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Monday, October 10, 2016

HF Virtual Book Tours: Author Interview with Julie K. Rose

I am very excited to welcome Julie K. Rose, author of Dido's Crown to A Bookish Affair.

What inspired you to write this story?
I was terribly blocked when I was trying to finish Oleanna and started this book as a diversion.
The story itself grew out of a few scenes of Will and Tom as scholars at Oxford prior to WWI. It was clear that they had an amazing relationship, but the underlying secrets and lies fueled what eventually became the plot of Dido's Crown. It was fun to exercise a different set of creative muscles.

This book feels way different than your other books; it's very thriller-esque! Was your writing process any different than your other books?
In some ways it was very much the same (angst, draft, percolate, revise, etc.) but in other ways it was very different. Oleanna was very character driven, and this book is much more action and plot driven, so it took discipline to keep myself straight and reduce frustration. I implemented some logistical things that have made the process easier, which I actually talk about in a video on my YouTube channel.

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
I really do love them all for different reasons. I love Mary's voice and sense of self, Collins' sense of humor, Tom's kindness, Will's steadfastness. But first among equals, I suppose, is Alain. He's so suave, but that charm hides the real pain and conflict he deals with every day. And yet he's still such a good person.
One of the things that I love best about the book are the settings. France may be familiar to many histfic readers but there does not seem to be much histfic about Tunisia. What drew you to write about Tunisia?
I've always had an affinity for North Africa but had never planned on writing about the Maghreb. A few years ago I had a really powerful, visceral dream about Tunisia (flying, like Supergirl, over the beaches) and I suppose I took it as a sign. I love reading historical fiction set slightly off the beaten track, so that sense of wanderlust definitely encouraged me to keep going. Being an historical novelist and historical fiction reader means you get to be a lifelong learner, and researching this area and timeframe was no small inducement.

What was your research process for the settings like?
Modern travel guidebooks were a good starting place, as was YouTube. There are quite a few videos showing modern Tunisia, and a surprising number of videos of Tunisia and southern France in the 1930s. Google Earth and Google Maps were both helpful in getting a sense of distance and topography, and I actually used Pinterest quite a bit for all manner of photos. My friend Mouna from Tunisia kept me honest in terms of descriptions as well.
If you could bring three people, fictional or non-fictional, with you to a deserted island, who would you bring and why?
This is such an impossible question, and I'll probably have a different answer next week, but here's what I'm thinking this week: I'd bring my husband Craig, because he makes me laugh every single day (and I love him, obviously). Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, because he'd make sure we were fed and sheltered, and could tell us no end of amazing stories. And the third would have to be a musician of some variety – someone with an acoustic guitar and a soothing singing voice.


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