Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview with Mercedes Rochelle, Author of HEIR TO A PROPHECY (GIVEAWAY)




Publication Date: December 12, 2014

Top Hat Books

Paperback; 418p
ISBN: 978-1-78279-754-8
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Shakespeare’s Witches tell Banquo, “Thou Shalt ‘Get Kings Though Thou Be None”. Though Banquo is murdered, his son Fleance gets away. What happened to Fleance? What Kings? As Shakespeare’s audience apparently knew, Banquo was the ancestor of the royal Stewart line. But the road to kingship had a most inauspicious beginning, and we follow Fleance into exile and death, bestowing the Witches’ prophecy on his illegitimate son Walter. Born in Wales and raised in disgrace, Walter’s efforts to understand Banquo’s murder and honor his lineage take him on a long and treacherous journey through England and France before facing his destiny in Scotland.
If you are familiar with Shakespeare's Macbeth, these characters will sounds familiar to you and if you are not, Mercedes Rochelle's historical novel could be a great way to make your acquaintance with one of The Bard's darkest tragedies. Let's meet the author and hear more details about her book.

Interview with Mercedes Rochelle

Q. Welcome to Mina's Bookshelf, Mercedes. We would love to know more about your background and the a-ha moment when you realized "I can do this, I can write a book."

A. Thank you, Mina! Actually, when I started this novel many years ago, I had an interest in fiction but not necessarily History. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and of course loved Shakespeare. I had always wanted to be a writer but couldn’t think up a decent plot line (I still can’t). Imagine my gratification to discover that with Historical Fiction, the plot is already in place! It’s just up to the author to flesh it out (or make sense of it). The first time I realized the potential of Historical Fiction was when I read The Three Musketeers, which is still my favorite novel. I was inspired and the rest, as they say, is history.

Q. Heir To A Prophecy, your latest release, will find an avid audience among Shakespeare's fans. You chose one of the Bard's darkest and most powerful works as a bedrock for your historical novel - big shoes to fill! Why Macbeth? How did the idea of writing a spinoff come about?

A. In Macbeth, Banquo is killed and Fleance gets away.  The question about what happened to Fleance bothered me for years, until I finally woke up and realized I could research the question myself. I had no idea that Banquo was the ancestor of King James I, Shakespeare’s patron. I couldn’t understand why Shakespeare would just drop the subplot? What Kings were the Witches talking about? I can only assume the answers to my questions were common knowledge in Shakespeare’s day, but I think they were lost to most modern readers.

Q. What was one of the biggest challenges and the biggest reward of writing a book based on such a masterpiece?

As most of us know, Shakespeare took great liberties with history for the sake of his plots. This is certainly true with Macbeth, and I walked a fine line trying to balance his well-known story with actual events. For instance, I went to Scotland to find Dunsinane hill using a Geological Survey map, only to conclude that this just wasn’t the site of any great battle...or a castle for that matter. There are two hills so-named: Dinsinane and Dunsinnan, very close together. Neither one showed any evidence of habitation, nor were they near a river, which was critical to the historical description of the battle. So I had to move the battle scene elsewhere. The reward was getting to know the characters better; I have fallen in love with Prince Malcolm (later Malcolm III) who doesn’t really play a major role in Macbeth but is a big player in my novel.

Q. What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am writing a novel called THE SONS OF GODWINE, which is a sequel to GODWINE KINGMAKER, slotted for release early in 2015. I am telling the story of Harold Godwineson from the points of view of his brothers. I think the conflict between Harold and Tostig needs to be explored, since it led directly to Harold’s failure to stop Duke William from invading. Was Tostig the black-and-white villain he is usually portrayed as? I think not!

Q. Just for fun, if you could be a character in a Shakespeare's play, who would you be and why?

I would like to be Richard III. I find him so deliciously wicked that I never get tired of him! No, I don’t agree with Shakespeare’s depiction, but I do wonder if it was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Q. The conspiracy theory that questions the authorship of William Shakespeare's work is hard to die. Are you a believer or a doubter? Do you agree that his biography, obscure life and humble origins were too incompatible with his work's poetic sensibility and court-life familiarity?

I have no problem attributing the plays to Shakespeare. Since none of his plays were written on paper during his lifetime, we must trust to the memories of his fellow-players to remember the precise words. Were his plays a work-in-progress? Were they adapted for successive performances? Were they printed as written? Why not attribute them to Shakespeare? I read that he considered himself an actor first and a playwright second...that the plays were a means to an end. To me, that makes their genius even more powerful.

Q. You are given the chance to interview three authors from the past: who would you like to meet and what would you ask them.

Of course there is Alexandre Dumas, my inspiration. I would ask him where he got his inspiration from?  I would love to meet Arthur Conan Doyle; how much of Sherlock Holmes is autobiographical? And I would be honored to talk with Sir Walter Scott. Did he call his writings Historical Fiction or did he have another name for them? I think he was a Historical Fiction pioneer.

Giveaway (US only)

We are offering a copy of HEIR TO A PROPHECY to a follower of this blog (via GFC, Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter). Please, leave a comment in the section below and include your email address. The contest is open to US residents only. Good luck!

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About the Author


Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they built themselves.

For more information please visit Mercedes Rochelle’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.


Heir To A Prophecy Blog Tour


Monday, December 8

Interview & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, December 10
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, December 11
Saturday, December 13
Monday, December 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, December 16
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, December 17
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Friday, December 19
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Saturday, December 20
Monday, December 22
Tuesday, December 23
Friday, December 26
Tuesday, December 30
Review at Unshelfish


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway!
    dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com