Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guest Post: Karen Harper, author of The Irish Princess




I am very excited to bring you the lovely Karen Harper, author of the newly released The Irish Princess. In this delightful post, Karen gives us a glimpse into what her latest creation is all about. From the research behind it, to a bit of the plot, this post will leave you wanting to go read the book this very instant. Now, without further ado, I give you Karen Harper:






"Each time I discuss or write about my new historical revenge story, THE IRISH PRINCESS, I am reminded of Irish stew—a delicious thought in the month of March when St. Patrick’s Day celebrations occur. Irish stew has a little bit of everything in it, and so does this true story of Elizabeth (Gera) Fitzgerald, the “uncrowned princess of Ireland.”

As I discovered Gera and then studied her life, I realized she would make a dynamic and fascinating heroine. Her life was full of adventure, tragedy, and triumph. She had a love/hate relationship with Edward Clinton, the Lord High Admiral of the English Navy, despite her vow of vengeance against the English—ah, there’s nothing like forbidden love. And her story fit everything I look for in settings for a book, because Tudor England and the British Isles—in this case, old Ireland—is my love and my specialty.

The Fitzgeralds, Gera’s family, were considered to be “the uncrowned kings of Ireland,” but when they dared to challenge King Henry VIII, he ordered their castle besieged and the men of the family eliminated. (His Majesty’s standard practice for ruining a powerful or noble family that could compete with the Tudors: imprisonment in the Tower and a public beheading.)

But the king badly miscalculated the strength of one “weak” woman in the family, the beautiful Gera, who vowed revenge on him and his family—and then came to admire and befriend Elizabeth Tudor, with whom Gera had so much in common.

The novel also has a real swashbuckling flavor, thanks to the fact that the hero is a sea captain. Gera even commanded one of his ships to chase pirates in the name of the queen. I could not have found a more exciting hero and heroine if I had made them up. If you would like to see how close the compelling cover of THE IRISH PRINCESS comes to portraits of the real Gera Fitzgerald, take a look at both on my website, which also has portraits of the other key characters in the novel atwww.KarenHarperAuthor.com.

Of course, a research trip to Ireland provided some of the background and the sense of Irish ‘magic’ for the book. Just as with English Tudor-era sites, it’s not hard to imagine what the past in Ireland must have been like by visits to castles, charming villages and the green, green countryside. I hope I caught that special aura or old Erin and its people. Whether I’m writing historical novels or contemporary suspense set in Ohio Amish country, I always try to treat the settings as another key character.

I hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day. I intend to dance a jig (I really can!), attend a parade and drink a toast to old Ireland and to the bold spirit of Gera Fitzgerald and her people. I also plan to enjoy some Irish stew, and hope that you will too. Erin Go Bragh!"

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Thank you, Karen, for taking the time to share this delightful guest post with us!



Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A grand-scale historical novel from the national bestselling author ofMistress Shakespeare. 
Born into a first family of Ireland, with royal ties on both sides, Elizabeth Fitzgerald-known as Gera-finds her world overturned when Henry VIII imprisons her father, the Earl of Kildare, and brutally destroys her family. Torn from the home she loves, her remaining family scattered, Gera dares not deny the refuge offered her in England's glittering royal court. There she must navigate ever-shifting alliances even as she nurtures her secret desire for revenge. From County Kildare's lush green fields to London's rough-and-tumble streets and the royal court's luxurious pageantry, The Irish Princess follows the journey of a daring woman whose will cannot be tamed, and who won't be satisfied until she restores her family to its rightful place in Ireland."


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