– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Other Cipher’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren–so far–in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.
Book Title: The Other Cipher
Series: Soli Hansen Mysteries Book 2
Author: Heidi Eljarbo
Publication Date: 2 December 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 200 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
In the captivating second book of the Soli Hansen Mysteries, two women—separated by more than three hundred years—are connected through their love of art.
1613. Fabiola Ruber has been wed to a man she does not know and must live in a country with a new language and different customs. The memories of a lost love in her hometown Malta haunt her, and she sets out to find an artist who can do her portrait and recapture the feelings she had when she once modelled for a renowned Italian master painter.
1944. Four years into World War II, art historian Soli Hansen works with the Norwegian resistance to locate significant artwork and safeguard the pieces from the Nazis. When she finds out the Germans are after a hidden baroque depiction of a seventeenth century woman, she must muster all her courage and skills to decipher encrypted codes and preserve the mysterious art before it’s too late.
Both women are determined to do what they can to bring healing and redemption to their otherwise ominous future. Through tangled, bewildering clues and an eye for detail, Soli’s bond to Fabiola grows closer by the day. She must find the missing painting before the enemy does.
Ranging from a privileged life in seventeenth century Antwerp to Oslo during the German occupation of the second world war, this dual timeline is a historical mystery thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I grew up in a home with parents who loved books. They had a large collection, and my father built a book case that covered one wall in our living room. I studied languages and art, and my head was always full of ideas and stories. My husband encouraged me to write, and I understood it was something I just had to do – something that made me so happy. I took a class and started writing articles for magazines and newspapers. When my first book was accepted by a publishing company, I was thrilled. Writing stories is a rewarding, ever-learning process for me.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved books about people and their everyday adventures. Polyanna was a favorite and children’s biographies about famous people like Madame Curie and Florence Nightingale. Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins, and The Famous Five were exciting adventures. More and more I understood how much I love historicals, and today, I read mostly historical fiction.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think Ken Follett is an amazing storyteller. His stories are easy to read, but every page is important. There’s no waste of too much dialogue or pages with explanations of what the garden looked like.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
What a great question! I’d like to invite Clara Dahl, the heroine from my books “Catching a Witch” and “Trailing the Hunter”. She fights for women’s place in society in the seventeenth century, a time when men ruled, and women were seen as less intelligent and often stamped as “witches”.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Chocolate, lots of papers with handwritten notes and ideas, and a dog. Let me explain. I’m not a coffee drinker and a little chocolate in the morning makes me happy. The papers everywhere remind me of plotting, characterization, and scenes for the story. What does a dog have to do with being a writer? I love dogs, and my Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier reminds me now and then that it’s time to go for a walk. We live on a small island, right on the edge of the forest, and a short walk takes us straight to several beaches. Fresh air, movement, and nature are part of my go-to rescue operation when my head gets tired.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Haha… I don’t think my friends and family worry too much. But writing different characters calls for many personality traits. Talents, faith, behavior, courage, joy, hatred—the list is long—and an author picks these from somewhere, often from people in her life of her own experiences.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’ve taken a course on plotting and read several books about it. I find that having a plan is what works best for me. That said, I am very flexible, and I let the characters free to wander, and they sometimes change my plan and say things I had never thought of before.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Be excited about editing. Be happy when a good editor gives you suggestions and correction that make the manuscript shine. When you take your time when you go through the edits, there’s so much you can learn along the way. If you don’t have an editor, send your first chapter to three different ones. They offer this for free. Go through how they edit and pick the best one. It may cost a little, but a good editor is important to making a good novel a great one.
Another thing, have a great cover for your book. Even though I have an education in art, I use a cover designer in London to do my book covers. I tell him what I want, and he works with me until we’re both happy with the result.
What are your futureplans as an author?
I have plans for four new novels right now. One is almost finished. I wish the process was faster, but from writing a story to publication is long and filled with many hours of work…and a lot of it is not actually writing.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Two women—separated by more than three hundred years—are connected through their love of art. During WWII, art historian Soli Hansen must muster all her courage and skills to decipher encrypted codes and preserve a mysterious seventeenth century painting before it’s too late.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Heidi Eljarbo.
Thank you so much for having me. I loved these questions.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!