Skeins follows a group of Indian woman as they travel through Europe learning something about life, each other, and themselves. What served as your inspiration for this uplifting novel?
Both my novels relate to a world well-known to me: urban educated India. I have been travelling a great deal for the past 14 years and I undertake at least one group tour overseas each year. Though the itinerary for the tour described in Skeins is similar to that of a group tour I undertook with Cosmos© in 2015, the similarity ends there as the tourists in the latter included men and women of varied nationalities. Also, when I had traveled to Ireland in 2016, my suitcase had not been transferred in time to the connecting flight by the airline staff at Munich airport during transit. These experiences sparked off my imagination, which led to the birth of Skeins.
There is a great collection of women from several generations in this group. Who was your favorite character to write for?
It’s like asking someone who is your favourite child. Each woman character is alive in my imagination with her own distinct personality, dreams and circumstances. They are all resilient as I don’t sympathize with whiners. I like women who get back on their feet after a hard tumble and find their own path in life without seeking sympathy or support. However, I particularly empathized with the characters Sandra D’Souza and Vidya Rao who are caught in a conundrum and need to make tough decisions.
I enjoyed how the characters each had their own story that contributed to the depth of their character. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?
Though the novel is a breezy read, it deals with serious societal issues related to women. I feel very strongly about the thwarting of women’s emotional, professional and intellectual independence and expression by a patriarchal society and a dominant partner who limit her role to that of a mother and a comfort provider. The novel also depicts the generic issues of social hierarchy, aspirational lifestyles, the violence within and without our homes, loneliness and dementia.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have a few ideas that I am exploring. When that creative spark is ignited, I know I will not take longer than two months to pen the story and edit it.
With a galaxy of identifiable characters from modern urban India depicted with light-hearted mirth in a travel environment, the novel explores serious issues, such as the quest for an independent identity and economic independence, the violence within and outside our homes, the loneliness of old age and the need for constructive channelization of youthful energy. Spanning events across a little more than a year, Skeins depicts how self-expression and a supportive environment trigger a cataclysmic effect and stimulate the women to realize their dreams.
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The Witch Trials: The Becoming, by Intrigue Sui Generis, is a short work of historical dramatic fiction. The book is centered around the life and times of Sylvie, a middle-class woman living in southern France during the late 17th century. The story is predominantly about her life, her personal difficulties, and the broader milieu of the time period. Much of the story also concerns her husband Leon and his relationship to the broader Catholic Church, though the nature of this relationship is not well described, or at the least it is unclear how he is so involved with the church despite his main profession. The book also includes content about the broader scope of the time period.
The historical content of this book reads as semi-fictions with the author’s experiences, beliefs, worldview, and sense of morality bleeding into the pages of this book. The 1600’s in France were themselves bloody times, but the author largely washes away that bloody history, due in part to a lack of detail in the story. The story also includes much more active female roles, especially for those of a middle-class status during that time period. While it is heart-warming to think of a female character, seeking to rise above her station in a steeply patriarchal society infused with, what we would consider, harsh and vile religious fundamentalism, much of it is romanticized so that you can follow Sylvie’s story through this dark time without feeling too down about it.
Sylvie’s entire history prior to her marriage to Leon is contained within a single page, which seemed too short for me as I found her to be an intriguing character and I wanted to learn more about her. I enjoyed that this book was a short and concise novella, but at the expense of detail. Sylvie comes from a Protestant upbringing, but I felt it was unclear what kind of Protestant. The brevity of the story helps focus this book into a character driven novella, but leaves you wanting more. Overall, the historical additions of the book are strong and seemingly well-researched (as evidenced by the bibliography at the end of the text), but I would have loved to have this further fleshed out to lengthen the book, and these details would have clarified the setting and character motivations for me.
The Witch Trials: The Becoming is intended for a young adult audience with a decent attempt at historical accuracy. There is sexual content, but it is only slightly more bawdy than a television show from the 1950’s. There are also depictions of human suffering, the outcome of torture, and threats of imminent pain and death, but these are also very sterile. Overall, this book is short and easily provides a few short hours of entertainment.
Pages: 56 | ASIN: B07D68YSQZ
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Pyre to Fire follows two stories, the fate of a Spanish village during the Inquisition and the contemporary story of a Cuban girl trying to find her roots. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This was the story of my own family with information that I gleaned from all the archival material that I found while researching my own genealogy. While the trajectory of the family, their occupations, names, etc are the not fiction, I had to embellish on the scenes and fill in the blanks. The little girl in Miami is me and it was important to show the relationship between me and my ancestors in as real a way as possible.
I enjoyed the detail in your vision of the village of Fermoselle during Spain’s sudden and devastating conversion to Catholicism. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure your book was accurate?
All my material is primary sourced. I have every single birth, death and marriage certificate as well as land purchases, notarial deeds and last wills of testaments going back to 1545. I then have just wills, notarial deeds and Inquisition records in the archives going back to 1405 Spain and Portugal.
Maria’s character was one that I thought was well developed and captured her soul. What was the inspiration for her character?
I am Maria. The whole description of incidents is exactly as they happened to me.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book is The Recipes of the 15 Grandmothers. I was able to locate recipes that were passed to my Mother from Crypto Jewish times through today. The are special in that any keep the kosher laws even when the family was Catholic and are clearly showing a sign of their times. This book is finished and in the editing process.
A compelling work of historical fiction that engages the reader to follow the story of a family from the burning Pyres of the Spanish Inquisition to a young Cuban Catholic girl in Miami, Florida whose soul was ablaze with a desire to return to its’ rightful place among the Jewish people.
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Eva, a sixteen-year-old witch, lives with her mother and friend Ritta in 13th century Spain. Eva is a renowned healer who wishes to live a simple life among human peasants. One day she meets a boy named Johnathan who is more than he appears to be. Together with her friend Alec, and her faithful familiar Midnight, the trio travel across medieval Europe to help save the human world from war and the powers of darkness that threaten to engulf them all. Along the way Eva and her friends discover that friendship and love are a powerful type of magic that may help awaken the ultimate power lying dormant inside of Eva.
The Cursed Child by Maria Vermisoglou has everything a young adult fantasy reader could wish for. Supernatural creatures, handsome young men, and a feisty heroine who seems to always find herself in the middle of a major catastrophe – a catastrophe only she can solve. While all the ingredients are there for a delightful supernatural adventure, although sometimes predictable.
The story begins with our heroine, Eva, explaining to us that she is a witch and that witches live for hundreds of years and protect humanity from demons and other dark forces from taking over the earth. Eva has a best friend Ritta who is also a witch and lives with her and her mother in a humble house in the village. One day Eva runs into Johnathan, a handsome boy who asks her to attend the royal ball. Eva agrees begrudgingly and thus begins an adventure across 13th century Europe. Without giving away too much of the plot, Johnathan turns out to be the heir to the throne of Spain, but his ascension to the throne is far from guaranteed. Johnathan’s father and uncle have both been warped by their privilege (and in Johnathan’s father’s case – an actual demon) and end up turning on their own son/nephew to try and take the throne from him. Luckily, Johnathan and his best friend Alec, are interested in being better rulers than their relatives and accompany Eva as she magically wisks them around Europe trying to escape civil war and evil demons.
While Vermisoglou’s main trio, Eva, Alec and Johnathan, are a captivating and entertaining bunch, I wanted more unexpected twists to be thrown at the group to see them continue to develop and make them truly engrossing. Eva and Alec are best friends but nothing more. Eva continually berates Johnathan for being stupid but seems to very quickly and neatly change her opinion as things wrap up at the end of the novel. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book however is the great descriptive flair of the author. The fabulous ball gowns and wedding dresses are described in specific detail that leave enough room for the reader’s imagination to make them come alive.
All in all, The Cursed Child contains enough magic, political intrigue and heartwarming moments to keep its young adult audience enthralled until the last page.
Pages: 574 | ASIN: B07BV423FK
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Sixteen-year-old Eva is a witch who lived in Spain, in the year 1230. She met a boy named Jonathan who would become her whole world. Everything was normal until she was faced with challenges that will change her life forever.
As a healer, her job is to help people, but there are forces that will try to prevent that. There is a war coming and Eva and her friends must do everything they can to survive.
Can they fight their way against the dark forces that are surrounding them? Her wits and inner strength helped everyone who encircled her to survive but will she be able to survive herself?
Supernatural creatures, royal backstabbing and many more await you in this thrilling novel that will take your breath away.
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Cradle Gift follows Maité as she discovers the origins of her gift and the meaning behind her ability to move in and out of dreams. What were some new ideas you wanted to expand on in the second book in the series that you didn’t, or couldn’t, get to in the first book?
Here are a few of the things I wanted to explore with Cradle Gift:
- I’ve always been fascinated with Lucid Dreaming, so to continue expanding my knowledge on that subject was very satisfying. Although I put it to my readers as acradle-giftedability, Lucid Dreaming is something you can develop and perfect through practice… maybe not to the astral projection level Maité achieves, but it’s as close to having wings or gills as we can get.
- I wanted to establish the 200-year gap between Celeste and Maité, and plant the seed of curiosity over what happened with the family during those 2 centuries.
- I wanted to highlight “adaptability” without denying the suffering and struggle it takes a person to achieve it. I agree with Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Maité is strong, intelligent, adaptable and therefore, a survivor.
You were able to craft a world that was equally as beautiful as in book one. What were some lessons learned in book one that helped you write book two?
Book 1 was my first full-length novel and through its production I learned a great deal about the technical aspects of publishing, but more than anything, that is where I began to develop “my voice.” Faery Sight became my go-to document for Cradle Gift because locales had been established there along with coordinates for the Faerie Realm—I was so glad that I kept my drafts, maps, and notes! I took with me a briefcase stuffed with all my papers when I traveled to San Sebastián, Spain. I stayed there for one whole blustery week in March to round up my research.
Maité continues to be a dynamic and intriguing character. I find that authors are sometimes exploring their characters when writing just as much as readers are when reading. Do you find this to be true? What kind of exploration did you do with Maité’s character in this book?
The women and girls in my family are the inspiration behind my stories—the series really is a family affair.
The girl on the cover of Cradle Gift is my niece (my older sister’s first born), some of her character traits and astrological attributes account for a big part of Maité’s personality.
FYI: My younger sister’s first born is on the cover of Faery Sight, and my daughter is on the cover of Nahia.
Nahia is the third book in your Faerie Legacy series. Where can readers expect the story to go in the next installment?
Nahia is a common denominator whose story covers the 200-year gap between books 1 and 2.
I consider this novel is a philosophical-fiction of sorts because it is about Nahia’s journey to know herself, to find her place in the world. She’s willful and stubborn, she’d rather ask for forgiveness (grudgingly) than permission, but when the weight of the realm is thrust upon her, Nahia, accepts the challenge, realizing that the time for her to grow up is at hand.
Her strengths and weaknesses lead her to change the genetic footprint of humanity, and to a bitter sweet victory.
At seventeen, Maité’s mortal world is torn apart with the tragic loss of her parents. Uprooted from the only home she’s ever known and isolated in a foreign country, the young woman struggles to make sense of her new life. But the conflict in the realm of Faerie is about to bleed over into Maité’s reality. She finds herself in the middle of an ancient struggle between Nahia and the Beautiful One as they furiously clash for control over the realm.
Through her Cradle Gift, Maité uncovers the extent of the Faerie Realm’s involvement in her life, and in her quest to come to terms with it, Maité has the help of best friend Emily, and David; a young man whose interest in genetics illuminates possibilities that will change her identity forever.
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Cradle Gift is the second book in the Faery Legacy series written by author, Patricia Bossano. In this sequel to Faery Sight, young Maité begins to discover the origins of her gift of foresight and the true meanings behind her ability to willfully move in and out of the dreams of others. Maité finds herself an orphan at the age of sixteen, and she is uprooted when the grandfather she never knew existed calls for her to move to Spain and begin a new life with him. Further complicating matters for Maité, his grandfather’s girlfriend, Eva, is hellbent on acquiring the estate that is, by all rights, Maité’s birthright.
Having read Faery Sight, I was anxious to find out how Bossano carries on the legend of Celeste and Etienne. I was not disappointed. Bringing their lineage right into the 21st century, the author has crafted another beautiful fantasy story filled with images of faeries, the same stunning wooded area, and new characters equally as rich as those in the series’s first book. Maité and her friend Emily have a close friendship rivaling sisterhood and provide plenty of lighthearted moments as they deal with some very serious issues plaguing Maité’s looming adulthood.
Bossano has created a unique character in Plinio. The newness of her situation in Spain and the daunting appearance of the mansion in which she must now live makes for a skittish Maité. Plinio’s awkwardness, his demeanor, and his rather disturbing appearance stir fear in her heart. With the addition Plinio’s character, the author has added another layer of mystery to an already suspenseful tale.
I am one of those readers who tries far too hard in making predictions as I read and must admit I guessed everything but the correct answer regarding the mystifying whispers Maité hears as she makes her way to Spain and inhabits the home of her grandfather. Once the answer was revealed, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and then saddened. I won’t give away too much; I will only say that the story behind the character responsible for the ominous communications is a tragic one. The fact that his feelings span centuries is heartbreaking. Bossano successfully weaves book one into this installment with the inclusion of this character.
I recommend Cradle Gift to any reader who enjoys the fantasy genre but requires a little romance woven into the plot. Both Book One and Book Two are exceptional choices for teen fans of the fantasy genre. It is worth noting that Cradle Gift feels more geared toward teen readers than Faery Sight and the two need to be read in order to fully understand and appreciate the connections between the two.
Bossano, again, keeps readers invested and draws them from one chapter quickly into the next with her rich characters, striking descriptions of the faery realm, and the conflicts between the human and faery elements. Maité and the new additions in Book Two are equally as memorable as those introduced in Bossano’s first book in the series.
Pages: 291 | ASIN: B0767K2JK2
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I Spy with My Little Eye analyses and discusses our changing behaviours as a society. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was important for me to write for three different reasons. First, on a personal level, researching and writing this book has helped me think through a number of concerns that have been in the back of my mind for a while about the direction in which our society is heading. As a result of this process, I’m more convinced than ever that I, as a parent, need to make active choices that go against some of today’s societal trends if I’m to provide my children with a sensible worldview and a solid starting point in life.
Second, I find it worrying that there isn’t greater debate about the values and norms underpinning our society. I think we need to acknowledge and perhaps rethink many of our behaviours if we wish to solve some of the symptoms of ill-health that are plaguing our societies, such as stress and anxiety, financial indebtedness and shallow aspirations. It’s difficult to change course if we don’t know where we’re heading. Acknowledging the problems is therefore a good start. I raise a lot of issues for discussion in this book and it’s my hope that it will be used for spurring debates in schools, book clubs and other places.
Finally, as I see it, questions around morality have too often been outsourced to, and monopolized by, organized religion. What I want to show by using the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues is that being religious is not a precondition for being concerned about, and engaging in discussions around, morality.
This book uses a combination of statistics, quotes and recent topics to illustrate various points. I thought the research was outstanding. What was one thing that surprised you while you were researching this book?
On the whole, the data I used in the various chapters supported the hunches I already had about the issues I raise. In that sense I wasn’t particularly surprised by what the data showed. That said, I was still horrified to have my suspicions confirmed, especially when it came to statistics concerning children, such as the large amount of time they, on average, spend in front of screens, and the little time they spend outdoors.
This book looks at some of the problems affecting Britain s society today. Is there a problem that is unique to Britain? What is a problem that is shares with the world?
Although I’m drawing on material mainly from the British context, the issues I’m discussing are applicable to many more countries than the UK. I would argue that much of what I write about are trends found across the Western world. For example, in the first chapter titled Pride I discuss how today’s ‘celebritisation’ – the increased celebration of celebrities – affects the aspirations of young people towards careers that come with fame and glamour. This trend is far from unique to Britain. Seeing, for example, that the reality TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians is apparently aired in 167 countries, I would say this issue is rather widespread.
Also, the role of the West as a predominant exporter of popular culture and information means that the norms and values we experience today in Britain may well be the norms and values experienced across the developing world in the years to come, if they aren’t already.
I think it would be a worth-while exercise to organize cross-cultural debates around the issues I raise in this book. For example, it would be interesting to set up panel debates at universities for students from different countries to discuss commonalities and differences in how they perceive values and norms playing out in their respective societies.
I understand that you currently live in London, but you’ve also lived in various other countries. How has this affected you as a citizen?
I was born and raised in the Northern Swedish countryside and I have moved many times as an adult, both within countries and across countries and continents. For over a decade now I’ve called England my home; starting off in London, moving out to the Essex commuter belt, and more recently setting up shop in rural Devon.
These moves have naturally altered the mirrors in which I see myself in relation to other people and cultures. Each time these contextual mirrors have changed I have had to step out of autopilot mode and take stock. In that sense, I think the many moves have made me wiser and more understanding as a person. They have also added a comparative perspective to my societal observations. For example, I think I have a better grasp of American politics because I’ve lived in both Montana and Washington D.C. And, I think I understand European geopolitics better because I’ve called Sweden, France, Spain and the UK my home.
On the other hand, I would probably have exercised a louder societal and political voice if I had stayed in my home country. Being an immigrant comes with a natural wish to blend in, and to be accepted. Especially after Brexit, I have sadly found myself adding things like ‘my husband is British’ or ‘I’ve been in England for many years’ when I meet new people simply to justify my existence in this country. I must also admit that I’ve had a fear when writing this book that people will think ‘who are you to come here and judge us?’ I sincerely hope the book won’t evoke such feelings.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
In my next book I highlight the Western world’s evaporated trust in politics, business, and international institutions and argue that we need to tackle this lack of trust through greater focus on integrity and honesty in public life. I shed light on a number of the mechanisms believed to induce integrity through interesting (and hopefully amusing) cases from around the world, including whether Donald Trump’s fibbing can be stopped by naming and shaming, and if FIFA’s culture of corruption is finally an issue of the past. My intention with the book is to re-package academic research into an approachable format and let interesting cases bring the theories to life.
The book is only in its research phase so it won’t be ready for publishing for quite a while still.
Which direction is our society heading in? Does it provide a good enough nurturing ground for the next generation to flourish? Is it time we took a good look at our values and behaviour and changed course? Dr Linnea Mills offers a frank discussion about the prevailing norms and values in today’s Britain, interpreted through the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. She tackles head-on topics as diverse as celebrity culture, work-life balance, immigration politics and economic divisions. This is a book for anyone with a keen interest in society, philosophy and politics. Get inspired and join the debate.
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