Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest author - Samantha Holt

As mentioned in my last post, I have been lucky enough to secure an interview with Samantha Holt, best-selling author of historical romances including her latest, The Angel's Assassin.

And so, without further ado, here is the interview:

What is your name and where do you come from?
Samantha Holt and I come from Warwickshire, England.
You write medieval romances. What is your absolute favourite time during the medieval period, and why?
I enjoy writing around the era of the Third Crusade - late 1100’s to the early 1200’s, though my writing spans from shortly after the Norman invasion, up until the 1400’s. But for me, those times were so full of turmoil and life was still quite gritty, so it adds an extra edge to my stories. I don’t like my characters to be too comfortable perhaps!
When and how did you initially become interested in this period? Have you studied it formally or did your interest spring from other roots?
I studied history and archaeology in college but didn’t resurrect my love for history until I was older. I can’t really say what drew me to the medieval era so strongly - again, the turmoil is a big pull for me and the fact that life was so very different to what it is now. Although I adore the Regency/Victorian periods, life was not as raw as it was in medieval times. I like the added excitement that a sword fight or a castle siege can bring in.
Where do you do your research? Libraries, record offices, or mainly on the internet? 
The internet is great as you have information at your fingertips but you do have to be careful as not all sources are trustworthy. I have a few very trusted sites that I use and several large books that I refer to a lot. Ideally, I like to visit places. We’re lucky in Warwickshire to have some wonderfully preserved castles and sometimes that is the best way of doing research. To feel the chill in the air as you step into the stairwell of a tower is just amazing and I love to draw that experience into my stories.
Does your research inspire new ideas, or do you stick clearly to the object of the research you are doing?
It varies. My most historical book so far, A Summer Siege, was written entirely around one event in history and that story only developed through my research of that moment in time. Certainly ideas spring up when I’m researching something but generally I remain focused on the task at hand. People don’t realise quite how much research goes into the books sometimes - it’s the smallest of things that count - and if I tried to write a story off everything I researched, I’d be writing for an eternity!
 What makes your book different than others in your genre?
My use of language is different. I know my native English tongue differs slightly but I hope that brings a sense of realism, particularly when it comes to dialogue. I love writing dialogue and I think that comes across. I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to visit places featured in my books (castles etc) and I hope to bring a sense of realism into my stories by blending my experiences into my tales.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Generally I take about three months. I write full time so I put in anything between 4-6 hours of writing a day.
What are some writing goals for the future?
I’d like to perhaps expand into a different historical era or even write some contemporary romances. For the moment, I still have some untapped medieval stories but I imagine there’s only so many you can write. Having said that, I’m always sure the one I’m working on will be my last one and then another miraculously comes along.
Samantha Holt resides in Warwickshire, England, with her twin girls, having followed her soldier husband around the UK for nearly 10 years. Growing up in Hampshire, she was inspired by the authors Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell, both of which lived and wrote only miles from her home town.
Samantha loves the romance genre and has been devouring romantic literature for as long as she can remember. History is another passion of hers and she loves to combine her love for history and romance into exciting and passionate tales.
Follow Samantha on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/romanticfiction

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