Today I’m pleased to welcome Margaret Skea to the blog. Margaret is the author of Turn of the Tide and the sequel, A House Divided, was published on 15 October 2015. Margaret has kindly answered a few of my questions
1. Tell us a little about A House Divided.
A House Divided continues the story of a fictional family trapped within an historic clan feud in 16th centry Scotland. Perhaps the best description is the cover blurb:
Eleven years on from the Massacre of Annock, the Cunninghame / Montgomerie truce is fragile. For the Munro family, living in hiding n Ayrshire under assumed names, these are dangerous times. While Munro risks his life daily in the service of the French King, the spectre of discovery by William Cunninghame haunts his wife Kate. Her fears for their children and her absent husband realized as William’s desire for revenge tears their world apart.
A sweeping tale of compassion and cruelty, treachery and sacrifice, set against the backdrop of feuding clans, the French Wars of Religion, and the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.
Although it is a sequel, it can equally be read as a stand-alone novel and will appeal to fans of Winston Graham’s Poldark, or CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series.
2. A House Divided is the sequel to Turn of the Tide. Did you always intend for Turn of the Tide to be followed by another book?
I intended Turn of the Tide to be the start of a series, though I didn’t have a fixed idea of how many books that might include. But there is so much interesting history of the period in both Scotland and Ireland, that it provides plenty of scope for exciting plots.
3. Turn of the Tide won the Beryl Bainbridge Best First Time Author Award. What is this award and what did it mean to you to win?
It’s awarded annually as part of The People’s Book Prize. Books are nominated by the publisher and then voted on by the public. The best part of it for me was to read the comments that voters left on the site, which were moving and humbling in equal measure. Here’s the link for anyone who might like to see what I mean. (Now if only some of these folk would copy and paste their comments onto Amazon…) http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/book.php?id=927
4. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
I’ve never been a planner. For Turn of the Tide I did know what the opening and the final scenes were to be (2nd time round that is – I discarded 70,000 words of a first draft when I changed the main character from an historic one to the fictional Munro.) For A House Divided I didn’t even have that security – at the outset all I had was a couple of incidents that I intended to form part of the plot at some stage.
Turn of the Tide was about 4 years in the making, 2 ½ of those writing the first draft. A House Divided was quicker – about 1 ½ years for the first draft, so I am improving!
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I don’t normally do a lot of relaxing, as I’m kept busy with lots of church-based activities – Kids’ Clubs, Bible Studies and so on. My ideal use of spare time is to sit in the garden and read a book. (And yes we do get some sunshine in Scotland – occasionally!)
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
The Bible. It has an endless variety of styles and types of writing – poetry, prose, journalistic and mystical; history books, inspirational writings, love stories, and cautionary tales; all related in some way to each other, and with the life of Christ at its core. I wouldn’t ever get bored.
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
What do I need to have beside me when I’m writing? The answer has to be crisps and chocolate – my current addiction is dark chocolate, generously laced with pieces of crystalised ginger.
Thanks for answering my questions and appearing on the blog.
About the author:
About the book:
“Eleven years on from the Massacre of Annock, the Cunninghame / Montgomerie truce is fragile. For the Munro family, living in hiding under assumed names, these are dangerous times.
While Munro risks his life daily in the service of the French King, the spectre of discovery by William Cunninghame haunts his wife, Kate. Her fears for their children and her absent husband realised as William’s desire for revenge tears their world apart.
A sweeping tale of compassion and cruelty, treachery and sacrifice, set against the backdrop of feuding clans, the French Wars of Religion, and the Great Scottish Witch hunt of 1597.”