I’m thrilled to have Kim Taylor Blakemore, author of The Companion, which was released earlier this week–woohoo!–on the blog today. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kim through our author’s group, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. I’ve also been *dying* to read her book ever since I first heard about it months ago. The good news is my copy is en route!
I hope you enjoy getting to know more about Kim and her work.
Congratulations on this wonderful accomplishment, Kim, and wishing you every success!
AK: Tell us a little about yourself.
KTB: I live in Portland, Oregon with my family and a bunch of rescue dogs and cats, all of whom are hilarious and make me laugh on a daily basis. In addition to taking care of the pack, I write historical mystery/suspense (I’ve been tagged a writer of American Gothic, which is pretty cool), am a novel coach to some amazing writers, and am a saber fencer. Oh, and I’m into archery right now, too. And waiting for the sun to come out again, which is a long wait in the Pacific Northwest. Other than that, my favorite thing to do is read. I read a book every one to two days, and have a stack of research books next to my desk that need reading for the next novel.
AK: What’s the premise of your book?
KTB: In 1855, New Hampshire, Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. In the shadow of the gallows, she reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrives at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.
AK: What inspired you to write it?
KTB: I love gothic fiction, and darker historicals, and as I was playing around with ideas, a single image came to me of a young woman in prison in the last days of her life. She sat in a single chair, looking up at the light from on high window. As I wrote into the image, the details came into focus – the whitewashed stone with mildewed corners, the light that sliced bright but didn’t warm, her hands folded on her lap and the coiled rage in the straightness of her back. I still have those pages in a notebook. I had put her away for year, not quite sure what to do with her or what she wanted to say. And then one day, she flew out and I went along for the ride.
AK: What authors do you admire and/or have influenced your development as a writer? Please feel free to add specific books, we love recommendations!
KTB: Daphne DuMaurier, first and foremost. She is the master of the telling detail, and of building those details into stories that become more and more threatening as the pages turn. I love My Cousin Rachel for the ambiguity and complexity of Rachel, and who doesn’t love Rebecca? The Brontes, of course. Wilkie Collins. In terms of modern writers, I recommend Charles Todd and the Ian Rutledge series. For stories about complex and fierce women, Gil Adamson’s The Outlander, Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, Greer Macallister’s Woman 99, or The Magician’s Lie or Girl in Disguise (I’m on a Greer Macallister roll right now, of you can tell…)
AK: What are you working on now?
KTB: I am just about to dive into the edits for my next Lake Union book, After Alice Fell. It’s also a historical mystery, and will be released in January 2021. It’s super dark and twisty: an asylum, an apparent suicide, and a woman who doesn’t buy the story she’s told about her sister’s death. And she won’t stop until she finds the truth. American Gothic, for sure.
I am also researching and developing the next book, Brown Forbids It, set in a Ladies Seminary in the 1870s and filled with seances and mean girls and a bit of murder and mayhem. More on that as it develops!
AK: Do you listen to music while you write?
KTB: Why, yes, I do! For both The Companion and After Alice Fell, I listened to the music of Ludovico Einaudi – cinematic, atmospheric, piano and sometimes strings. In fact, the last chapter was written while listening to A fuoco from the Una Mattina album. If you stream that and listen, you’ll see why.
January 14th, 2020 – Worldwide in Hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and Audible MP3 or CD.
They say she’s a murderess. She claims she’s innocent. But Lucy has been known to tell lies…
1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.
In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves.
In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage.
Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…
Where to Get a Copy:
Also available at other international Amazon sites.
Your local bookstore
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