Friday, June 21, 2013

The Guardian's Witch Book Tour: Mini Review + Interview + Giveaway!

Welcome to my post for The Guardian's Witch book tour, organized by Bewitching Book Tours! I have a mini review of this book coming up, as well as an interview with the author and an awesome giveaway for a $50 gift card, e-books, print books, and swag. But, first, allow me to introduce the book:

The Guardian's Witch
England, 1290

Lord Alex Stelton can't resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it's his. Desperate for land of his own, he'll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.

Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she'd never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can't get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they'll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.
My Rating: 3 Roses

Started off a slow, but turned out to be a nice read. The Guardian's Witch was a lovely historical romance with just a sprinkle of magic.

I really liked Lisbeth's character. I liked that she wasn't cowed by anything or anyone. She was a strong and likable heroine.

Alex was a little difficult for me. On one hand, he could be so sweet and adorable. On the other, he made some stupid decisions (why would you wait so long to tell your wife that she's married to you?). But, overall, I thought he was a good character.

The romance was nice. It took a while to really develop, but, when it did, Lisbeth and Alex were sweet together. And there was just a touch of spice between them.

The part of the book that knocked off a couple of points was that it was slow to start. It took a while for me to get into it. However, once it picked up, I enjoyed the book. And the ending was lovely.

The Guardian's Witch was a good read. Though it had a slow start, it was an enjoyable historical romance with a dash of paranormal. 

*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Image of Ruth A. CasieAuthor Interview:

Ruth A. Casie is a seasoned professional with over twenty-five years of writing experience but not necessarily writing romances. No, she’s been writing communication and marketing documents for a large corporation. Over the past years, encouraged by her friends and family, she gave way to her inner muse, let
her creative juices flow, and began writing a series of historical fantasies. She lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with her husband. They have three grown children and two grand-children.

Discover strong men and empowered women as they face unexpected challenges. Watch their stories unfold as they encounter magic, danger, and passion. Join them as they race across the pages to places where love and time know no bounds. Ruth hopes they become your favorite adventures.

1. How did you come up with the idea for The Guardian’s Witch?
I was reading an article about overcoming your greatest fears when those you love are in jeopardy. The premise resonated with me and I was soon plotting the story..

2. How long did it take you to write The Guardian’s Witch? 
It took me about five months from start to copy edits.

3. What was it about your book that made your editor want to buy it?
My editor told my characterization is strong--it's generally clear who is speaking because of how well I've drawn each speaker. While she has a soft-spot for Jamie, a secondary character, she feels Alex, our hero is also heroic yet flawed, and Lisbeth is a lovely combination of down to earth and other-worldly! In addition, she thinks there is just enough background on other characters to make it clear each one has a story, but not
distract from Alex and Lisbeth's story.

She also thinks I’ve done well with the dialogue. She said it's not that easy to pull off dialogue that reads as appropriate to the time period, but is not off-putting to the modern reader.

4. What was the most difficult aspect of writing The Guardian’s Witch?
From a technical aspect, I want to get the first draft down and do not take a lot of time with blocking, moving people in, out and all around the scene. I find it much easier to do that during a subsequent round of edits.

5. How much research did you conduct for The Guardian’s Witch and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research?
It seems that at every scene there was something to research. I found myself researching how long it would take on horseback from London to the Scottish border and then I never used the information. I also researched witchcraft and second site.

I also researched King James and his interaction with the Scottish lords when the Scottish throne was left empty. It became a pivotal point in my story.

6. Why did you decide to write historical fantasy?
I’ve always been drawn to the past. I find it intriguing, enlightening, and oh so romantic. The brutality of the ancients’ raiding villages to capture wives, the sub servant treatment of women, and the custom of arranged marriages for property, monetary and political alliances are all historically noted. Put that against the code of chivalry and you get a great conflict.

Today’s courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry and it was the medieval area that saw the rise of romance in literature and stage productions. Even people who lived in the Middle Ages had their fantasies. I choose to build my stories on their interpretations.

7. What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantzer? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?
I proudly say, I am a linear plotzer! I start with page one and write sequentially. If a scene pops into my head I have learned to jot it down and tuck it away for later. I used to think I’d remember them but quickly learned I forgot more than I remembered.

I start with a story idea and then my characters. I do write out their goals, motivations and conflicts. I do a rough outline of the story to make certain I know where key points should go, more of a direction rather than a hard and fast roadmap. Sometimes the side trips I take are really worth it. Sometimes my characters actually amaze me with how they develop the story.

8. Do you use any techniques, tools, or aids to help you write?
While I research I pull out pictures of areas, things, and people, just about anything that can give me some inspiration. I also develop a playlist on my iPod as I go along. Sometimes I play the music for inspiration or help with a difficult section. I find it most difficult when I’m not in sync with my characters. If I’m not in their head, I can’t move the story forward. Getting into their music helps me along.

I know Jennifer Cruise uses collages. I’ve been tempted but haven’t tried that yet.

9. Have you had any "ah ha" moments as a writer? 
When I started to review my writing and could see the POV changes. I let out a loud whoop that brought my husband running. Head hopping? I can see it! He had no idea what I was talking about. He just shook his head and went back to his office.

The point is I got it. I realized that I see the story as a movie. There a multiple points of view in a movie. Once I really understood POV I found it a challenge to figure out ways to make the point of view work and I enjoyed writing more.

I also found that I can’t worry about POV when I write the first draft. I needed to get the story all down first. Once it’s written I go over the story for plot and pacing. Then I read it for POV. I love it when a plan comes together!

10. What advice do you have for other writers?
• First and foremost, keep writing. It’s like anything else, practice, practice, practice.
• Read your genre and others for inspiration, understanding craft, and just the joy of a good story.
• Learn all you can about your craft from multiple sources. No one person has the ‘the way’ for POV, showing vs telling, or any other craft issue. What works for one writer doesn’t always work for another.
• Join a writing group. I belong to several RWA chapters. Some are geographical and others are special interest. When called upon, the members are eager to help. I’ve made deep friendships with all levels of authors around the world. Even when I’ve been heads down with edits or writing I’ve been able to stay connected.
• Get a critique partner and help each other. Truthfully, I love to brainstorm an idea or scene. It really makes my creative juices flow.
• Don’t take rejections too seriously. You’ll be among some of the greatest authors, Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), and James Joyce (Ulysses) to name just a few. Rejects (actually I call them passes) are only one person’s opinion. Many times it’s not the story but rather they have no place in their lineup.
Up for grabs are several prizes, including a $50 gift card, ebooks, print books, and swag. Full details on the rafflecopter. Ends July 14. 
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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