historical novel, thoroughly researched that has a different “take” on a character who has been uniformly vilified. If I don’t win the ARC lottery I’ll still buy it ASAP.

    Reply
  29. I agree with the comments above. It’s wonderful to read a historical novel, thoroughly researched that has a different “take” on a character who has been uniformly vilified. If I don’t win the ARC lottery I’ll still buy it ASAP.

    Reply
  30. I agree with the comments above. It’s wonderful to read a historical novel, thoroughly researched that has a different “take” on a character who has been uniformly vilified. If I don’t win the ARC lottery I’ll still buy it ASAP.

    Reply
  31. with each new wench favorite opening post, i love this topic more. great thinking, wenches!
    in terms of this one, excellent, as all the handpicked excerpts so far have been.
    i had to laugh at my different perception of two of your images –
    i’ve never been able to think of a cursor as ‘patiently blinking’. for me, it always more of a ‘throbbing with menace’ kind of thing *g*
    and the image of an ‘unruly blackberry’ was very funny

    Reply
  32. with each new wench favorite opening post, i love this topic more. great thinking, wenches!
    in terms of this one, excellent, as all the handpicked excerpts so far have been.
    i had to laugh at my different perception of two of your images –
    i’ve never been able to think of a cursor as ‘patiently blinking’. for me, it always more of a ‘throbbing with menace’ kind of thing *g*
    and the image of an ‘unruly blackberry’ was very funny

    Reply
  33. with each new wench favorite opening post, i love this topic more. great thinking, wenches!
    in terms of this one, excellent, as all the handpicked excerpts so far have been.
    i had to laugh at my different perception of two of your images –
    i’ve never been able to think of a cursor as ‘patiently blinking’. for me, it always more of a ‘throbbing with menace’ kind of thing *g*
    and the image of an ‘unruly blackberry’ was very funny

    Reply
  34. with each new wench favorite opening post, i love this topic more. great thinking, wenches!
    in terms of this one, excellent, as all the handpicked excerpts so far have been.
    i had to laugh at my different perception of two of your images –
    i’ve never been able to think of a cursor as ‘patiently blinking’. for me, it always more of a ‘throbbing with menace’ kind of thing *g*
    and the image of an ‘unruly blackberry’ was very funny

    Reply
  35. with each new wench favorite opening post, i love this topic more. great thinking, wenches!
    in terms of this one, excellent, as all the handpicked excerpts so far have been.
    i had to laugh at my different perception of two of your images –
    i’ve never been able to think of a cursor as ‘patiently blinking’. for me, it always more of a ‘throbbing with menace’ kind of thing *g*
    and the image of an ‘unruly blackberry’ was very funny

    Reply
  36. enjoyed the information about this booik. I have added it to my list of those to read.
    Last year I met my New Year’s Resolution which was to read the entire works of Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading about his heroines.

    Reply
  37. enjoyed the information about this booik. I have added it to my list of those to read.
    Last year I met my New Year’s Resolution which was to read the entire works of Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading about his heroines.

    Reply
  38. enjoyed the information about this booik. I have added it to my list of those to read.
    Last year I met my New Year’s Resolution which was to read the entire works of Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading about his heroines.

    Reply
  39. enjoyed the information about this booik. I have added it to my list of those to read.
    Last year I met my New Year’s Resolution which was to read the entire works of Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading about his heroines.

    Reply
  40. enjoyed the information about this booik. I have added it to my list of those to read.
    Last year I met my New Year’s Resolution which was to read the entire works of Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading about his heroines.

    Reply
  41. I don’t need a copy of the ARC since I’ve already read the manuscript and been along for the ride while Susan kept digging deeper and deeper into historical annals to discover the real Lady MacBeth. Given that writing was practically an art form known mostly by priests at the time, contemporary materials aren’t easy to come by, but I believe Susan has unearthed all of them and more that others hadn’t recognized. Ask her how she researched this amazing book!

    Reply
  42. I don’t need a copy of the ARC since I’ve already read the manuscript and been along for the ride while Susan kept digging deeper and deeper into historical annals to discover the real Lady MacBeth. Given that writing was practically an art form known mostly by priests at the time, contemporary materials aren’t easy to come by, but I believe Susan has unearthed all of them and more that others hadn’t recognized. Ask her how she researched this amazing book!

    Reply
  43. I don’t need a copy of the ARC since I’ve already read the manuscript and been along for the ride while Susan kept digging deeper and deeper into historical annals to discover the real Lady MacBeth. Given that writing was practically an art form known mostly by priests at the time, contemporary materials aren’t easy to come by, but I believe Susan has unearthed all of them and more that others hadn’t recognized. Ask her how she researched this amazing book!

    Reply
  44. I don’t need a copy of the ARC since I’ve already read the manuscript and been along for the ride while Susan kept digging deeper and deeper into historical annals to discover the real Lady MacBeth. Given that writing was practically an art form known mostly by priests at the time, contemporary materials aren’t easy to come by, but I believe Susan has unearthed all of them and more that others hadn’t recognized. Ask her how she researched this amazing book!

    Reply
  45. I don’t need a copy of the ARC since I’ve already read the manuscript and been along for the ride while Susan kept digging deeper and deeper into historical annals to discover the real Lady MacBeth. Given that writing was practically an art form known mostly by priests at the time, contemporary materials aren’t easy to come by, but I believe Susan has unearthed all of them and more that others hadn’t recognized. Ask her how she researched this amazing book!

    Reply
  46. I’ve also had the honor of reading LADY MACBETH, and I agree with Pat — Susan’s achievement is awesome!
    In addition to offering a new take on the famous Shakesperean character, this book will also be a real treat for readers who love a true early medieval setting, and have felt the current crop of medieval books a bit more grounded in “Princess Bride” than real history. You won’t find a single horrible pun on “knight/night”, but you will discover early Scotland in all its rough, wild glory.
    Yayy, Susan! (and how obvious is it that I’m A Fan?)*G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  47. I’ve also had the honor of reading LADY MACBETH, and I agree with Pat — Susan’s achievement is awesome!
    In addition to offering a new take on the famous Shakesperean character, this book will also be a real treat for readers who love a true early medieval setting, and have felt the current crop of medieval books a bit more grounded in “Princess Bride” than real history. You won’t find a single horrible pun on “knight/night”, but you will discover early Scotland in all its rough, wild glory.
    Yayy, Susan! (and how obvious is it that I’m A Fan?)*G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  48. I’ve also had the honor of reading LADY MACBETH, and I agree with Pat — Susan’s achievement is awesome!
    In addition to offering a new take on the famous Shakesperean character, this book will also be a real treat for readers who love a true early medieval setting, and have felt the current crop of medieval books a bit more grounded in “Princess Bride” than real history. You won’t find a single horrible pun on “knight/night”, but you will discover early Scotland in all its rough, wild glory.
    Yayy, Susan! (and how obvious is it that I’m A Fan?)*G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  49. I’ve also had the honor of reading LADY MACBETH, and I agree with Pat — Susan’s achievement is awesome!
    In addition to offering a new take on the famous Shakesperean character, this book will also be a real treat for readers who love a true early medieval setting, and have felt the current crop of medieval books a bit more grounded in “Princess Bride” than real history. You won’t find a single horrible pun on “knight/night”, but you will discover early Scotland in all its rough, wild glory.
    Yayy, Susan! (and how obvious is it that I’m A Fan?)*G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  50. I’ve also had the honor of reading LADY MACBETH, and I agree with Pat — Susan’s achievement is awesome!
    In addition to offering a new take on the famous Shakesperean character, this book will also be a real treat for readers who love a true early medieval setting, and have felt the current crop of medieval books a bit more grounded in “Princess Bride” than real history. You won’t find a single horrible pun on “knight/night”, but you will discover early Scotland in all its rough, wild glory.
    Yayy, Susan! (and how obvious is it that I’m A Fan?)*G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  51. I agree with the other Wenches who’ve read Susan’s remarkable book. One of the great thing about our two Wenches who are doing Historical Novels is their viewing history through women’s eyes. Thus Susan Holloway Scott gives us a new angle on Lady Castlemaine & Susan King shows us another Lady MacBeth. Yay, Wenches!

    Reply
  52. I agree with the other Wenches who’ve read Susan’s remarkable book. One of the great thing about our two Wenches who are doing Historical Novels is their viewing history through women’s eyes. Thus Susan Holloway Scott gives us a new angle on Lady Castlemaine & Susan King shows us another Lady MacBeth. Yay, Wenches!

    Reply
  53. I agree with the other Wenches who’ve read Susan’s remarkable book. One of the great thing about our two Wenches who are doing Historical Novels is their viewing history through women’s eyes. Thus Susan Holloway Scott gives us a new angle on Lady Castlemaine & Susan King shows us another Lady MacBeth. Yay, Wenches!

    Reply
  54. I agree with the other Wenches who’ve read Susan’s remarkable book. One of the great thing about our two Wenches who are doing Historical Novels is their viewing history through women’s eyes. Thus Susan Holloway Scott gives us a new angle on Lady Castlemaine & Susan King shows us another Lady MacBeth. Yay, Wenches!

    Reply
  55. I agree with the other Wenches who’ve read Susan’s remarkable book. One of the great thing about our two Wenches who are doing Historical Novels is their viewing history through women’s eyes. Thus Susan Holloway Scott gives us a new angle on Lady Castlemaine & Susan King shows us another Lady MacBeth. Yay, Wenches!

    Reply
  56. As another who has read LADY MACBETH in manuscript–are we Wenches lucky or what???–I want to do recommend this as a woman’s take on history, and a woman who has been demonized by SHakespeare at that. LM has been getting great reviews and buzz, as well it should, since only someone with Susan Sarah’s abilities to dig in medieval Scottish history could have written this book.
    Both our Susan have this gift–to take history and write stories about real women that seem as if they -ought- to be true.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  57. As another who has read LADY MACBETH in manuscript–are we Wenches lucky or what???–I want to do recommend this as a woman’s take on history, and a woman who has been demonized by SHakespeare at that. LM has been getting great reviews and buzz, as well it should, since only someone with Susan Sarah’s abilities to dig in medieval Scottish history could have written this book.
    Both our Susan have this gift–to take history and write stories about real women that seem as if they -ought- to be true.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  58. As another who has read LADY MACBETH in manuscript–are we Wenches lucky or what???–I want to do recommend this as a woman’s take on history, and a woman who has been demonized by SHakespeare at that. LM has been getting great reviews and buzz, as well it should, since only someone with Susan Sarah’s abilities to dig in medieval Scottish history could have written this book.
    Both our Susan have this gift–to take history and write stories about real women that seem as if they -ought- to be true.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  59. As another who has read LADY MACBETH in manuscript–are we Wenches lucky or what???–I want to do recommend this as a woman’s take on history, and a woman who has been demonized by SHakespeare at that. LM has been getting great reviews and buzz, as well it should, since only someone with Susan Sarah’s abilities to dig in medieval Scottish history could have written this book.
    Both our Susan have this gift–to take history and write stories about real women that seem as if they -ought- to be true.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  60. As another who has read LADY MACBETH in manuscript–are we Wenches lucky or what???–I want to do recommend this as a woman’s take on history, and a woman who has been demonized by SHakespeare at that. LM has been getting great reviews and buzz, as well it should, since only someone with Susan Sarah’s abilities to dig in medieval Scottish history could have written this book.
    Both our Susan have this gift–to take history and write stories about real women that seem as if they -ought- to be true.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  61. I’m very excited for this book. It’s been on my list to buy since I first saw it here. What a great topic – I’m going to have to do a quick refresher of Macbeth before I get it.

    Reply
  62. I’m very excited for this book. It’s been on my list to buy since I first saw it here. What a great topic – I’m going to have to do a quick refresher of Macbeth before I get it.

    Reply
  63. I’m very excited for this book. It’s been on my list to buy since I first saw it here. What a great topic – I’m going to have to do a quick refresher of Macbeth before I get it.

    Reply
  64. I’m very excited for this book. It’s been on my list to buy since I first saw it here. What a great topic – I’m going to have to do a quick refresher of Macbeth before I get it.

    Reply
  65. I’m very excited for this book. It’s been on my list to buy since I first saw it here. What a great topic – I’m going to have to do a quick refresher of Macbeth before I get it.

    Reply
  66. I’m very excited to hear that this will be out soon, and very near my birthday so I can add it to my wish list when husband and children ask what I want. I can justify its purchase despite my New Year’s resolution to reduce the TBR pile, as this won’t be in the TBR at all but will be read immediately.
    I love classic stories told from a different POV (Jean Rhys’ “A Wide Sargasso Sea”, the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Gregory Harrison’s “Wicked”, the story of the Wicked Witch, Geraldine Brooks’ “March”, the story of the father from “Little Women”). When done well they inform and enrich the original, even if they contradict some — or even all — of what we thought we knew.

    Reply
  67. I’m very excited to hear that this will be out soon, and very near my birthday so I can add it to my wish list when husband and children ask what I want. I can justify its purchase despite my New Year’s resolution to reduce the TBR pile, as this won’t be in the TBR at all but will be read immediately.
    I love classic stories told from a different POV (Jean Rhys’ “A Wide Sargasso Sea”, the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Gregory Harrison’s “Wicked”, the story of the Wicked Witch, Geraldine Brooks’ “March”, the story of the father from “Little Women”). When done well they inform and enrich the original, even if they contradict some — or even all — of what we thought we knew.

    Reply
  68. I’m very excited to hear that this will be out soon, and very near my birthday so I can add it to my wish list when husband and children ask what I want. I can justify its purchase despite my New Year’s resolution to reduce the TBR pile, as this won’t be in the TBR at all but will be read immediately.
    I love classic stories told from a different POV (Jean Rhys’ “A Wide Sargasso Sea”, the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Gregory Harrison’s “Wicked”, the story of the Wicked Witch, Geraldine Brooks’ “March”, the story of the father from “Little Women”). When done well they inform and enrich the original, even if they contradict some — or even all — of what we thought we knew.

    Reply
  69. I’m very excited to hear that this will be out soon, and very near my birthday so I can add it to my wish list when husband and children ask what I want. I can justify its purchase despite my New Year’s resolution to reduce the TBR pile, as this won’t be in the TBR at all but will be read immediately.
    I love classic stories told from a different POV (Jean Rhys’ “A Wide Sargasso Sea”, the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Gregory Harrison’s “Wicked”, the story of the Wicked Witch, Geraldine Brooks’ “March”, the story of the father from “Little Women”). When done well they inform and enrich the original, even if they contradict some — or even all — of what we thought we knew.

    Reply
  70. I’m very excited to hear that this will be out soon, and very near my birthday so I can add it to my wish list when husband and children ask what I want. I can justify its purchase despite my New Year’s resolution to reduce the TBR pile, as this won’t be in the TBR at all but will be read immediately.
    I love classic stories told from a different POV (Jean Rhys’ “A Wide Sargasso Sea”, the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Gregory Harrison’s “Wicked”, the story of the Wicked Witch, Geraldine Brooks’ “March”, the story of the father from “Little Women”). When done well they inform and enrich the original, even if they contradict some — or even all — of what we thought we knew.

    Reply
  71. Congrats on what promises to be a fantastic book. I know that this is the book will be the one that goes on my TBR list. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of historical fiction but have not tested those waters. Lady MacBeth has always intrigued me and so I think I’ll start right here.

    Reply
  72. Congrats on what promises to be a fantastic book. I know that this is the book will be the one that goes on my TBR list. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of historical fiction but have not tested those waters. Lady MacBeth has always intrigued me and so I think I’ll start right here.

    Reply
  73. Congrats on what promises to be a fantastic book. I know that this is the book will be the one that goes on my TBR list. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of historical fiction but have not tested those waters. Lady MacBeth has always intrigued me and so I think I’ll start right here.

    Reply
  74. Congrats on what promises to be a fantastic book. I know that this is the book will be the one that goes on my TBR list. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of historical fiction but have not tested those waters. Lady MacBeth has always intrigued me and so I think I’ll start right here.

    Reply
  75. Congrats on what promises to be a fantastic book. I know that this is the book will be the one that goes on my TBR list. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of historical fiction but have not tested those waters. Lady MacBeth has always intrigued me and so I think I’ll start right here.

    Reply
  76. Wow, that’s a real stunner of an opening, and I love how you’ve caught the flavor of life back then in just a few words.
    I’m curious about the Pre-Raphaelite picture you posted; I’ve seen a lot of Pre-Raphaelite work, but never this. Do you know who painted it?
    I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    Reply
  77. Wow, that’s a real stunner of an opening, and I love how you’ve caught the flavor of life back then in just a few words.
    I’m curious about the Pre-Raphaelite picture you posted; I’ve seen a lot of Pre-Raphaelite work, but never this. Do you know who painted it?
    I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    Reply
  78. Wow, that’s a real stunner of an opening, and I love how you’ve caught the flavor of life back then in just a few words.
    I’m curious about the Pre-Raphaelite picture you posted; I’ve seen a lot of Pre-Raphaelite work, but never this. Do you know who painted it?
    I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    Reply
  79. Wow, that’s a real stunner of an opening, and I love how you’ve caught the flavor of life back then in just a few words.
    I’m curious about the Pre-Raphaelite picture you posted; I’ve seen a lot of Pre-Raphaelite work, but never this. Do you know who painted it?
    I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    Reply
  80. Wow, that’s a real stunner of an opening, and I love how you’ve caught the flavor of life back then in just a few words.
    I’m curious about the Pre-Raphaelite picture you posted; I’ve seen a lot of Pre-Raphaelite work, but never this. Do you know who painted it?
    I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    Reply
  81. Can’t wait, Susan. I’ve already volunteered to write a review for our library’s website “Staff Recommends” page once I’ve read it. Reading that excerpt makes me even more confident that it’s going to be wonderful.

    Reply
  82. Can’t wait, Susan. I’ve already volunteered to write a review for our library’s website “Staff Recommends” page once I’ve read it. Reading that excerpt makes me even more confident that it’s going to be wonderful.

    Reply
  83. Can’t wait, Susan. I’ve already volunteered to write a review for our library’s website “Staff Recommends” page once I’ve read it. Reading that excerpt makes me even more confident that it’s going to be wonderful.

    Reply
  84. Can’t wait, Susan. I’ve already volunteered to write a review for our library’s website “Staff Recommends” page once I’ve read it. Reading that excerpt makes me even more confident that it’s going to be wonderful.

    Reply
  85. Can’t wait, Susan. I’ve already volunteered to write a review for our library’s website “Staff Recommends” page once I’ve read it. Reading that excerpt makes me even more confident that it’s going to be wonderful.

    Reply
  86. Wow! Great opening. I learned most of Shakespeare’s play by heart in school (and loved it), and now I’m really looking forward to this fresh viewpoint.

    Reply
  87. Wow! Great opening. I learned most of Shakespeare’s play by heart in school (and loved it), and now I’m really looking forward to this fresh viewpoint.

    Reply
  88. Wow! Great opening. I learned most of Shakespeare’s play by heart in school (and loved it), and now I’m really looking forward to this fresh viewpoint.

    Reply
  89. Wow! Great opening. I learned most of Shakespeare’s play by heart in school (and loved it), and now I’m really looking forward to this fresh viewpoint.

    Reply
  90. Wow! Great opening. I learned most of Shakespeare’s play by heart in school (and loved it), and now I’m really looking forward to this fresh viewpoint.

    Reply
  91. Elaine: the painting is entitled ‘The Crystal Ball’, and is by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
    On the topic of the blog, it is always good to see a new angle on an historical figure. It is one of the marks of a good historian that he or she does not simply accept what has been said and written by others in the past, but looks at the evidence afresh, and perhaps reaches different conclusions. This is just as true of well-researched historical fiction as it is of scholarly books and articles, and if anyone deserves re-assessment, I feel sure that Lady Macbeth does. The power of Shakespeare is such that people do not think of challenging him, but he, like all of us, was of his time – and was writing fiction!
    🙂

    Reply
  92. Elaine: the painting is entitled ‘The Crystal Ball’, and is by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
    On the topic of the blog, it is always good to see a new angle on an historical figure. It is one of the marks of a good historian that he or she does not simply accept what has been said and written by others in the past, but looks at the evidence afresh, and perhaps reaches different conclusions. This is just as true of well-researched historical fiction as it is of scholarly books and articles, and if anyone deserves re-assessment, I feel sure that Lady Macbeth does. The power of Shakespeare is such that people do not think of challenging him, but he, like all of us, was of his time – and was writing fiction!
    🙂

    Reply
  93. Elaine: the painting is entitled ‘The Crystal Ball’, and is by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
    On the topic of the blog, it is always good to see a new angle on an historical figure. It is one of the marks of a good historian that he or she does not simply accept what has been said and written by others in the past, but looks at the evidence afresh, and perhaps reaches different conclusions. This is just as true of well-researched historical fiction as it is of scholarly books and articles, and if anyone deserves re-assessment, I feel sure that Lady Macbeth does. The power of Shakespeare is such that people do not think of challenging him, but he, like all of us, was of his time – and was writing fiction!
    🙂

    Reply
  94. Elaine: the painting is entitled ‘The Crystal Ball’, and is by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
    On the topic of the blog, it is always good to see a new angle on an historical figure. It is one of the marks of a good historian that he or she does not simply accept what has been said and written by others in the past, but looks at the evidence afresh, and perhaps reaches different conclusions. This is just as true of well-researched historical fiction as it is of scholarly books and articles, and if anyone deserves re-assessment, I feel sure that Lady Macbeth does. The power of Shakespeare is such that people do not think of challenging him, but he, like all of us, was of his time – and was writing fiction!
    🙂

    Reply
  95. Elaine: the painting is entitled ‘The Crystal Ball’, and is by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
    On the topic of the blog, it is always good to see a new angle on an historical figure. It is one of the marks of a good historian that he or she does not simply accept what has been said and written by others in the past, but looks at the evidence afresh, and perhaps reaches different conclusions. This is just as true of well-researched historical fiction as it is of scholarly books and articles, and if anyone deserves re-assessment, I feel sure that Lady Macbeth does. The power of Shakespeare is such that people do not think of challenging him, but he, like all of us, was of his time – and was writing fiction!
    🙂

    Reply
  96. Thank you all for your lovely comments! One of my goals in writing this book was to present a fresh perspective on a woman who is infamous in literature, but who has rarely been treated in historical fiction. She’s appeared in some novels about Macbeth — Tranter and Dunnett most notably –but even so, she wasn’t the main protagonist of the novel, and she has never been given the up-close-and-personal treatment of first-person narrative and updated research. So there was lots of room to play with the subject!
    In the years since Dunnett wrote King Hereafter, some very interesting research has changed aspects of the “landscape” of that historical era, altering the possible whys and wherefores regarding both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I wanted to present that new historical perspective of the lady and her time and circumstances. I did a ton of research and drew a few conclusions of my own, and made sure to clear the facts and interpretations with experts in the field whenever I could.
    I’m planning a blog about the historical research aspects of the book, so stay tuned to Word Wenches if you’re interested in that!
    I hope you’ll all look for the book and will love reading the story … and good luck with the contest!
    thanks,
    Susan

    Reply
  97. Thank you all for your lovely comments! One of my goals in writing this book was to present a fresh perspective on a woman who is infamous in literature, but who has rarely been treated in historical fiction. She’s appeared in some novels about Macbeth — Tranter and Dunnett most notably –but even so, she wasn’t the main protagonist of the novel, and she has never been given the up-close-and-personal treatment of first-person narrative and updated research. So there was lots of room to play with the subject!
    In the years since Dunnett wrote King Hereafter, some very interesting research has changed aspects of the “landscape” of that historical era, altering the possible whys and wherefores regarding both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I wanted to present that new historical perspective of the lady and her time and circumstances. I did a ton of research and drew a few conclusions of my own, and made sure to clear the facts and interpretations with experts in the field whenever I could.
    I’m planning a blog about the historical research aspects of the book, so stay tuned to Word Wenches if you’re interested in that!
    I hope you’ll all look for the book and will love reading the story … and good luck with the contest!
    thanks,
    Susan

    Reply
  98. Thank you all for your lovely comments! One of my goals in writing this book was to present a fresh perspective on a woman who is infamous in literature, but who has rarely been treated in historical fiction. She’s appeared in some novels about Macbeth — Tranter and Dunnett most notably –but even so, she wasn’t the main protagonist of the novel, and she has never been given the up-close-and-personal treatment of first-person narrative and updated research. So there was lots of room to play with the subject!
    In the years since Dunnett wrote King Hereafter, some very interesting research has changed aspects of the “landscape” of that historical era, altering the possible whys and wherefores regarding both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I wanted to present that new historical perspective of the lady and her time and circumstances. I did a ton of research and drew a few conclusions of my own, and made sure to clear the facts and interpretations with experts in the field whenever I could.
    I’m planning a blog about the historical research aspects of the book, so stay tuned to Word Wenches if you’re interested in that!
    I hope you’ll all look for the book and will love reading the story … and good luck with the contest!
    thanks,
    Susan

    Reply
  99. Thank you all for your lovely comments! One of my goals in writing this book was to present a fresh perspective on a woman who is infamous in literature, but who has rarely been treated in historical fiction. She’s appeared in some novels about Macbeth — Tranter and Dunnett most notably –but even so, she wasn’t the main protagonist of the novel, and she has never been given the up-close-and-personal treatment of first-person narrative and updated research. So there was lots of room to play with the subject!
    In the years since Dunnett wrote King Hereafter, some very interesting research has changed aspects of the “landscape” of that historical era, altering the possible whys and wherefores regarding both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I wanted to present that new historical perspective of the lady and her time and circumstances. I did a ton of research and drew a few conclusions of my own, and made sure to clear the facts and interpretations with experts in the field whenever I could.
    I’m planning a blog about the historical research aspects of the book, so stay tuned to Word Wenches if you’re interested in that!
    I hope you’ll all look for the book and will love reading the story … and good luck with the contest!
    thanks,
    Susan

    Reply
  100. Thank you all for your lovely comments! One of my goals in writing this book was to present a fresh perspective on a woman who is infamous in literature, but who has rarely been treated in historical fiction. She’s appeared in some novels about Macbeth — Tranter and Dunnett most notably –but even so, she wasn’t the main protagonist of the novel, and she has never been given the up-close-and-personal treatment of first-person narrative and updated research. So there was lots of room to play with the subject!
    In the years since Dunnett wrote King Hereafter, some very interesting research has changed aspects of the “landscape” of that historical era, altering the possible whys and wherefores regarding both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I wanted to present that new historical perspective of the lady and her time and circumstances. I did a ton of research and drew a few conclusions of my own, and made sure to clear the facts and interpretations with experts in the field whenever I could.
    I’m planning a blog about the historical research aspects of the book, so stay tuned to Word Wenches if you’re interested in that!
    I hope you’ll all look for the book and will love reading the story … and good luck with the contest!
    thanks,
    Susan

    Reply
  101. LOL You beat me to it, Susan. My comment was going to be DD gave us Macbeth’s view now I eagerly look forward to Lady Macbeth’s.
    And so glad to be getting a different view to Shakespear’s. I think too many forget he was a writer like us and wrote fiction even if some of his characters were real. It still amazes me the number of people who use him as a history reference
    Great blogs, ladies, all of them. So thorougly enjoyable and inspiring.

    Reply
  102. LOL You beat me to it, Susan. My comment was going to be DD gave us Macbeth’s view now I eagerly look forward to Lady Macbeth’s.
    And so glad to be getting a different view to Shakespear’s. I think too many forget he was a writer like us and wrote fiction even if some of his characters were real. It still amazes me the number of people who use him as a history reference
    Great blogs, ladies, all of them. So thorougly enjoyable and inspiring.

    Reply
  103. LOL You beat me to it, Susan. My comment was going to be DD gave us Macbeth’s view now I eagerly look forward to Lady Macbeth’s.
    And so glad to be getting a different view to Shakespear’s. I think too many forget he was a writer like us and wrote fiction even if some of his characters were real. It still amazes me the number of people who use him as a history reference
    Great blogs, ladies, all of them. So thorougly enjoyable and inspiring.

    Reply
  104. LOL You beat me to it, Susan. My comment was going to be DD gave us Macbeth’s view now I eagerly look forward to Lady Macbeth’s.
    And so glad to be getting a different view to Shakespear’s. I think too many forget he was a writer like us and wrote fiction even if some of his characters were real. It still amazes me the number of people who use him as a history reference
    Great blogs, ladies, all of them. So thorougly enjoyable and inspiring.

    Reply
  105. LOL You beat me to it, Susan. My comment was going to be DD gave us Macbeth’s view now I eagerly look forward to Lady Macbeth’s.
    And so glad to be getting a different view to Shakespear’s. I think too many forget he was a writer like us and wrote fiction even if some of his characters were real. It still amazes me the number of people who use him as a history reference
    Great blogs, ladies, all of them. So thorougly enjoyable and inspiring.

    Reply
  106. Susan/Sarah, Lady Macbeth sounds marvelous and I’ll be looking for it (though I certainly would love to win your ARC!). I’m a big fan of your writing as Sarah Gabriel. . .
    Melinda

    Reply
  107. Susan/Sarah, Lady Macbeth sounds marvelous and I’ll be looking for it (though I certainly would love to win your ARC!). I’m a big fan of your writing as Sarah Gabriel. . .
    Melinda

    Reply
  108. Susan/Sarah, Lady Macbeth sounds marvelous and I’ll be looking for it (though I certainly would love to win your ARC!). I’m a big fan of your writing as Sarah Gabriel. . .
    Melinda

    Reply
  109. Susan/Sarah, Lady Macbeth sounds marvelous and I’ll be looking for it (though I certainly would love to win your ARC!). I’m a big fan of your writing as Sarah Gabriel. . .
    Melinda

    Reply
  110. Susan/Sarah, Lady Macbeth sounds marvelous and I’ll be looking for it (though I certainly would love to win your ARC!). I’m a big fan of your writing as Sarah Gabriel. . .
    Melinda

    Reply
  111. I love Historicals that mix Fact with the story because it really brings the characters and story alive for me. It sounds like a really good book Susan and it would be great to win the ARC.

    Reply
  112. I love Historicals that mix Fact with the story because it really brings the characters and story alive for me. It sounds like a really good book Susan and it would be great to win the ARC.

    Reply
  113. I love Historicals that mix Fact with the story because it really brings the characters and story alive for me. It sounds like a really good book Susan and it would be great to win the ARC.

    Reply
  114. I love Historicals that mix Fact with the story because it really brings the characters and story alive for me. It sounds like a really good book Susan and it would be great to win the ARC.

    Reply
  115. I love Historicals that mix Fact with the story because it really brings the characters and story alive for me. It sounds like a really good book Susan and it would be great to win the ARC.

    Reply

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