I love the hook a book idea and I was thrilled to be asked to contribute. But then, like many fellow authors I hit the snag of which book to choose. In the end I realised it had to be MARIANA, by Susanna Kearsley, who has been one of my favourite authors for a long time.
In fact I could have chosen any one of Susanna’s books because I am and have always been a massive fan of hers. MARIANA won the Catherine Cookson Prize back in 1993 and Susanna’s books have gone on to huge and well-deserved acclaim. Her book THE WINTER SEA, also known as SOPHIA’S SECRET, was shortlisted for both the UK Romantic Novelists Association Prize and the RWA RITA award.
MARIANA was the first Susanna Kearsley novel that I read and it hooked me on her writing. Books with paranormal elements have always appealed to me, especially time slip or dual time novels. I never seem to be able to find enough of them.
Then I discovered Susanna’s writing and to my great pleasure found that she wrote wonderful books with paranormal elements; time slip, dual time, reincarnation, ghostly themes…All the elements that completely enthrall me.
MARIANA tells the story of Julia Beckett who as a child sees a beautiful old house, Greywethers, and knows that in some way it belongs to her. She’s drawn to the place time and again and when she buys the house she finds herself transported back to the 17th century as Mariana Farr, a young woman embroiled in all manner of danger and romance.
How Julia explores Mariana’s life and her forbidden love, and how she also finds her own future, is all woven together in a story that brilliantly mixes the past and the present.
Susanna Kearsley’s evocation of history is so rich and vivid, her characters so real and her writing so beautiful that I never want her books to end.
Melanie here! Now that’s one awesome ‘hook’ and I’m so happy that Nicola had the time to stop by today.
And now, here’s a bit about Nicola…Originally from the North of England, Nicola now lives with her husband in the Oxfordshire countryside. Genealogy is one of her passions and she has traced her family tree back to the sixteenth century by way of various poets, pirates and a link to the Earldom of Halifax.
Since the publication of her first Regency romance by Harlequin Mills & Boon in 1998, Nicola has become a USA Today, Borders and UK Bookscan bestselling author as well as being shortlisted three times for the US Romance Writers of America RITA Award and twice for the UK Romantic Novelists Association Romance Prize. Nicola now writes for Harlequin HQN Books in the US and MIRA in the UK.
Nicola developed a passion for history at an early age and nurtured it through reading and watching BBC costume dramas with her grandmother. She went to school in the dower house of the stately home Harewood House in Yorkshire where she studied subjects as varied as Anglo Saxon and ballroom dancing. She went on to study Medieval History, graduated from London University with an honours degree and worked for many years in university administration, her final job being as an Assistant Academic Registrar before she gave it all up to be a full time author. Later she returned to college in Oxford to study for a Masters degree at Ruskin College. Her dissertation on heroes and hero myths was awarded a distinction. She was a speaker at the Oxford Literary Festival on the changing face of literary heroes during the 20th century.
Nicola has a “second life” as a guide and historian working for the National Trust at the beautiful seventeenth century hunting lodge, Ashdown House and she is a speaker on the history of Ashdown and the Craven family. She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a mentor for their New Writers’ Scheme, which critiques manuscripts for aspiring authors. Nicola has run several courses and workshops on creative writing and was Wiltshire Libraries Writer in Residence in 2008. She loves the excitement of historical research and the friendships that the romance writing community has brought her.
When she is not writing Nicola enjoys taking her dog for long walks in the countryside and travelling the globe. She and her husband have driven across Africa, Iceland and Costa Rica and have enjoyed cruises to the Arctic and the Sea of Cortes. Nicola is also a frequent visitor to the US, where she has family. She and her husband support the UK Guide Dogs for the Blind charity and have acted as puppy walkers for guide dogs in training.
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