I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Taylin Clavelli's wonderful book Secret of the Mansion.
Check out of the lovelies below. Congratulations Taylin! First off, I got the chance to interview Taylin and I'm sharing the questions and answers with you!
Thank you for having me CJ.
Your books are so detailed, something I adore. How much time do you spend on research before starting a new project?
It varies depending on the story. When I started Dakota Skies, all I had was a childhood love of westerns. As I didn’t truly know the era, I had to research everything from maps, weather patterns, clothing, tribal histories – this list goes on. In the end, I had a load of documents, pictures, and reference sites on my PC.
Researching Secret Of The Manor didn’t take as long as I am already familiar with the Cotswold’s, horse riding, and windsurfing – my husband windsurfs. I love history and have a number of books on my shelves. That left the witchcraft aspect, and I am very lucky to have a friend who kept me on the straight and narrow on this angle. The WIP editors made sure that the research I did was correct too.
I feel the extra details helps paint a picture that allows readers to immerse themselves into the word I’m creating. I like to transfer to the page the images in my head.
For my next novel, the research I have to do is humongous.
When you aren’t writing, how do you like to spend your personal time? Any favorite hobbies?
I have been a horse rider since I was 16 – many many years. Although I don’t ride as much now, I still keep my hand in. I also practice the martial art of Taekwondo. I run a club close to my home. Recently, several of my students, including myself were successful at the UITF world championships at Hatfield, London. We’re all looking forward to the next one in Argentina in two years time.
Lots of authors listen to some kind of music while they write. Do you and if so what type of music inspires you?
I only listen to music while I write if my family are at home, and I am in the writing groove. However, music has inspired the odd story or two. As for my taste in music, it is varied. At the grand age of 49, I’ve lived through some excellent era’s of music. I listen to everything from classical to 80’s, and my daughter nudges me when there’s something current she thinks I’ll like.
Favs include Queen, Adam Lambert, Fall Out Boy, Abba, ELO, Vangelis, and Two Steps From Hell.
Coffee or tea?
Secret of the Manor is a blend of modern and ancient information. How did you keep the time periods separate in your mind while you wrote?
This was one of the few times that I kept a calendar of events. There were certain historical aspects that I knew I wanted in the story, so while writing those, I stayed focused on that. I never wrote a historical and a current part of the story at the same time. The only time I merged the two aspects was when I went back to make sure everything flowed properly.
Argo is Warren's wonderful steed. He seems human at times during the story. Did you model him after someone you know?
I have known many horses over the years, and they all have personalities of their own. No, there wasn’t anyone I based Argo on, but he is a combination of years of riding and some imagination. For instance, I used to ride one horse called Dougal, who tested his riders. During the winter months, he’d get bored and leap into the center of the arena. He’d give them a prior warning, but if his rider didn’t take notice and adjust accordingly, he’d dump them. There was another horse too that wouldn’t let me out of the stable until I’d been divested of every mint in my pockets.
And lastly, we met through Fan Fiction many moons ago. Did you ever think that somewhere down the road, you and I would both be published authors?
You, CJ, yes, as your stories have always been outstanding. Me, hell no. I’d have never even tried writing original fiction, had Lily Velden not suggested I submit a story for a Dreamspinners anthology. I wrote a comedy, and it was accepted. There was no one more shocked than me.
Now, I can’t imagine not writing. It has changed my life and outlook. When I’m out and about, I’m more aware of people and my surrounding. I also feel very blessed to be among such wonderful people from all over the world. It’s a great place to be, and I am so thankful for that and to everyone.
You have always been friendly and encouraging, too. It was one of your stories that influenced my reading M/M. And for that I am truly grateful.
Thanks so much Taylin!
Now to the good bits. Check out the exclusive excerpt at the bottom and my review on amazon.com.
SynopsisWarren Blake is an accountant at the pinnacle of his career. After accepting a new position he decides to settle in the scenic Cotswold village of Walmsley Hackett. A village with a colourful history of myth, old wives tales and mystery.
One morning during his train ride into work, Warren notices a small quaint church which he becomes enchanted with. Curiousity compels him to find the church and when he finally does, he discovers an unmarked grave in the corner. Feeling sorry for its occupant, Warren becomes a frequent visitor.
Little does he know that the young man inside the coffin needs a champion and Warren is chosen.
What follows involves a ghostly medieval joust, witchcraft, love, and Warren risking his life.
Buy LinksWIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/secret-of-the-manor-by-taylin-clavelli/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Giveaway3 x Mega Swag Packs (Europe only) – Bullet USB, Keyring hip flask, Memo set, Mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen keyring
2 x $10 WIP Gift Cards
3 x Swag Packs – Memo set, Mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen keyring
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the authorTaylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.
Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.
Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.
Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.
Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.
Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:
Laughter – especially that of her children.
The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.
The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.
HERE IS AN EXCERPT JUST FOR MY READERS.
Secret Of The Manor – Excerpt – Night Ride
Suddenly, a patch of mist marred his path, and Warren shivered. It was as if the droplets of water were crawling over his skin, tasting it, testing it. A sweet fragrance filled his nostrils, and he was sure he could hear the vapour hiss as it delved beneath his collar. A small branch came out of nowhere and thrashed Warren’s face, but he kept going. The fog enveloped the scratch, which stung like tiny needles plucking at his flesh before the pain disappeared, soothed into non-existence.
Argo stopped, rigid, and puffed loud and deep, his ears twitching in all directions. Warren could feel the rise and fall of his steed’s chest under his legs and was afraid to urge the beast anywhere until he settled. Warren breathed deep, too. Something was ahead and he had no idea what it was. His arms shook from adrenaline, and a bead of sweat ran from his brow.
Thump, thump, thump. His heart stuttered, torn between turning tail and forging on.
Argo’s ears abruptly focussed forward. Then he snorted and surged ahead. Warren ceased to be the master and became a passenger. Argo seemed to know where he was going. It was as if Warren were on a train with a single-track line, and someone had removed the brakes.
Argo puffed in excitement and upped his pace. It was all Warren could do to hang on.
To save his skin, Warren leaned against Argo’s neck and put his trust in his charger. All he could hear was the one-two-three, one-two-three thunderous beat of his horse in canter. One-two-three, one-two-three. Argo’s thick black neck surged forward in time with the beat. One-two-three, one-two-three. Long strands of mane licked at Warren’s face, and he grabbed a handful to steady himself. He almost lost his seat when Argo took off over a fallen tree and burst out of the woods into a clearing.
With a whinny and a rear, Argo announced his presence. His front legs pawed the air. Warren clung to the saddle and prayed.