Good evening bookworms!
I am so happy to welcome author and Chill With a Book Award Winner, Barbara Gaskell Denvil.
Huge congratulations on winning your Chill Award! You must be so happy that your work has been recognised in this way. Now, before we carry on, would you please introduce yourself to my readers, just in case they don’t know you already…
Yes, winning the award made me very proud, and very happy indeed.
Originally born in Gloucestershire, England, I’ve been writing full-length novels for a little over ten years, but many years ago I worked for publishers, magazines and television editors, publishing articles and short stories amongst other literary interests. I come from a literary family, and Elizabeth Gaskell was my great, great, great (and more) aunt.
However, marriage, children, travel, and other interests distracted me and I spent many years sailing the Mediterranean before finally settling in Australia.
Now widowed, I have returned to my original loves of history, fantasy, and writing.
So, your book has been awarded with a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, what inspired you to write this story?
I have always dreamed of time-travel. History is the creator of our modern society, and as such it is utterly fascinating to me. But the initial inspiration was a dream, which is often the first trigger for me. My principal character, Vespasian, invented himself during my sleeping hours over several days, until eventually I knew I had to write about him.
So this novel combines my two great loves history and fantasy.
The book is set during the reign in England of King John, and I became interested in that particular period and its many contradictions. The descriptions of the country at that time are based on fact, but then the plot also moves into fantasy and the cult of Lilith.
What does the award mean to you?
The Chill With a Book Award is an honour, and my winning novel FAIR WEATHER has now been chosen as Book of the Month, which is truly special. Authors always hope so much that their novels will please their readers, and the award tells me ‘yes’, which means my hopes are fulfilled.
Fair Weather has also won the B.R.A.G. Medallion, the Readers’ Favourite Award and the Discovered Diamonds award, so I am absolutely thrilled. It is quite a dream. I loved writing this book and now discovering that others love it too, I could not be more pleased.
Awards for Indy writers are a blessing, and I thank everyone so very much for creating them.
What other titles have you published? Tell us a little about them …
I have published five novels of historical fiction, all set in the late 15th century or the 16th century. These come within the reigns of Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII and Henry VIII. These are periods when the world changed greatly and some fascinating characters lived in England. It was the controversial character of Richard III which originally fascinated me and many, many years ago I began to research his personality and actions, wanting to know the truth. I feel I know now, and that led me into the colourful years of those times.
But I have also written a fantasy trilogy, and a very quirky murder mystery.
Are you working on a new book? Tell me about that …
Yes, now I am writing a children’s series, set partially in modern England, partially in medieval England, and partially in the fantastical world of Lashtang.
The first in the series will be published mid June – entitled BANNISTER’S MUSTER – BOOK 1 – SNAP. It will be quite an adventure and it is hugely enjoyable to write my first book for children – age 8-15.
The new Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Bannisters-Muster-1458577257506291/
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
Reading, travelling (I’m off to India later this year) and meeting up with family. Nothing madly exciting, I’m afraid. But I love my life and have few complaints.
Which three authors have most influenced your journey to becoming an author?
Impossible to answer, because there are so many. But perhaps I can pick out the Lymond Series by Dorothy Dunnett, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and probably Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I adore history. I believe we develop our racial characteristics and societies through the centuries, and we frequently repeat our mistakes too. History fascinates me. But so does fantasy. I dream deeply of many strange things and those remain vivid when I wake. I think I am a sucker for escapism.
Which other genre would you chose if you had to change?
Definitely fantasy. Both Historical fiction and fantasy are forms of specific escapism. These books lead us into another world. Historical fiction leads as closely as we can devise into a world that once existed, yet we know we cannot usually recreate that past world utterly authentically because we have never been there. Fantasy takes us on the same journey, but we go further for the world we travel is one of pure imagination, even though a good writer of this genre will make it believable.
Quick fire questions:
Twitter or Facebook?
Definitely Facebook. Twitter seems too brief to be interesting.
Tea or coffee?
Tea, about ten cups a day. I thrive on it, and it’s like my medical drug. However, I love real coffee too and often have an espresso, very concentrated and very hot.
Marmite – yes or no?
Oh, yes please. Thick – on toast.
Marvel or DC?
I suppose DC but comics and superheroes are not my thing. I’d quite like a superman in some ways, but I think he’d be a bore too.
Early riser or sleep in?
I used to get up as late as possible, but age has changed me. I’m now an early riser. But I still love my snug and comfy bed, where I can think, dream, and wander those bright avenues of my wayward imagination.
PJ’s or ‘normal’ clothes when writing?
PJ’s or a caftan in the hot summer. All that underwear, zips and buttons? No, thank you.
Planner or pantster?
10% Planner, and 90% Pantster. Â And even what I’ve planned often gets changed. I write plenty of crime mysteries, and have even changed the murderer mid book.
Book or kindle?
Books by choice. I love the feel of it, the turn of the page, even the smell and the cover. I have a massive library of books, and I adore them all. But sadly now I am reduced to audio books. It’s an highly reluctant choice but I’m getting used to them.
Pineapple on pizza – yes or no?
No. But I confess that pizza leaves me cold anyway – not a favourite. The love of my life was Italian, and we lived together in Italy for many years – yet never ever went to a Pizzeria!
And finally … What is your favourite book of all time?
An almost impossible question, I’m afraid. I have positively adored hundreds – perhaps thousands.
If forced to choose one above the others, then perhaps (not including those listed above) then it would be The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
Thank you so much for joining me today Barbara, it’s been great getting to know you better!
If you’re an author interested in the Chill With a Book Award, just click the link to find out more
Here’s the details of the book …
In Molly’s dreams, it is the year 1206 A.D.
She is a young street urchin who has no last name and remembers no father. She is part of a band of thieves roaming the dark alleys of medieval London in search of their next mark. But it isn’t a dream.
Molly is living two separate lives.
In one life, she is a writer living in the present with the modern conveniences that we all enjoy. In the other life, she suffers the hardships of an orphaned waif with only the clothes on her back, using her wits to survive.
Does Molly leave her body behind? Or is she physically tied to both worlds? There is much she doesn’t understand. Who is the mysterious and dangerous Vespasian, the orphan family’s mentor? Molly senses that he’s hiding something sinister, but she is strangely drawn to him, as if by fate.
Can Molly stop the evil that is following her between the two worlds?