Author Interview | #JorieReads the Miramonde series and has the wickedly delightful joy in being able to converse with the novelist behind this epic #HistFic saga – Amy Maroney

Posted Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I have a lovely conversation to share with you this afternoon which is wicked brilliant as it comes shortly after I had the pleasure of reading The Girl from Oto – the first installment of an EPIC saga of Historical Fiction from the imagination & heart of Amy Maroney! This is a story which not only intrigued me but it is so dearly lush in descriptive narrative with a keen emotionally driven plotting that you will find yourself unable to extract yourself from its grip until you’ve concluded reading its chapters! I postively loved my experience within this realm – where I was slipping through time between the past and the present, eagerly awaiting word from both centuries to check-in on the characters who became so very dear to me and feeling pinges of worriment over how their lives would resolve!

If you’ve missed my ruminative thoughts earlier in the week during my #HistoricalMondays showcase(s) here is an excerpt from my musings about what anchoured me into Ms Maroney’s vision for her series:

I became entranced as soon as I read the Prologue – to be caught inside Zari’s footsteps during an electrical storm is one surefire way to feel rooted inside the opening pages of The Girl from Oto! There is something quite disconcerting about how lightning storms pop and sizzle through the skies – if your out in the thick of them, I’d much prefer a car than boots in a rain sodden meadow, however, you can respectfully understand why Zari is here and why this is an important moment for her to be in an area where she can verify a mystery.

When it comes to the children who can’t stay amongst their families and the people they have become bourne was an interesting turning of the tides; especially to see Mira was carted off into an abbey if only to keep her safe whilst she grew far away from her biological relations. There was a hinting of a a reason towards this end – of how her twin brother would be the preferred choice to stay with their parents and how getting her out as quick as a horse can canter was the best course of action for her own life. It is here we first find Elena – of whom is focused on in the prequel novella The Promise. Elena has the difficult job of having to handle the curiously hard situation where a daughter has to be secreted away from her family – an act of bravery on her part, as it is hinted at how her life is not as readily secured anymore than the infant in her keep. It was only after she reached her destination that we realised just how perilous this act was for her to take-on and how much is looming at stake over the choice to separate Mira from her family. The details were not yet readily known but there is enough psychological suspense in the under-threads of the narrative to elude to the fact this was the only way in which to ensure Mira would be ‘kept safe’ and in a place where she could thrive.

Beatrice struck me as a quite remarkable woman – at first I couldn’t get a good read on her person, not until we learnt more about her father and how she came to be set-up at the abbey itself. It was here where we find a sister (as her two sisters were wed at very young ages) who had a chance at freedom in a manner of speaking that her own sisters would never know themselves. She was meant to live her life amongst the nuns and although their spiritual home (the abbey) was protected there was a part of her nature which was non-conforming and non-traditional. She did as she pleased for reasons which made logical sense – not just to her but to anyone looking in on her life.

As Maroney re-settled us into the life and heart of Mira’s mother, Marguerite – we find a woman whose strength and resolve goes back to her childhood when she was a young girl of nine years taken from her family and brought to the Oto stronghold. She was destined to wed and to have children but her life was not her own. In some ways, I had wondered if this is partially why she had sent Mira away – to give her a chance she hadn’t had herself and to try to reset parts of the past she wasn’t able to resolve until now. There is a passage which explains the seashell and the importance of this necklace – it is an inheritance of its own right and the significance of its presence in her life is a remarkable one of faith.

Marguerite isn’t a woman who backed down when bad things happened; if anything she was re-inspired to dig deeper and to find a way to step outside the adversity to live for tomorrow. Not everyone around her was this strong in spirit nor in mind; she had to be the one others could look up towards when the unthinkable started to alight at her door. The fortitude it would have taken to deal with that at hand and to keep her wits about her as well when you could tell she wanted to wilt under the pressure of what that moment would mean for her and how it would change her life.

In this series, we are anchoured in the present by Zari, in the past with Mira and Elena. The ability to seek out the story through the voices of their characters is quite delightful as you are immediately drawn to Zari due to how adventurous she is in seeking out the truth and the proof of what was once thriving in the past but in the present is only a fluttering of a memory. As you enter Elena’s life as a mountain woman who finds comfort in her healing practices and being a midwife, you also start to see the complications of being a woman in her generation. She has to walk a fine line between her independence and the life which is expected of her to give to a kingdom which is quite unforgiving round the edges. And, then, there is Mira who was an innocent babe in this story – a daughter who was not wanted, an heir of the wrong gender and a twin bourne in secret where only her brother was the celebrated birth.

There is a lot riding the coattails of their lives – especially if you bring into the fray Beatrice who is a nun at an abbey which needs to find a way to financially stablise itself and the arrival of Mira was a welcoming grace as she brought with her a dowry they could not have hoped to have received otherwise. Elena I felt was the most changed by Mira’s birth and Zari is someone we are getting to know in smaller periods of revelation in the opening chapters of the story – to where, Mira’s young life is the central focus to help us align ourselves into their lives and better understand their motivations.

It isn’t often you find a story which stands out from others – by the way it was written, how it was assembled if it were a series and also, what makes it uniquely original. For me, as I read The Girl from Oto – I found a wonderfully Feminist driven plot, strong female leads and an atmosphere of introspective intuitiveness from the past. I found her style not just sophisticated in its scope but multi-layered as she tucked you close to the footsteps of her characters. You didn’t just re-live their lives as they are being depicted but you took a very emotionally connective journey with them.

-quoted from my review of The Girl from Oto

As you can see, there is a lot of layering to her style of Historical Fiction – she writes a fiercely passionate story with wicked brilliant Feminist Historical Fiction insight into the past whilst she encourages you to take this journey with Mira, Elena, Beatrice and Zari – for me, the story had five fierecely strong women inside it if you include Marguerite (Mira’s Mum) who in their own individual ways are leaving pieces of themselves imprinted on your memory.

I was thrilled to bits I could ask Ms Maroney questions about this story and the series as it is evolving whilst tucking close to the heart of her writing life and the process in which the stories alight in her heart to be written.

As your reading our convo I hope it will spark a keen interest in seeking out this series and if you’ve perchanced already started reading either the novella “The Promise” and/or have read “The Girl from Oto” – I would love to hear your reactions, thoughts and comments in the threads below this conversation! Let me know what drew you to this saga and why you love Historical Fiction series like this one – as it is champion to find fellow readers who are attracted to similar story-lines! Remember – brew your favourite cuppa before you begin!

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Author Interview | #JorieReads the Miramonde series and has the wickedly delightful joy in being able to converse with the novelist behind this epic #HistFic saga – Amy MaroneyThe Girl From Oto
by Amy Maroney

A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997521306

Also by this author: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight), The Girl From Oto

Published by Artelan Press

on 20th September, 2016

Published by: Artelan Press

The Miramode Series:

The Promise by Amy MaroneyThe Girl from Oto by Amy MaroneyMira's Way by Amy Maroney

The Promise (prequel) novella – about Elena (mountain healer, midwife)

The Girl from Oto (book one) } see also review
– where we are introduced to Zari, Elena & Mira

Mira’s Way (book two)

Ideally, I would have preferred to rad “The Promise” ahead of the first installment as I love reading series in order of sequence. Except it is not yet released into print and/or audio
– I loved Elena instantly in “book one”.

Converse via: ##TheGirlfromOto + #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TimeShift and #HistoricalFiction

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As your series has a prequel novella attached to it “The Promise” – how did you first outline how you wanted to approach writing this series? Did the story within the novella highlighting Elena come first or did you write the first novel before you addressed Elena’s part of the story?

Maroney responds: In my very first draft of The Girl from Oto, Elena was a little girl growing up with her adoptive mother, Maria, learning at her elbow as she traveled the wild Pyrenees mountains dispensing herbal remedies and helping babies into the world. I wrote their story long before I began writing about Mira de Oto, who is the heroine of The Girl from Oto.

The Girl from Oto was originally going to be a standalone novel, but my story just exploded and I soon understood that it would have to be a trilogy (Mira’s Way is Book 2, and I’m working on Book 3 now). As much as I loved Elena’s story, I realized The Girl from Oto would be far too long if I included all that backstory, so The Promise is a way to deliver more of Elena’s story to readers and set the stage for The Girl from Oto.

Ooh this is why we have “The Promise”,… I am hopeful this story will either go into a print edition or an audiobook down the road as I would truly love to hug inside Elena’s back-story – she was one of my first favourite characters of the story as it started to unfold and there was such a richness of character within her sections; I truly would have loved to have had this story in my mind before I entered into Mira’s story but sadly ebooks are just not in my life. I would have definitely read this if “The Promise” had been an inclusive “First Book” within “The Girl from Oto” – even if that would have lengthened the novel considerably as Elena plays such a cruicial role in both Mira’s own journey and in the back-stories of how everything is situated in this world of theirs. After all there are bigger chunksters in Speculative Lit! I truly do love a wicked good ‘big novel’ and I regret I didn’t get to know Elena more than whom she was in this first installment of the trilogy.

What originally inspired the foundation of the Miramonde series? Was it your love of art history and the curators who protect the art through the centuries or was it something inter-related to the art world? How did you develop your central lead character of Mira?

Maroney responds: I was lucky enough to spend most of a year traveling through Europe with my family when our two daughters were 9 and 12 (this was in 2011-2012). During that time I became obsessed with the lost stories of women who have been ignored or erased from history.

I love art and take drawing and painting classes regularly, so it was a high priority for us to make art history part of our “roadschooling” curriculum for the year. We visited many museums full of portraits of long-dead people, painted by long-dead men. I wished those paintings were relevant to my daughters, and I wished more of them were made by women. Then I was lucky enough to visit Oxford University and see a 16th century portrait of a woman that had been painted by a female artist. So there were women painters in those days!

I started researching Renaissance-era female artists and learned that many of them were nuns or spent time living in convents. This is where I got the idea to have Mira grow up in a convent, because it was one of the few avenues women artists had to learn their craft and to produce art. I did a lot of research in museums and libraries in Europe, plus most of my settings were inspired by places we visited. I didn’t quite know where Mira’s world would be until we stayed in a medieval tower in the tiny village of Oto in Spain and I learned about the fascinating history of the Pyrenees.

Ooh my goodness! I would have loved to have gone on a travelling expedition like this at their ages – I started studying art at seven and I loved Art History but didn’t get to study it in school inasmuch as I was passionate about it. I am self-examining it now as an adult as much as I could spend as many hours in museums and galleries as I do libraries and book shoppes – the pursuit of art was solidified as a child due to my parents strong influence of being inspired by fine art, Native American art, pottery, glass and other mediums of interest whilst my maternal grandparents focused on Japanese art, music and culture. I had a lovely triple focus as a child – where I would seek out modern, Native American and classical art (all mediums) whilst I also sought to seek out my own styles which percolated an interest in my own heart and soul, too. This is how I came to find Ethereal, Vintage and Fantasy artists whilst developing a fierce passion for spun glass, vintage glassware and china; triptychs and sculpture.

I think you would not have been able to extract me from those libraries in Europe!! I literally can disappear into a large library for such a long period of time without resurfacing I might accidentally stay over during the night if they didn’t flicker the lights!

I love how this whole saga was spun out of your own adventures and your own curiosities to seek out the knowledge which would lead directly into the story you would begin to tell. It is such a dearly organic approach and I am thankful you have shared it. Especially how you discovered Oto and the ways in which you began the curious back-histories of Mira’s story.

Art, life, travelling and the joy of ‘experience’ is what really fuels our creativity – what surprised you about how this series developed after you took a sabbatical to travel and curate new experiences with your family? 

Maroney responds: I think getting out of my day-to-day world and immersing myself in new cultures and landscapes is the best way to get my creativity flowing. It’s when I’m traveling that ideas come to me and my mind opens up to imagination in a huge way.

Researching and writing the books is a gift: it gets me back in touch with that creative spirit and lets me relive the adventures we had during our travels. The more time that goes by, the more grateful I am that we had that experience as a family. It has shaped us in so many ways. It’s an anchor for us as we move through changes in our lives. As the kids grow older and leave the nest, we always have that year of travels to remember together.

I couldn’t agree with you more! Whenever I am actively engaged in living experiences and adventures ‘elsewhere’ from whence I live, I find myself increasingly creative and inspired to ‘create’ something of my own. I also find the more you travel and find the immersive experiences your describing the more you re-tune and re-discover your own well of creativity to be not just restored but revived in a way it hadn’t been previously. All of our hours in some way knit back a piece of our creative heart and I also agree how being a writer is a gift we renew within our own souls.

It is interesting how you mentioned travelling as a family serves as an anchour lateron – I can attest to this from my own explorations with my parents. Those earlier memories of our holidays and getaway weekends were the best as it allowed us to explore the world together; to see new things and to have those adventures as a family. I can definitely agree that the younger you travel with your children the more they appreciate the discoveries lateron.

What do you love most about reading time shift narratives and how did those other stories inspire you to tackle your own?

Maroney responds: This is a great question because I’ve always had strong reactions to time shift narratives. Usually I like one narrative better than the other, and sometimes I’m disappointed with a book if I find one of the narratives less interesting than the other. So as much as I felt this story needed to be told with two narratives, I was worried about losing readers’ interest.

Mira’s story (the historical narrative) forms the core of The Girl from Oto and the subsequent novels in the series. Zari’s story, set in the present day, bounces off Mira’s tale and is woven throughout it.

One book I used as a model was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I also loved All the Light We Cannot See. I think I’ve been pretty successful with the dual narrative. More people tend to love Mira’s story (especially historical fiction buffs who don’t want modern tales impacting their reading experience), but there are a lot of readers who find Zari’s detective work fascinating.

I interviewed art conservators and worked hard to include lots of details about the amazing ways we can see underneath layers of paint these days, as well as the ingenious methods art history researchers use to track down information about people who have been dead for five hundred years.

At first, I was in the category of readers you were mentioning – about being wooed by the historical narrative and the piercings of Mira, Marguerite, Beatrice and Elena’s story-lines – as they were so wholly intrinistically ‘real’ to me – they breathed breath right off their pages and re-adjusting into Zari took a bit of time as although I knew I would enjoy seeing her instincts for tracing long-lost ancestral knowledge and provenance of art as I’m one half of the Ancestry Sleuthing team in my own family (Mum being my right hand in this pursuit) – I was just delighted and smitten by how you brought Mira’s century to life. You grounded us in such an emotional capacity for depth and breadth, I had to remind myself this is a ‘time shift’ and I need to re-adjust back into the present or I’d lose the chance to ‘meet’ and ’embrace’ Zari.

As I wrote my ruminative thoughts, I think it comes out how I am leaning still a bit in Mira’s century but I did embrace Zari as without her the truthfulness of Mira’s legacy would be still lost. I also agree with you about the curious ways in which lost and/or hidden histories can become restored as much as the artwork which needs the curators. There is something wickedly delightful about re-tracing origins of things – from people, to art to the missing stories behind the people who once lived out of history’s more historic events or moments. All of history is alive – it is simply up to those of us who are in-tune with historical murmurings to re-attempt to restore what is either misplaced, lost or left unknown for the generations who have lived since those moments first happened. This in effect is why I love reading Biographical Historical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction and the general bracket of Historical Fiction – as it knits you closer to History’s doorstep and you become an intrepid time traveller.

How did you anchour the story through two timescapes and through two independently unique women?

Maroney responds: The trickiest part was weaving the two narratives together in a way that did not detract from the pacing and tension of either story. Mira’s story dominates, but Zari’s has to be equally dramatic and she has to come alive on the page in fewer words than I could devote to Mira. I worked with a lot of beta readers in addition to an editor to find the right balance.

I think you mastered the art of the dual timelines and you definitely convinced me of how important Zari is to the heart of the story as again without Zari, your Mira would not have resurfaced in the present and that would be a tragic loss. I liked how you endeavoured us to consider the work Zari was doing was for the greater good and how her personal passion to root out Mira’s story and legacy was truly something everyone should champion because of what it meant for creative economnists who are women.

What is your favourite passage from the series thus far published? And why?

Maroney responds: In The Girl from Oto, I love the scene when Mira is born, and then when Mira escapes from Castle Oto later in the book. I also love the scenes when Zari first meets Wil in Amsterdam, and later when she is on the Camino in the Pyrenees, chasing after Mira’s traces. They’re all very moving scenes to me because they give us a window into the souls of my characters, plus they’re spine-tingling and thrilling to read, in my opinion!

It wasn’t just when Mira was bourne for me – it was the whole journey Elena took with Mira in order to reach safety. To me, that ride they endured was one of the first thrilling sequences I read and it set the stage for what would be developing next for Mira! She had to be courageous so dearly young but also, courage found her as an infant which seemed to strike the chord of her person throughout her life.

What did you find exciting about making this series a Historical Thriller? What did you want readers to remember most about their journey with your characters? 

Maroney responds: I love thrillers and mysteries. I’m a big fan of Henning Mankell, the Swedish crime novelist. I don’t think a book’s subject matter should affect its ability to be a page turner. So when I embarked on this series, I wanted the books to be entertaining, fast-paced reads that also teach people a bit about history and art, in particular the silenced stories of women artists. I hope readers will fall in love with my characters, escape to another world for a few hours, and learn a few things about art history in the process.

OOh a new Swedish Thriller writer? I have only previously read Joakim Zander and have wanted to seek out others like him. I’ll have to see if Mankell would be a good fit for me as I am also trying to read more by Zander this year as well. I believe you’ve accomplished your mission in what you wanted readers to find within this story — for me, it was all of this and so much more which left me not just rooted inside your world but anxious for the next chapter, the next moments I’d have to spend with your characters.

How did you first ‘meet’ Historical Fiction (as I know you’ve been a reader for as long as I have been; each of us enjoying our local libraries with a fierce passion) and what was it about this genre of insight into the past encouraged your readerly heart? What did you love most about time travelling through time in other words?

Maroney responds: My family lived in Germany when I was in middle school (aged 12-14) and I became a voracious reader of Historical Romances, mainly because the few English language bookshops we encountered seemed to be bursting with them! Since we were in Europe visiting museums and castles, I became obsessed with royal histories and got into a serious Philippa Gregory phase. Also because we were in Germany, I read a lot of World War II-era novels. As I grew older the range of eras I found intriguing expanded, but I can trace my abiding interest in Historical Fiction to that period of my life.

I love this!! As each of us has our own passageway to walk through into the historic past – mine was developed through picking up Regency Christmas Romance anthologies and also spying several Historical INSPY Rom stories which were set in the West. I had a particular interest in Westerns and Cowboy Fiction stories growing up as I was a young equesterian – however, from there I took a rather haphazard jaunt through History – alighting in the Regency & Victorian eras predominately before shifting through different time portals.

My most voracious discoveries though were yet to come – as when I became a book blogger, Historical Fiction really opened up to such a wider net of plausiblities as I could not only seek out Major Trade but Indie novelists to where I think being a blogger not just benefited me as a writer but as a reader who wanted to deepen her readerly life. If you had asked me prior to 2013 how important Historical Fiction was to me, I might have been surprised of the question as I hadn’t realised how much of it I devour per year til I blogged!

On a personal note, my father had a bilateral moderate stroke two years ago the weekend of Black Friday; he ended up needing carotid artery surgery and has made marked improvements in his health since the weekend which changed his life and ours. I loved how you said you decided to change your life because sometimes life has a way of affecting how we see our lives and our futures; do you think you would have developed your own stories if it hadn’t been for your stroke as you seem to hint it became the catalyst for personal change? 

Maroney responds: First, I’m sorry to hear of your father’s stroke but heartened to know he has recovered well from his experience. And I can honestly say I would never have written these books if I hadn’t had a stroke (caused by a carotid artery dissection) and subsequent surgery. The stroke happened a few weeks after my 40th birthday and I had just begun writing my master’s thesis for a graduate degree in public policy.

In the aftermath of the stroke and my recovery, I went through profound personal changes and the upshot was, I realized I didn’t have as much time on Earth as I once imagined. I had always ignored the call to do creative work in favor of more practical pursuits (I was a nonfiction writer and editor most of my adult life, although after our children were born I did that part time along with lots of volunteer work in my childrens’ schools).

The public policy degree had never been a passion for me. I decided to do what I loved instead, and see where it led me. My husband and I also decided to make our long-standing dream of travel with our children come true. That travel gave me the inspiration to write Mira and Zari’s stories. Now here I am writing the third novel in the Miramonde Series. And I’m also one of those people who never finished my master’s degree—but the silver lining is, I became a rip-roaringly good researcher during all the years of study, which I now put to good use for my fiction writing!

I had to smile. Life has a way of taking us where we need to be rather than where we first aspire our path to lead us. Thank you for your kind remarks on behalf of my Dad. I had a feeling your stroke was a personal catalyst for radically changing your life and the path you were walking – it is interesting too how it wasn’t the degree which was most important to pursue but the cultivation of how to research and dig out the stories you wanted to tell. Life is funny that way – we can walk towards a goal we dearly believe is our life’s mission to engage and pursue and then, there is a moment where we take stock of our choices and recognise – hmm, perhaps we were meant to walk a different path entirely?

What do you love the most about being Independently published and what is one challenging aspect of it you’d like to encourage fellow writers not to let dissuade them from pursuing it?

Maroney responds: I love that I have complete creative control over my work  (though I rely on the expert advice of a very skilled editor, plus a team of other professionals who help make my books what they are) and I’m in charge of all the aspects of publishing and marketing my books.

I think the nature of this work is that juggling all those hats and doing it mostly alone can be lonely and, at times, demoralizing. I think finding mentors and colleagues (even if they’re people you only interact with online) is essential. I also help other indie authors as much as I can. The words “Just keep going” are on constant replay in my mind.

Celebrating every small success helps me stay in the game, because this is a very long game and I’m only at the beginning of my journey as an independent author. My advice to others would be the same: find mentors and colleagues, celebrate the small successes, help each other, and just keep going.

This is partially why I’m an Indie myself and why I’ll be pursuing my own Indie career once I complete my own manuscripts. I didn’t always broadcast it over the past six years (still have to pinch myself my sixth blogoversary is the 31st of March and my sixth blog’s birthday is the 6th of August this 2019) but I’ve been moonlighting as a book blogger as I’m a writer whose been wanting to re-align back into her own writings ever since I won Nanowrimo in 2008. This is the first year where I have felt I can make positive progress towards that goal but is how I’ve grown as a writer by blogging about the stories I’m reading I am appreciative the most. Being an advocate for authors and libraries is just icing on the cake, truly! I love championing both of them!

Hmm,… I do oft hear this quite a bit especially in the Indie writing community but I don’t personally relate to some of that sentiment. The demoralizing aspect in particular though I do run into a lot of pushback IRL by those who still do not consider artists, writers, musicians or artistians bonefide career choices – I think the arts have always been under fire by certain groups – so that just felt par for course though in truth there are moments where it is more irking my ire than hurting my feelings over their ignorance.

I do look forward to the day where those of us who are Indies don’t have to preface all our disclosures of being an Indie Author with the standard disclaimer of “professionally edited”, etc, etc as honestly I have never once met an Indie Author who wasn’t professional and/or professionally edited. I know Indies have a lot to defend in this technologic age of publishing but honestly, it is growing old everyone feels they have to defend their professionalism.

I recently tweeted about being a tortoise when it comes to writing – it reflects a lot about how I approach my own writings but also my mental outlook, too. Being a migraineur whose had her migranes increase proactively in six years any small foothold towards seeking out a piece of my own writings offline in pursuit of developing a manuscript is an ace in the hole. This is the first year I’ve decided to get more on paper than just idle thoughts, musings and ideas – to where I can find better focus as this is also the first Spring I’ve not been cut down by my seasonal allergies and/or fierece migraines – so in many aspects, I agree with you. It isn’t the hares in the world who always reach their goals, it is also the tortoises who are wise to realise it is the quality not the quantity or speed which counts in the end.

What was the hardest part of finding the intersection between living histories and the historical antidotes you’ve interlaced into your series? How did you find the balance between the fiction, the imagined and the real history?

Maroney responds: As a nonfiction writer, I struggled with fiction at first. I’m so used to double- and triple-factchecking. Plus, I want to be true to history and faithful to the historical record. On the other hand, history is full of holes. There are infinite untold stories, silenced stories, stories that were interpreted by historians in ways that deviate from the truth.

This gives me a measure of freedom, despite my anxiety about “the historical fiction police” looking over my shoulder. I love to weave imagined stories with tidbits from history, and I have a few real people in my cast of characters (for example, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, a military leader under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain in the late 1400s/early 1500s).

I can definitely respect how this would be true – to shift in tone, voice, style and presentation of your words and ideas would be a radical shift from Non-Fiction to Fiction just on the surface of it but I would imagine also in the research and the planning of how you wanted to conceive the stories as well. Non-Fiction is its own universe in literature inasmuch as Fiction and Poetry.

Ooh isn’t that the truth? For everything that is readily known about History there is a heap of ‘lost unknowns’ and uncertainities! This is again why I love Historical Fiction and the novelists who are penning the stories I am loving to read! We get to re-enter those doors, re-alight in those centuries and re-view what was once thought to be scattered to time and lost from sight.

I am a bit more lenient when it comes to the purity of Historical Fiction – I hadn’t even realised there were those readers who were really strict when it came to timelines, living persons and bonefide events as they parlay into a historical narrative! I learnt quickly as a book blogger that for whichever reason those readers like the tv series watchers who find all the ‘issues’ with context in a tv series that I shall occupy a passageaway adjaccent from them! I mean, truly – unless it is something truly non-linear to the world or the order of the era itself (unless its alt. history or a SpecLit sequence) I’m quite agreeable. I know there are liberities taken (as much as there is in film!) and that is alright with me. If it hugs loosely or tightly to known history – honestly, it is the story, the characters and the world-building I am looking more critically close to seeing being lit alive. If a writer can grab me emotionally and leave me rooted in their vision – that is all I am asking and seeking to find!

As this is written as a trilogy with a prequel novella – what can you share about what comes next? It is hinted on your blog this third and final story might not be the absolute final story in this legacy of women? Do you plan to write a secondary arc inside a new series or continuing a portion of the series in a different set of stories? I was curious what you were developing next after resolving our time with Mira and Zari? 

Maroney responds: I am currently working on Book 3 in the Miramonde Series (I’m still undecided about the title—such a hard decision this time around!). It just came back from the editor and will be published this fall. I’m also preparing a series of short stories related to characters in this world. The first will be the story of Carlo Sacazar as a young boy. Other projects related to the series are still in the development phase, but I have a feeling my characters aren’t quite done with me yet!

Ooh my! The series is going to be expanding – I hadn’t had the chance to re-direct a few questions back to you – this is another one I wish I had been able to re-direct. If there is a series of shorter stories – shorts, novellas, etc would those then lateron be assembled into an omnibus print edition and/or be considered for audiobook releases? I was trying to sort out how to read the rest of the inbetween stories and bypass the ebook route.

When you’re not writing or researching your stories what uplifts your soul the most? 

Maroney responds: I am happiest spending time with family and friends, hiking, reading, swimming in lakes in the summer, dancing, drawing, gardening, traveling, and laughing as much as possible.

Ahh, there is nothing truly as soul lifting as being amongst family — hiking in the natural world, digging into a book which gives us a wicked good entreaty into a character’s life or travelling to a places which leave us awe-inspired! I also love to draw but would love to have a drawing teacher to help me develop my style further. Gardening is a pursuit I never could undertake where I currently live due to the conditions of the soil (oy,..) and ooh my! Without laughter and humour – we’d all be shortly in the grave! PS: If I lived elsewhere I’d seek out a river without whitewater for kayaking and/or canoeing in Spring and Summer.

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About Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira’s Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.

For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit

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I am very appreciative of the time Ms Maroney took to answer to my questions – sharing her writerly heart and insight into the Miramonde series! I look forward to seeing what becomes of these characters as we await the second and third installment of the series but also, after this concludes, I can’t wait to see what develops next from her imaginative mind as she has such a keenly intriguing style of narrative, I know I shall be reading her stories for quite a long time!

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating:

As this particular one has a bookaway along the route:

The Girl from Oto blog tour via HFVBTs
 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!
Earlier on the blog tour I shared a Spotlight why I was excited about
this novel & the series
as it is evolving through Mira & Zari’s lives.
Earlier this week during #HistoricalMondaysduring #HistoricalMondays I revealled my review!

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I had such a wicked heap of joy being involved in this blog tour – I look forward to visiting with my fellow book bloggers to see whom on the tour route found themselves as dearly connected & anchoured inside this story,… it has become one of my favourites of my recent Historical reads & the best bit is finding a new author I an champion and follow as they continue to write the stories I love reading!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. This also extends to Book Spotlights & Book Blitzes which I choose to highlight which might have content inclusive to the post materials which I did not directly add a contribution but had the choice whether or not to feature those materials on my blog.

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{SOURCES: Book covers for “The Girl from Oto”, “The Promise” and “Mira’s Way”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Amy Maroney, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. 2019 New Release Challenge badge provided by and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

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 Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 by jorielov in 16th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Debut Author, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001)

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