Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A SPARK UNSEEN Blog Hop Day 7!


An Interview with Sharon Cameron

Hello quirks! If you haven't heard of The Dark Unwinding series, then let this be your wake up call! Sharon Cameron is a masterful writer and her mystery-filled novels about teenage Katharine Tulman, set in Europe in the 1800s, are some of the best I've ever read. The series begins with The Dark Unwinding (my review here) and continues in the upcoming A Spark Unseen.

Sharon, who is super sweet and all-around wonderful, answered some questions about A Spark Unseen for my stop on the the blog hop!

WQ: Hey Sharon! I've had the opportunity to hear you speak about your novels in person, and you've talked about how much research went into THE DARK UNWINDING. How did your research for A SPARK UNSEEN compare?
SC: Hi back, Shalena! My research for this book was VERY different. The setting of THE DARK UNWINDING, though inspired by a real place, is truly fictional. I pulled heavily from Welbeck Abbey, but had the freedom to make that world anything I wanted it to be, as long as it was plausible and real for the time period.

For A SPARK UNSEEN, because it is set in Paris at a very particular time in that city’s history, I focused less on imagination and more on what really was there. Rue Trudon (Katharine’s Parisian address, now demolished) was a real street where Englishmen (and Americans) kept houses of the type described in the novel. Napoleon III’s ball –including the interior description of the Tuileries and the ballet dancers dressed like bees– is based on recollections from members of the Imperial Court. I used an actual floor plan of the Charenton asylum, pictures and firsthand descriptions of The Morgue, railway maps and omnibus routes, historic timelines of assassination attempts on the Emperor and the journal entries from members of the political groups that opposed him. A much more exacting process!

WQ: Uncle Tully is a fictionalized version of an actual fascinating person from history. Were any characters in this novel based on real people?
SC: Yes! Obviously Napoleon III and his empress, Eugenie, were very real, as was Charles de Morny, Napoleon’s illegitimate half brother. But perhaps one less obvious real person is Mr. DuPont. The inspiration for Mr. DuPont came from an entry in an Englishman’s journal, chronicling a conversation with a slightly deranged Frenchman on the streets of Paris. When asked if the weather was fine, the Frenchman shook his head sadly and replied, “Napoleon is dead.” When asked to describe his trade the man said, “Napoleon is dead.” When requested to explain why he was wearing no shirt beneath his jacket, the reply was, “Napoleon is dead.” All things, good or bad, were the fault of the first Napoleon according to this guy. I couldn’t resist including him the novel.

WQ: While Katharine has her own goals in this novel, none of what is happening would have come about without a certain fish toy of Uncle Tully's. What gave you the idea for the fish and could/did something like that actually exist?
SC: Absolutely it could, and did. “Whitehead’s Torpedo,” also known as a “torpedo fish” worked with a compressed gas and clockwork propulsion system, and was first conceived around 1866, perfected around 1874. One section of the blueprint is marked “secret chamber,” and it is the contents of that chamber that confounded engineers for years. Uncle Tully, of course, had that “secret” all figured out thirty years earlier. If either Britain or France had been privy to that knowledge during the 1850s, the balance of world power would have shifted dramatically!

WQ: In THE DARK UNWINDING, Katharine is far away from the social scene and gossip of the time period. When she travels to Paris in A SPARK UNSEEN, she is thrust into society in an effort to assuage suspicion about herself and keep Uncle Tully safe. What was the best or most difficult part of working this facet of Victorian life into the story?
SC: Oh, for me, this is absolutely the fun part! I have no idea why women being snarky while drinking tea gives me so much pleasure to write, but so far every novel I’ve written contains such a scene. I suppose it’s because I like sharp wit, and people who have no patience for the pretensions of little gossipy social gatherings. It’s probably why I like Jane Austen so much. She loved to have one character needling the other beneath the cover of strict politeness.

WQ: As much as I love the characters from The Dark Unwinding series, all good things must come to an end. Do you have any plans for more stories set in Katharine and Uncle Tully's world, or do you have something completely new in the works?
SC: I have all sorts of stories for Katharine and Lane and Uncle Tully swirling around in my head, but my next novel is going to be something brand new, and I’m terribly excited about it. It’s high adventure, with a cunning, sword-swinging heroine, set in a world like nothing I’ve ever written or read before. Look for an announcement coming soon!

A huge thank you to Sharon for sharing so much with us! The quote from A SPARK UNSEEN that Sharon chose for this stop is so fitting, so here's a tidbit from Uncle Tully!

And it's true! The stories from Sharon Cameron's head are splendid!

Along with getting some awesome extra content from A Spark Unseen, you can win prizes through the blog hop. Visit HERE for more details!

Below you can read a little more about A Spark Unseen and links where you can find Sharon Cameron on the web.

The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

Find Sharon Cameron at the following:

Thanks for visiting and enjoy the rest of the blog hop!

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