The Absinthe Earl Author Interview & Giveaway!
Sharon kindly agreed to answer my Take 10 questions and to offer a copy of her new book to one lucky winner! Yes, it's international!! The Rafflecopter form is at the bottom - the give away ends October 22, 2019
Here's my blurb: ''Charming and filled with intriguing characters, dangerous enemies, and hidden desires, The Absinthe Earl hooked me from the start.''
Here's the cover copy: They crossed centuries to find each other. Their love will shatter worlds.
Miss Ada Quicksilver, a student of London's Lovelace Academy for Promising Young Women, is spending her holiday in Ireland to pursue her anthropological study of fairies. She visits Dublin's absinthe bars to investigate a supposed association between the bittersweet spirit and fairy sightings.
One night a handsome Irishman approaches her, introducing himself as Edward Donoghue. Edward takes absinthe to relieve his sleepwalking, and she is eager to hear whether he has experience with fairies. Instead, she discovers that he's the earl of Meath, and that he will soon visit a mysterious ruin at Newgrange on the orders of his cousin, the beautiful, half-mad Queen Isolde. On learning about Ada's area of study, he invites her to accompany him.
Ada is torn between a sensible fear of becoming entangled with the clearly troubled gentleman and her compelling desire to ease his suffering. Finally she accepts his invitation, and they arrive in time for the winter solstice. That night, the secret of Edward's affliction is revealed: he is, in fact, a lord in two worlds and can no longer suppress his shadow self.
Little does either of them realize that their blossoming friendship and slowly kindling passion will lead to discoveries that wrench open a door sealed for centuries, throwing them into a war that will change Ireland forever.
TAKE 10 with Sharon Lynn Fischer:
1.) First the obvious question (but my favorite) – How did you get the idea for THE ABSINTHE EARL?
I’ve always loved Ireland, and I’ve always wanted to write a book about fairies. Ever since my mom gave me the art book Faeries, by Brian Froud, when I was a kid. Over the years I’ve collected and read MANY fairy reference books. It took me several decades to come up with my own unique spin. I think it all kind of came together when I was doing some research and saw that absinthe was also referred to as “the green fairy.” And the idea of combining fairy lore with a Victorian setting really appealed to me.
2.) Both Ada and Edward are complex, well-developed, and likable characters. Did they develop on the page or come to you fully formed?
I’m so happy to hear that! I think it was a combination of the two, though I did have a strong sense of them right from the beginning. I knew that Ada would be a scholar and an orphan, and I knew Edward would be a brooding lord who looked like Aidan Turner! I knew that he would have some alpha impulses, and that Ada was not a woman who was going to tolerate much of that. Most importantly, I knew that they would develop an equal partnership.
3.) In your world, drinking absinthe thins the line between the real world and the Faery world, allowing people to see the fae. It’s an unique idea, how did you develop it? Have you tasted absinthe?
I got into this a little bit above, though at this point it’s kind of hard to remember exactly how it all came together. I think I was researching absinthe due to its other-worldly associations, and its associations with madness. And when I saw the “green fairy” reference, I thought, that’s it! As a child I was always looking for a gateway into Faery, and I finally found it as an author. Once the plot started to come together, I did buy some absinthe. And I made it the traditional way, drizzling water over sugar. I did think it was nice, but it didn’t become a habit. :)
4.) The plot weaves the real world, Ireland in 1882, with the mystical world of the Faery. Did you have to do any special research into Celtic mythology and the Tuatha De Danaan?
Yes, I did quite a bit of research on Celtic mythology. My primary references for that aspect were W.B. Yeats, who collected Irish folk tales into a couple of books, and Lady Augusta Gregory, an author friend of his who wrote about Ireland’s mythological warriors. I also worked with a linguist who had a lot of Celtic mythology knowledge. Oxford’s Dictionary of Celtic Mythology was also a terrific reference.
5.) What about historical research – how accurate is the story to the time period?
I took a lot of liberties. The Ireland in this series has never been conquered by the English, and that really changed pretty much everything. But I did try to stick to period-appropriate technologies and social norms, though my Ireland has a very strong queen and is a bit more open-minded about women’s roles. There are a few steampunk elements as well, and there will be even more of those in book two.
6.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?
My family and I live on a small farm in the Cascade foothills, near Seattle, so that is kind of an all-consuming hobby of ours—chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, dogs, cats. A couple of gardens. We also have a horse, and my girls and I take English riding lessons. I enjoy taking photos of everything and posting them on Instagram with an #authorfarmer tag. I also enjoy getting outside as much as I can—hiking, mountain biking, swimming in the Skykomish River in the summer.
7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?
Like a lot of writers, I knew it was what I wanted to do from an early age. Maybe around 6. My parents very pragmatically advised me to study something that would be more likely to pay the bills, and I dutifully did so (journalism). I’ve always worked as a writer and editor, in various industries. I did write a lot of fiction in my early 20s and even submitted some things—I remember how excited I was when a proposal I sent to Ace made it to a second reader, and when Marion Zimmer Bradley scribbled a note on one of my rejected short stories. But as life got more complicated I let it go, and for years I had this idea I’d start writing again when I knew what I was “supposed to write.” I had a notion I should be growing out of speculative fiction. Who puts such things in our heads? Anyhow, the urge to write never went completely away, and around the time I got pregnant with my daughter, in my late 30s, I started reading genre fiction again, and pretty soon I was writing it, and I haven’t really stopped since.
8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?
I am mainly a pantser and create only very short descriptions of my stories before I start working. Once I know a little something about my characters, I start writing to get a feel for the story and world it will take place in. Then I start doing research—reading reference books, looking things up on Wikipedia, watching videos, and looking at Pinterest photos—and that’s where most of my inspiration comes from. I continue to write in short bursts, and I go back over what I’ve written. A lot of writer advice recommends against this, because revision comes later and you might be wasting your time on something that will end up getting cut or altered, plus you might never get past chapter 1. This all makes sense, so I used to feel like a naughty child for doing it anyway. But after taking a personality-based creativity class, I learned that this is part of my process. Re-reading, perfecting descriptions, etc. helps me to immerse myself in the world and figure out who my characters are and what they want, and this in turn drives the plot. Then as I get further along in the book, I can move a little quicker.
9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?
I do have an office that I share with my husband. It looks out over the front half of our 5 acres—so trees, goats, garden, etc. It’s especially nice in the warmer months. In the fall and winter, I like working downstairs, because we keep it warmer. My favorite place to work is on the loveseat next to our woodstove in the dining room. It is cozy in the extreme, and I can pretend I’m in an Irish pub sitting next to a peat fire.
10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?
Right now I’m mostly prepping for the release of The Absinthe Earl, but I’m also working on book three in the trilogy, The Warrior Poet. Book two, The Raven Lady, goes into edits in just a few weeks! The planned release date for that one is October 2020. I’ve recently put up a free short story for folks who sign up for my newsletter. It’s a sweet steampunk romance set in the English countryside (a “clockwork fairy tale”). https://dl.bookfunnel.com/3nszlumfa5
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Maria!
LINKS to Sharon:
Rafflecopter (yes, it's open to ALL):