1--What is the title of your latest release?
THE WINTER GARDEN
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
A woman looking for a fresh start is haunted by the parallel life of a Tudor woman with secrets to reveal.
3--How did you decide to write about the Gunpowder Plot?
As a historian, I’m always drawn to the women from the footnotes of the historical record. The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is such a male-dominated story on the surface. All the conspirators were men, and you seldom hear about the women whose lives were also affected by it. I wanted to find out about them and write about the turbulent Tudor years preceding the plot from their point of view.
4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?
I’d be very happy to hang out with both my contemporary and my historical protagonist. Lucy, the present-day heroine, is trying to recover from a serious illness and build a new life. She’s a musician and I’d love to chat to her about everything from Mozart to history to the importance of family ties. Anne Catesby, my historical heroine, is someone with whom I identified closely when I was writing the book. Anne’s main focus is protecting her family from danger and caring for her grandson.
5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?
Lucy is resilient, generous and a little bit reserved. Anne is fierce, intelligent, and practical.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
I always learn a lot with each book I write. This time it was that I had started the book in the wrong place and needed to re-think the structure. I was working on the basis that I needed to start at a dramatic turning point in the life of one of the protagonists, but I chose the wrong turning point! So, I went back and re-drafted.
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I edit as I go along. As I’m a pantser not a planner, I tend to develop my ideas as the book progresses and I see where the characters are taking it. I go back over the draft to make sure it all knits together and also to remind myself of the detail.
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
My husband makes a wonderful roast chicken with roast potatoes and green beans. It’s awesome.
9--Describe your writing space/office!
I have a study at the front of the house with a window facing out onto the street and the thatched cottages and village green. It’s a very quiet road, which is great because otherwise I would become distracted by all the comings and goings outside. I’m a very curious person!
10--Who is an author you admire?
I’m not sure how to choose one out of all the many authors I admire! If we go back to early influences, I’d choose Daphne Du Maurier because she was one of the first authors who impressed me with a vivid sense of place and powerful description. She really knew how to build atmosphere in a story. Plus, I admire the fact that she wrote cross-genre books and didn’t allow herself to be pigeonholed as an author.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
I think there are probably several that spoke to me at particular points in my life. One I especially remember is The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. It’s an investigation into the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower in 1485, written as a crime novel. It was one of the books that kindled my passion for history and made me realize I wanted to study it. That changed my life.
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your first book was going to be published).
I’d been writing my first book for twelve years and had sent it in to Harlequin Mills & Boon twice only to be rejected. Then the third time I revised it and sent it in, they wrote back to tell me it had been accepted. I still remember the total thrill of getting that letter, on beautiful thick cream writing paper and signed by the editor. It was incredibly exciting after so many years of being an aspiring author. That’s why I always tell people that if they want to be published, they need to believe in themselves and keep going.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
Apart from historical fiction and romance, I read a lot of cozy crime.
14--What’s your favorite movie?
Again, that’s such a difficult question! I have a core of favorites that I watch and re-watch, especially Local Hero with Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert. It’s such a charming, funny film, where an American oil executive comes to a tiny Scottish seaside village, a real fish-out-of-water comedy that’s timeless.
15--What is your favorite season?
Autumn. This time of year, in England can be so beautiful, with clear blue skies and still some warmth in the sun. The leaves are changing from green to red, gold, and orange, the breeze holds woodsmoke and a hint of a chill and there is a mist over the fields early in the morning and dew on the grass. Stunning.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
Usually, it’s with a trip to a historic house, and a meal with family and friends, pretty low-key. On my most recent “significant” birthday, however, my husband hired a high-performance car for me, and we drove up to Stratford-on-Avon to go to the theatre. That was pretty special!
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
I love the Tudors Dynasty podcast. Their passion for history and the era totally shines through and they have such interesting guests and take a great approach to exploring history.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I love trying all different sorts of cuisine. This week I’m making a couple of Spanish dishes: Patatas al la Riojana, which is chorizo with potatoes, garlic, and paprika.
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I take the dog for a walk. We’re fortunate to live in beautiful countryside. I do my best writing, planning, and thinking when I am out of doors, and I love nature. It’s very refreshing.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
More of the same, I hope – a dual-time novel set in the present and pre-19th century with a mystery at its heart that focuses on women from the footnotes of history!
Sweeping across generations from the 1600s to the present day and inspired by the true story of the leader of the infamous Gunpowder Plot, Nicola Cornick’s latest historical mystery combines past and present story lines that fans of Philippa Gregory and Susanna Kearsley will devour.
1605: Anne Catesby fears for her family. Her son, the darkly charismatic Robert, is secretly plotting to kill the king, placing his wife and child in grave danger. Anne must make a terrible choice: betray her only child or risk her family’s security…and her very life.
Present Day: When her dreams of becoming a musician are shattered, Lucy takes refuge in her family’s ancestral home in Oxfordshire. Everyone knows it was originally home to the notorious gunpowder plotter Robert Catesby. As Lucy spends more time in the beautiful winter garden that Robert made, she starts to have strange visions of a woman in Tudor dress, terrified and facing a heartbreaking dilemma.
As Lucy's and Anne’s stories converge, a shared secret that has echoed through the centuries separating them will change Lucy’s life forever…
Mystery Time Slip [Graydon House, On Sale: October 25, 2022, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781525811463 / ]
Nicola Cornick is a writer and historian who was born and brought up in the north of England. Nicola developed a passion for history at an early age and nurtured it through reading and watching BBC costume dramas with her grandmother. She went to school in an 18th century manor house where she studied subjects as varied as Anglo Saxon and ballroom dancing. She went on to study Medieval History, graduated from London University with an honours degree and worked for many years in academia until she gave it all up to be a full time author. Later she returned to college in Oxford to take a masters degree in History. Since the publication of her first Regency romance by Harlequin Mills & Boon in 1998, Nicola has become an international and award-winning bestseller. She now writes dual timeframe novels inspired by the history and legends of her local area. Nicola also works as a guide and historian for the National Trust at the beautiful seventeenth-century hunting lodge, Ashdown House. She gives talks on various aspects of her historical research and is a former Wiltshire Libraries Writer in Residence and trustee of the Wantage Literary Festival.
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