Pestilence received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author Pamela Taylor.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
What’s the book’s first line?
The book opens with the main character reading a letter: “My beloved son, If you are reading this, then you know I have taken no steps to alter the succession.”
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
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?
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
The inspiration for the series grew out of one of those wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night moments when your mind wanders, and the opening line of the first volume just popped into my head. Once the main character started telling his story, I knew this was going to be more than one book, so the narrative arc of the series began to take shape. Pestilence is one of the pivotal books in that story arc.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
Well, if you’ve read the first two volumes, then you’re probably eager to learn what happens next 🙂 In any event, all of the books include enough back story that the reader can pick up anywhere – and this is a really great place to dive in if you haven’t already – there’s so much going on and so much at stake for the main character.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
Alfred is fundamentally a good guy, though not without a flaw here and there (well, he wouldn’t really be interesting if he didn’t have at least one chink in his armor, would he?) His thoughtfulness and his constant effort to learn wisdom are his trademarks. And, unusually for a man of his era, he has a respect for women that goes far beyond their usefulness in providing him an heir.
He’s a bit of a composite – a little of King Arthur mixed with a touch of Alfred the Great, a dash of Edward III of England, a soupçon of the Duke of Wellington, a hint of Louis IX of France, and just a bit of D’Artagnan. I never set out to create him with that in mind, but that’s who he’s revealed himself to be.
If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?
The young Jake Gyllenhaal (before he started wearing his hair pushed straight back from his forehead).
When did you first decide to become an author?
I don’t know that I ever consciously decided to become an author. I’d written and edited business stuff for years and one day just decided to try my hand at fiction. The first couple of attempts sort of fizzled – but I haven’t given up on those ideas – now that I’ve learned so much more about the art and craft of storytelling, I’m thinking of resurrecting them to see if they go anywhere. I guess the first time I thought getting published was a possibility was when I did the “speed-dating-style” agent pitches at a writer’s conference. It was a learning experience, but I think it ultimately got me to where I am today.
Is this the first book you’ve written?
It’s my third published book.
What do you do for work when you’re not writing?
I have a few other gigs. I’m a freelance editor, specializing in fiction . I write the historical fiction column for DIY MFA. I’m on the judges panel for the Ink & Insights writing contest. And I have a little business selling organic pet treats and soft toys.
How much time do you generally spend on your writing?
Well, if you count the time on dog walks or lying in bed at night when I’m creating scenes – and even dialogue – in my head, quite a lot. But truly, not as much as I want to. I wish there were more hours in a day so I could spend more time on all my interests.
What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?
With my publisher, I have a lot of creative input and the team I work with is hugely collaborative. They’ve also been good advisers on how to navigate the modern publishing landscape and how to try to get noticed among the millions of books that readers have access to. The hardest part is not having a nationally recognized publicity department to draw attention to one’s books – which means I am essentially my own publicist. My publisher does some very good things to help (including that good advice I mentioned) but I also have to share in the burden of getting it done.
What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?
It’s not unusual for writers to be introverts, meaning that getting out in the world and doing book signings and in-person events or really putting yourself out there on social media may be way out of your comfort zone. But do it anyway. Readers really do want to find a connection with the author, so give them the opportunity to become your fan base.
And second, keep writing and publishing. Your fan base wants more from you. And more titles means more exposure for your name, as an author, and thus the opportunity to grow that fan base.
Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
I honestly don’t know.
Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)
Looking for that Sally Field moment (her Oscar acceptance speech in 1984).
Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?
There are too many to narrow it down to just one, so you get a list. P.D. James, Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Alison Weir, Tom Clancy, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Dick Francis, Jack Whyte, Daphne DuMaurier, Colleen McCullough . . . do I have to stop?
Which book do you wish you could have written?
The Hunt for Red October (OK, I narrowed it down to one this time, but there’s a longer list :-))