To Crown a King (Author Interview)




To Crown A King looks like a great story of Christina Bruce in Scotland, 1295.  The cover is rather stunning, is there anything you can tell us about it?
I have yet to meet someone who does not love this cover! My vision for it was simple: I wanted it to be regal and bright. I can say with absolute certainty that my designer knocked it out of the park!


How long did it take you to write To Crown A King?
I wrote the book in about ten months, but it took much longer to research and plot out the story. This period in Scottish history is intricate and complicated by lack of records and differing opinions. My aim with To Crown A King was to portray a familiar tale but through a different narrative – one not well known, but equally as important.


What inspired you when writing To Crown A King?   
As a lover of history, and especially of untold stories of women in history, I wanted to do Christina justice. While very few facts are known about her, it is believed that she played a major role in the societal and political landscape during the Wars of Scottish Independence. What inspired me – and what continues to motivate me as I write the sequel to To Crown A King – is to give her the account she deserves – one that portrays her as capable, clever and strong. It is the best way I can honour her memory.


Why did you decide to become a writer?
I tried hard not to be a writer. My employment history is as varied as it is long. But when the muse just won’t leave you alone and the story ideas just keep coming, eventually you give in. I wrote my first novel Las Hermanas to get it out of my head. The relief was short-lived though. Christina Bruce invaded before Las Hermanas was done.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing To Crown A King?
The people! I’m certain many historical fiction writers say this, but the biggest challenge to this story was the real-life characters. During this time, the majority of Scottish noblemen owned land in both Scotland and England. So when the Scots lost a battle against the English, to save their English lands, these lords would simply bend the knee to King Edward of England and promise not to rebel against him again. But as soon as they could manage it, they would return to the Scottish side to fight the English once more. As much as this might seem like a good strategy to saving one’s land, the constant switching back and forth of these noblemen made it quite challenging for me to depict who was on what side at any given time without drowning the reader in unimportant backstory and explanation.


What do you like to do when not writing?
I have two rambunctious dogs (Bentley the beagle and Abigail the black lab). A large part of my day is figuring out how to tire them as quickly as possible so I can get back to work! If I’m not hanging out with them, you can find me building something in my garage, kayaking on the lake, or drinking coffee on the deck!


Where can readers find out more about your work?
I hang out in all the usual spots: Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram and am failing spectacularly at Twitter (2020 goals here I come!). But the best place to connect with me is through my website: www.rjmbooks.ca. Drop me a note, send me your questions, or simply say hello. I’d love to connect with you!


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