This week I would like to welcome Susan Whitfield, the prolific author of the Logan Hunter Mystery series, Slightly Cracked (women’s fiction) and Killer Recipes (cookbook). She’s here today to talk about her writing and her new book, a work of historical fiction called Sprig of Broom. Nice to have you here on Reade and Write, Susan!
Tell me about your new book.
Sprig of Broom is historical fiction.
Sprig of Broom is a coming-of-age novel about Geoffrey Plantagenet, a count, who at the age of 15 marries King Henry’s daughter, Empress Matilda, and fathers the dynasty of Plantagenet kings. The story begins with the count on his journey to Rouen in Normandy to be knighted, thus becoming a Knight of the Bath. From Rouen, he and the king’s entourage travel to LeMans where Geoffrey is wed to Matilda. And the loathing begins . . .
Sir Geoffrey Plantagenet has much to learn, and over the course of his life’s journey he develops a better understanding of himself, fathers a long line of kings, endures adversaries—especially his own wife—and boldly faces the world of chaos around him.
Who is the audience for the book?
Since I’m a multi-genre author, I hope my readership will follow but I expect historical fiction buffs will be the primary audience.
Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?
I discovered that I have an ancestor who was a Knight of the Bath in the 12th century. Geoffrey V Plantagenet, a count from Anjou in the duchy of Normandy married King Henry’s daughter, Matilda, and fathered Henry II, beginning the long line of Plantagenet kings of England. He was 15 and Matilda was 26 and previously married. They despised each other but vowed to give the king male heirs. This opened an intriguing door for my imagination. I read over thirty books from that time period and several that focused on the Plantagenets themselves.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
What a challenge! I have written five mysteries and a women’s fiction and made it all up. This was the first time that I felt I had to know as much accurate history about these characters as I could find and about the time period, how they talked, where they travelled, the clothing, food, etc. Once I had established the true history I went back and let my imagination fill in the unknown gaps. Believability was important to me. Writing scenes of conflict between Geoffrey and Matilda was my favorite part of the process.
Have you written any other books?
I wrote five novels in the Logan Hunter Mystery series, women’s fiction, Slightly Cracked, and authored a unique cookbook, Killer Recipes.
Do you write every day?
In one way or another. If I’m not literally writing, I’m working something out in my head.
When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?
I read a wide variety of genres and authors.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t let anyone talk you out of writing what you feel. Become the character. Work through the hurdles and focus on each character, the setting and the plot at different times.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t wait until you’re in your fifties to start writing seriously!
Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
I live in North Carolina and set all my books here except Sprig of Broom, of course.
Where can readers connect with you?
Where can readers find your books?
Until next week,