October 20, 2016

Duty to the Crown by Aimie Runyan - Review and Interview

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: October 25, 2016
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Daughters of New France #2

Set amid the promise and challenge of the first Canadian colonies, Aimie K. Runyan’s vividly rendered novel provides a fascinating portrait of the women who would become the founding mothers of New France.

In 1667, an invisible wall separates settlers in New France from their Huron neighbors. Yet whether in the fledgling city of Quebec or within one of the native tribes, every woman’s fate depends on the man she chooses—or is obligated—to marry.

Although Claudine Deschamps and Gabrielle Giroux both live within the settlement, their prospects are very different. French-born Claudine has followed her older sister across the Atlantic hoping to attract a wealthy husband through her beauty and connections. Gabrielle, orphan daughter of the town drunkard, is forced into a loveless union by a cruel law that requires her to marry by her sixteenth birthday. And Manon Lefebvre, born in the Huron village and later adopted by settlers, has faced the prejudices of both societies and is convinced she can no longer be accepted in either. Drawn into unexpected friendship through their loves, losses, and dreams of home and family, all three women will have to call on their bravery and resilience to succeed in this new world…

My thoughts:
This book was just as good if not better than the first one in this series. I love how the author captures the time and place and makes you feel as if you are a part of this story. We have all read the story of the American colonies but Aimie gives us a glimpse into the Canadian colonies. Since I know nothing of how Canada was settled it is like I am getting a fun history lesson while reading an enjoyable story. This book tells the story of three strong women and how they became close friends through their life experiences. I am not sure if us woman today could go through what they did. I can't imagine being forced into marriage or the way society treated them. I am hoping we will see another book in this series as I would like to know more about the colonists and their way of life. I have enjoyed Aimie's writing style as well as she makes the words flow off the pages.  I guess I can't say enough good things about this book. Also I would recommend reading Promised to the Crown first as that is the first book in this series. 

About the author:
Aimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Historical Novel Society, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master’s thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two wonderful children.

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing? 
I was always drawn to writing since I was a young girl. I scribbled little stories and bad poetry all the time. It wasn’t until I was much older—grad school—that I wrote anything of any real length. And it wasn’t until I became a mother that I gained the patience needed to make it a vocation.

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block? 
Movement. Going for a walk if it’s really bad. Writing out the tricky scene by hand. Skipping ahead to a scene I have in mind and coming back to the tough spot. Sometimes chocolate helps. It all depends on why I’m stymied. Me or the book.

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
I do keep a regular schedule for writing, though I’ve had to change it up quite a bit since I began writing. I started as a “naptime ninja” when my children were babies. 2.5 hours every afternoon. Now, I get about 6 hours Monday-Thursday when they’re in school. It’s luxurious to have that much time, but you have to learn how to use it all wisely. Especially now that my duties extend past the creation of new words. I have editing and promotion to factor in, and neither of those are small tasks!

4. Where do you get your ideas for your books? 
My first two books, including Duty to the Crown, came from a lecture in a Canadian Civ course in grad school. I was also taking a creative writing class, and those really put you in story-hunting mode, which is a very good experience for an emerging writer. I was actually on a walk with my kids when I decided that I wanted Promised to the Crown to continue. I loved the younger characters, and wanted to tell their stories. Often, I find ideas from pretty random places—TV episodes and Facebook posts among them. I always love meeting my next new heroine!

5. When you are not writing what do you like to do? 
Baking, traveling, hiking, costuming, going to the theater (live and movie), and spending time with my family.

6. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers? 
Treat your writing seriously, even if your loved ones don’t just yet. That means writing regularly with set goals (which should be challenging and should increase when they get easy, as much as time allows). It also means investing (prudently) your craft by attending a few conferences and reading widely, both in craft guides and in fiction. Professionals, at least the good ones, in all fields surround themselves by experts in their field to improve themselves, and that is doubly important for writers, despite the solitary nature of the craft.

7. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers?
 Oh crikey this is a hard one. I have so many talented author friends. (That’s a great problem to have, by the way!) This year I loved Kristy Woodson Harvey’s LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE, Katie Moretti’s VANISHING YEAR, Ann Garvin’s THE DOG YEAR, and just started Amy E. Reichert’s THE COINCIDENCE OF THE COCONUT CAKE, which is as delicious as the title. I listen to a lot of audio books on my morning walk, and I’ve yet to find a better audio book than THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. I cut my teeth on Ken Follett, Amy Tan, and especially Philippa Gregory and love their works to this day.

8. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why? 
Probably Philippa Gregory. She was the first author who drew me into historical fiction—particularly woman-centric historical fiction. I’d love to sit down to a long, leisurely tea with her and talk the trade. We actually exchanged emails once. I was hyperventilating. Deceased, I’d have to go with Alan Rickman, just so I could tell him his portrayal of Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility raised my standards for men to unreasonable heights. (If my husband Allan is reading this, sorry honey!)

9. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit? 
I am a travel buff, so that’s really asking about my “to do list”! South Africa has been calling me lately, as well as Japan. Though most times these days, if given leave to pick a vacation, I’m fine with a nice quiet beach and a drink with an umbrella in it.

10. Five interesting facts about yourself

· I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 28.
· I lived in France for a total of two years and Quebec for several months
· For the first time in my entire life, I have no pets (this makes me very sad!)
· My first professional aspiration was “Crayon Maker” because of an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that took place in a crayon factory.
· I taught high school for many years and this is the longest I’ve gone without a classroom in 12 years. My favorite things to teach are French or British Literature and Public Speaking.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of this series before, but your review and interview with the author have sure peaked my interest. Adding it to my TBR. Nice job. :)