An Interview with Susanna Kearsley

Christina here and today it is my very great pleasure to welcome back Wench Emerita Susanna Kearsley to the blog to chat about her new novel, The Vanished Days, which will be published in the US on 5thOctober this year (and in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand next spring). It is a prequel and companion novel to The Winter Sea, and partly overlaps with the action in that book. It goes back in time to the 1680s and introduces the reader to the Moray and Graeme families.

 

I have had the honour of reading an ARC of this book, and as always, I was kept spellbound right to the end – it’s absolutely wonderful! It also gave me a very good excuse (as if I needed one!) to reread The Winter Sea, which is one of my all-time favourite novels.

 

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Susanna welcome! Please can you give us a brief summary of what The Vanished Days is about and how you came to write it?

 

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Away to the Highlands

Braemar castle signNicola here. Last week I was lucky enough to be on holiday in the Scottish Highlands, staying in a historic cottage above the town of Braemar. There aren’t many things that I have in common with the Queen, but for a few days we were within 20 miles of each other as Braemar is just down the road from Balmoral Castle! Our cottage however, whilst very comfortable indeed, was a lot smaller than the royal residence although just as interesting historically. Braemar too is an absolutely fascinating little town with a hugely interesting history and I had the treat of taking both an exclusive tour of the town and of the castle with two different but equally knowledgeable guides, and I thought I would share some historical snippets here.

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Noble Scots and Other Eccentricities

Rice_EntrancingtheEarl_600x900Pat here:

I really ought to dig into my research files more often to see what I’ve looked up while I’m plotting a book, but by the time the book is ready for release, that material is a couple of years old, and I’ve forgotten about it. So out of curiosity, I dug into my files for ENTRANCING THE EARL, my May release, to see what I toyed with before I began writing. I can’t see any related blogs, other than my coloring between the lines complaint for the last book in my School of Magic series. But if I’m repeating myself, sorry!

ENTRANCING THE EARL required research into 19th century beekeeping, architecture and construction of Scots brochs and the history behind them, and Scots peerages—which aren’t the same as English.

Just because authors get the most complaints about aristocratic titles, and I don’t want to hear anyone complaining about my female, unmarried countess, I’ll give you a fast lesson in Scots peerages—it’s complicated.

 

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Sir Sean Connery – A Tribute

“Love may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the ride worthwhile.” Sir Sean Connery (1930-2020)

Sean in a kiltAs we mentioned in our recent newsletter, the Wenches were all very sad to learn about the loss of the wonderful actor Sir Sean Connery, the inspiration for many romantic heroes. We started to reminisce about our favourite memories of the roles he had played, and felt it would be a fitting tribute to this real-life Scottish hero if we shared them here:-

Mary Jo – Sean Connery was one of the most charismatic and compelling actors ever, and while his recent death at 90 wasn't cutting him off prematurely, he will certainly be missed.

I've seen him in any number of movies, including various James Bond films and a memorable turn as Indiana Jones Senior in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where he was the father of the younger Indiana Jones, memorably played by Harrison Ford. But perhaps my favorite movie role of Connery was a brief, uncredited appearance as King Richard in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. When he appears at the end to Robin Hood and his men, it's as much a surprise to movie viewers to see that unmistakable face as it would have been for the forest bandits to see the real Richard. It's quite a moment, and Sean Connery played it to the hilt!

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Psychics, Witches, and Cadavers

Rice_LessonsinEnchantment_600x900My Malcolm and Ives characters tend to be creatures of their time, even though the Ives are aristocracy and the Malcolms are often eccentric psychics. I can finally use that term in the Victorian Age!! The term first came along in 1871 from the Greek psykhikos “Of the soul, spirit, or mind.” And because we’re on this subject instead of the history I started out to tell—King James I is responsible for psychics being called witches. For your edification—in Samuel 28 in Hebrew, Saul goes to a “woman with a divining spirit”—the derivation would be the same Greek above. This psychic contacts the spirit of Samuel. But the King James translation we all know and sometimes love translated the word from the original Hebrew as “Witch” from idolater, medium, sorcerer, and ghost whisperer. Similar words, different meanings. So in Hebrew, the woman is a psychic, and in English, she became a witch. (I love that Hebrew has a word for ghost whisperer!!!!) I know I’ll find a way to insert this in my books, but you heard it here first. (Lessons in Enchantment pre-order link)

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