As a history graduate student, I read heresy trial records in the Venetian State Archive and discovered the bare bones of my story…
C.L.R. Peterson – 11 January 2018
The Back Flap
Heresy is fatal in late sixteenth-century Italy, so only a suicidal zealot would so much as whisper the name of Martin Luther. But after Luther’s ideas ignite a young girl’s faith, she can’t set them aside, even when faced by plague, death, and the Inquisition.
About the book
When did you start writing the book?
Over a decade ago, when windows of time opened up in my life.
How long did it take you to write it?
It’s hard to know exactly. I learned to write fiction as this book evolved, so it went through many revisions. I set it down numerous times for other projects (writing and non-writing), but always returned because I wanted this story to see the light of day.
Where did you get the idea from?
As a history graduate student, I read heresy trial records in the Venetian State Archive and discovered the bare bones of my story: an Italian doctor smuggled Martin Luther’s books into Italy and was tried three times by the Roman Church’s Inquisition.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Several options came to mind for the ending, and initially the choice was difficult.
What came easily?
The historical background and the basic plot.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
I’ve fictionalized a real historical character, Giordano, who is a major character, and have also included a few Venetian Renaissance poets as characters.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
Sarah Dunant’s novels provide a model for me in the way they bring to life the vibrancy and complicated history of Renaissance Italy. Sue Monk Kidd’s wonderful voicing in Secret Life of Bees inspired me. Jane Kirkpatrick, Bodie and Brock Thoene, Francine Rivers, and Liz Curtis Higgs have showed me how artfully spiritual threads can be woven into great stories.
Do you have a target reader?
People who enjoy history and/or historical fiction, especially interwoven with spiritual themes.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
As a historical novelist, I start with plenty of research about the time period, place, and conflicts (real or potential). I begin writing with my main fictional characters in mind, as well as some historical figures who make at least cameo appearances. My plots weave around actual historical events.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I do very rough outlines to start, then add notes as I write and think.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I have to stop myself from editing as I write because it takes me out of the creative mode. The editing and writing both go better if I don’t try to wear both hats at once.
Did you hire a professional editor?
Yes, I’ve used developmental as well as copyeditors.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
No. I’m also a musician, and I’m distracted by listening to music while I’m trying to think and write. It’s multi-tasking for my brain!
Did you submit your work to Agents?
At the early stages of this novel, I sought the input of agents. When the novel was completed to my satisfaction, I turned to beta-readers for critique before I self-published.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
To take advantage of a thematic tie-in, I wanted my novel to come out before the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I originally had considered traditional publishing, but I realized the process would be too slow, so I decided to self-publish.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
A professional created it for me.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I’ve created my own plan based on input from professionals.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Invest time in advance to learn new skills beyond writing (the learning curve can be steep), arrange skill trades with friends or set aside a budget for the tasks you feel least able to do yourself.
Where did you grow up?
Where do you live now?
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’ve been in love with Italy (language, people, food, history, scenery) since I was nineteen. That lovely, welcoming nation draws me like a hummingbird to nectar, though not a drop of Italian blood flows through me.
What are you working on now?
Polishing a prequel, planning a sequel, and finishing a novel based on my Danish ancestors.
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