Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Authorsday: Laura Vosika

How did you pick the genre you write in?

I feel more as if it picked me. It just happened to be the genre that was necessary to tell the story.

What drew you to the subject of Blue Bells of Scotland?

A couple of things. Years ago, I read a children's novel called In the Keep of Time, about four children who go into a Scottish keep in the 1970's and come out in medieval Scotland. My novel uses this same idea, but it's also inspired by my life in music, and the lyrics of the theme and variations well-known to trombonists, Blue Bells of Scotland. Part of the inspiration was a flash of an image of a man selfish and arrogant enough to gamble away his livelihood (his trombone) and con his girlfriend into pawning her heirloom ring to get it back. Woven together, these three things produced the story of what happens when just such a man, who has never done a noble thing in his life, goes into a modern Scottish keep and wakes up, not in his own century, but in a time of battles, streaming banners, and noble deeds.

If you have a day job, what is it?

I teach music lessons on piano, harp, guitar, and all the wind instruments. I've been doing it for over twenty years and still enjoy almost every minute!

What’s your writing schedule?

Typically, I get up early, do a little straightening and run a load of laundry, then write until it's time to get my youngest boys ready for school. When they've left or I come home from dropping them off, I write until it's time to take my youngest to kindergarten. When I drop him off, I drive to work and write until my first student comes. When I get home, I spend some time with the kids, get them to bed, and write until I'm ready to go to bed myself.

What authors do you admire?

I really love Ted Dekker's writing, not only the writing itself, but the fact that you can enjoy his writing on multiple levels, either as a good story, or for the deeper messages and themes he weaves into them. I also really loved Jennifer Egan's The Keep and Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, for the way the stories kept twisting and turning, always keeping the reader guessing. I admire Dick Francis for the way he can turn out good stories, one after another.

What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

At this point, because I have read so much about it, I'd really like to experience medieval Europe, and find out how much historians have gotten right, and the ways in which our age has failed to really understand the time. I would love to meet James Douglas and Robert the Bruce in person. They were amazing men for any time, but especially their own, men who frequently practiced compassion and mercy in an age that typically didn't. I'm not sure I'd like to stay there long, though. It was a brutal time and a hard life.

What’s your favorite thing about your book?

It has all the elements I love, that I would enjoy reading in someone else's book: the world of classical music that I don't find in many novels, history, adventure, and the mystery of being thrown into and experiencing another time.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I like learning languages and playing instruments. Currently, I mostly play harp and guitar. I go out with my kids, to playgrounds, ice skating, skiing. Occasionally, I really relax by doing sudokus and kakuros.

What is the one thing your hero would do that you wouldn’t?

Shawn is a drunken, gambling, womanizing liar. I had fun with him, but I wouldn't do most of what he does.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Definitely the scene in which Shawn plays the sackbut at a medieval fair to prove to his pursuers that he is not Niall Campbell. I enjoyed writing about trombone music I have played and loved, myself, and hopefully bringing it to life for others.

Author Bio:

Laura Vosika grew up in the military, experiencing European castles and the history of America's east coast. She earned degrees in music and education, and worked for years as both a freelance musician and music educator. In addition to finishing The Blue Bells Trilogy, she has several other novels and two non-fictions in progress. She is the mother of nine, currently living in Minnesota.

Book Blurb:

Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants—until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.

He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall's tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life—pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts—seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.

Blue Bells of Scotland is both a historical adventure and a tale of redemption that will be remembered long after the last page has been turned.

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