Thursday, March 1, 2012

Interview with Christine Blevins

Yesterday I reviewed the marvelous 18th century American histfic, The Turning of Anne Merrick, and loved it. Hardcore. I'm thrilled to share my interview with the author, Christine Blevins. Read on to learn more about Ms. Blevins, her books, and what she does when she's not reading! Plus, two amazing giveaways!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

It was a journey tale set in 1721 about a young woman who survives a shipwreck to be washed up on the shore of Scotland. Never published, this novel is at present stuffed under my bed. Maybe one day I’ll pull it out and polish it up… it is a good story!

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I always burn a certain candle while I write. The original candle – a scent called “Hemingway” is from Hobby Lobby – was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter Grace when I first starting writing. I buy them by the dozen now. It is the smell of writing. I also have certain playlist I listen to as I write – nothing with words in any language that I understand. Gaelic is acceptable. My collection of writing tunes includes of movie soundtracks, lots of fiddle, and bagpipe music. For some reason, the music from the TV series Battlestar Gallactica got a LOT of playtime when I was working on Turning. [shrug] Don’t ask me why music from a science fiction series (which I loved) worked for writing a story set in 1777, but it did!

Was The Turning of Anne Merrick the original title of your book?

No. I don’t have a lot of luck getting my original titles published. The original title I chose for the book was Hearts of Oak. As usual, the sales and marketing folks at Penguin rejected it so to avoid ending up with a title of their devise, I came up with an alternate, and luckily they agreed to my second offering- The Turning of Anne Merrick. [sigh][shrug]

As you were writing The Turning of Anne Merrick, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

I love when that happens! Certain characters have surprised me in every book I’ve written so far. In The Turning of Anne Merrick it is Pink Dunaway. Besides really liking her an awful lot, she surprised me in several ways that would be spoilerish for me to disclose here, but I was very surprised to see that the little finger on her left hand is missing. In the book I’m working on now, we find out why it’s missing.

On your website, you write about how inspired you were by a trip to the Isle of Skye. Recently, has another location proved as inspirational or moving?

We’ve recently purchased a second home on a small lake up north in Michigan. Hearing the loons, watching the seasons change and tramping through snow covered woodlands has inspired a new story that I plan to develop once I finish the American Revolution series.

According to your website, you're finishing the third book in this series. How do you celebrate or mark the end of writing a book?

Usually with a special dinner out and a VERY nice bottle of red.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to cook. I’ve recently developed a penchant for haunting local antique and flea markets up in Michigan, looking for old cast iron cookware to refurbish. There is something very satisfying in taking a rusty old castaway skillet to clean and season, and bring back it to the point where a pair of over easy eggs slide out as if it were made of some space-age material. Nothing is better for cooking or baking than vintage cast iron. I’m on the hunt for two pieces proving elusive – a waffle pan and a popover pan.

Read any good books recently?

Unfortunately, while I’m writing (which is almost always) my reading time is completely consumed by non-fiction research reading of history books, first-person narratives and memoirs. I purposefully stay away from fiction, so as not to become inadvertently influenced by another author’s voice. Right now I’m reading I’m reading A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens Lawrence E. Babits.

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My thanks to Ms. Blevins for her time! Check out the other blogs on the tour to see more reviews and extras!


I'm thrilled offer a copy of The Turning of Anne Merrick to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US/international readers, ends 3/23.

I'm also giving away 18th Century Stationery – just the sort of sundry Anne Merrick peddled to those bloodyback scoundrels in Burgoyne’s camp. Supplied with a quill pen and wrapped for convenient stowing amidst your gear, these sheets and envelopes are perfect for scrieving all manner of secret messages – invisible ink not included. Open to US/international readers, ends 3/23. Fill out this form to enter!


  1. I love this bit: "certain candle while I write. The original candle – a scent called “Hemingway” is from Hobby Lobby – was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter Grace when I first starting writing. I buy them by the dozen now. It is the smell of writing"

    How does one capture the talent of Hemingway and put it in the candle...and I really want to know what that smells like. Thanks for another great interview. I'm really looking forward to squeezing in my blog win now!

  2. I fear I was never a fan of flea markets :/ makes me a bit sad

  3. I love to burn candles and various smelly oils all over the house when I am creating as well, so she sounds like my kind of lady! Great interview today!

  4. I always love hearing what has surprised authors about the development of characters or plot while writing. I always think that everything is planned out how can anything be surprising? LOL.