Today it is our great pleasure to welcome author “SARAH BOWER”to My Book Addiction and More. So please sit back and enjoy our interview and if you have a burning question to ask yourself feel free to do so.

Sarah Bower:

I suppose there is a public perception that those of us who love reading and writing historical fiction are happily stuck in William Manchester’s ‘world lit only by fire’, blithely oblivious to the internal combustion engine or the electric light bulb. Yet there is a close relationship between historical and science fiction, because what authors in both these genres do is to imagine, or re-imagine, a fictional universe whose rules are very different from those by which we, in the 21st century, live. Whether it be a planet with three suns and silicone-based life forms, or a medieval fortress, the fictional world is a very long way from our modern daily round.

So I thought it would be interesting to spend a little time reflecting on the future of historical fiction in relation to the rise of ebooks. Let’s begin by getting one thing out of the way; however much we love paper books – and however great a technology they are – ebooks are rapidly becoming part of the publishing mainstream. This is not a reversible process. In my view, it is unlikely they will take over entirely from paper books – not until someone comes up with an e-reader you can safely use in the bath, anyway, or one which still works when you get sand in it – but they do have certain practical uses, and they offer a great opportunity to expose the gaming generation to the joys of reading fiction as well as participating in it.

For readers and publishers of historical fiction, I think the ebook has particular advantages because historical fiction tends to be heavily research-based. Yet what is more boring than a novel in which all the research is on display to the reader. An example from a piece of unpublished fiction I read a while back, set during the Monmouth Rebellion: the hero has taken his sweetheart to the beach with amorous intent. Unknown to the lovers, there are pirates on the beach, hidden among the rocks, and the young couple have strayed right into the middle of their smuggling operation. We are on tenterhooks. Will the lovers consummate their affair before the pirates discover them..? Alas, the question is left hanging for another three pages while the author meticulously describes every item of dress the young man is removing from his mistress’ body. This is emphatically not the way to make use of research!

On the other hand, for readers who are interested in this kind of information, which most historical fiction fans are, but don’t want it to intrude on the pace of the novel, the ebook gives writer and publisher an opportunity to include it as a supplement, a piece of added value that readers can reference if and when they want rather than having to plough through it in the middle of a dramatic incident. The technology can also be used to add music, portraits of real historical characters who appear in the fiction, photographs and all kinds of other enhancements.

My own novel, SINS OF THE HOUSE OF BORGIA, for example, is set largely in Ferrara, a beautiful Italian city which is often overlooked by visitors because of its proximity to Venice. An ebook could include some of my photos of the city, and of the grim Este castle in which Lucrezia Borgia lived much of her life after her marriage to Alfonso d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara, from whose battlements prisoners were hung in cages and in whose dungeons one of her brothers-in-law died.

When I was invited to contribute this post, one great suggestion I was given was to write an ‘interview’ with one of my characters. I did start writing interviews with Lucrezia – in the style of Hello magazine, as a police interview and as if I were her psychiatrist. One reason why I eventually decided on the subject of ebooks was because I couldn’t decide which of these I would like to post. Then I began thinking about how this is also the kind of spin-off material which could be included in an ebook as part of a package for reading groups – or just for fun, really.

I adore books – just the embossed and much-gilded cover of SINS OF THE HOUSE OF BORGIA and the paper it’s printed on and the decorative chapter headings are enough to get me excited! As I write this, I’m glancing across at my bookshelves, at my sumptuous tooled and cloth-bound edition of Burchard’s At the Court of the Borgia and a thoroughly foxed and dog-eared paperback of Jean Plaidy’s Light on Lucrezia I’ve owned since I was at school, both irresistible in their different ways – expensive cocktail dress versus favourite jeans. But I also adore my smartphone, in which most of my daily life is stored, including one or two downloaded books. I see nothing contradictory in this. We should embrace technology and glory in what we can do with it.

OK, so now back to that planet with three suns and a medieval fortress…




  • Pub. Date: March 2011
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • ISBN-13: 9781402259630
  • ISBN: 1402259638


From the Publisher

Violante isn’t supposed to be here, in one of the grandest courts of Renaissance Italy. She isn’t supposed to be a lady-in-waiting to the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia. But the same secretive politics that pushed Lucrezia’s father to the Vatican have landed Violante deep in a lavish landscape of passion and ambition.
Violante discovers a Lucrezia unknown to those who see only a scheming harlot, and all the whispers about her brother, Cesare Borgia, never revealed the soul of the man who dances close with Violante.
But those who enter the House of Borgia are never quite the same when they leave-if they leave at all. Violante’s place in history will test her heart and leave her the guardian of dangerous secrets she must carry to the grave.

                                        **COMING IN MARCH 2011 TO A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU**