Monday, October 10, 2016

Author Interview: Julie K. Rose

Last week I reviewed Julie K. Rose's Dido's Crown, her 1930s historical novel set in Tunisia. It's an action-filled yet emotional story of three friends who find themselves embroiled in a dark, complicated conspiracy that touches on their experiences in World War I and their other relationships. (Check out my review for the international giveaway.)

I'm thrilled to share my interview with Julie about this book!

Was Dido's Crown the original title of your book?

Yes, most definitely — once I decided to finally give it a title. Forever and ever, I just referred to the book as "Mary". But when the concept of Dido's Crown in the book became clear, the title couldn't be anything else.

As you were writing Dido's Crown, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

There's a scene toward the end of the book that I didn't know was coming. When I realized what was going to happen, I put off writing it for days. I won't say much more for fear of spoilers, but I will say I cried my eyes out as I wrote it. That's never happened to me before.

Did you use any music, food, scents, or other inspiration to help you evoke setting as you were writing Dido's Crown?

I primarily used music to get me in the right mindset. I can only write to atmospheric music or soundtracks (I went on and on about it in this video) but I definitely used this soundtrack to get me into the Maghreb in the 1930s.
  • Tunisia Azaan (adhan)
  • "Ya habibi taala" by Asmahan
  • "Vingt Et Vingt" by Mireille
  • "Puisque Vous Partez En Voyage" by Mireille
  • "You're the Top" by Cole Porter (sung by Cole Porter!)
  • "Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind" by Ken "Snakehips" Johnson & His West Indian Dance Band
  • "The Sheik of Araby" by Ken "Snakehips" Johnson & His West Indian Dance Band
  • "Stompin' At the Savoy" by Chick Webb & His Orchestra
  • "Rock It for Me" by Chick Webb & His Orchestra
  • "You Showed Me the Way" by Chick Webb & His Orchestra
  • "Devoting My Time to You" by Chick Webb & His Orchestra
This playlist is available on Spotify

Read any good books recently?

YES. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane. Here's the blurb from Goodreads:
Landmarks is Robert Macfarlane's joyous meditation on words, landscape and the relationship between the two.

Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather.
I absolutely loved his The Old Ways and this book is, if possible, even more wonderful. His writing is clever and beautiful and fiercely intelligent and startlingly passionate. Chapter Six, "The Tunnel of Swords and Axes", is in my top five chapters in any book of all time. It's an incredibly moving chapter, written with skill and love and precision.

I want to grab everyone I meet and tell them about this book and beg them to read it.

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My thanks to Ms. Rose for her time and her thoughtful responses. You can learn more about her and her books on her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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