Giveaway & Author Interview: The Sultan, the Vampyr & the Soothsayer

I recently reviewed Lucille Turner’s brilliant book The Sultan, the Vampyr & the Soothsayer. Wanting to find out more about this new (to me) author, I have since interviewed Lucille.

Not only that, she has kindly agreed to give away a paperback of the book to one lucky Examining the Odd reader! See the bottom of this post for more details.

  1. Have you ever visited a country or town to conduct research for your writing?

Yes, I visited Florence and Vinci when I was writing Gioconda, because it was about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, and I went to Norfolk to get inspiration for a new book I am working on called The Summer Country, which is also historical fiction, only this time set in Roman Britain. If I can get to visit a place connected with what I am writing about I find it helps. There is also often local information to be found, which is a bonus. Once I had a fascinating conversation with a Welsh miner in connection with some research I was doing about gold divining! He was really helpful.

 

  1. Do you consider your potential readers when you’re writing?

I think I do, in the sense that I try not to slow the plot down with too much historical detail. It’s important to stay as close to the truth as possible, even if historical truth is at the best of times a fairly grey area, but still the story is more important at the end of the day. This is fiction, after all.

 

  1. What authors did you dislike at first but later discovered love for?

It used to be that if I disliked a book I would just stop reading it, but since I’ve been reviewing other people’s work I have had to stick at things even if I didn’t like them at first. It can be a very rewarding process. I am not really a genre fiction fan so I tend to go for quirky titles when I can. At the end of the day though, I prefer historical fiction that tackles unexpected subjects and takes you into the head of the character(s).

 

  1. Do you read any book or author related magazines?

Bookmunch keeps me up to date on what is coming out because I review for them. I read quite a lot of non-fiction though, and The Economist when I’m travelling because I buy it at airport kiosks.

 

  1. What’s your favourite way to market your books?

Through my blog at www.lucilleturner.com/books

 

  1. Is there a particular book that changed your views on fiction?

I speak French and Italian, and have read quite widely in both languages. I think that Italo Calvino has had the greatest influence on me, as a writer. I love all his books; he tackles heavy subjects with a very light hand.

I love Calvino’s writing. This has reminded me that I need to read more of his books as I’ve only tried a couple and that was a while ago. Thanks Lucille!

  1. Is writing your only job?

I taught composition and literature for about ten years, but now I have returned to my first line of work: a translator.

 

  1. All authors get the occasional bad review. How do you deal with them?

I go and read a good one afterwards.

Good answer, and I’m sure there are many great reviews for Lucille to immerse herself in – an excellent writer indeed!

  1. How long does your writing process take?

It takes me about a year, although I often have a break in the middle of revisions.


Thanks to Lucille for taking part in this interview. Check out my review of The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer and I think you’ll be tempted to grab a copy! In the meantime, why not enter our giveaway?! Simply click here. Good luck 🙂

Giveaway: Strange Medicine & Strungballs

It’s time for a double giveaway! StrangeBooks.com have agreed to send a pair of signed books to one lucky Examining the Odd reader.

One lucky entrant will receive a signed copy of Strange Medicine (a collection of surreal short stories) and StrangeBooks’ latest publication, Strungballs (an out of this world, weird novella).

To enter, simply click here! Good luck 🙂

18+ only please.

The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer

1442: When Vlad Dracula arrives at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, his life is turned upside down. His father Dracul cannot protect him; he must battle his demons alone. And when the Sultan calls for the services of a soothsayer, even the shrewd teller of fortunes is unprepared for what he learns.

Meanwhile, the Ottoman Turks are advancing through the Balkans with Vienna in their sights and Constantinople, the Orthodox Greek capital, within their grasp. As Eastern Europe struggles against the tide of a Muslim advance it cannot counter, Western Christendom needs only one prize to overthrow its enemies. Blurb

BRONZE PRIZEWINNER AT THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK AWARDS 2017 FOR BEST EUROPE FICTION

Released: November 10, 2016

The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer by Lucille Turner is paranormal fiction presented as a historical novel. This is excellent and intelligent indie writing at a nice and hefty (and importantly, necessary) 486 pages.

I highly recommended this book to fans of supernatural or historical fiction, even if one of those genres isn’t usually your thing. Each character is fascinating and the settings are tangible.

Despite being set around war and conflict, there’s a real lack of action, which is a positive in my opinion. In many ways, this book reminded me of the first season of Game of Thrones where, unlike the books and the later seasons, we’re aware that fighting is going on but we don’t have to sit through the boredom of every punch and stab.

I much prefer the scheming and back-stabbing that we see through the dialogue and slight actions of the characters. Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded a few juicer scenes in this book… perhaps the odd swift murder or even sex scene.

I feel this would have fit in quite nicely with the overall tone of the book. The actual vampire stuff that you’d expect from the title and theme of the book is very minimal and this works surprisingly well.

LUCILLE TURNER’s first book, Gioconda, was published by Granta Books in 2011. A novel about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, it went on to win the Hislibris prize for historical fiction and was translated into several languages. She has a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and has worked as a translator, a journalist, a teacher and a book reviewer. She lives between Bournemouth and Nice and blogs about historical fiction at www.lucilleturner.com.

 

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With a multifaceted narrative, diverse characters, and stunning historical detail, this book is completely absorbing. The author stirs together history, myth, political intrigue, and religious conflict to create a gripping, expertly researched story. Was it a curse, a medical condition, or the simple fears of local farmers that led to the legend of Count Dracula? See what you think after reading. Highly recommended.” THE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY

I’ve decided to play around with my ratings for this review and use a letter rating system (I am a teacher after all), so The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer gets a well deserved A-.

Lucille Turner kindly sent me a paperback in exchange for a 100% honest review.