Sunday, 21 October 2012

Angel Heart - Author Interview Part I

So that's it! 'Angel Heart' was released on Friday 19th October by MuseitUp Publishing, my Canadian publisher. To mark the occasion fellow MuseitUp author Christy McKee asked me a few questions about myself, the research I carried out, and my journey toward publication.

Here is Part I of the interview.

1.      Angel Heart is set in France and England in 1815. If you could choose to live in this setting and give up your current life for one year, would you do it? Why?
It would depend if I could choose where I lived. I suppose living the life of a woman from the middle and upper classes might be a nice experience, even though it would be hard to give up all the modern comfort and the technology I take for granted, as well as essential things such as medicines and access to healthcare!  Accepting the limitations men and social conventions placed on women at the time would be a challenge too and I certainly would not take kindly to people telling me that there are things I couldn’t do or say because I am a woman.  

2.      If you could take or send one item back to England in 1815, what would it be and why?

      To the risk of sounding obsessed by healthcare, I would probably send medicines or anything which could help fight disease and help the progress of medical knowledge. I may also consider a solar-powered IPod or mp3 (if such things exist!) with all my favorite songs and music pieces. Music is such an important part of my life I would find it very difficult to do without.

3.      This is your debut novel. In your next book what time period and country do you plan to write about?

My second novel is called ‘The Lion’s Embrace’. It is a historical romance too, set in 1845 with Hugo Saintclair’s son, Lucas, as the hero and Harriet Montague, the daughter of a British Museum archeologist, as the heroin. It takes place in Algeria where Harriet hires Lucas as a guide to help rescue her father from the clutches of Tuareg fighters  – or so she believes. It captured my imagination so much that I wrote the story in a few weeks only. It is a tale of lost treasures, dangerous passions and betrayal. It will be published by MuseItUp Publishing in February 2013.

4.      If you could bring Marie-Ange back to present day England for 24 hours, what would you show her?

This is actually a question I find quite hard to answer. Poor Marie-Ange! Imagine how noisy, dirty, messy and threatening our world would appear to someone from the early 19th century. Almost everywhere we go there is the noise of traffic from cars, planes and trains. I would definitely not take her to a town, where there is so much aggressiveness and violence, where people rush everywhere and hardly spare one another a glance. I may sound terribly boring but I think I would take her for a walk in the countryside and a nice lunch in a pub with friends and family!
 On the other hand, I may take her to a music festival, like Glastonbury! That would surely give her something to remember!

5.      As an historical writer, could you describe your writing and research process?

I enjoy research, sometimes a little too much. It is such an exciting part of the writing process. You never quite know what gems you’re going to find and how much they will alter your characters and storyline. I enjoy reading articles and books, finding out facts and anecdotes, which often send me in a completely new and unexpected direction. The internet is a wonderful research tool, although you do have to be careful and sift through information carefully. Without it, it would have been impossible for me to travel to France, Algeria or Malta to find the information I needed for ‘Angel Heart’ and ‘The Lion’s Embrace.’

In ‘Angel Heart’ I have interwoven facts and fiction. For example most of what I wrote about the ‘Société Angélique’ which existed in Lyon from the Middle Ages onwards is based on facts, incredible as they may seem. Its members, who over the centuries included well-known figures such as artist Poussin and writers Rabelais and George Sand, really did believe they could communicate with angels. I loved researching the legendary Count Saint-Germain, a central figure in the novel even he only puts in an appearance at the end. I also read about Napoleon and his return from exile in Elba, about key political figures of the time such as Joseph Fouché, and the cuirassiers of course!

 All the locations, including the village of Malleval and the stories about bandits who lived there, and the chateau of Arginy in the Beaujolais region, have been thoroughly researched. I had a great time writing ‘Angel Heart’ and I hope readers enjoy it too!
6.      We all like to hear writer success stories. Could you tell us about your journey from newbie to published author?

It hasn’t been easy, but I was never tempted to give up. Writing is a part of me, and always was. As far as I can remember I enjoyed making up stories, especially romantic ones! I first started writing short stories inspired by my mother’s wonderful memories of her childhood in Algeria. It was a way to remember her. When one story was published and another won first prize in a local competition, I started thinking that maybe I could try and write a novel entirely in English.

I enjoyed writing ‘Angel Heart’ so much I was determined never to give up hope that it would be published, even when I kept receiving rejections letters and people around me urged me to stop. When I was offered a contract by an English publisher, I was delighted, of course, but the publisher shut down its romance imprint before the novel got published and I had to start all over again! 

I will never forget the day Lea Schizas emailed me to offer me a contract with MuseItUp Publishing, ten months ago. I jumped, danced, smiled and laughed for days! At last, it was going to happen. It was real!

Thank you Christy for your questions.
Part II of the interview will be about the Knights Templar who are central to 'Angel Heart'.

Angel Heart Blurb

Devonshire, January 1815.
Marie-Ange, the young widow of an English officer, accepts an inheritance in France only to find that everything in Beauregard is not as it seems. Why is the sinister Malleval so obsessed with her family? And could her darling Christopher still be alive? Marie-Ange finds herself trapped in a dangerous web of lies, intrigue, and mystical possession, and the only person to whom she can turn for help is Captain Hugo Saintclair. Yet the enigmatic Hugo represents a danger of a different kind …

Angel Heart is a lavish mix of romance, adventure and a hint of the supernatural, largely set in France against the turbulent background of Napoleon’s return from Elba.

Angel Heart mini-except

The cutter was sailing too close to the cliffs, heading straight for the Devil's Tooth. Marie-Ange's cloak billowed in the blustery wind, the hood blew back and her hair swirled like a golden veil around her. From the cliff top, she watched the small French ship dancing wildly on the waves, its tricolour and white ensigns flapping at the top of the mast.  If it carried on its course the ship would be ripped open by the reef… .She unfastened her cloak, pulled her black shawl from her shoulders, and waved it above her head in the direction of the Devil's Tooth.

Damn this ship. Damn this weather. And damn Malleval. Hugo Saintclair clapped his hands together a few times and blew on them to keep them warm. Around him, the crew shouted orders and heaved on ropes in order to switch sails and change course before they hit the rocks.  The Angel warned them, the sailors said, heaven was on their side. Shaking his head with impatience, he listened to their nonsensical chatter. Angels didn't exist, but the woman who waved at them from the cliff top had saved them from a certain death.

'Angel Heart' is available now from and Amazon

Thank you for dropping by. I look foward to reading your comments!



  1. Hi Marie,

    Thanks for contacting me through my blog. I'd love to host you. I'm pretty open so pick a day. You can send me your promo package or if you'd prefer to do an interview, I can email you some questions.
    you can reach me at czjelic (at) gmail (dot) com
    Looking forward to hear from you.

  2. Thank you for visiting. I have just emailed you!