Friday, June 28, 2019

Beneath Black Clouds and White

Accompanied by his wife to Flanders, Josiah Tenterchilt meets a man who could not be more different from him: an apprentice surgeon named Henry Fotherby. As these two men pursue their own actions, fate and the careful connivance of a mysterious individual will push them together for the rest of their lives.

But it is a tumultuous time, and the French revolutionaries are not the only ones who pose a threat. The two gentlemen must find their place in a world where the constraints of social class are inescapable, and ‘slavery or abolition’ are the words on everyone’s lips.

Beneath Black Clouds and White is the prequel to Day's Dying Glory.

“Henry, you saved so many lives, but some men are beyond curing.”

“No, it was not that.” He turned to face his uncle once more. “He was court martialled and shot.”

“Good lord, Henry,” he said quickly. “Whatever for?”


“And you defended him?” His uncle scowled up at him and shook his head. “Do you want the revolution here in England? King George may struggle with himself but that is no reason to guillotine him.”

“I defended him because he was wronged,” Fotherby replied, as calmly as he could. “He was not able to consider his actions.”

“You cannot do it, Henry.”

“Do what?”

“Bring that into Wanderford Hall.”

“What do you mean?” Fotherby whispered, staring at the man before him.

“I tolerated your engagement to a woman of no birth and no money. I accepted her and her father into this house. But you cannot take the daughter of such a man and make her the mistress of Wanderford Hall.”

“It is not your house to tell me what I can and cannot do. I say that Miss Simmons shall be a fine mistress of Wanderford Hall. How can you judge a woman on the actions of her father? I should not care to think that I were judged on your actions simply because I am your nephew.”

Virginia, thanks so much for stopping by. Tell us a little about yourself.
First of all, thank you for inviting me to share a few thoughts and ideas on my writing and books.  I’m a private music teacher who, from time to time, moonlights as an author!  I live in the far north of Scotland where I soak up the inspiration from the beautiful landscape and the steady pace of life.

How did you get started writing?
I attribute my writing to two factors.  I grew up surrounded by some of the most awesome – like, actually AWEsome – landscape in the whole world.  It was easy to write about the connection of land and man, or those who recognised the beauty of all things around them when the view from your bedroom window was of a mountain rising from the sea.  The hypnotic rhythm of the lighthouse, the sound of the gulls and no traffic, and the sharp wind carrying a tangy salt spray everywhere you went.  I grew up in Orkney before the cruise ships arrived, and it was incredible.

Secondly, and most significantly of all, I have been encouraged from before I held a pen to create stories.  My family have been tirelessly supportive of my writing and, as every single one of them except Dad are writers, there’s no wonder! And Dad reads more than Austen’s Mr Bennett.

What was the inspiration for your book?
This is a tough question because there have been so many influences.  Amongst them was our own family history research.  Ancestry has become very important to me, and it’s opened up my eyes to events I’d never really thought about.  Knowing that my ancestors were present at the D-Day landings, in the two Boer War, and even – yes that’s right! – as far back as the tide-turning events of 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, gave me a real fascination about military history.  But I wanted to convey not only the emotions of those who fought, but the feelings and fear of those who stayed behind and waited for them.  Wars in history have been fought by soldiers, but they were felt as keenly by the people who stayed at home.  I wanted to convey the battles which were faced both at home and abroad, because the battle for Abolition (which is the root of Beneath Black Clouds and White) was not defined by rank or class, but by everyone across society.  I like to think my ancestors were pro-abolition, but I don’t know.  Writing this book allowed me to project how the topic might have been received by them.

What’s a genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
Years ago I wrote a crime story which was a great plot but exceptionally shoddily written! I’d quite like to go back to it now that I have a better grasp of language.  I’d also love to feel confident writing for children.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
Being quintessentially British I can’t bring myself to write or read erotica.
I’d never write science fiction either because, quite honestly, I’m just not clever enough.

What are you up to now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
At the moment, all my writing endeavours are linked to my MLitt dissertation, but there are two more books to appear with these characters over the next few years.  They follow the Tenterchilt and the Fotherby families into the 1850s, where there’s a logical conclusion for them.  But families never end, so perhaps they’ll be more to come..?

The next of my writings to make an appearance, though, is quite different! Before the end of this year I am having an historical fantasy book serialised. It takes place in the aftermath of Culloden but has its roots much further back in time… Watch this space!

Alright, now for some random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Yellow all the way! There’s no colour to match it for benefit and cheerfulness. I’ve had a yellow room now for the past twenty years!

Favorite movie?    
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – so many memories, so many heroics, so much fun.

Book that inspired you to become an author?
Eeek! I’m not sure there was a single book which led me to write my own.  One thing I do know is that I decided I wanted to be an author like G. P. Taylor, who is always accessible to his fans.  I remember contacting him and Philip Pullman’s agent concerning my undergraduate dissertation years ago.  I got a lovely, supportive reply back from G. P. Taylor and heard absolutely nothing from Philip Pullman.  So I make sure I have a contact email address at the front of my books which I use solely for my writing, so that I’ll never miss a message from a fan.  Go on, drop me an email!  I love getting feedback and I always try to answer any book related questions.

You have one superpower. What is it?
Time travel.  Even sticking to that golden rule of never interacting with the people of the time, I’d love to be able to see what made people do the things they did.  Also, I’ve fallen into the web of genealogy – if I’d known how addictive it was, I’d never have started! We’ve got so many “brick walls” in our family tree research, I’d quite like to be able to knock them down.  So, I’d travel back and fill in a few blanks.  I’m really interested in the unreported lives of everyday heroes, lives which have been lost in the retelling of written history, simply because those around these individuals couldn’t write.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
The temptation is to say Lord Byron, who I find absolutely fascinating and inspirational.  But I’m just not sure I would trust him after the meal!  So I’ll go for:
1.     Robin Hood – because there is so much I would want to know.  Was it true?  Who was he first of all?  Why did he really do it?
2.    Janet Mackintosh Cayley – the chief “brick wall” in our family tree, who’s been driving me mad for about eight years, now!
3.    Athos – Because I’m convinced he is my perfect man!

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
Oh my goodness, this is a tricky one!  So many of my characters possess certain attributes of my personality.  To pick out one single character is a bit like picking out one facial feature with makes you look like the person you see in the mirror.  They’re all so excitingly multifaceted, and only part of them is anything like me!

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Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together such as her soon-to-be-serialised books "Caledon". She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the film!

When she's not writing, Virginia is a music teacher in Caithness. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John o' Groats Book Festival which has just celebrated its 2nd year. Hopefully they'll be plenty more to come!

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Buy Links:
On sale for 99c during the tour.
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  1. Hello Emily! Thank you for hosting me on the final day of my blog tour. It was a brilliant selection of questions to answer, and I hope your readers enjoy the responses as much as I enjoyed writing them!