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A Conversation with Anna Belfrage, Author of TO CATCH A FALLING STAR (The Graham Saga #8)

The eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s historical fiction series is out now!

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Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today!

Thank you for having me – it’s always a pleasure to visit with a book lover.

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

I’d say the first thing is that I have a deep-seated passion about writing. I’d say I spend 2-3 hours each day tapping away, and that’s on top of my 10-12 hour day job! Previously, when my four kids all lived at home, it was impossible to juggle work, children and writing, so I feel very self-indulgent these days, when I can retire to “my world” for some hours.

Secondly, I have a major thing about history. When seeing my plans for our honeymoon, my husband half-laughed half-groaned – I had detailed four weeks in Britain driving from medieval location to medieval location. He felt there was a lack of pubs…We sorted that, and have since lived happily ever after. (Turns out pubs and ruined castles go quite well together)

Thirdly I am a sucker for a good love story – but I need there to be a happy ending, albeit not necessarily an uncomplicated ending.

Fourthly, I am a word collector. I love words like ubiquitous and unrequited, my favourite word is twilight – in English, Swedish (skymning) and Spanish (crepúsculo). And yes, I am trilingual, which gives me ample opportunity to savour words.

And last but not least, I make a mean cheesecake. These days, I am on a diet, so my cheesecake skills are latent, but any day soon now I am going to succumb to the urge and make one – after all, with all that cream cheese it probably qualifies as a major food group rather than a cake, right? Right?

It totally counts as dairy, at the very least. And surely there must be some protein in there somewhere… 😉

 

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

Matthew Graham is a Presbyterian Scot who, due to religious intolerance, was forced to leave Scotland two decades ago, with wife and family in tow. He is tall, he is strong, he is a former Commonwealth soldier, a man of principles, and a man who carries a festering boil of unresolved issues with his younger, treacherous brother, Luke – this as Luke once conspired to have Matthew accused of treason and nearly succeeded in having him hanged. No matter that he has lived for so many years in Maryland, Matthew still refers to Scotland as home – so when he is given the opportunity to return, he can’t refuse.

Alex Graham was born in 1976, had the misfortune (well…) of being thrown three centuries back in time to land at Matthew’s feet. Raised to be strong and independent, she quickly learnt that here, in the 17th century, the strong and independent women keep a low profile, but the difficulties and restrictions of her new life come with one major advantage: Matthew. Should she be given the chance to go back to her time, she’d refuse, quite convinced Matthew would not cope with modern life. When they are given the chance to go back to Scotland, she badly wants to refuse – her life is in Maryland, with her extended family, her children and grandchildren – but when Matthew insists they go, she has no choice: where he goes, there goes she.

As to what they would need on a desert island, that’s easy. As long as Alex and Matthew have each other, they can face pretty much everything.

Awwww…good answer!

 

If your book were being cast as a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Matthew – well, I keep on seeing Michael Fassbender. Actually, the guy in Sleepy Hollow, Tom Mison, would also make a good Matthew. (I just love his eyebrows!)

Alex is more difficult. I like Scarlett Johansson for her sensuality and wry sense of humour, but Alex does have these marvelous blue eyes…

Ooh, I like both of your choices for Matthew!

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I have been writing as far back as I remember. The Graham Saga has been in the works off and on since the early 1980s, when I met my husband. With him, I sort of got Scotland and its history as an extra, not because my husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled from Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like me, these little details made Future Husband all that more desirable, and also sparked a permanent interest in the religious upheaval of the 17th century, particularly in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Impressive!

 

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

Writing allows me to escape into a world where I control what happens – well, to a point, seeing as my characters tend to have strong opinions. Writing recharges my batteries, develops my creativity and expands my knowledge – writing historical fiction requires a lot of research. I also believe writing puts me more in tune with my own feelings.

The most challenging part is the promotion, the hard work and many hours invested in making my work visible. Sometimes, I feel like Sisyphus…

Ah, yes—the writing never ends, does it? Most days that’s good, but some days…it seems like a lot of uphill.

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

What am I working on right now? Like 4 WIPs… I am presently dividing my time between a series set in 14th century England – first book is called In the Shadow of the Storm and will (hopefully) be available this autumn – and a dark and erotic romance starring three reincarnated souls whose fates have tangled into quite the mess. Plus, I also have a book set in 17th century Sweden, and then there’s all that stuff about Alex and Matthew that still needs tro see the light of the day – unpublished extras, the story of Alex’s mother, and also a couple of novellas related to events around 1692 – 1695.

Wow—great!

 

What authors and/or books have inspired you?

Lord of the Rings was my first major love. Well, after the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Brothers and everything by Enid Blyton. For Whom the Bells Toll and Heart of Darkness were also among early favourites, and then I discovered the Brontë sisters and sort of disappeared into a fog for a while. Plus, of course, there’s that book I will always, always treasure, The Little Prince.

I loved the Bobbsey Twins! I used to read my mom’s old copies whenever I stayed over at my grandmother’s.

 

What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I average 3-4 books a week. A writer must develop his/her craft, and the only way to do so is to read – and read a lot. Recently, I have read a book called Lusitania R.E.X by G Taylor that I was totally bowled over by – warmly recommended. Presently, I am reading a book called Back behind Enemy Lines by C Bridge – also a very good read, set in WWII France and the present day.

That’s my excuse for reading so much too 🙂 I have to do more writing to make it more feasible, though…

 

If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Ugh! I’m bad at abbreviating. But how about “Revisiting the past is a dangerous game. Old half-healed wounds break open, new painful ones are added in this instalment of The Graham Saga

Works for me! Thanks so much, Anna!

 

About the Author:Anna Belfrage

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

02_To Catch a Falling Star_Cover

 

Publication Date: March 1, 2015
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Book Eight, The Graham Saga
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip

 

To Catch a Falling Star is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Some gifts are double-edged swords …

For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option.
Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbours.

While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet.

All the turmoil that accompanies their return to Scotland pales into insignificance when a letter arrives, detailing the calamities threatening their youngest daughter in Maryland – at the hand of that most obnoxious minister, Richard Campbell. Matthew and Alex have no choice but to hasten back, no matter the heartache this causes.

Will they make it back in time? And what will Richard Campbell do?

 

 

Buy To Catch a Falling Star:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Graham Saga Titles:

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star

To Catch a Falling Star Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, April 8
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at So Many Books, So Little Time
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Friday, April 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Saturday, April 11
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Tuesday, April 14
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at Becky on Books

Wednesday, April 15
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Thursday, April 16
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, April 17
Review at Book Nerd

Saturday, April 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Tuesday, April 21
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, April 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, April 23
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Friday, April 24
Interview & Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Saturday, April 25
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, April 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 29
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus

Thursday, April 30
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, May 1
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Sunday, May 3
Review at Quirky Book Reviews

Tuesday, May 5
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Long Ago Love

Thursday, May 7
Review at Mari Reads
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Friday, May 8
Review at Flashlight Commentary

 

 

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