Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beth Trissel

Please welcome the lovely Beth Trissel, author of gorgeous historical and light paranormal romances for The Wild Rose Press. Not only did she final in the Golden Heart contest in 2008, but she also won the Publishers Weekly Readers Choice Best Books of 2009. She's one talented lady, and lucky you--she's going to give away a digital copy of her newest book, Somewhere My Lass, to one commenter.

From the stunning Shenandoah Valley in Virginia (prime Civil War country, by the way, and I'm eternally jealous that she lives there!), here's Beth.

Tell us about Somewhere My Lass.
Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog. I’m excited about my new release, my first story set outside the U. S. Somewhere My Lass is a unique suspenseful Scottish time travel romance. It opens in a Victorian home in historic Staunton, Virginia, the oldest city (small) in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

This is the second book of the series. How did it come about?
Yes, Somewhere My Lass is the second release in my ‘Somewhere’ series, the premise being that the story opens the present day, so far in an old house in Virginia, then the reader is transported ‘Somewhere’ else. Either back in time in the same house, as in Somewhere My Love, or an entirely different place as in Somewhere My Lass. The opening of this story was inspired, as many of my tales are, by a dream that grabbed my attention and made me wonder where in the world do I go from here? Inquiring minds like mine want to know the rest of the story and so I delved and plotted.

Tell us about the interesting facts you unearthed when you researched these stories.
I’ve uncovered a wealth of information researching various time periods and the many facets that go along with a particular setting. The study I did for Somewhere My Lass boggles the mind and makes it difficult to know where to begin. One fascinating archeological discovery that influenced this story is the ancient hospital run by monks at Soutra, high in the Lammermuir Hills, near Edinburgh. This Medieval hospital was dedicated to looking after the poor, travelers, and pilgrims as well as the sick and infirm. Ancient Scotland did a lot more with medicines than I realized.

To quote from the above site: “Evidence…suggests the medieval Augustine monks also knew how to amputate limbs, fashion surgical instruments, induce birth, stop scurvy and even create hangover cures. The excavations at Soutra have also unearthed fragments of pottery vessels that were once used for storing medicines such as an analgesic salve made from opium and grease and treatment for parasitic and intestinal worms. Dressings have also been found, some still with salves or human tissues attached and the scientists have discovered a mixture of Quicklime (calcium oxide) which scientists believe was used as a disinfectant and a deodorant.”

“Dr Brian Moffat archeo-ethno-pharmocologist and director of investigations for the Soutra Project, studies clumps of seeds from the site. He said the scientists trawl literature of the period to try and identify remedies the herbs could have been used to create. They then search the site to find medical waste evidence to support their theories…”

I love that you take such care in your research! How much does the setting influence the story?
The setting is all important and requires a lot of study to understand and get to know.

What advice would you give an author in terms of writing historical romance? How much history is too much?
You can never learn too much, but only use a fraction of what you know. Research is my armor. Without it, I can’t walk across the room, feed or clothe my characters…even if I don’t use a particular detail I need to know what’s feasible for that time period. And if I depart from the norm, need to know what that norm is.

Great advice, Beth. How do you decide which events and how much historical detail to include in your stories?
As much as enhances the story, moves it forward, makes the reader feel they are ‘there.’ Be careful not to use the story as a platform to trot out all your knowledge. I was accused of that in my early days and justifiably so.

I know how dangerous that trap is, because I always end up using fewer nuggets of information than I want to in my books. What advice can you give on pacing in a historical romance?
Keep up the pace! ~The advice given me by the first agent who ever took the time to offer direction. Writing an historical is no excuse for a slow pace. My cardinal rule is Never bore the reader.

Trust me, your readers aren't bored :) So what are you working on next?
I’m at work on my first historical romance set in England. Again, an adventure to write and I’m learning a lot about England and France in 1789, the break out (big time!) of the French Revolution. Heads weren’t rolling yet but the country was aflame and aristocrats fleeing or fighting to hold onto their estates. No Scarlet Pimpernel on the scene yet, but I’ve always been fascinated with Sir Percy Blakeney. We have a noble gray tabby named Percy. After this story is completed, I plan to work in a sequel to Somewhere My Lass.

Thanks for coming by Beth, and giving us a glimpse into your writing world. Please feel free to stop by Beth's website to check out her many other works.

Neil MacKenzie’s well ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancĂ© from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?


Beth Trissel said...

Thanks so much for having me on your super blog, fellow gardening nut. :)

Kaylea Cross said...

Anytime, Beth! I'm still fighting the good fight with the weevils. Don't know who's going to win that war in the end, though.

Still revising my Civil War novel, too, because I'm too darn stubborn to give up on it :)

Tricia Schneider said...

Hi, Beth! Great advice on researching a historical romance. I love research, too. There's so much information to immerse yourself in and sometimes that's enough to spark a great story idea. Have a great day in your garden!

Donna96808 said...

I also love researching past historical events and time periods. I totally agree with you Beth when you said adding historical flare to a story helps the reader feel as if they are there during that time period. I couldn't agree with you more! This is what makes you such a terrific writer!! When you put your heart and soul into your books, your readers can't help but feel your passion. Have a great day!

Beth Trissel said...

Thanks much guys! I'm a research nut.

Anonymous said...

The book sounds very interesting. I am doing research right now for my own manuscript and you are right, you can only use 1/4 of what you learn.

Florina Craven

April said...

Beth, I think you may have outdone yourself my friend :) This book sounds absolutely WONDERFUL!!

Highland Lassie said...

Hi Beth! Somewhere My Lass sounds like a fabulous read! I love how excited you are about it, and I love even more how much thought, research and passion you seemed to have put into it!!! I of course am a HUGE Scotland fan and so it will definitely be on my MUST READ list!!! Congratulations on its release and best of luck!!!

Andrea :O)

Beth Trissel said...

I am very excited about this book, and thanks!

Beth Trissel said...

Thanks all. It occurs to me that I should announce the winner of my new release, Andrea. Congrats!