Thursday, 2 May 2013

Maid of Secrets Blog Tour: Author interview + Giveaway

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop of the Maid of Secrets Blog Tour! If you don't already know what this book is about, scroll down and see my previous Waiting On Wednesday post which has all the info about the book itself. Thanks to Simon &Schuster for the ARC copy and thanks to Sel at Bookcase to Heaven for organising the tour. Today author of the book Jennifer McGowan is going to drop in and do an awesome interview with me here at my blog. Keep reading to find out what witty comments Jenn has for my questions and also remember to enter the tour-wide giveaway at the end!

Author Bio via Goodreads:
Jennifer McGowan writes Young Adult romance full of swash and buckle. Her first novel, MAID OF SECRETS, debuts in Spring, 2013 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Age: Royal Secret
Came From: A small town in northern Ohio
Became a Maid of Honor: After bringing her tale of spygirls to the noble city, and winning the favor of the great house of Simon (& Schuster).
Special Skill: Matrix-like reflexes, superior strength, fabulous wit… okay, ah – we’ll get back to you on that.

So hi Jenn! Welcome to my blog and thanks for agreeing to take on my many questions :D

Angela, hello! Thank you so much for having me today at Framed In Words. I can’t believe Maid of Secrets’ debut is almost here!

Thanks, Jenn! We’ve got a lot of questions for you today, so let’s jump right in. How did you come up with the idea to write Maid of Secrets?

I’ve always loved the Elizabethan time period, and in fact the very first romance I ever wrote was set in Queen Elizabeth’s era—I just never submitted it, because it wasn’t quite ready for prime time. A few years ago, I was looking for a fresh new idea to get me motivated to write, and I started thinking about Queen Bess again. I began researching, stumbled across an interesting account of how the Queen’s advisors couldn’t figure out how the Queen seemed to know things she shouldn’t… and the idea of a spying corps of Maids of Honor was born!

Do any of the characters in Maid of Secrets resemble/reflect you in anyway? If so, how?

I think I have a little bit of Meg (the thief and heroine of Maid of Secrets) in me – her quirky sense of humor in particular. I also admit to having a similar interest in the Mysteries of the Universe that Sophia has. I wish I had Meg’s power of recall, Beatrice’s ability of persuasion, Anna’s genius and Jane’s ability with a blade… but you can’t have everything!

What is your favourite time of day to write and why?

Early morning, without doubt! I am very much a morning person. I know it’s going to be a good day when I get up and get to my Work in Progress before the sun even comes up.

I envy those writers who can write into the wee hours of the night… if I were to try that, I’d end up with sentences that read “And she looked up as the mirror began talking to her and said shfweezlllitzubaaaaa…”

If there’s one place in the world you could choose to live, where would it be and why?

I would like to live in coastal Spain, actually. My dream is to be able to live for six or so months at a time in one place—renting out a small bungalow or apartment with a cool view or an interesting story—and then move on to a new place with new vistas to explore. I’ve done the whole “house with a picket fence” thing… now I would like to start traveling a bit more lightly through the world!

What would be your weapon of choice and why?

A dagger of any stripe. Including throwing daggers. Like my spy girl Jane, I appreciate the fact that daggers are silent, good for close combat, and efficient. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt for me to know my way around a gun, but for sheer versatility, I’d take a sharp blade.

Wow, I sure wouldn't want to be at the wrong end of that blade! *Stepping away slowly* So, what is your favourite snack in between working hard on your books?

I’m a huge fan of almonds – I will snack on them throughout the day. And if there is dark chocolate in the house well… it probably won’t be for long. Seriously, though, writing is such a sedentary, solitary pursuit, I really have to be careful to remember to MOVE each day. It is far too easy to get caught up in the work and forget to be healthy!

What do you think is important for a Young Adult novel?

I think it has to be written for TEENS—and not just for adults who want to read YA fiction. I think teens are at a unique point in their lives… the whole world is pure potential for them, and they seem to have an invincible spirit no matter how challenging their lives have been up to that point. I think YA fiction needs to honor that spirit, and provide stories that help teens stretch themselves to reach that potential.

If you could live in any ONE story, which one would it be?

Aigh!! What a great question!! I’ll go with the first idea that springs to mind: the world of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series (paranormal romance series—not YA—about kick-butt vampires)… as long as I had lots of money and a super-cool skill.  I mean, I’d need to be a central figure in order for that to work. I think that probably holds true for most stories. Even If I’m going to live in Jane Austen’s Regency England… I’d need to have money and prestige (or the ability to get it) for that to be cool!

Haha, I know favourites are hard to pick, but if one character can come to life from any book, who would you choose and why? (what book is he/she from?)

Another great question! My immediate answer is not very useful, as it’s the character Armaeus from a book I’m writing now – he’s the incarnation of the Tarot’s Magician. But as to a fictional character from someone else’s book… I’d have to say Aragorn from Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings. And as to why – he is a prince and a warrior in a time when civility is in ruins, yet he still manages to choose his enemies nobly and stay true to his ideals. We need more of that in our world today, I think.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learnt from writing this series?

How strong Elizabeth had to be to achieve all that she did as Queen. Like her or hate her, she was one woman who decided what she wanted and then went after her dream with every ounce of her soul. She had the world stacked against her, and she still ended up on top, no matter the cost to her personally. Even in something so slight as being able to trust her closest advisors… Elizabeth knew she could only do so up to a point. The person she had to trust most was—herself.

A message for all of us, even today! J

Thank you for such an awesome list of questions, Angela!!

No problem Jenn. Thank you for the entertaining answers and for visiting my blog. Good luck with future writings and I'm sure the readers will love your books. Ta ta for now but I hope to have you back maybe sometime. :) 

Alrighty, did you like the interview? If you do, go to Bookcase to Heaven or Jenn's blog to follow the rest of the tour. Remember to enter the giveaway below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting me, Angela!! And I have a question for you! You say you received an ARC from Simon & Schuster, but I've actually never requested an ARC that way--did you just get a link for a download, did they email something to you, or how did that work?

    Just chalk it up to one of the million and one things I have to learn as a new author! :)

    Thank you again!

  2. Great interview :) Thanks for joining the tour!

    Love that Jenn likes Aragorn!

  3. "I think teens are at a unique point in their lives… the whole world is pure potential for them, and they seem to have an invincible spirit no matter how challenging their lives have been up to that point. I think YA fiction needs to honor that spirit..."

    Yes! Their invincible spirit and the glorious pendulum of emotions. Everything teens feel they feel so intensely; all while trying to figure out if they're supposed to lock-down certain ones or let them fly without restraint. Tough years, but all that tumult makes for great fiction.

    Looking forward to Maid of Secrets!

  4. Christina K. in the rafflecopter

    This is such an awesome concept!! For women to have all this power as spies for the Queen, and they're teens, and they work for a kick-ass Queen, it is amazing!!:))

    My favorite historical fiction is Robin LaFevers' St. Mortain series:)

    Thank you:)

  5. KAK thank you so much for stopping by! I couldn't agree with you more. :)

    Christina, I am so glad you entered the raffle! I hope you enjoy the book, and I *loved* Robin's GRAVE MERCY. I haven't gotten a chance to read DARK TRIUMPH but it looks equally amazing!

  6. My fav historial novel would be The Sphinx's Queen! :D
    Mary G Loki

    1. Ah! I haven't read Maid of Secrets but I really want to!!! XD

  7. I think it's always interesting to read about the help in history. This reminds me of the upstairs/downstairs drama like 'Downton Abbey.'
    My favorite historical novel is 'Outlander' by Jamie Fraser.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com