1. How did you come up with the title?
It was suggested to me by the novelist Sarah Harrison after she had listened to my plans and heard the first draft of the first chapter.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Be careful who you trust, and be careful what you believe!
3. How much of the book is realistic?
The Dutch tulip scandal is pretty well known; the history behind Vatican espionage however, is still coming to light.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Not at present.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The economics and financial details: prices and transactions for tulip bulb sales 1635/37 are well-documented - but I am not an economist so I needed help to make sense of how futures markets work and how borrowing ‘scandals’ occur.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned self-belief, if one can say that? My first novel was well-received but it wasn’t until I finished the last edit of this novel that I began to think ‘I can do this!’ I’ve also learned – or had to finally admit - that I am a perfectionist. No sentence is ever quite good enough.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I used to write stories in my primary school exercise books. I think I’ve been writing stories in my head all my life.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I particularly admire the late Dorothy Dunnett, whose fiction was historically accurate with fascinating characters and compelling, page-turning plots. I love her meticulous detail, the conspiracies and the humour, the way she suggests ideas and then leaves the reader to discover what’s really going on for him/herself.
9. Tell us your latest news.
This novel is to be released in early June: I’m having a big book launch that will be followed by a special party for a significant birthday. I’m also currently tied up with another project and have to finish a y.a. version of a Norse saga by the end of the year – busy, busy!
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you are a reader who has “always wanted to write” my advice is, DO IT! Even if you only finish a first draft, start and finish that first draft. It’s very hard work, if you do it properly, but it is worth every moment.
Early spring 1635. A storm and pirate raid interrupts rogue Italian merchant Ludovico da Portovenere’s routine voyage from Constantinople to Amsterdam, disrupting his plans and entangling others in a secret commission.
The storm brings Ludo a quick-witted young admirer he uses as a spy. The pirate raid brings him a girl - Alina, who won’t go home. Ludo finds her an encumbrance so he sells her to a minor English nobleman in Plymouth and sails on, never dreaming she’ll be a means of saving his life.
While the Italian merchant sets about his mischief-making in Holland, Alina tries to establish herself in her new home, unwittingly making vicious enemies and putting her life in jeopardy. She dreams of Ludo: surely one day he’ll rescue her from the house that becomes her prison.
Eventually Ludo does arrive, but it is not how Alina imagined, and now there are two other men willing to love and protect her. Which one will she choose?
International politics and domestic intrigues, The Chosen Man relates a fictional version of what may have happened to accelerate the Dutch financial scandal known as ‘tulip mania’; it also shows how decisions made in high places can have terrible repercussions on innocent lives.
buy link: KnoxRobinsonPublishing.com
number of pages: 439 pages
genre: historical fiction
publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing
release date: June 7, 2012
About the Author
J. G. Harlond (Jane) grew up in the South West of England and studied in Britain and the USA. For many years she worked as an English teacher in European international schools. Jane now lives in southern Spain, where she writes school text book material and historical fiction.
Jane's fascination with historical fiction began while still at school, when she would read anything by Jean Plaidy instead of doing her homework. Later she read everything by Dorothy Dunnett and Mary Wesley: two very different authors whose well-chosen prose wove intrigue and sharp descriptive detail into compelling stories. What interests her about the historical fiction genre, she says, is the manner in which an invented narrative can examine the universal emotions of love, hate, jealousy and greed, and show how one individual’s life-choices may have affected real events. Jane's novels also consider the influence of genetic inheritance, showing how family character traits and physical appearance can follow through, or skip and re-emerge in different generations.
Apart from writing, Jane stays busy looking after two horses, keeping a small but demanding garden in order, and doing her best to stay up to date with what her family is doing in various different countries.
Connect with J.G.
MEMORY KEEPERS’ WORKSHOP
LA FINCA DEL NIÑO
in rural Andalucia
14th – 21st October, 2012
Do you have a story to tell?
Have you lived through events that ought to be recorded?
Do you know someone whose story should be told?
Is there something – fact or fiction - you would like to write for publication or just for your family?
Join Joan Fallon and J.G. Harlond for a workshop holiday dedicated to writing about the past.
Telephone: +34 952 513 812