Today we are SO excited to be the tour stop for the official blog tour of Victoria Lamb’s Witchstruck. Victoria Lamb stops by and tells us more about her book, her life as a writer, and what is coming next from her. Witchstruck is a young adult paranormal/historical fiction book that was released September 24, 2013 by Harlequin Teen. For more about the tour, visit Kismet Book Touring.
About the Book
The Tudor Witch Trilogy
Pub Date: 9/24/13
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned.
If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged.
Meg Lytton has always known she is different—that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practise witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne.
With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg’s hand in marriage, and Meg’s own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn’t a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice.
The Secret Circle meets The Other Boleyn Girl in Witchstruck, the first book of the magical Tudor Witch trilogy.
Inside the Author’s Head
Welcome to the blog! Can you first tell readers where the idea came from for Witchstruck?
I was partway through my adult Tudor series about Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady” and was chatting with my agent about new ideas for the future when he mentioned YA fiction. I had always wanted to write about Elizabeth I before she came to the throne, having read a fantastic kids’ book on the subject by Jean Plaidy called The Young Elizabeth. So I went away and came up with Meg and Alejandro’s story, set against the backdrop of the princess’s imprisonment for suspected treason, and luckily everyone loved it, so I started writing!
This story has a fascinating premise. What kind of research did you have to do to prepare yourself to write it?
There’s plenty of historical material available on the fraught relationship between Bloody Mary and her half-sister Mary, and the terrible conflict faced by Protestants under Mary’s reign who had to embrace Catholicism or be burnt as heretics, so that was relatively easy to research. However, the main setting for the story, Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire, was pulled down centuries ago, and all we have left of it are a few, rather imperfect drawings and descriptions of this once-fabulous hunting lodge. And of course although there is plenty of literature about high-end Renaissance occultism – courtiers often dabbled secretly in astrological matters and the dark arts – there is not much about the life of a country witch in Tudor times. So imagination had to play a large part in my research! Luckily I went to university in nearby Oxford, so I knew the area reasonably well, which was helpful when describing the landscape, and I based most of my witchery scenes on country practices now.
How did your studies and experiences in life help shape who you are as a writer?
My first reading was fantasy and adventure, and they still play a large part in everything I write, even my adult historical fiction. I grew up in a family of highly successful professional writers; this has always made me look on writing as a job rather than a creative hobby or dream – which is how most writers start. When I come up with an idea, I’m immediately looking ahead to gauge how it might work in the commercial marketplace. And when I’m writing my novels, I try not to allow characters to do their own thing; I plan my books very closely, and know that as soon as I get sentimental about a character, and let it get away from me, I’m in danger of ruining the plot. So I’m quite controlling as a writer and unsentimental about the craft, which may be a result of my upbringing in a house of writers!
Okay, so I always like to see what authors read. What are your top five favorite books and why?
My fav reads change from time to time, and these are in no particular order, but roughly: The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (brilliant first person narrative of Merlin’s early years, highly recommended); She by H. Rider Haggard (an exhilarating forerunner of modern adventure stories: the Victorian equivalent of Indiana Jones meets The White Goddess); Venetia by Georgette Heyer (a witty Regency romance between a saint and a sinner: much like my own Meg and Alejandro, only the other way round!); The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (Will discovers on his 11th birthday that he’s the last of an all-powerful race sworn to protect the world from dark forces – what’s not to love?); A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (probably the most influential novel of my childhood: a masterclass in how to write stunning, breathtaking fantasy fiction … we’re not worthy, we’re not worthy etc).
Night owl or early bird? How does it help with your writing process?
Night owl. I love the night, always have. ‘Plenty of time for sleep when you’re dead’ is one of my mottoes. I also have five kids and a grandchild now, so the house is crawling with noisy people most of the day. Once they’re all safely tucked up in bed, I retire to my writing space and tune into my current novel.
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
I always wanted to be a poet, from the age of about ten, when I read Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats, and thought the most romantic thing in the world was to be a poet and die young. It’s now too late for me to die young – and for this I am very grateful, as I would have missed out on so much! – but I have published five books of poetry, and been a local Poet Laureate, so that was a dream I fulfilled. I also wrote my first novel at about 12, an epic fantasy with a world ‘map’ and everything. But sadly it wasn’t terribly good. It took me rather longer to get published in fiction – until I was thirty, in fact.
If you could live in one ‘book world’ which one would it be and why?
There are just too many great book worlds to choose from! I suppose if I have to pick one, off the top of my head, I’d love to be a bronze dragon rider in Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series – so I’d have to change gender, as I think they’re only supposed to have male riders, which is rather unfair!
Where do you see The Tudor Witch series heading next? What can we expect for Meg in the upcoming books?
The series becomes far darker and scarier in book two, so expect to have to check under your bed when reading Witchfall, in which Meg accidentally releases a dark spirit whose actions threaten to destroy England itself – and Marcus Dent returns!
What projects do you think you’ll work on after the trilogy has ended? Do you have anything else you are working on now?
Yes, I’ve just finished writing an epic YA fantasy novel with my husband, who is a sci-fi and fantasy editor. It’s not been seen by anyone yet, so very early days, but we’re hoping to develop it into a new YA series which will pick up those rich fantasy themes and elements we both loved as children.
About the Author
Victoria Lamb grew up in the peaceful Isle of Man, benefiting from a vast library of books and a family of writers from which to take inspiration. She now lives with her own family in a three-hundred year old farmhouse on the fringes of Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor, where she walks most days and writes in a study overlooking fields of moorland ponies.
She has a serious addiction to Twitter, and invites other such addicts to chat with her there about books and nonsense.
Connect with Victoria
Now comes the fun part! Today’s giveaway is open to US/Canada residents! The prizes include a daily prize (finished copy of Witchstruck) plus a Grand Prize Giveaway. A big thanks to Harlequin Teen, Victoria Lamb, and Kismet Tours for this chance. Be sure to follow the directions on each entry, as they will be verified and best of luck!
Click below to enter:
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No purchase necessary and void where prohibited. Please read the Rafflecopter Terms & Conditions for more information!
Check out more of the tour
Monday, September 16th
All Things Urban Fantasy
Wednesday, September 18th
The Book Cellar
Friday, September 20th
Harlequin Tour Stop
Monday, September 23rd
Two Chicks on Books
Wednesday, September 25th
Friday, September 27th
Magical Urban Fantasy
Monday, September 30th
Wednesday, October 2nd
Such a Novel Idea
Friday, October 4th
Chapter by Chapter
This book tour was organized by Kismet Book Touring