Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Guest Blogger: Sandra Schwab

I'm extremely excited to have fellow Dorchester author Sandra Schwab stopping in at the blog today. Sandra's latest novel just hit the store shelves. Look for CASTLE OF THE WOLF's eye-catching cover at your favorite bookstore, and if they don't have it, tell them to order it. Now!

Let's find out a little more about The German Voice of Historical Romance, Sandra Schwab.

Who or what inspired your writing? And how did you end up writing in a second language?

I have always loved inventing stories, so writing them down was just the next step and one that I took enthusiastically when I was seven years old. Apart from two or three years of writing melodramatic poetry in my late teens, I've been working on a novel or other ever since. If there is one author who inspired me, it is Rosemary Sutcliff, a British writer famous for her historical novels for children and YA. She was a wonderful storyteller and used vivid imagery to draw the reader into the story and the historical setting. My two favourite novels of hers are EAGLE OF THE NINTH, set in Roman Britain, and BLOOD FEUD, set in the 10th century and moving from Britain to Scandinavia and on to Constantinople. Her books made me fall in love with history.

Nevertheless, my early novels were all fantasy stories (with strong heroines!), which were influenced by the British and American tradition – not a good thing when you're writing for the German market! I was nineteen when I started sending out proposals, and twenty-four when it finally dawned on me that my stories were not suitable for the German market.

Big crisis!

But hey, there's another language I can speak fairly well, so why not try it in English? After all, the worst that could have happened was to get even more rejection letters. But I was incredibly lucky: I found a lovely online crit group, joined RWA, started taking part in contests, won contest, got e-mai,l then call from New York, and eventually I sold my first novel to Chris Keeslar at Dorchester.

What is your writing process?

I usually start with a rough outline, then begin happily writing away – until I hit Chapter 3 and my Chapter-3-blues hits me. The Muse stomps off into a corner to sulk, while my characters get stuck in interesting places such as on board of a steamship on the Rhine or in the British Museum on the way to look at the vegetable lamb. After that, the only thing that helps is to write patchwork-style (starting with the love scene *g*).

When I wrote CASTLE OF THE WOLF I also found that listening to music while writing helps me to dive into the story. Funnily enough, the theme music for CASTLE had absolutely nothing to do with either the setting (Black Forest) or the period (1827): it was John Denver. :)

What are you currently reading?

I've just started Julia Ross's CLANDESTINE – I love her writing and the fact that she is a huge Dorothy Dunnett fan. As she put it so nicely in the dedication of THE SEDUCTION, "Lymond will forever remain unequalled."

Give us a sneak peak of your new novel.

tells the story of Cissy Fussell, who finds out after her father's death that she has inherited a castle in the Black Forest – but only on one condition: in order to keep the castle she has to marry the son of her father's old friend.

Ever since he returned home from the war, physically and emotionally wounded, Fenris von Wolfenbach has lived in the castle of his family, retired from the world like the beast in the fairy tale. Thus he is far from happy when one day a young Englishwoman turns up on his doorstep and claims his home as hers. Fenris is prepared to use any means fair or foul to get rid of his unwelcome visitor again. But will he manage to put Cissy to flight with rats on the loose? Or will she unravel the secrets of the Castle of Wolfenbach and eventually tame her beast?

Thank you so much for having me, Farrah!

And I want to thank Sandra for stopping in. For those of you (myself included) who love a tortured hero, it sounds like CASTLE OF THE WOLF is the perfect escape!
Visit Sandra's website for more info on her wonderful novels!

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