Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Interview with an Author: S.K. Rizzolo and "Die I Will Not"

Die I Will Not

Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Poisoned Pen Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Series: John Chase Mystery Series
Genre: Historical Mystery/Regency

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I'd like to welcome S.K. Rizzolo to the blog today. Before we get to it, check out a little more info on her new book "Die I Will Not".

Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by a firebrand calling himself Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder. A mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain, her killer never punished. The seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press also seek to avenge N.D.’s death and unmask her murderer. What did the journalist know that provoked his death?

Her artist husband Jeremy is no reliable ally, so Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her while pursuing various lines of inquiry aimed at N.D.’s murderer, a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor’s missing wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Regency London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope’s life and the lives of others.


CW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you start writing? Have your life experiences shaped the way the write (or the subject matter)?

SKR: As a child, I was always that quiet kid with her nose in a book, and I think I decided then that I would like to become a writer.  In college I majored in English and ended up as a high school English teacher of British literature.  So, yes, I think my life experiences have shaped my writing career.  I’m a huge Anglophile and British history enthusiast from way back—I think I’ve seen almost every Masterpiece Theatre production!
CW: “Die I Will Not” is set during England’s Regency period which has always been a popular time period. What drew you to this period? Was it deliberate or did your characters dictate it?

SKR: My mother introduced me to the work of Georgette Heyer, who might be said to have invented the modern Regency novel.  That was really the beginning for me, though my novels are very different.  My mystery series follows the exploits of a Bow Street Runner (a detective), an unconventional lady, and a melancholic lawyer.  My characters do not belong to the Polite World.  They do not ordinarily attend balls or visit London for the Season, and they face financial struggles as well as professional and romantic challenges.  I have enjoyed exploring Regency era criminal law, policing, radical politics, celebrity culture, and early feminism.

Hopefully, the characters spring from the period.  John Chase, my Bow Street Runner, is a man over forty, graying, with an untidy queue and an independent spirit that doesn’t sit well with his superiors.  He’s a bit gruff but has a much kinder heart than he himself realizes.  Penelope Wolfe has made an imprudent marriage, which has forced her to the fringes of Society.  Her father is a radical philosopher.  Her husband is a spendthrift artist.  Her true love Edward Buckler, my third protagonist, has the spirit of chivalry in his heart but isn’t the typical dashing romantic hero.  I try to imagine the lives of people who might actually have existed. 

CW:  How do you write? Do you create everything before hand or do you wing it?

SKR: I’m incapable of winging it.  It takes me a long time to figure out all the character motivations, clues, and twists and turns in the plot.  Usually, I write pages and pages of notes, and even then I’m still shifting the puzzle pieces around until the very end.  Plotting can be incredibly difficult in that I’m sometimes too creative.  I put my characters in a situation—and then I can’t figure out how to get them out of it when suddenly the logic doesn’t add up.   In the middle of writing an exciting scene, I say to myself, WAIT, why did John Chase look here?  I realize that I thought I knew the inner workings of the scene in question, but I really don’t.  There are also the times when I fall in love with a particular setting or plot twist, and I just have to put it in, never mind that this whim causes me days of head shaking and muttering to myself.  Muttering—sometimes even in public.

CW: Do you have any favorite books or authors?

SKR: I tend to read a lot of English mysteries by, for example, P.D. James, Josephine Tey, and Deborah Crombie.  As far as historical mysteries, I am a big fan of Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael novels and Stephanie Barron’s series with Jane Austen as the sleuth.  I’m also fond of reading 700-page “doorstop” Victorian novels by writers such as Anthony Trollope, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell: the longer the better!

CW: Random question: If you could have a drink with any historical personage, who would it be?

SKR: Shakespeare.  I’ve always wanted to ask him why he left his wife, Anne Hathaway, “his second best bed” in his will.  Was this a sentimental gesture, a mark of tenderness, because they had shared this second-best bed?  Was this merely a custom of the time—or a rather cold dismissal?  Since Shakespeare’s marriage has long been the subject of much debate (he and Anne often lived apart while he was busy doing theater in London), it would be nice to finally know the answer to this question!  By the way, I am firmly in the camp of those who believe that Shakespeare wrote his own plays.  Maybe that’s why I’d like to learn more about Shakespeare, the human being, since his artistic genius cannot be questioned.

Thanks so much to S.K. Rizzolo for stopping in today. Make sure to pick up a copy of "Die I Will Not" at one of the venues listed below. And don't forget the other books in the John Chase Mystery Series:

Book One: The Rose in the Wheel
Book Two: Blood for Blood
Book Three: Die I Will Not

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the Author

SK RizzoloS.K. Rizzolo is a longtime Anglophile and history enthusiast. Set in Regency England, The Rose in the Wheel and Blood for Blood are the first two novels in her series about a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. An English teacher, Rizzolo has earned an M.A. in literature and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

For more information please visit S.K. Rizzolo's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Die I Will Not Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 17
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, November 19
Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, November 20
Interview with Curling Up With a Good Book

Friday, November 21
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, November 24
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Buried Under Books
Review at Book Babe (The Rose in the Wheel)
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, November 28
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Monday, December 1
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, December 2
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, December 3
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, December 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 5
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 8
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, December 9
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Spotlight at Book Babe

Wednesday, December 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Thursday, December 11
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 12
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

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