– ‘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 not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with Juliane Weber, author of ‘Under the Emerald Sky’, to promote her book which is available for free during this weekend!
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Juliane is actually a scientist. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky. The book is the first in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine.
Juliane is inspired by Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander Series of books, who also happens to be a scientist turned novelist.
Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.
He’s come to Ireland to escape his past. She’s trying to run from her future.
It’s 1843 and the English nobleman Quinton Williams has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s ailing estate and escape his painful past. Here he meets the alluring Alannah O’Neill, whose Irish family is one of few to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by the English over the course of the country’s bloody history. Finding herself drawn to the handsome Englishman, Alannah offers to help Quin communicate with the estate’s Gaelic-speaking tenants, as much to assist him as to counter her own ennui. Aware of her controlling brother’s hostility towards the English, she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret – a secret that cannot, however, be kept for long from those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors.
Among the stark contrasts that separate the rich few from the plentiful poor, Under the Emerald Sky is a tale of love and betrayal in a land teetering on the brink of disaster – the Great Famine that would forever change the course of Ireland’s history.
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?
Thank you for the interview, Stefanie. I’m actually a scientist, and during my studies, I discovered a passion for writing, which led me to a career as a medical writer. I had also always been an avid reader and at some point, started playing with the idea that I might write a novel one day. That only happened several years later, though, after I had moved with my husband and two sons from South Africa, where I had lived for most of my life, to Germany, where I was born. It was quite a stressful thing to do and evidently, my brain needed a distraction. In my case, that meant finally writing that book!
I chose historical fiction, because that’s what I particularly enjoy reading and because I thought I would be able to do the necessary research to write such a book. Quite by accident, I came across the Irish Potato Famine of the 19th century and was immediately attracted to the setting—Ireland’s luscious green scenery, and its myths and legends, as well as a historical period that hadn’t been written about as much as others. That’s how the idea for my debut novel, Under the Emerald Sky, came about. It tells the story of Quin, an Englishman come to Ireland, and Alannah, an Irishwoman whose brother hates the English, as they struggle to find happiness in a land plagued by poverty, social unrest and political upheaval.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I read lots of different books growing up, but particularly remember devouring The Famous Five and Nancy Drew books. As an adult, I read lots of historical fiction, but I also enjoy thrillers, as well as various other books in different genres. If it sounds interesting, I’ll give it a try.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to be able to sit down for a chat with Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series of books. I have loved her books for years and she’s a big inspiration for me, as she is also a scientist turned novelist. I would love to talk to her about her experiences.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I think I would invite Claire Fraser from Outlander and ask her about all her time travel adventures.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I usually like to read a bit of what I wrote the day before to get into the right frame of mind when starting afresh. Other than that, I don’t have any particular rituals or habits, as I have to try and squeeze in my writing whenever I find the time, which is sometimes a challenge!
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
It’s quite varied. I can get ideas from anywhere and anyone (so yes, everyone beware!). Some ideas have come to me out of the blue, others have come from things that have happened around me or that I’ve heard/read about, and then there are parts of the story that develop from something that I’ve found in my research.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I definitely go with the flow. I don’t have an outline when I start a new book and I also don’t write in sequence. I jump back and forth in the story and add scenes as they come to me, often with no idea myself where a particular storyline is going. I suppose it keeps it interesting for me too!
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
There is so much information out there and so many writing ‘rules’ one is apparently meant to follow, but in reality, not everything works for everyone. So my advice is to find out what works for you and to do that. Also, write what you want to write, not what you think anybody wants to read.
What are your future plans as an author?
I am currently working on the sequel to Under the Emerald Sky, which will be the second book in my Irish Fortune Series. I intend to write more books in the series after that, although I’m not sure how many there will be in total. Other than that, I actively search for opportunities to network with other authors and connect with readers to share my work.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course! Here’s a small section from Chapter 6 of Under the Emerald Sky, which I hope you and your readers will enjoy:
He led me along the path, which ambled away from the manor house and grounds, down into a small valley of luscious green countryside that bordered the small river. The grasses and delicate flowers of the hills gave way to reeds and lilies at the edge of the gently flowing water, which we traversed over a small wooden bridge. Orange-breasted robins flew around us while wrens whirred from bush to bush, breaking into surprisingly loud but sweetly melodious song. I closed my eyes, enjoying the sunshine on my face and relishing in the beauty of a sky that was bright and blue, with not a cloud in sight.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Quin’s voice was soft and filled with wonder.
I opened my eyes and found that both horses had come to a stop on the other side of the stream, my mare nibbling contentedly on the succulent grass, nose to nose with Quin’s brown gelding.
“It is,” I replied. “It’s wonderful. It’s…home.”
He smiled at me and looked around him, shielding his eyes from the sun.
“It’s rather unlike my own home,” he said after a moment, turning back to me.
“Do you miss London?” I asked.
“Yes…and no,” he answered, and laughed. “I do miss the comforts and familiarity of my own house, of course. Not to mention the pleasure of being able to speak to everyone in English! But…right now…I wouldn’t trade places with anyone,” he said softly, holding my gaze.
I swallowed and looked down onto my hands. When I looked back up, he was still looking at me, but with a good-natured smile on his lips.
“Mind you, I would trade my best pair of boots for a good old-fashioned traditional English meal, one that doesn’t involve potatoes!”
P.S. If you want to read more snippets from Under the Emerald Sky or see excerpts from the second book in the Irish Fortune Series, follow me on social media or visit my website and blog.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Juliane Weber.
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!