Join me and welcome Pamela Hartshorne at FLY HIGH! Today's guest has had a 20 years' experience as a romance novelist (pen-name Jessica Hart)  and has now published her first historical fiction novel with her real name. It's a brilliant time slip mystery set in York  in the years of Queen Elizabeth I (read my review) Leave your comment or questions for Pamela + your e-mail address to get a chance to win a paperback copy of Time's Echo.   Open worldwide, the giveaway ends on 30th September. 

Hello Pamela and welcome at FLY HIGH! Thanks for accepting my invitation. I’m really glad to have the chance to ask you some questions about yourself and your new “time slip” novel, Time’s Echo
Thank you for having me, Maria Grazia!  I’m delighted to be here.  Isn’t it great how the internet makes it possible for us all to communicate with each other like this?

It is wonderful, indeed! My first  question for you is :   What’s it like to live in York?  Does living in a town so  full of history  influence your writing?
I love living here – York a very ‘livable’ city, small enough to walk across easily but big enough to have lots going on.  And yes, I love the fact that you can feel so much part of its interesting history.  Going in to have a coffee or post a letter, I walk along the same streets Hawise walks along in TIME’S ECHO, and every time I go out, I get newly inspired!

How different was to live there in the Elizabethan age?
In some ways, it was very different, of course.  Religion was much more important in daily life, and the difference between Catholicism and the new Protestant religion was very divisive.  None of the technology we take for granted existed then, obviously, and there were fewer opportunities to move away from the city and make a new life for yourself, as Hawise discovers.  But in other ways, things were not so different.  People still worried about their children being sick, and grumbled about noisy neighbours and dirty streets and problems moving around the city, just as we do today.

Why did you choose that era as your time setting?
York between past and present
I got to know Elizabethan York well while I was researching a PhD on the streets and public space in late medieval and early modern York.  It so happens that a wonderful series of records survive for local courts between 1575 and 1586; I worked on these for so long that the individuals mentioned became like old friends, and I found myself imagining what they would have been like … In fact, one of the incidents in the records, when Miles Fell’s dog bit Nicholas Ellis on the leg, became the starting point for TIME’S ECHO.

What was the most surprising fact you discovered about  16th century York,  while researching for your book?
Hhmmnn, interesting question!  Perhaps the fact that those accused of witchcraft had a proper trial and were often acquited.  Even in those days, not everyone was caught up in the hysteria of (literal) witch hunts although we often like to think that in the past society was less rational than ours. 

Thinking of your heroine,  Hawise Aske , what can you tell us about how hard life was for a woman in that period?
I think one of the worst things for women then was having so little freedom to travel or live as individuals.  Unless you were married, women had very few options, although a widow could run a business on her own.  Women had no votes, and no voice in civic government, but I’m fairly sure they would have made their opinions known anyway!   Perhaps hardest of all was the fact that so many children died in infancy.  Childbirth itself was not quite as dangerous as is sometimes imagined, but the first five years of a child’s life could be perilous and many did not make it.  Those who did survive were commonly sent into service in another household, sometimes when they were as young as eight, which must have been difficult for mothers too, however much they accepted that was the normal thing to do. 

What inspired you such a peculiar name for your protagonist?
Hawise was quite a common name in the medieval period.  I came across the will of one Hawise Aske in 15th-century York when I was researching my PhD, and I just loved the name.  It would have been old-fashioned by the 16th century but I wanted my character to be different from everyone else, and the name seemed to suit her.

You also published many romance novels as Jessica Hart. How different is it to write historical fiction?
The actual process of writing is much the same, I find (a lot of drafting, a lot of crises!) but I had to think a lot more about the plot when writing TIME’S ECHO.  Plotting isn’t so important in a romantic novel, but it’s doubly difficult in a time slip because you’re effectively writing two stories, one in the present and one in the past.  I also had to do a lot more research than I would normally do for a contemporary romance.

 How much of your experience as a romance writer did you put in Time’s Echo?
My 20+ years as a romance writer stood me in good stead when it came to writing a longer and more complex book.  I knew about creating sympathetic characters, about dialogue and pacing and emotional tension … Some people think that romance writing is somehow easier than writing in other genres, but it isn’t.  It’s still about telling a story, and keeping the reader turning the pages, which applies to every kind of commercial fiction.  I also knew about deadlines and drafting and the fact that when it comes down to it, you just have to get the words on the page.  That was probably the most useful part of my experience, in fact!

What are you like as a reader?
Very picky, I’m afraid, and super critical!

What are your favourite genres?
Thrillers, romantic suspense and historical novels with a bit of twist.

Any authors you particularly admire or that influenced you as a writer?
Too many to mention them all, but particularly Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Nora Roberts, Loretta Chase, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Tana French, Philippa Gregory, Juliet Marillier and, of course, Barbara Erksine, the queen of time slips! 

Now, a bit of promotion. How would you advertise your Time’s Echo in about 50 words?
What if you could go back in time and live your life again?  Would you know the moment you’d made the wrong decision, the tiny choice that changed everything?  TIME’S ECHO is part ghost story, part psychological thriller, part romance and part historial novel – something for everyone!

York Minster
Are you planning a sequel? 
I’m in the middle of a new ‘time slip’ (working title: THE MEMORY OF MIDNIGHT).  It’s not exactly a sequel, but like TIME’S ECHO it is set in Elizabethan and present day York.  In spite of that, it’s quite a different story, I promise!  Once this is finished, I’ll be writing another light-hearted romance – my 60th! – and am looking forward to a change of tone after that.  WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS, first published this January, is being re-released as part of Mills & Boon’s RIVA relaunch this autumn and I’m also self-publishing five of my earliest romances … so there’s lot’s going on! 

That’s all for now, Pamela. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions and being such a kind guest. Good luck  and great success to you and your new book!

The author:  After stints as a foreign newsdesk secretary at The Observer, cook on an outback cattle station and production assistant at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, Pamela stumbled into writing as a way of funding a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies. For the past fifteen years Pamela has been able to combine her historical research with a successful career as a romantic novelist and is winner of the two most prestigious awards in romance writing, a RITA®, awarded by Romance Writers of America, and the coveted Romance Prize, awarded by the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association. She lives in York.

Links :

Book Blurb: York , 1577: Hawise Aske smiles at a stranger in the market, and sets in train a story of obsession and sibling jealousy, of love and hate and warped desire. Drowned as a witch, Hawise pays a high price for that smile, but for a girl like her in Elizabethan York, there is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. Four and a half centuries later, Grace Trewe, who has travelled the world, is trying to outrun the memories of being caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami. Her stay in York is meant to be a brief one. But in York Grace discovers that time can twist and turn in ways she never imagined. Drawn inexorably into Hawise’s life, Grace finds that this time she cannot move on. Will she too be engulfed in the power of the past?


Linda said...

When I read your review of this novel a week or so ago, I immediately added it to my wish list. I would love to win a copy. I enjoy time slip novels, and I love medieval York. Thanks for the giveaway.

Lori Johnston said...

This is the first I've heard of this book but it sounds absolutely fantastic! I love time slip books. Please enter me in the giveaway.
Many thanks!

Jessica Hart said...

It's great to know that there's an audience for 'time slips' out there ... thank you both for commenting, and good luck in the pot!

Passages to the Past said...

Great interview! I would love to win a copy of this book, it sounds wonderful! Thank you for the giveaway.



Natasha said...

Sounds really good!! Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Kat said...

This is definitely going on my wishlist at amazon! lamaryrose AT yahoo.co.uk

Leocadia said...

It sounds great !
Thanks for the giveaway.


rosia_lady said...

Great interview, I would love to live in York. Thanks for the international giveaway.


Jessica Hart said...

Great to see you all here and meet so many time slip fans!

BeckyC said...

Wonderful interview! Your book is now on my TBR list! Thank you for the giveaway!
cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

Literary Chanteuse said...

This book sounds like a book for me thank you!


Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela , I am so excited to know that you are Jessica hart. I truly2 love your mills n boon book :). I heard So many wonderful thing about time's echo . Can't wait to read this book . I always love the time travel romance and this book now has been added to my Christmas wish list :). Aretha z, arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

Jessica Hart said...

Hi Aretha - and thank you! It's always lovely to hear from Jessica Hart readers.

Thank you to everyone for commenting I just wish I had more copies to give away, but I do hope that those of you who don't win a copy will be able to read TIME'S ECHO soon.

Dovile said...

I really love historical novels, and your sounds really interesting, I'm quite intrigued. Thank you for the chance!

spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

just loooonnnnnging to be back in York! these pix are absolutely temptation for me =) loved it & love this post ~ looking forward to reading Pamela's newest ~ TY for sharing your gift of writing w/ us!
faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com

Tanja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Great post! This book sound fantastic. Thx for the giveaway

akakage_sora (at) yahoo (dot) com

samovar said...

The plot and the mixture of time slip novel and mystery really got my attention, also the colors of the cover (do you have any say in cover design and titel?)
My address is: apd41(at)free.fr
thanks for this chance to win a copy!