Join me today for the “Veritas” book feature.
March 4, 2015, True North Publishing published the second in Elisabetta L. Faenza’s debut historical fiction trilogy (with fantasy elements). It sound intriguing, so I thought I’d share my blog with her today for a little promo. I do hope you get on board and share this post around, and check out her books. Read all about Veritas and its author below…
“When your blood decides the fate of kings, better to die a lion than a lamb.”
Delivered from captivity, burned, desperate and disoriented, Gian finds himself in the care of a blind Monk – Maurus Stigmata. Rescued by the forces of the Holy Eastern Emperor, Gian enters a Byzantine world of esotericism and intrigue. As Gian recovers, little by little he learns the story of the mysterious Maurus and his role in the infamous Fourth Crusade and the sacking of Constantinople. Old debts are called due as Maurus Stigmata is made to atone for his betrayal of his former master. Gian, with the help of Anatolian bandits, races against the sands of time to find his friend and release him from his torturer. In this the second book in The King Maker Saga, Gian finally discovers the truth about his family and the legacy he must now carry alone. The basis for this story is the well documented history of the Faenza family – recovered from Vatican documents, Italian and Arabic chronicles and oral history as passed down from generation to generation over a thousand years.
(for book one of this trilogy, The Infidel)
This debut novel is a mammoth achievement. Set in Europe and the Middle East in the 1200s, this story weaves together the adventures of Gian and Lara. Powered by extensive historical research, characterisation, counterpoint plot, and sumptuous geography this romantic adventure has it all.
*Well written story that took this reader on a journey following two young lives in a time long since forgotten. The Crusades and the historical references provide fact to the lives that are portrayed in this book. I am on tenterhooks waiting for the next instalment of this trilogy.By Karen Greygoose*This debut novel is a mammoth achievement.
Author Bio and Interview
QUICK SNAP Q&A
- Sweet or sour? Sour
- Peace or noise? Peace
- Classic or modern? Both
- Horror or comedy? Comedy
- Rock or Pop? Pop
- Zombies or Vampires? Zombies
- Print or Electronic? Print
- Indie or Traditional? Indie
- Plotter or Panster? Plotter
- House proud or scruff-bag? House proud
Main Writer Interview
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m a mother of four teenagers, and was born with a rare genetic condition, which meant I spent a lot of time in hospital or sick at home when I was a child. My father was an Italian immigrant and my mother an Australian school teacher / artist. I live in rural Australia about an hour and a half out of Canberra. I love gardening, scuba diving, bush walking, cycling, travel and research.
- What about your latest project? When did it begin and what inspired you? I’m working on the 3rd and 4th books in the King Maker Saga. The second book in the series – Veritas was released in February this year. The whole project began when I was 16, as part of a family history English project at high-school. We had a parchment with the family history of my paternal (Italian) side and I started researching the names mentioned and discovered this amazing medieval history. I completed the first version of The Infidel and Veritas in 1991, after submitting to a US agent, the manuscript was stolen and converted to a movie treatment, which was passed around Hollywood and got funding for a major production. The production company filed for bankruptcy, so the movie was never made, but when I found out what had happened it made me very afraid to submit my work to anyone. Twenty years later, after a pretty traumatic divorce, I rediscovered my writing ability and my partner badgered me to send my new version of the series to publishers. It was accepted by a US publisher, who published the first edition of The Infidel and then a year later – True North picked up the series, and reissued The Infidel in a second edition, along with the sequel – Veritas.
- What do you do when you are not writing? Reading, travel, cooking (I love cooking big meals for my family). I’ve just started learning how to preserve fruit and veggies. We live on small acreage, so I love to get into the garden, and go bushwalking with my partner and our dogs.
- Do you have a day job as well? I write non-fiction books and articles and work as a consultant organizational profiler and keynote speaker.
- When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? Was it any good? My mother and her cousin were both teachers and so they created my home-school curriculum from the age of 5 (because of my frequent absence from school due to illness). It involved a lot of history and art, and some very old history books. I think that’s where I got my love of history and story telling. Being alone a lot, I had to develop my imagination and wrote my first play at age 8. My school performed it for dignitaries and that’s when I realized writing was something I could do to communicate with the world, even from my sick bed. It was then submitted to our public broadcaster and converted to an episode of a popular children’s TV show.
- How did you choose the genre you write in? I think historical fiction chose me – my passion for history has been constant for as long as I remember. I am also working on a magical realism / science fiction series, but it does involve a fair bit of time travel into remote history.
- Where do you get your ideas? It’s like going on a quest. I read something about a historical event – usually a more obscure one – and then I start to research the period and event, the people, the time and context. I immerse myself in the history and then all of a sudden the scenes appear, fully fledged like movie scenes in my head and I write them down.
- Do you ever experience writer’s block? After The Infidel was stolen, I couldn’t write fiction for about 20 years. I wrote a musical about Joan of Arc, and focused on non-fiction and technical writing for the next 20 years.
- Do you work with an outline, or just write? I use Scrivener now, so it’s easy for me to create character sheets and set up the outline and then add the content as it emerges from out of my psyche. I use maps and timelines a lot, so that I can keep the history accurate and ensure my characters are in the right place at the right time.
- Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Cien Anos de Soledad – is my favourite book of all time. Marquez writes how I think. The whole idea of writing stories as you would tell them verbally, really appeals to me, because that’s how I grew up – hearing the stories of my relatives, and hearing them told as stories within stories. I also love Umberto Eco, Kenneth Follet (of course) and Raymond E. Feist.
- Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? When I first wrote The Infidel, I got a lot of encouragement from Australian publishers, but as the content was non-Australian they didn’t have the authority to publish it here. They recommended I send it to the UK, who then recommended I get an agent and send it to the US.In the early 90s publishing in Australia and the UK was going through a tough time, so this was good advice. I found two agents who seemed to have multiple offices worldwide, and sent my manuscript to them both. Both made offers to represent the book, and I chose the one that seemed more established. I sent sample chapters, a synopsis and character summary. (This was pre-internet so it was all by snail mail, and fax) They wrote back saying they thought they had a buyer and the feedback from reader groups was very positive, and that I should send the entire manuscript, which I did.
Then all communication stopped.
There were fires in California at the time, so I thought maybe they’d been affected. I waited, phoned, faxed, wrote – but no reply. I even went to the US Consulate and they told me the company had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and their offices and phone number were defunct. I was confused and so disappointed. I couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t contacted me. About a year later I saw an article in the newspaper describing the cancellation of a major Hollywood movie project.
They described the story – it was my story. I went to solicitors and they wrote to the production company, informing them that we believed the script to be an unauthorized adaptation of my manuscript. They never replied. My lawyers told me that if the movie had been made, I would have been able to sue, but as it was never produced, there was not a lot I can do. I believe the agents pocketed a seven-figure fee, but I’ve never been able to find a trace of them. 20 years later. I reworked The Infidel and began submitting to publishers. You can imagine how terrified I was. This time I was fortunate and heard back from one that was willing to move forward.
- If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? As difficult as it was initially, I wouldn’t change a thing. I think The Infidel and Veritas are better for the gap of 20 years. The graphic violence and sex in my books is much better accepted now, and the characters and plot have benefitted from the added life experience the intervening years have provided.
- How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? Which don’t work at all? I have found book signing events are fabulous for getting media, interviews and creating a buzz. I sell well at these events, and the pre and post publicity always gives me a bump in sales. I also work with a major charity and we create events that generate donations for them and publicity for me. I donate a percentage of my sales to them as well. I have a strong social media presence and use that to promote book releases, or Kindle sales, book launch events etc., and that seems to work very well also. I approach book stores to stock my books, and usually they do. There’s nothing better than seeing your book in pride of place in a book store, or having friends send photos when they see it in their local bookshop. The main thing is to create a buzz, have a schedule of events to promote your book out in the community. I also found blogging about the subjects matter works well.
- Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Veritas – just released – is the sequel to The Infidel, and part of The King Maker Saga. It follows the fate of Gian after his capture in Cappadocia by the Varangian guard and the horrific death of Ishta. Burned, incapacitated and full of rage, Gian finds himself under house arrest in the court of the exiled Emperor of Byzantium in Nicaea. He is tutored by the enigmatic Maurus and finally discovers the truth about his parents, only to be plunged back into danger and loss. Meanwhile, back in Venice, Lara escapes her convent prison, only to find herself on the run from the agents of the Archbishop of Venice. I loved doing the research for this book, as a large percentage is set in one of the most interesting ancient sites in the world – Nevsehir.
- Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? The context and plot are historically based, the majority of characters are historical figures, but the detail involves a fair amount of imagination. It’s important to me to get the history right, and I’ve had letters from readers letting me know reading my books motivated them to investigate the history for themselves.
- What project are you working on now? I’m working on both a prequel and sequel to Veritas. The prequel (Paul the Assassin) is about Paul of Tarsus and his role as an assassin of Christians in the first century CE. It’s exciting working in two time periods and getting into the secret history of early Christianity, accessing alternative accounts of what happened back then, as opposed to what we were taught in Church. I’ve had to study psychopathic serial killers to get into the mind of one of the main characters, and that’s been extremely interesting, and quite chilling.
The sequel to Veritas – Faventia – follows the two protagonists as they try to put their lives back together after some devastating experiences.– While Gian travels to medieval Malta and Egypt chasing the secret of his ancestry, Lara follows a trail of clues through northern Italy. Both books are rich in history and full of action, intrigue and of course sex.
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I was once told “Do the world a favour and don’t write!” That was pretty harsh. The best compliment is the fact that people who read The Infidel couldn’t wait for the sequel to be released and badgered me for a year, wanting to know the release date.
- Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Write, and keep writing. Write about what you love, where your passion lies. Don’t try to be anybody else. Write until you find your voice, and then write a lot more. Don’t take rejection personally, keep going until you break through, whether that takes you one year or twenty – it is worth it!
- Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Thank you – your enjoyment, your tears and laughter are why I write.
- With one sentence, write your own epitaph. Elisabetta was a devoted mother of 4, who taught her children to follow their dreams and believe in themselves despite rejection; she did what she loved, and that just happened to make a lot of people happy.
Thanks Elisabetta, best of luck with your intriguing trilogy!
Anyone here love the sound of this trilogy? Have any questions for Elisabetta? Ask in the comments.
Want to buy this book or go check out the reviews for book one in the trilogy? Click HERE