Meg from A Bookish Affair

Meg, book blogger at A Bookish Affair – a blog I’ve read for years – talks about her passion for books and what got her started in the book blogging world. I’m delighted to share her thoughts. Meg’s tagline is: “Sometimes reading a good book can be like a great love affair.”

Why did you start blogging about or featuring books?

I had been reading book blogs for awhile before I started my own book blog. I was amazed that there was this whole community out there in the ether of the internet that was as passionate about reading as I was. Finally, the temptation to share books that I really loved with the rest of the world became too much and I started A Bookish Affair in 2011.

What type of books appeal to you and why?

I read a lot of different kinds of books but there are definitely a few threads that tie what I like together. I love really vivid personalities and good world-building both in fiction and non-fiction.

Do you concentrate on a specific genre? If so, can you tell us a bit about your passion for that genre.

I cover all sorts of books but historical fiction is definitely my favorite genre! I’m a history lover and I always feel like I don’t know nearly enough about so many of the events and people that have shaped the world. While you can definitely find me picking up a lot of non-fiction, there is something magical about historical fiction where it can give you a view of what it might have actually been like to live through these events or know these people or even be these people!

Who are your readers and followers? How do you engage with them?

My readers seem to be eclectic readers like me! And you know, all readers are kindred spirits so we always seem to have a lot to talk about! I love “talking” through Facebook messages or Instagram messages or comments.

If you have a blog, what features does it offer? For example, ‘best of’ lists, author interviews, a book rating system.

I have a simple five star rating (1 – not that good to 5 – excellent).

What ways do you use to attract new readers and followers?

Instagram has been a great way for me to do this. I love to show what I’m reading and to see what others are reading. That is definitely where I’ve seen the most growth recently!

How do you interact with authors and publicists?

Email is definitely the best way to communicate, particularly about future reviews. I’ve been really tickled by getting comments from authors when I post about reading their books on Instagram! I go into full fan girl mode!

What trends or changes have you noticed in the book world?

Oh, there are so many! One of the happiest changes that I’ve noticed is thriving indie bookstores. I live in the Washington, D.C. area and we have a lot of really wonderful indie stories in the area that are absolutely THRIVING! It is so very exciting to see and this is definitely a trend that I hope to see continue!

If you could wave your magic wand, what would you change about the book industry?

I think Indie publishers do a better job of this but I wish mainstream publishers were more willing to take risks on different books, particularly those in the historical fiction genre. It still seems like once they find a book set in a particular time that does well, there will be a glut of very similar books. I love reading very diversely and once I read one sort of book, I’m usually ready to move on to a different sort of book.

There are so many times and places that have yet to be explored or so it would seem from what gets published. As a challenge for myself this year, I am trying to read a book set in every country. At first, I wanted to read historical fiction mostly but I realized that would be almost impossible as it is still hard to get books set in many different countries (regardless of the time they are set in) translated in English!

Many thanks, Meg! That’s quite an ambitious challenge you’ve set for yourself! If you want to read a book set in Afghanistan, try The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. It’s a fascinating and true story.


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

The Whirl of Launching a Novel

TodMK-TimeandRegret-22790-CV-FTLaunching a new novel is a very exciting time in any author’s life. In preparation I booked two virtual tours, one with Amy Bruno’s HFVBT and the second with Emma Cazabonne’s France Book Tours (starting Sept 1). Beyond the book tours, many friends  helped publicize Time and Regret on blogs, Twitter and Facebook – I am very grateful for their support!

Several bloggers agreed to host a guest post, which meant that during the month prior to launch I was busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger writing articles. I thought I would gather them together here. Many thanks to these wonderful bloggers and authors.

Tony RichesThe Writing DeskWriting a mystery – more challenging than expected 

… a mystery is a very different beast. Mystery lovers have expectations, specifically the expectation that you will keep them guessing until the last possible moment and equally the expectation that the smart reader should be able to figure it out. They expect clues strategically sprinkled throughout the novel, many red herrings, a few plot twists, and more than one potential culprit. They expect the excitement to build and build, and the protagonist to have his or her own life problems to add depth to the story … to read the article click here

Elisabeth StorrsTricliniumWhy I used a first person narrator

Time and Regret is the first novel I’ve told using a first person narrator. In other words, the operative word is I. According the Elizabeth George in her non-fiction book Write Away, “When a writer uses this, she stays with one narrator throughout the novel. She’s in that character’s head and no one else’s.” To read the article click here

Jaideep Khanduja – – Millennial Readers – What do we know about them?

Millennials have demonstrated the tendency to read more—and buy more books—than other generations. In fact, Millennials buy 30% of books, compared to the 24% purchased by Baby Boomers.” To read the article click here 

Meg WessellA Bookish Affair Essentials of a Good Mystery

… Plot is everything. You have to have a great story; one that engages readers from the outset offering twists and turns and unexpected developments. For example, a character your readers expect to be the culprit dies before the novel ends. Or perhaps your heroine loses the very clue that promised to solve the mystery or her lover is revealed to be working against her. To read the article click here

Elizabeth St. John – author blog – Through the Eyes of a Historical Fiction Writer

I look at the sweep of land, the flowers and shrubs that border the roads, the rivers that meander or rush, the cows huddled beneath a tree; I watch the people, noting gestures and the rhythm of speech, facial features, colouring, the slope of someone’s brow, the way their eyes flash or their chins lift. I wander through markets imagining similar cheeses and meats, flowers and vegetables on narrow stalls crammed one against the other in the town squares of one hundred years ago. A small cat twitches her tail, a dog barks, church bells ring, a cock crows. Sounds too are important, as are smells. The intent is to immerse myself as completely as possible in the world that will become my story. To read the article click here

Debra Brown – English Epochs 101 – Bringing One Soldier’s Experience to Life

For the past six or seven years, I’ve been fascinated with World War One. So much so that I’ve written three novels centred on that horrifying world conflict. And still it haunts me. To read the article click here

Elizabeth Spann Craig – author blog – 8 Tips on Writing Dual-Time Mysteries

What do The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig, The Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian, The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro, and The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier have in common? Answer: they are all dual-time mysteries. I love reading stories like these. But writing one proved to be a significant challenge and demanded a different approach from my previous historical novels … to read the article click here

Marie Burton – The Burton Review – Five WWI Novels that Influenced my Writing

… A huge leap is required to turn your life upside down and do something completely different and I had a lot to learn about war. Beyond the usual internet sources and history books about those times, five novels stand out for the beauty of their writing, their evocation of sights and sounds and the tidbits of historical detail that are seamlessly woven into the stories. I’ve read these five, reread them, unlined sections and even marked particularly interesting pages with little yellow stickies. They are my go-to source whenever I need an injection of WWI atmosphere to spark my writing. To read the article click here

Lorna Ferguson – Literascribe – The Making of a Novel

Each author creates and writes in her or his own way. There is no best approach; what matters most is whether in the end the story is compelling from a reader’s point of view. I tend to get an idea and then put flesh on it using a detailed chapter outline before I begin the real writing. The idea for my latest novel, Time and Regret, came while travelling in France with my husband Ian to visit the battlefields, monuments, cemeteries, and museums dedicated to World War One … to read the article click here

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Richard Sutton (Saille Tales) Sarah Johnson (Reading the Past) and Colleen Turner (A Literary Vacation)

To all of these wonderfully supportive individuals a VERY BIG THANK YOU.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website


A Shout Out for Lies Told in Silence

Lies Told in Silence CoverUsually, I’m a modest gal. However, I am so pleased with the reviews Lies Told in Silence received on its virtual blog tour that I wanted to share them. And what better place than A Writer of History?

Amy Bruno of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours organized the tour – a combination of blogger reviews and what Amy calls ‘book blasts’ where bloggers feature the book summary and endorsement blurbs on their blogs.

Melinda at Unshelfish – “I absolutely adored this novel with its powerful themes and strong female character at the centre, maneuvering her way past vulnerability and loss of control. Tod has gained my undivided interest with this unforgettable story set against a momentous period in history. A must read hands down.”

Deb at Bookish – “This novel reminded me a lot of ‘Gone With the Wind’. The characters, places, historical background and the flawless plot all made me feel as if I was reading a companion novel of the classic … I just fell in love with the writing from page one … If you are a fan of historical fiction as I am, you simply MUST pick this book up and give M.K. Tod the opportunity to ‘wow’ you as she has me.”

Dianne at Dianne Ascroft’s blog – “Without a word of a lie, I loved Lies Told in Silence .. an exhilarating romance and a gripping war drama .. In fact, I was so captivated that I immediately bought Tod’s first novel, Unravelled.”

Tony at The Writing Desk – “This is without doubt one of the most moving and engaging books I have read in a very long time .. Highly recommended.”

Becca at I’m Lost in Books – “If you are looking for a page-turning story, look no further than this emotive tale about the bond of family, the fierceness of love, the horrors of war, and the complications of difficult choices.”

Melissa at The Book Binder’s Daughter – “Mary Tod masterfully depicts the struggles of everyday life in war torn France .. This was a very emotional read for me, as I went from felling sadness, to joy, to anger, to hope .. Do yourself a favour and read Lies Told in Silence, if not only for the emotional read, but also to gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities of The Great War.”

Erin at Flashlight Commentary – “Historically speaking, Tod offers a wonderfully detailed glimpse of the period … set against the backdrop of war, Tod writes of lives transformed by combat and the vitality of those left standing when the dust finally settles. Her books make wonderful war stories, but she is in her element writing not of the action, but of those caught in its wake.”

Margaret at Just one More Chapter – “Though mainly focused on Helene, the author has painted a real picture about how this war transformed the lives of family, friends and neighbors. As the title indicates there are lies here, deceit, scandal as well as relational issues within the family, all things that make a great read … Definitely an author I will be reading more of.”

Meg at A Bookish Affair – rates the novel 4 out of 5. “This is a story of love and what it means to pull together as a family in the time of war .. at its core is the love story between Helene and Edward .. I really, really liked the love story. Anyone who is a hopeless romantic will enjoy this story as well.”

Kathryn at The Librarian Fatale – “Tod’s writing is superb .. smooth sentences and flowing chapters lend to the intense yet pleasant read that this book provides.”

I’m grateful to these bloggers who took the time to read Lies Told in Silence. And I’m delighted with their comments.