Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, J R. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
J R Tomlin is the author of twelve historical novels including The Black Douglas Trilogy (A Kingdom’s Cost, Countenance of War, and Not for Glory), A King Ensnared, A King Uncaged and Freedom’s Sword, as well as a historical mystery series: The Templar’s Cross, The Winter Kill, and The Intelligencer.
She has close ties with Scotland since her father was a native Scot, and she spent substantial time in Edinburgh whilst growing up. Her historical novels are set in Scotland. You can trace her love of that nation to the stories her grandmother read her when she was small and to her hillwalking through the Cairngorms where the granite hills have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun.
In addition to spending time in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, Europe and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.
Young James Douglas can only watch, helpless, as the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, is hanged, drawn, and quartered.
Even under the heel of a brutal English conqueror, Scotland may still have one hope for freedom, their rightful king, Robert the Bruce. James swears fealty to the man he believes can lead the fight against English tyranny.
The Bruce is soon a fugitive, king in name and nothing more. The woman James loves is captured and imprisoned. Scotland is occupied. Scottish resistance is crushed.
Yet James believes their cause is not lost. With driving determination, he blazes a path in blood and violence, in cunning and ruthlessness as he wages a guerrilla war to restore Scotland’s freedom. James knows he risks sharing Wallace’s fate, but what he truly fears is that he has become as merciless as the conqueror he fights.
A Kingdom’s Cost is a gripping adventure that gives life to a defining era of Scotland’s history.
And now to the interview:
1. What do you want to share with us about this story? What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
A Kingdom’s Cost is the first novel in my Black Douglas Trilogy. The story of the ‘Black Douglas’ is one of the greatest stories in all of Scottish history, and no one had written about it—not from his point of view anyway. He was certainly one of my childhood heroes. I really felt called to write about his rather larger than life adventures.
2. Why do you write in this genre? What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
I grew up reading historical fiction, Alexandre Dumas was one of the first but also Sir Walter Scott and Mary Renault were favorites. I suspect that one tends to write the genre one loves the best. I also write some mysteries, but of course they’re historical mysteries so I don’t move far from my first love.
3. What made you decide to become an author? Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I have always written. I can remember writing and making up stories for myself—well, as long as I can remember. Publishing them was just another step in that.
4. Why did you choose to self-publish? Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
I kept being told that there was no market for medieval historical fiction in spite of a number of authors writing and selling it. So I decided what could it hurt to try and I have been making a living at this gig for a while now. But don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to do.
5. Where do you get ideas for your stories? Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
My stories stick pretty closely to what happened historically. Even my mysteries tend to center around the people and events of the period.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I have considered writing a romance, historical of course. But I am so picky about historical accuracy that I’m not sure that I’ll ever take that plunge.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in your genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
I can’t say that I ‘look’ for anything. I just have certain people and events that seem to cry to be written about. So I do.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
That it is hard work sometimes.
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
Yes, I am working on the fourth book in my Son of Scotland series about Thomas Randolph, a much underappreciated hero of the Scottish War of Independence.
10. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Heavens no. Other than write it the best you can and do try to have it thorough proofread and a good cover. Independent publishing has so many different paths, it is hard to give advice. Just know that it is possible to succeed. That doesn’t make it easy.
You can find J. R. Tomlin’s book at Amazon and other retailers! https://www.amazon.com/Kingdoms-Cost-Historical-Scotland-Douglas-ebook/dp/B01DWTHKFI
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, J R. You can find out more about J R Tomlin’s books, (including the pre-order for the next book in this series), at the links below:
Website – https://www.jrtomlin.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JRTomlinAuthor
OnlineBookClub – https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?t=34942
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