Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour Author Interview: Nicky Penttila

When did you know you wanted to become an author?
That’s sort of a hard question for me. Since I learned to read, I’ve devoured books, magazines, instruction manuals, anything readable, but the idea of actually writing a book didn’t come into my head until maybe high school, maybe college. I wrote a couple of short stories in high school, but expected to become an electrical engineer with a side hobby playing music. As the engineering and math classes in college grew more and more dull, I started to pick up literature and writing classes for fun. But then I got the advice that one should live a little before one tried to become a writer, so I spent two decades working for newspapers. In 2001, I heard about National Novel Writing Month, and I thought why not? I didn’t win that year, nor in 2002, but coming close that second time gave me the impetus to keep writing, not just wait till November 2003. And when I won NaNo (reached 50,000 words) in 2003, I knew I wanted to try to finish something that would sell, something that strangers would want to read.

What was your inspiration for The Untitled Lady?
There are a lot of inspirations. I wanted to show how strong women were in the Regency—they ran households and also businesses, and marched in protests, and so much more. When I read about the mass protest in Manchester later called Peterloo, I was amazed at how many women participated—and how many people altogether (estimated at 60-75 thousand!).

What is your favorite thing about the Regency period?
I love how it is right at the cusp of change. The industrial revolution is at the door, while lords and ladies with beautiful manners and strict codes of behavior swirl around each other in ballrooms.

If you could have dinner with one person from this period in time, who would it be and why?
Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. I’d ask her about the literary salons she ran, and the political campaigns she participated in, even though women could not vote. I’m also curious about a novel she is said to have written, and a piece of music that was played at the theater.

How much research goes into writing your novels?
Tons. I like to write regencies that are a little off the beaten track, so there is a lot that isn’t covered in the standard texts or other historical novels, from towns like Manchester to vocations like weaving and spinning. Most important to me is getting the thinking right; for example, how highborn or lowborn people in that time would have seen a woman who did not know who her father was. This year I attended a costume symposium and touched real clothes from the 1800s, hoping to do better at recreating those in text.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while writing The Untitled Lady?
Peterloo was arguably the first large-scale march in Europe that attempted a form of “nonviolent protest,” something I associated with Gandhi in India and civil-rights marches in the US. Turns out Gandhi had read Percy Shelley’s poem about Peterloo and talked with friends about Shelley’s call for peaceful protest.

What's next for you?
A story set in Spain in 1808, with British printers and soldiers, Spanish countesses, and more. Needs research, so I’m heading to the Galician region this spring.

About An Untitled Lady
Publication Date: December 20, 2013
Musa Publishing
ISBN: 9781619375963

Shocking family news forces Madeline Wetherby to abandon her plans to marry an earl and settle for upstart Manchester merchant Nash Quinn. When she discovers that her birth father is one of the weavers her husband is putting out of work—and a radical leader—Maddie must decide which family she truly desires, the man of her heart or the people of her blood.

An earl’s second son, Nash chose a life of Trade over Society. When protest marches spread across Lancashire, the pressure on him grows. If he can’t make both workers and manufacturers see reason he stands to lose everything: his business, his town, and his marriage.

As Manchester simmers under the summer sun, the choices grow more stark for Maddie and Nash: Family or justice. Love or money. Life or death. 
Official Book Trailer

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble
Musa Publishing (editor’s pick)

Link to Tour Schedule:  http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/anuntitledladytour
Twitter Hashtag:  #AnUntitledLadyTour


Nicky P said...

Thanks for having me visit!
I love answering questions--then I realize what I actually think about stuff.

booknerd said...

I can't wait for her novel! I'm from Galicia, Spain

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