Monday, October 22, 2018

Blog Tour / Interview: Laura Vosika, Author of The Water Is Wide

Laura Vosika is a writer, poet, and musician. Her time travel series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, set in modern and medieval Scotland, has garnered praise and comparisons to writers as diverse as Diana Gabaldon and Dostoevsky. Her poetry has been published in The Moccasin and The Martin Lake Journal 2017.

She has been featured in newspapers, on radio, and TV, has spoken for regional book events, and hosted the radio program Books and Brews. She currently teaches writing at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
As a musician, Laura has performed as on trombone, flute, and harp, in orchestras, and big bands. She lives in Brooklyn park with 5 of her 9 children, 3 cats, and an Irish Wolfhound.
Her latest book is the time travel/historical fiction, The Water is Wide.



Author: Laura Vosika
Publisher: Gabriel’s Horn Press
Pages: 451
Genre: Time Travel/Historical Fiction

After his failure to escape back to his own time, Shawn is sent with Niall on the Bruce’s business. They criss-cross Scotland and northern England, working for the Bruce and James Douglas, as they seek ways to get Shawn home to Amy and his own time.
Returning from the Bruce’s business, to Glenmirril, Shawn finally meets the mysterious Christina. Despite his vow to finally be faithful to Amy, his feelings for Christina grow.
In modern Scotland, having already told Angus she’s pregnant, Amy must now tell him Shawn is alive and well—in medieval Scotland. Together, they seek a way to bring him back across time.
They are pursued by Simon Beaumont, esteemed knight in the service of King Edward, has also passed between times. Having learned that Amy’s son will kill him—he seeks to kill the infant James first.
The book concludes with MacDougall’s attack on Glenmirril, Amy and Angus’s race to be there and Shawn’s attempt to reach the mysterious tower through the battling armies.
Watch the Trailer:



Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing? 
Many things! My ‘day job’ is teaching private music lessons on piano, harp, and a variety of wind and string instruments. On Sundays, you’ll often find me playing saxophone or alto flute or reading poetry at an open mic in the Twin Cities. This past year, I’ve gotten back to some composition, focusing mostly these days on writing new music in the style of Irish jigs and reels.
In addition to my own writing, my publishing company, Gabriel’s Horn, is now accepting submissions for an anthology of classical formal poetry.
Outside of music and writing, I enjoy getting out for long walks with my dog, an Irish Wolfhound much like the Laird’s great hunting hounds in my novels, and spending time with my kids. I have nine, from ages 29 down to 13. Five of them currently live at home and the rest are around the country at colleges or out on their own. I also have a wonderful daughter-in-law and grandson, who is a delight!

When did you start writing? 
I’ve been writing since I was eight. I started a novel when I was ten, but quickly realized O. Henry had already written the same story in The Ransom of Red Chief!

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life? 
Definitely joining my critique group, Night Writers, in September 2006! This is an amazing group of very talented writers, the original four of whom have been together more than thirty years now. They have had a great impact on my writing and on my life, as fellow authors and as friends.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why? 
I would go to the hostel on the northern end of the Isle of Iona with my laptop and no internet. Iona is often referred to as ‘a thin place.’ Although many tourists go there every day, the northern end is relatively isolated and quiet, yet the history of the abbey and church are all quite close and it’s a ten minute ferry ride to the isle of Mull if I wanted to take a break and see a bit more of Scotland.

It has been my dream to go back to Iona and spend two weeks in that hostel writing.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do? 
It depends on the particular day and what I didn’t get done. Today, I didn’t get my marketing work done. Lately, I haven’t composed any music or gotten out for walks with my dog, so I might give two and a half hours to putting together the music book I’ve been working on and an hour and a half to walking the trails in my neighborhood.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet? 
It would be nice to set a story in a place I know well, such as the North Shore of Minnesota. I also think the beautiful old mansions of Duluth would make wonderful settings for books.

Back to your present book, The Water is Wide, how did you publish it? 
In 2007, Night Writers was joined by Jack Stanton, who really talked up the changing world of publishing, in which it can take years to find a publisher and authors are often being asked to do more and more of their own marketing, without increasing their royalties. Eventually, Jack and I created Gabriel’s Horn Press, under which our own books and some thirty or more others are published.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research? 
The internet is an amazing tool for research, but there’s still nothing like actually being in a place.
I’ve been to Scotland five times over the course of writing the entire Blue Bells Chronicles. As much as possible, I have visited the actual locations in the story—Urquhart Castle on the shore of Loch Ness, which is the model for Glenmirril; Inverness, including the backstage area of Eden Court Theater where the orchestra plays, the bridges Amy and Angus cross, and churches where Simon and Eamonn might meet; Mull which Amy and Angus drive across, the ferries the ride on, and Iona, which is known to and visited by several people through the whole story. 
I’ve hiked the hills as both Shawn and Amy do, been down to Carlisle and driven up in the Schiehallion Hills and visited Chesters Roman Fort—all of them place Shawn and Niall travel, albeit in the fourteenth century, not ours.

Why was writing The Water is Wide so important to you? 
It’s the third of a five book story, so that made it necessary, in order to continue the tale. So maybe the real question is why The Blue Bells Chronicles as a whole was important enough to spend twelve years writing. 
I’m not sure I have a good answer other than, the story was in my head. The people of the Blue Bells world were in my head. They seemed to need to live in print and need to tell their story. To not tell the story would have felt like keeping all of these people trapped, somehow.
I suspect many writers feel this way.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is? 
I’m not sure there’s any one place. Given I’ve spent the last twelve years on a single story, many events in those books are drawn from actual historical events—the Battle of Bannockburn, the laundress who gave birth as an enemy army surrounded Bruce’s men—from historical finds, such as the discovery of a conduit exiting Carlisle’s walls from under a monastery, from visiting Scotland myself. Shawn and Niall discover this conduit in The Water is Wide and it was a fun scene to write!
Outside of writing this book, news stories, song lyrics, people I meet, things that are said in passing, events of the day—all of it is full of ideas for stories.
Any final words?
If you love time travel, if you love Scotland, stop by my sites. At my Blue Bells Trilogy blog, you’ll find many articles on Scotland—its history, castles, food, music, and more, including a series there on Scottish and medieval music played in Scottish (and medieval!) locations.

No comments:

Post a Comment