Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Author Siri Mitchell - A CONSTANT HEART - Free Book

I just love historicals. Today we're talking to another author of historials. Welcome, Siri. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Increasingly, less. My first novels were "all about me" in various ways. My current novel has very little of me in it at all.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

We have a jackalope (the "trophy head" of a rabbit with antelope antlers attached). I love to incorporate it in our décor. Once we hung it on the wall in an African-themed room and told everyone that it was a rare sub-Saharan animal. Only one visitor ever realized what it was.

I've seen those in specialty shops. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

It was probably in junior high school when my history teacher told me he thought I had a future in writing. For a long time after that, I assumed that "writing" meant journalism, but it only took one course in college for me to realize that newspaper writing was not for me.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love Ginger Garrett’s historicals and Claudia Mair Burney’s contemporaries. I love Laura Jensen Walker’s sense of humor and the way Christy Barritt incorporates humor into her mysteries. I’ve read all of Ellis Peters’s Brother Cadfael mysteries (set in medieval England) and nearly all of Lindsey Davis’s Didius Falco mysteries (set in ancient Rome).

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Kissing Adrien (2005), Something Beyond the Sky (2006), The Cubicle Next Door (2006), and Moon Over Tokyo (2007) were all published by Harvest House. Cubicle was a Christy finalist for Lits. Chateau of Echoes (2005) was published by NavPress; it was also a Christy finalist. I have two non-fiction manuscripts I call French Confession and Sushi Redemption. And a terrible first novel that will never see the light of day.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I’m a simple person who can only do one thing well at a time. Knowing this about myself allows me to say "no" to quite a few things. I also limit my hobbies. At the moment, they’re all health oriented (weight-training, golf, tennis, etc.) My family has chosen to live close to our daily activities so we don’t have to spend hours in the car. I’ve divided my day into writing time and…non-writing time. I’m only a good juggler when I have few balls to juggle!

How do you choose your characters’ names?
For my historicals, I go back to census records and pull from the most common names of the period (for both first names and surnames). Historically, the pool of names was very small. For contemporaries, my characters usually come to me, name in hand.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
The proudest moments in my life have usually been achieved in tandem with someone else. To isolate an accomplishment I achieved on my own, I’ll have to go back to the age of 5 or 6. I spent my youngest childhood years on the East Coast where summers were spent in the swimming pool either practicing for swim team or playing with friends. At one of my first swim meets, I was scheduled to swim the anchor lap of a relay. When I jumped into the water, my team was dead last. I remember hearing people cheering as I swam. I remember thinking, "Oh no, someone’s already finished!" The cheering kept getting louder and I kept swimming faster because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. When I touched the wall I realized that those cheers had been for me and that our team had won. I had pulled off a gigantic upset!

That's wonderful--truly a thing to be proud of. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cat. I’m not particularly fond of them (I’m a dog person), but I’d really like to be able to purr.

What is your favorite food?
A good dark chocolate mousse.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
For the longest time, I was afraid to start querying my manuscript. I didn’t want to be rejected. And then one night, one of the members of our Bible study said, "That’s stupid – how can anyone ever buy it if you never send it out?" That cured me. And 10 years, 153 rejections, and 4 manuscripts later, I sold my first book!

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Write. You can do all the research you want. You can read all the books about writing that you can find. You can go to all the conferences that you have time and money to attend, but at some point, you have to just sit down and…write. In this profession, a whole lot of learning comes from doing.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
A Constant Heart is the first of three standalone historical romance titles that will be released by Bethany House Publishers. This book is set in Queen Elizabeth's court in a world where beauty is a curse, friendship is bought and sold, and true love is the unpardonable sin. Each of the three books is set in a time period when women’s lives were endangered by the fashions they wore. The fashion element in A Constant Heart is the toxic lead-based paste the women used to paint their faces.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I would love them to visit me at
Thank you, Siri, for spending this time with us. We want to feature the other novels in this series.
Readers, for your convenience, I'm including a link to where you can order the book:

Leave a comment here on my blog website for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.


Julie said...

Sounds great. I love historical fiction. I really like how she picks names for the historical books.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oooooo, the cover is enchanting. I have never heard about the lead based paste and am looking forward to seeing how that is incorporated into the story. It sounds wonderful.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Lena, for inviting me to your blog! And thanks Julianna and Sherrinda for your kind comments about my book!

Many blessings,

Lindsey said...

Oh my word, a jackalope! How funny! :-) I would LOVE to win!

ladyufshalott at

hippmom said...

Love historical fiction. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

G.R.I.T.S. said...

I love to read historical fiction, and can't wait to read this series!! please enter me!!!

Anonymous said...

Souds really cool, please enter me into the contest. I'm Elizabeth Bennet at

or at victoriangirl39 at aol dot com

Marla said...

This sounds like a great new series. Please put me in for the drawing. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to read this books. Histtoricals are my favorite.

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.


Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds fun; I'd heard of the lead issue. My mum and I are both Brother Cadfael addicts. Thanks for the chance to try and win this book.

Unknown said...

I loved the interview and the book looks so good. I loved the excerpt. I've just recently gotten into historicals. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks so much

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in :)

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to read a siri mitchell book, and this one looks just right for me :)

Mimi B said...

She sounds so funny. I love that she'd want to be a cat just to be able to purr! And the jackalope business is hysterical! I wonder what life would be like being so focused to only juggle a few balls at a time. Amazing.

Please enter me to win this book.

Mimi B

mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

A J Hawke said...

Very interesting concept for your novel. I am curious how you developed it. I only just recently read an article about the lead based paste used by women of that time. It makes me wonder what we are using today that people a hundred years from now will ask, "How could they?"

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be entered! This is one book I've seen highly praised everywhere but haven't gotten my hands on it myself yet. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

I have never thought of names being historicallt accurate.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to win! I love Siri Mitchell!

Katie said...

Please enter me thanks!!!

Maureen said...

This book sounds fascinating and I enjoyed your interview.

Cricket said...

Thanks for this interview!

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

This book looks terrific, sounds like I'll love it! renee_chaw[at]hotmail[dot]com