Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Author: Clare Langley-Hawthorne

About the book:

Ursula Marlow thought she was done with death, but when her fiancĂ©, Lord Wrotham, is arrested on charges of treason, her world is turned upside down. It is the winter of 1913, and the British Parliament, unsettled on the question of Home Rule for Ireland, is shaken over allegations of a plot to sell naval military secrets to Kaiser’s Germany and liberate Ireland from English rule. For the first time, Ursula must work together with Chief Inspector Harrison to uncover the truth about Lord Wrotham’s involvement, as well as his mysterious past.

As the investigation continues, Ursula is drawn into the shadowy world of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and a web of espionage and betrayal. She must race against time to clear Lord Wrotham’s name and thwart a plot that threatens not only British national security, but also her life.

Interview with Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Clare, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I was always writing stories as a child, and as a teenager all I wanted to be was a journalist or a writer – but then I became a lawyer and an economist and that career took over. It wasn’t until I quit my job to start a Ph.D. that my brain finally said “this is it!” and I wrote a novel instead. The Ph.D. totally fell by the wayside when I had twin boys and a book contract.

How did you create the plot for this book?

My husband and I traveled to Venezuela and went down the Orinoco River to stay at a lodge on the delta. While there, I found myself imagining what it must have been like to be Victorian explorers, and the plot for Consequences of Sin started formulating in my mind.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I love writing Sir Oliver Wrotham, as I get to create my own version of Mr. Darcy. I love writing scenes contrasting his dry sarcasm with Ursula’s wit and passion.

How do you get to know your characters?
My main characters have a way of walking into my head and just introducing themselves, more or less fully formed. I do write out backgrounders on each character, and this allows me to explore elements of the character’s past, their relationships, and education that helps me get to know them on a deeper level.

Are you like any of your characters?
My husband is convinced I’m Ursula. I like to think it’s because of my tempestuous nature, but it could be I’m just argumentative and opinionated, like her. Sadly, I don’t have Ursula’s wonderfully opulent Edwardian lifestyle!

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?
Ursula, of course! I think it was an incredible time for women – right on the cusp of such immense changes that would redefine their roles in society. Ursula is also lucky to have the financial means to stand by her principles, seek her independence and also live (and love) the way she chooses. She also gets to say and do things I never would!

Who are your favorite authors?
I find it hard to make a choice, but for now - Dorothy L. Sayers, E.M. Forster, and Georgette Heyer

How long is your to-be-read pile?
Long! I currently have Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the end of the Lane lined up. I have two non-fiction books I’ve been meaning to start – Zeppelin Nights by Jerry White (about London during World War I) and Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson (about Regency England). I also have a couple of YA novels on my bedside table that I’ve been meaning to get to...

You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?
Richard Armitage. It seems an odd choice to have a male narrator but I heard him narrate two Georgette Heyer novels, and he was just terrific.

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I’m on the last pages of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I have the hardback version of this.

Do you have a routine for writing?
My writing routine revolves around school drop-off and pick-up for my twin boys. I tend to do most of my actual writing in the evening and then edit during the day. I constantly set myself self-imposed deadlines to make sure I get done what needs to be done.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I find it very difficult to write in public or when other people are around, so my preference is to write alone at my desk at home. I would prefer to write in the morning, but typically this cannot accommodate everything else that needs to get done, so I end up writing late at night with the help of lots of caffeine.

What would your dream office look like?
It would be in a library in the turret of a castle overlooking a beautiful garden and the edges of a woods. I love being surrounded by books. I would also have to have my collie, Hamish, lying on the floor next to my chair. No office is complete without him.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to hike, practice yoga, walk Hamish, read aloud to my boys, and do the New York Times crossword.

What are you working on now?
I am working on a Middle Grade alternative history fantasy series and an adult mystery set on the home front during the first World War.

About the author:

Clare Langley-Hawthorne was raised in England and Australia. She was an attorney in Melbourne before moving to the United States, where she began her career as a writer. Her first novel, Consequences of Sin, featuring the Oxford graduate, heiress, and militant suffragette Ursula Marlow, was published in 2007. The second book in the series, The Serpent and the Scorpion, was published in 2008. Consequences of Sin was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area bestseller and a Macavity Award nominee for best historical mystery. Clare now lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, twin boys, and collie, Hamish.

Connect with Clare:
Website | Blog 1 | Blog 2 | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Other books by Clare:

Consequences of Sin (Ursula Marlow book #1)

The Serpent and The Scorpion (Ursula Marlow book #2)