When somebody asks what book genre I enjoy, I usually say “ Thrillers” but after a while I crave a different genre – sometimes I indulge in a bit of armchair travelling; sometimes I like a classic such as novels by Daphne du Maurier, Charles Dickens or Tolstoy; sometimes a novel by Paolo Coelho; and sometimes I want to curl up and read some historical fiction …. such as Pestilence by Pamela Taylor. I have a love of British history – I did an O Level exam in “Tudors And Stuarts” – and that era along with the medieval centuries, hold my attention and let my imagination run riot. Pamela’s book, Pestilence, held my attention and although it was the 3rd book in a series it was still great to read as a stand alone book. I am honoured to be part of Pamela Taylor’s “Pestilence “ book tour and I am so glad to be able to ask Pamela those questions
At the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred – the eponymous second son – must discover the special destiny foreseen for him by his grandfather. Now, the unthinkable has happened: Alfred’s brother is king. And it isn’t long before everyone’s worst fears are realized. Traditional allegiances are shattered under a style of rule unknown since the grand bargain that formed the kingdom was struck over two hundred years ago. These will be the most dangerous years of Alfred’s life, forcing him to re-examine his duty to personal honor and to the kingdom, while the threats posed by his brother constantly remind him of his father’s final words of advice. What choices will he have to make to try to protect the things he holds most dear?
Print Length: 234 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Hello, everyone. I’m Pamela and I’m thrilled to have the chance to share a little bit about myself and my book. Well, books, actually, because “Pestilence” is part of a series – the Second Son Chronicles. Three volumes are out in the world now with three more to come. I love to travel – it’s a big part of how I immerse myself into the place and time of my stories – but like you, I’m sticking close to home right now. Thankfully, I have two wonderful companions – Pembroke Welsh Corgis named Maggi and Marlo – who keep me company but who also never hesitate to remind me that a dog walk might be just the thing to get me inspired for that next scene or next chapter.
Who or what inspired you to become a professional writer?
Quite frankly, I sort of fell into it. When I was in the corporate world, I wrote all kinds of things from really dry technical stuff to web pages; and one day I just said to myself, “I wonder if I can write fiction.” My first attempt wasn’t great – OK, full disclosure, it was pretty bad. But when Alfred, the protagonist in the Chronicles, started speaking to me, telling me his story, I began to get the hang of it. The first draft of “Second Son” (volume 1) wasn’t quite right – I wound up taking it apart and putting it back together again – but when that book was published and I held it in my hand, I gave myself permission to think of myself as a novelist. I’ve read so much historical fiction and non-fiction through the years that I feel like I’ve had lots of mentors for my work (even if they don’t know it 🙂 )
Although “Pestilence” is the 3rd book in the series, it can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone book. I love historical fiction and it was great to immerse myself into the story. I liked the main character, Alfred, very much indeed – although I found myself disapproving of his very brief “liaison” with Amelia! His brother, the pompous King John, made me giggle. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? Which character was the hardest?
I’m so glad you like Alfred! I have to admit to being a bit in love with him myself. As for his dalliance, it’s useful to remember that the morés of the fourteenth century were a bit different from ours today and extra-marital liaisons were quite usual for a man of Alfred’s station. But since Alfred’s marriage is as much a love match as a political alliance, he has some inner conflict over the situation – and I hope that makes him more human, more real.
Writing Alfred is a pleasure. And I thoroughly enjoy Gwen and Samuel – the two people who are closest to Alfred. One character who surprised me has been Alfred’s mother. She was important but definitely secondary in the first two volumes; however, when her feisty side came out in “Pestilence,” I had a great time with her. You’ll see more of her in volume 4. The character who’s been the most troublesome doesn’t show up until a later volume, but watch for Hugo.
I am curious – what is your preference – to write a complete stand alone book or to write a complete series of books?
Truth be told, I don’t know 🙂 When I started writing “Second Son,” it was going to be a stand-alone book. But as Alfred kept revealing his story, it soon became clear I was going to end up with well over a thousand pages – hardly something you can offer up as a debut novel – so the series was born. That said, even within the arc of a series, each book has to have its own, fully complete narrative arc – I’m actually enjoying both dimensions.
I enjoy reading historical novels – many years ago at school, I studied “Tudors and Stuarts” history O level, because I enjoyed reading about and delving into that era of British history. It runs in the family – my mum is a “Mary, Queen of Scots” fan and my daughter is a “Queen Victoria” fan. I assume you must have a love of history too, what era particularly fascinates you and why?
What a joy to meet other history aficianados! I’m mostly into western European history – particularly France, Great Britain, and Ireland – and I think I must have been British in a former life, because that world just resonates with me in a visceral way that’s hard to describe. (In point of fact, ancestors on both sides of my family are British with a little Danish mixed in on one side – but then, after all, there were quite a few Danes in Britain at one time 🙂 ) I’m actually quite hard-pressed to say I have a favorite era – I’m as fascinated by Alfred the Great as I am by World War II and as interested in Eleanor of Aquitaine as Victoria. What I love best is to go to a historical location, even if it’s in ruins, and immerse myself in the feel of the place to go with the facts.
Are you a bookworm? What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book?
I’ve always loved to read. Some favourite genres besides historical are espionage, mystery, suspense, some thrillers. But I can’t do horror at all. And I’m not a big fan of paranormal. I do like dragons, though – give me a good story with a dragon in it any day. Some favourite authors: Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Jack Whyte, P.D. James, Daniel Silva, John LeCarré, Tom Clancy when he was alive and writing alone, Dick Francis, Dame Agatha Christie, Daphne DuMaurier, and, yes, Jane Austen. Actual book, please – there’s just something about holding the book and turning the pages. But I’m not a complete luddite – I do use Kindle for some things.
Is “Pestilence ” available to purchase worldwide?
Absolutely! As are all three volumes of the series. Online and in book stores – ebook and paperback. Volumes 1 and 2 are also available as audiobooks. Volume 1 (“Second Son”) will soon be available in hardback as well.
If you could visit any place in the world to give you inspiration for your next book, where would you go and why?
I had a trip to France planned for early March. It was to include a visit to Avignon to immerse myself in the old city and the papal palace. I was really bummed when Covid-19 forced me to cancel those plans. So that’s next up as soon as we can safely travel again. I have a project currently in the research stages that involves the possibility of a royal visitor to Pope John XXII.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Tailored slacks and a top of some sort. A light jacket for anything ‘formal.’ Shoes to fit the season and my mood. I like to vary the height of the heel and the style – just makes me feel good – but stopping short of the four-inch heels these days unless it’s a super-formal occasion.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I tend to be a bit opportunistic in clothes shopping. It’s not a good idea, though, for me to sign on to online shoe shops – I can always find something cute.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
No idea. Sort of waiting until it’s truly safe to be in the shops again.
Boots or Shoes?
Yes! And Sandals! Why not? One of my biggest challenges when packing for a trip is deciding what shoes to take – don’t want to get caught away from home without some variety and the right thing for whatever comes up during the trip.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
The website for my series: https://www.SecondSonChronicles.com Find excerpts from the books, links to historical info, a gallery of images related to the stories, all kinds of good stuff about Alfred’s world.
My author website: https://pamela-taylor.com Lots more about me. And you can link to the Chronicles site from there aRs well.
Facebook: Second Son Chronicles
Twitter: @PJTAuthor, #SecondSonChronicles
My thanks to Pamela for the advanced copy of Pestilence. All photographs have been published with kind permission of Pamela Taylor , apart from the Pinterest photo which was taken by myself – it is the backdrop in another medieval house, Lynford House in Norfolk.