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I’ve decided to celebrate fellow author’s releases. These will be clean adult fiction: romance, suspense, and/or inspirational. First up to be interviewed is Emily-Jane Hills Orford with Queen Mary’s Daughter, a historical fiction/fantasy.
“This novel is a masterpiece, written by a great storyteller, one who leads readers into the workings of the hearts of her characters and allows them to explore the conflicts inherent to human nature.” - Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person's life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? What if King James VI of Scotland didn't succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away? And, what if there was another heir to the Scottish throne?
In Queen Mary's Daughter (Clean Reads Publisher), author Emily-Jane Hills Orford presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
First and foremost, my grandmother (Gran). She and I had a special relationship. When I was old enough, we traveled together. One special trip took us to Scotland where we traced Gran’s childhood memories (she was born in Scotland) and we followed the trail of Mary Queen of Scots. We had been enjoying a number of novels and biographies about the ill-fated queen and my grandmother ignited my interest by telling me about ancestors who helped in her escape from Loch Leven Castle.
I always wanted to write about Queen Mary, but it wasn’t until the Brexit debacle and the ongoing desire of the Scottish people to separate from England, that I started looking more closely at the stories around Queen Mary. I knew she had given birth, prematurely, to twins while imprisoned at Loch Leven. History records that the babies died at birth and were buried on the island where the castle sat. An interesting footnote states that the location of the burial and the babies’ remains have never been found. So, I started thinking, ‘what if?’. What if there had been another heir to the Scottish throne and Scotland never did amalgamate with England and Ireland? And my story unfolded.
How long did it take you to write this book?
For the first draft, just over a year. Then came all the editing.
Tell us about your revisions…
It’s a painful process for a writer. We have to be very self-critical and look at our own work from the perspective of our potential readers. Does it flow? Does it make sense? And watch out for all those typos – when we’re writing, fast, there are bound to be typos. Sometimes very humorous typos.
When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
After several full edits, I took the plunge and found Clean Reads. I worked with their editors and fine-tuned the manuscript even further.
What happened along the way in your submission process?
I really lucked in with Clean Reads. Queen Mary’s Daughter was only sent out to a couple of publishers before Clean Reads snatched it up. While I awaited the contract, I continued working on other writing projects, including my recently released Middle Grade fantasy novel, Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (TellTale Publishing).
When and how did you get the offer on your book?
Everything was done via email. Which was great. Ten years ago, I was still submitting manuscripts via snail mail, which, when adding the return postage, was becoming expensive. And it took longer to get a response, if I ever did hear back from the publisher.
Tell us about the editorial process…
I had already gone through several edits before sending out the manuscript. Clean Reads has a very intense process. I think I went through three different editors to get the manuscript ready for publications. It was a lengthy process.
Did you get to participate in the cover process?
Not really. But I’m pleased with the cover. It really captures the main character and the Scottish flavor.
How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand or on screen (e-book)?
What marketing are you doing for this book?
I’ve participated in a lot of blog tours, advertising campaigns, seeking book reviews. I almost spend as much time promoting my books as I do writing them.
Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?
I learned a lot of interesting details about Scottish (and English) history.
Where can you be found online?
Emily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books. Her recent historical fiction/fantasy novel, Queen Mary’s Daughter, is receiving rave reviews as is her recent Middle Grade fantasy novel, Mrs. Murray’s Ghost. She writes about the extra-ordinary in life, in both creative nonfiction styles and historical fiction/fantasy. A regular book reviewer, the author loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.
Where can your books be purchased?
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Queen-Marys-Daughter-Emily-Jane-Orford-ebook/dp/B079DMRRR8/
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.