Q — Welcome, Susan. It’s so good to have you here on my blog. Please tell us about your writing – the genre/s, and why you chose it or them.
This is a loaded question, Trish! I started out to write a short story and it turned into a mystery novel, Genesis Beach. I liked the protag so much that I wrote a series about her, a tough North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent. Since I’ve live in this state all my life, I decided rather than have Logan Hunter stay in one place, I’d move her around the state to showcase not only our beaches but our mountains and all parts in between. Just North of Luck is set in the mountains, Hell Swamp along Black River where I grew up, Sin Creek along the Cape Fear waterfront in Wilmington, and Sticking Point in Beaufort. I decided to end the series and try on a few more hats.
I wrote a women’s fiction, titled Slightly Cracked and hope to write another novel in this genre. I had a blast writing about these two lifelong friends and their antics.
My brand new Sprig of Broom is historical fiction. I am the lineal descendent of a Knight of the Bath and wanted to write about him since he married King Henry’s daughter Matilda and fathered the long line of Plantagenet kings. He often wore a sprig of broom in his hat, hence the title.
I love to read many genres and I suppose it just seemed natural to try to write multiple genres as well. I’m easily bored so this has added adventure and challenge to my life.
Q — Wow! I love that. So glad you chose to feature the historic book.
Sprig of Broom is the new book. It can be labeled historical fiction or creative nonfiction. It is a stand-alone. Here’s a synopsis:
Sprig of Broom is a coming-of-age novel about Geoffrey Plantagenet, a count, who at the age of 15 marries King Henry’s daughter, Empress Matilda, and fathers the dynasty of Plantagenet kings. The story begins with the count on his journey to Rouen in Normandy to become a Knight of the Bath. From Rouen, he and the king’s entourage travel to LeMans where Geoffrey is wed to Matilda. And the loathing begins . . .
Sir Geoffrey Plantagenet has much to learn, and over the course of his life’s journey he develops a better understanding of himself, fathers a long line of kings, endures adversaries—especially his own wife—and boldly faces the world of chaos around him.
Q — Fantastic. Please tell us more about the main character(s).
Back in the 12th century folks were married off to each other with no regard for love or likemindedness. Goeffrey Plantagenet had never seen Matilda until he traveled to Rouen to be knighted and then with the king’s entourage to LeMans Cathedrale for the wedding. Matilda at once loathed Geoffrey because even though he was handsome, he was a mere count and only fifteen years old. She was 26 and had been previously married to the Emperor of Germany. She made his life difficult, indeed.
Q — Are you a pantser–you write by the seat of your pants, or a plotter?
I have on occasion been a pantser but for Sprig of Broom it was crucial to be a plotter because I wanted to be as accurate as possible with the time period, architecture, travel, battles, and historical facts about their marriage and life together. Large gaps in time gave me the space I needed to let my imagination take over but I still wanted the novel to be believable.
Q — Understandable. Promotion is the hardest part of being a writer. What do you do to promote your stories?
Here’s a short excerpt of Sprig of Bloom:
“I will see Henry, my son,” I said sternly. I backed away from her bed and walked into the nursery, where the baby still fretted in a nursemaid’s arms.
“Is he ill?”
“No, my lord. He is a babe being a babe. Lady Matilda has not the patience needed—” She stopped her words and her face reddened. “Oh, I beg your pardon sir!”
I smiled and nodded, understanding at her candor. “No pardon is needed, but I do wish to hold this fussy moppet.”
I gathered the bundle in my arms and the future king quieted and looked at me with bright blue eyes. I walked to the high window’s sun and looked him over. He smiled up at me and if he had not already held my heart, he stole it then.
Award-winning multi-genre author Susan Whitfield is a native of North Carolina, where she sets all of her novels. She is the author of five published mysteries, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point.
She also authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook that includes recipes from mystery writers around the country. All proceeds from this book are donated to cancer research.
Slightly Cracked is her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County where she lives with her husband. Their two sons live nearby with their families.
Sprig of Broom is her first historical fiction about a medieval ancestor.
Susan’s books are available in print and all ebook formats.