Welcome, T.K.! The premise of your A Crown of Blood and Honour series is intriguing. What inspired you to write it?
I had been teaching Shakespeare for twenty years. I've always wondered what happened after the play Macbeth ended. Especially the question ‘how DID Banquo’s son become king as the witches foretold?' One night, a character came so vividly in a dream, I knew I had a story - and a big story it was going to be. Set ten years after the play’s story, the series follows the adventures of Banquo’s son, Fleance, as he navigates an unsettled Scotland, trying to find out why he is plagued by the ghost of his father (Hamlet-esk like).
Like I say: intriguing! And readers have of course loved the first book. What’s the nicest thing a reader has said about your work?
“The series is a cross between William Shakespeare and Diana Gabaldon”. I was singing with joy for many weeks after this review from a bookseller and reader I admire hugely.
Somehow I think any author of historical fiction would be pleased with that one. So what drew you to historical fiction? Is it a genre you read?
I don’t have a particular ‘genre’ really. I just love story. I do seem to be drawn to sweeping sagas. I can usually guarantee that I won’t be disappointed when I pick up an historical novel to read.
As with all historical fiction, there is of course the mountain called Research that we all have to climb. How do you approach it? Are there any snippets you found fascinating but couldn't find a place for in your novels?
There are ALWAYS snippets I can’t use (sigh). My current novel is set during the 1977/78 occupation of Bastion Point – a land dispute between local Māori and the crown. I’m fortunate to ‘remember’ the tv reports and the sense of the country but I have had to do an enormous amount of reading (and reading between the lines) of newspaper accounts, political propaganda, personal accounts. Recent history is no less challenging, I’ve discovered, than 11th Century.
Writing is (of course!) your passion. What about other interests?
I’m a high school English teacher. Best professional/vocation in the world. I have an insatiable appetite for story: books, movies, poems, oral accounts.
We all have our historical heroes. If you could meet any historical figure, who would that be and why?
Anyone who has stood up against injustice; who have pushed on and never given up the dream to make life better for others. People like William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jnr, Kate Shepherd, Helen Keller.
What sums up the writing life for you?
98% procrastination (and complaining to the family about said procrastination), 2% frantic, fast, furious, driven and amazing output.
Yep: that sounds about right- and I'd bet that most other writers would agree with those numbers! What advice would you give to new and/or aspiring writers?
Be aware of these setbacks during the journey to becoming a successful author:
Self doubt which can be paralysing. All writers get it no matter how good they are and how many awards they've won.
Not enough time so plan for and make the time.
Being in too much of a hurry to get a work out before it's had enough time to 'cook.'
Sound advice indeed and definitely worth heeding. What's next for T.K. Roxborogh?
2016 is a year of new beginnings: job, city, home. I’ll be finishing a novel for Scholastic NZ and working on shaping the outline of the next historical novel set just after the end of the third book in the series – with an eye on the battle of Hastings as the marker.
Exciting times, indeed. Thanks, T.K. for stopping by and congratulations once again on Bloodlines!
Visit T.K.'s website at www.tkroxborogh.com. She tweets as @banquotrilogy
You can find her books at:
Note: all images used are either copyright of T.K. Roxborogh or are in the Public Domain and are part of the British Library's Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.