Lisa: We’re so pleased to be celebrating a little Christmas in September with author Sandra Schwab and the tour for her new holiday novella, Yuletide Truce.
Welcome, Sandra! Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Sandra: I’m not a native speaker of English. I’m German. I decided to start writing in English back in 2000, when it became clear I wouldn’t be able to find a German publisher for my books. The very first novel I ever wrote in English (and which still remains unpublished) was a contemporary romance set in Scotland with a very grumpy (but dishy!) kilt-wearing hero — and a lot of rain, of course!
Lisa: What’s your favorite scene in Yuletide Truce, and what makes it a fave?
Sandra: One of my favorites is the opening scene set in Munro’s Bookshop, where Aigee, our hero, learns that his nemesis, the dashing (if rather arrogant) Christopher Foreman has once again trashed one of Aigee’s book reviews. Thus, I got to write a snarky Victorian-style review of The Fairy Ring, an illustrated collection of the Grimms’ fairy tales, published in December 1845. This is a book I adore, and for this very reason, I had a lot of fun coming up with things Kit Foreman could snark about – and yes, I’m afraid one of the illustrations does indeed feature a floppy-eared dragon!
Lisa: If you could spend some real-life time with one of the characters in the book, who would you choose and why?
Sandra: I would love to spend some time with Sarah Woodall, who is a widow and creates fancywork patterns for Munro’s Magazine. I would love to chat with her about being a woman working for the periodical press in the 1840s. The 1830s and 40s were a really exciting time when the market for printed matter expanded, and women found many new opportunities to become involved with magazines and newspapers. As to Sarah herself, there’s a bit more to her than meets the eye, and I really hope I’ll get to tell her story in the not-too-distant future.
Lisa: On the flipside, which character would you probably least get along with? Why?
Sandra: Kit Foreman. He might be super hot (they don’t call him the “Adonis of Fleet Street” for nothing!), but, oh my gosh, he’s such a brat! And he’s rather mean to poor Aigee, who is one of the sweetest guys you can imagine. Of course, Kit will get his comeuppance in the course of the story — insert an evil author-smile here — and will be made to eat humble pie…
Lisa: Let’s take off your author cap and put on your reader cap for a moment: what do you look for in a book, what sort of protagonists do you love, do you have a favorite genre?
Sandra: I don’t just love writing historical romance, I also love reading it – both m/m and m/f. A well-written historical that is well-grounded in history is a thing of beauty — Think of England anybody? I particularly like books with grumpy heroes who turn out to be big marshmallows inside.
I also enjoy reading mysteries, and I have been a fan of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series for many years now. I love the tone of these books, and I adore Phryne, who is so wonderfully unconventional and fearless.
Lisa: What books and authors would you say influenced you to become a writer yourself?
Sandra: I’ve always wanted to become a writer, and I started to write as soon as I could write (and before that I was drawing illustrated stories). But even as a child, I greatly admired Rosemary Sutcliff. When I was eight or nine years old, her historical novels for children (among them The Eagle of the Ninth, Frontier Wolf, Blood Feud) made me fall in love with history and with Britain. Sutcliff wrote such vivid descriptions that some scenes from her books have stayed with me for decades. I remember that even when I was little I thought, “I want to write like that one day.”
Lisa: If you could sit down to dinner with any author, past or present, who would you choose, and why? What are some things you’d want to chat about?
Sandra: Dorothy Dunnett, the author of one of my favorite series of historical novels, the Lymond Chronicles. I greatly admire her for the complexity of her books and her masterful use of language, and I would love to chat with her about the research she did for her novels. In addition to a brilliant writer, she must have also been a wonderful human being with a wicked sense of humor (judging from interviews & the like).
Though to be honest, the conversation during our dinner would probably be a very one-sided affair, as I would be too starstruck to actually say anything…
Lisa: Thank you so much for bringing a little holiday spirit to the blog today, Sandra, it’s been lovely getting to know a bit more about you. 😊
About the Book
Publisher: Sandra Schwab
Release Date (Print & Ebook): 22 September 2017
Length (Print & Ebook): 18,000 words
Subgenre: historical romance, Victorian romance, mm romance, holiday romance
Links: Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Apple || Kobo
Blurb: London, 1845
It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.
But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.
Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?
About the Author
Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now, she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).
She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).
She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.