+Author Guest Post+ with Zana Bell, ChocLit Author of “Close to the Wind” #ChocLitSaturdays!

Posted Saturday, 29 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Zana Bell stops by to discuss

her passion for Kiwi Historicals!

I had the pleasure of reviewing

Close to the Wind

as a #ChocLitSaturdays Feature!

#ChocLitSaturdays | a feature exclusive to Jorie Loves A Story

Proposed Topic for Zana Bell: If she could expound on her cross-genre exploration of the book, as it combines “Adventure, Historical, & Victorian” and perhaps a bit about what motivated her to select those genres in particular and how she found her personal niche in bringing the characters and story to life? I love genre-bending fiction as it adds such a healthy dynamic to what your reading!

I am thrilled to welcome Ms. Zana Bell to Jorie Loves A Story, on this ChocLitSaturday special feature where I had become a bit curious about her inspiration behind her writing style and asked her to expand a bit on her craft! Ms. Bell is one of the first four ChocLitUK authors I had the pleasure of becoming introduced too this year! You can follow along with me on my reading adventures as I read one ChocLit author at a time! And, as my new badge describes: “Romance, chocolate, and a cuppa tea is simply divine on the weekends!” Consider this my new “ChocLitSaturdays” tagline! If you are dropping by today for the first time, I welcome you and ask what is your favourite kind of chocolate and tea?! Do you prefer loose leaf or bagged!? Dark or white chocolate barks?! I look forward to seeing your engaging answers in the comment threads!

I am honoured to be able to read British Romantic fiction by the gracious offerings of ChocLitUK, as I have such a hearty penchant for British Fiction! The stories I find inside each ChocLit novel uplift my very soul as they are endearing stories of courage, strength during adversity, and most of all romantically realistic! I implore you to sit back a bit and read Ms. Bell’s musings on where her writer’s heart leads her!


Ingredients for a Ripping Tale

I’m often asked why I write NZ historicals – even by Kiwis!
The simple fact is that the 1860s gold rush has all the ingredients for a ripping tale.

First there is the setting: huge, snow-capped mountains, clear, fast flowing rivers, dazzlingly blue lakes, treacherous mountain passes, deep forests and huge moors. Remember being wowed by the scenery in Lord of the Rings? It’s the self-same terrain.

Now bring in the men – thousands of them. At the first cry of, “Gold!” they began flooding in from all over the world, from every walk of life. Aristocrats pitched tents next to lawyers, shepherds and bankers. They were a fine-looking bunch, noted Lady Barker approvingly. Strong, tanned, hard-living, optimistic sorts, many with a fine education behind them. They were there for the gold certainly, but also for adventure. These were not men who sat waiting for life to come to them; they were men who went out and conquered it.

And then there were the women. They left Britain where they vastly outnumbered the men (the colonies, the Crimean War, the Indian War etc.) to arrive in New Zealand where they were suddenly in huge demand. Such high demand that colonists desperately sought the plainest maids they could find – but to no avail. Most of the immigrants were in their teens and twenties and almost all were married within two years of arriving here. With such a huge range of intrepid, good-looking men to choose from, the air must have been redolent with whirlwind romances.

I love Victorian women. They were to be found, petticoated and bonneted, in the most remote, dangerous and exotic places in the world. And while they were meant to be tending hearth and home, a quiet revolution was going on. They were beginning to challenge laws that disadvantaged women. They were learning to be scientists, mathematicians, photographers and astronomers. There were women masquerading as men in the American Civil War – often following a loved one. There were wives accompanying their captain husbands on the high seas. There were girls as young as 12 and 14 deciding to travel across the world, alone, to find a better life.

Finally there were the dreams: of escaping grinding poverty, of providing children with better opportunities, of founding better, classless societies. Amongst the gold diggers and opportunists there were visionaries of courage and conviction. New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote and was one of the earliest adopters of extensive social welfare. The diaries and letters of the time are filled with high hopes, excitement, danger, opportunity, fear humour and – of course! – love.

So, as you can see, with all these ingredients, it’s simply impossible to resist writing rollicking adventures set in 1860s New Zealand. It was an extraordinary era.

Close to the Wind by Zana BellBook Synopsis:

What would you give to be free?

Georgiana da Silva is catapulted out of the Victorian drawing rooms and into a world of danger when she escapes her fiendish fiancé to engage in a mad dash across the world to save her brother before an unknown assassin can find him.

Meanwhile, Captain Harry Trent is setting sail for New Zealand. With a mission to complete and the law on his heels, he’s got enough trouble of his own without further complications.

Thrown together, unable to trust anyone, Georgiana and Harry are intent on fulfilling their missions despite the distractions of the other. But liberty comes at a price and the closer they get, the more they must question the true cost of being free.

Author Connections:

Personal Site | Facebook | Twitter 

Converse via: #CloseToTheWind

Oh, my goodness Ms. Bell! You have tapped into the very key ingredients of why I appreciated watching The Lord of the Rings on the silver screen! The breath-taking natural wonderment of beauty enraptured my eyes with such a fierce conviction it was as though I had known Middle Earth by some coincidence of foreknowledge! The wilds of New Zealand of her rugged coastline which in effect create this natural vagabond wonderland would be the most brilliant setting for a historical romance! I oft wondered how the natural environs play a part in creating an impetus of creativity for writers, in this I thank you for giving my readers and myself a bit of a nodding of what motivates you personally in this regard!

The Gold Rush was such a leveling of the playing field insofar as creating an equality of skills and prospects out of those who ventured off to seek their claims of fortune. No one was above the other and everyone had a fighting chance of succeeding towards financial freedom and endowed wealth. I would imagine at first, the men might have found it a bit odd to be hugged so close together given that in their previous lives their paths might not have crossed as easily as they were now! Or, perhaps not?! Perhaps the equalising pursuance of their endeavours held strong!?

New Zealand’s amorous embrace of the women reminds me a bit of how Alaskan men still struggle a bit to seek out the women they are in hopes of meeting themselves! Ever so often I come across another Alaskan Men story which warms my heart and tickles my romantic fever of optimistic matches sought out of hope! I have a feeling had I been bourne out of the era I was placed inside, I would have been one of those daring souls who ventured far, far afield in search of ‘something quite different’ in the pursuit of where to land my feet! I still recollect musing about travelling aboard ship like the strong-willed souls in MaryLu Tyndall’s Forsaken Dreams.

The history of women’s suffrage has always fascinated me as to how hard we fought for our individual rights and liberties, but also, the upward battle women had to face even on smaller levels within their own families. The world might have taken awhile to hinge their ideals to the rights of women, but I oft wonder the kind of strength it would have taken to strike out on your own and dare to give your family the opportunity to recognise not only your self-worth but your free spirit?! I have always had one foot in science and one foot in the creative arts. I am a modern Renaissance girl in that one regard, and I am everso thankful I had the option to be wholly true and unique unto my own inclinations!

The journals left behind by generations past are some of the best keepsakes and glimpses into how our everyday lives were lived. A true internal introspective reflection of the inner workings of change as it was being laid to mind. I can imagine your well of stories runs deep and true! How fascinating it will be to follow you along and seeing where your next published novel takes all of us! I am one ChocLit girl who is *excited!* for more Kiwi-inspired fiction! The land of New Zealand has been cherished for such a long time, as it was the home of one of my very first overseas friends! I have been a correspondent by postal mail for the near-full of my days, and I’ll never forget my early letters sent off to Auckland to this far-off place which was such an extraordinary breath of fresh air! I loved learning about the natural ecosystems and how the communities there were a bit more forward in thinking towards slow food movements, local harvesting of crops, and the ability to balance environmental conservation with the preservation of resources. It was always a land I wanted to visit, and I thank you for giving me a bit more of her essence in your wickedly divine stories of love!

This Author Guest Post is courtesy of ChocLitUK,

ChocLitUK Reviewercheck out my upcoming bookish event and mark your calendars!

Readers and Romance enthusiasts, what do you think about the exotic nature of New Zealand and the heart-warming courage of her inhabitants?! Of being of strong mind to seek out a different continent during the age of land & gold claims having the ability to change ones stars of course!? Do you think you could have been as daring & adventurous as the women of the Victorian age!? What do you like the most about adventure, danger, and romance inside novels similar to “Close to the Wind”!? What stirs your emotional heart!?

Stop back next Saturday, as I resume my ChocLit book reviews! Which story will I select to read next!? Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover, The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay, Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter, The Road Back by Liz Harris, The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay, OR The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli! You’ll have to stay tuned to my #ChocLitSaturdays tag to discover which one will be featured!

+ Previous #ChocLitSaturdays Features +

{NOTE: Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.}

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Jorie requested an Author Guest Post from Zana Bell through ChocLitUK of which she received a reply. She was curious after having read “Close to the Wind” about the author’s writing styles. Blog dividers are provided by Shabby Blogs. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in FotoFlexer.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 29 March, 2014 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Historical Romance, Indie Author, New Zealand, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Romance Fiction

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2 responses to “+Author Guest Post+ with Zana Bell, ChocLit Author of “Close to the Wind” #ChocLitSaturdays!

  1. I love reading about the adventures of such brave people, travelling around the world to start a new life, they were so brave. I went to New Zealand years ago and loved the place and the people. I don’t know how some of them coped, often taking over a year to sail there in horrid conditions. A while a go I read Morgan’s Run by Colleen McCullough, her characters were convicts sent to Australia, but some made it to Norfolk Island and made a new life successfully for themselves. Truly amazingly brave men and women all of them.

    • Hallo Ms. Rosie Amber!

      I think its wonderful you have had the chance to go to New Zealand directly! Where did you visit which spoke to you the most of being in a uniquely different place!? I would love to go one day myself! :) I am not certain myself, on the extensive time it would take to cross the oceans, but a part of me has this sense of adventure, intrigue, & bold in my ability to take risks if it meant to give a shift of perspective OR to change the tides of my life. I think part of what appeals to me in these stories is the inertia of hope & the ability for those who did leave their homes, they took with them the strength of where they came. The way they could forge a new life in a new world fascinates me!

      I think it inspires all of us who are considering making a transition in our lives to have a bit of extra courage if we say plant ourselves in a wholly new environment where even the climate is different compared to what we had previously! :)

      Colleen McCullough is one author I cannot wait to start reading! I want to read “The Independence of Miss Elizabeth Bennett” but I also want to read “The Thorn Birds” as I promised a writer I know on Twitter I’d tweet her my reactions after I had read them! McCullough I believe is going to be one of those authors I will be reading for a long time!

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