Fascinated By The Unseen World

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard Author Interview

Knowing this novel is based on real people and events makes it even more fascinating. What was the idea, or spark, that first set off the need to write Sisters of Castle Leod?

I have always been fascinated by the Unseen World. In fact, in junior high school I wrote my term paper on extrasensory perception. But at this juncture of my life, my thoughts were turning to the problem of faith and where my own spirituality had led me. So I decided to explore the history of spiritualism, and in the process I came across the name of Sibell Mackenzie, Countess of Cromartie, early 20th century spiritualist, and believer in ghosts and reincarnation. That she lived in the iconic Castle Leod definitely tweaked my imagination. After I read about her sister, Lady Constance–swimming champion, big game hunter, and barefoot dancer who was eventually thrown out of King Edward’s court–I was hooked. I wanted to share these bold and quirky women, still largely undiscovered, with the world!

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

I was kind of surprised by how much information was out there waiting to be uncovered. Most was in the form of archived newspaper articles. Since both sisters were members of the British nobility, they were frequently written up in the society columns. Later, Sibell became well known as an author of mystical romances, and Constance was always doing something to shock her peers in the aristocracy.  So I had plenty of reading to do! There were, of course, a lot of “blanks” to be filled in, but that is the fun of writing historical fiction rather than biography. Each character is like a puzzle to which some of the pieces are missing. How the writer chooses to fill those empty spaces makes all the difference. 

Hollywood is knocking, and they want to make your book into a movie. Who do you cast as the leads?

Funny you should ask, because I just learned that SISTERS OF CASTLE LEOD has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Screencraft Cinematic Book Competition. So, I guess it’s never too early to start thinking about casting! At the same time, I admittedly am not very well acquainted with all the new “hot” actors, so I may well overlook an obvious choice. My selection for Sibell, the reserved and serious-minded spiritualist, would be Emma Corrin (from the 2022 film Lady Chatterley’s Lover). I think that Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) would do a great job as the boldly unconventional Lady Constance. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when can your fans expect it to be out?

That’s a question I wish I could answer! I have several ideas in the hopper, but nothing I’m yet ready to announce to the world. I wish I could be one of those authors who flips out books like pancakes. Maybe if I wrote in a genre other than historical fiction, I could do that. Historical fiction requires so much research that the writing process is likely to stretch out longer than that of your average romance novel or thriller. But, after publishing three historical novels, I’m pretty good at sensing when a story is worth writing. The characters must be as compelling for me as I think they’ll be for my readers. That’s one reason I enjoyed writing SISTERS OF CASTLE LEOD: I found both sisters to be uniquely fascinating characters.    

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A family tragedy, a forgotten legend, and two sisters locked in a bitter feud…
“Heartbreaking and redemptive…a thoroughly engrossing story that will have readers quickly turning the pages.” –Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin
Millions are fans of Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander books and television series, but few know that Gabaldon’s fictional Castle Leoch was inspired by a real Scottish castle, Castle Leod. The two sisters who lived there at the turn of the twentieth century were among the most fascinating and talked-about women of their era.
Lady Sibell Mackenzie is a spiritualist, a believer in reincarnation, and a popular author of mystical romances. Petite and proper, she values tradition and duty. Her younger sister Lady Constance, swimming champion and big game hunter, is a statuesque beauty who scandalizes British society with her public displays of Greek-style barefoot dancing. The differences between the sisters escalate into conflict after Sibell inherits their late father’s vast estates and the title 3rd Countess of Cromartie. But it is the birth of Sibell’s daughter that sets in motion a series of bizarre and tragic events, pitting sister against sister and propelling Sibell on a desperate mission to challenge the power of fate.
Sisters of Castle Leod, by award-winning author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, is the emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 19, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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