Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Interview with Christine Blevins #TurningofAnneMerrickVirtualTour

Today's feature is a treat for me. I had the chance to interview Christine Blevins and as you will see, she is such an intriguing person. If you haven't read any of her books, please make sure to add at least one to your TBR list. Her talented way in which she brings history to guaranteed to captivate anyone who picks up one of her books! If you are just arriving here, make sure to read Christine's guest post, read my review of The Turning of Anne Merrick, and don't miss out on a chance to win the 18th Century writing pack that Christine is offering to one lucky reader!

Welcome, Christine! It is such a pleasure to have you with us today.

In one sentence, describe "The Turning of Anne Merrick".
When the penalty for spying was death, Anne Merrick was a spy.

What inspired you to write this novel?
Although I’ve always been enamored with revolution of any sort, and the American Revolution specifically, the idea for an American Revolution story was inspired by a single unrelated note I jotted down when researching 18th century ocean travel for my debut novel, Midwife of the Blue Ridge: “NYC occupied by British 1776-1784.” This note eventually sent me on a research tear that resulted in the tale of a New York woman – not the daughter, or wife or mistress or maid of any historically famous man –  just an ordinary  woman who gets swept up by remarkable events taking place around her.

How much research do you do on a subject before you decide to write?
A lot. Enough to really know the setting, culture, and current events of the time period as a base, and then there’s the research I do along the way, as there is always something I don’t know as I move forward with the writing. I’ve learned it is always best for me to be always doing some specific reading as I write – to give the writing immediacy. For example, in conjunction with writing the Valley Forge segment of The Turning of Anne Merrick, I read a book titled Ordeal at Valley Forge by John Joseph Stroud, which is a day-by-day chronicle compiled from a variety of primary sources.

Who or what was your biggest influence in your decision to become a writer?
I can’t say I ever actually
decided to become a writer, but I did make a decision to start writing down a story that had popped into my head during a trip to Scotland. I don’t know if it was the gorgeous Scottish landscape that served as my muse, or simply the fact that my life had matured to a point that allowed me the time to develop a new passion.

If you could spend one day with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to hang with Thomas Paine – my favorite Revolutionary – he is the Founding Father I find most fascinating. I begin each chapter of The Turning of Anne Merrick with a relevant quote from Paine’s The Crisis pamphlet series.

I know some authors have unusual rituals when they write: a certain food, lock themselves in a room, only work at night, etc. What's yours?
I will admit to having a few writing foibles: I always burn a certain candle while I write. The original candle – a scent called “Hemingway” from Hobby Lobby – was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter Grace. I buy them by the dozen. I have certain music I play as I write – nothing with words in any language that I understand. Gaelic is good. My collection of writing tunes includes of movie soundracks, fiddle, and bagpipe music.

How does writing work with family life?
It can be difficult integrating writing – a pretty solitary and time consuming endeavor – within a busy and close-knit family. Though my kids are all grown, and busy with their own lives, we still seem to be together a lot. I have two small granddaughters (Gloria 4, and Felicity months) who I adore spending time with. To make it all work with deadlines etc. I am very lucky to have an extremely wonderful and supportive husband who helps me keep it all in balance.

What things do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing?
We have a lakehouse up north in Michigan where I go to smell the pines, watch birds, see the stars, and cook a lot of great food. This winter I’ve been into braising meats, making tamales, and reconditioning vintage cast iron cookware that I buy on the cheap at flea markets.

Would you share one thing most people don't about you?
I didn’t speak learn to speak English until I went to kindergarten.

Tell us about your next project.
I’m working on the third and last book in this American Revolution series that takes Anne, Jack and the gang down to the southern theater of the war, where more action, adventure and yes, a little romance ensues.

Thank you, Christine, for taking the time and allowing a small peek into your life. It has been such a pleasure hosting you for this tour.

Make sure to enter the giveaway for the 18th Century writing pack (see photo below) that Christine is giving to one lucky reader. This pack is sure to please!!

About the Author:

Author Christine Blevins writes what she loves to read – historical adventure stories. The Turning of Anne Merrick is Christine's third novel, and the second in a three-book series set during the American Revolution and War of Independence. A native Chicagoan, Christine lives in Elmhurst, Illinois along with her best friend and husband Brian, and The Dude, their very silly golden-doodle. She is at work finishing her next book inspired by a lifelong fascination with the foundations of American history and the revolutionary spirit. 

For more information on Christine Blevins and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find Christine on Facebook and Twitter:@Author_CBlevins

Make sure to visit the other blogs that are part of Christine's Tour and see what they have to say about "The Turning of Anne Merrick". You can view the full schedule here.

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