Saturday, October 18, 2014

Interview with Danny Saunders, author of The Captive Queen

Author interviews are one of my favorite things to post which is why I am super excited to welcome author Danny Saunders to Flashlight Commentary to discuss his latest release, The Captive Queen. 

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Welcome to Flashlight Commentary Danny. Great to have you with us. To start things off, please tell us a bit about The Captive Queen.
The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart is a historical fiction about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. This sovereign is famous for having been executed on the orders of her cousin Elizabeth, Queen of England. In this novel, I describe the important moments of the reign of Mary Stuart. This period of Scottish history was significant in the evolution of the relationship between Scotland and England. I found it interesting to include the fictional character of Charlotte Gray in the role of lady-in-waiting

What inspired you to write this story? Where did it start? 
I am a Scottish descendant and I wanted to honor my British roots. My maternal grandmother was a big influence on me.

Why do you think Mary’s story is so intriguing to modern readers? 
Several reasons! Her death is not trivial and her life has been incredible. In addition, Scotland fascinates people, especially lovers of historical fiction.

Mary is fairly recognizable monarch. How did you approach her character and what do you hope readers take from your interpretation of her? 
Mary Stuart has never been lucky in her love relationships. The first died suddenly and two husbands have not been great with her. A strong woman despite the storm...

Mary’s lady-in-waiting, Charlotte Gray, plays a prominent role in your story. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about her?
Charlotte Gray is a woman determined and unscrupulous. She will do anything to keep her role with the Scottish queen. Despite her detestable attitude, she is in love with an unattainable man.

Atmospherically, what was your favorite part about writing a story set in the 16th century?
This century was a major turning point in the history of Europe. France, England and Scotland (of course!) shone particularly. Moreover, these countries had women in power (Mary Stuart, Elizabeth and Catherine de Medici).

There are several themes within your narrative. Which is your favorite and why?
The life of Mary Stuart at the royal court of France. To understand the decisions of the sovereign, one must know her French education.

You probably have many, but is there a scene you particularly enjoyed writing?
My favorite scene is that of the ball at Stirling Castle. Charlotte Gray demonstrated her more human side. Despite its many flaws, this is a woman in love.

What scene posed the greatest challenge for you as an author? Why was it troublesome and how did you work through it?  
When Charlotte Gray is attacked by a violent man. Her distress has made me feel a deal pain.

Sometimes fiction takes on a life of its own and forces the author to make sacrifices for the sake of the story. Is there a character or concept you wish you could have spent more time with or expanded on?
The chapter on the trial of Mary Stuart has been more difficult in research. I read a lot of historical documents.

Historical novelists frequently have to adjustment facts to make their stories work. Did you have to invent or change anything while writing The Captive Queen and if so, what did you alter and why? 
Everything related Charlotte Gray is fictional. Only two passages about Mary Stuart were invented: the ball and the stolen jewel.

If you could sit down and talk with one of your characters, maybe meet and discuss things over drinks, who would you choose and why?
Without hesitation, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. I would try to convince her not to go to England.

Just because I’m curious, if you could pick a fantasy cast of actors to play the primary roles in a screen adaptation of your work, who would you hire? 
Wonderful question! For the character of Mary Stuart, Scarlett Johansson, and for the character of Charlotte Gray, Sarah Bolger.

Okay, we've talked a lot about your book. Let's switch gears and talk a little bit about you. How would describe your writing process? 

I love writing! I hope to write several more years. When I write, I always listen to Celtic music. I close my eyes, imagine my characters and story.

Who are your favorite authors? 
I greatly respect the British author Dame Agatha Christie.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?
When I'm not writing, I travel in Europe and the United States. My travels give me inspiration.

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Danny Saunders is a true European history enthusiast. He has always been keenly interested in royalty. Danny holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and also pursued communication studies at the university level. He has worked as a journalist for various written and electronic media. Of Scottish descent, Danny takes genuine pride in his British roots. The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart is his first historical novel.

Website ❧  Facebook ❧  Twitter ❧  Goodreads

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Format: Print & eBook
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
Released by: CreateSpace
ISBN-13: 978-1497462434
Length: 330 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Check Out All the Stops on Danny Saunders' The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, August 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, September 1
Review at JulzReads
Tuesday, September 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 3
Interview at To Read or Not To Read
Friday, September 5
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, September 8
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, September 9
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, September 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Friday, September 12
Review at Princess of Eboli

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