To any authors/publishers/ tour companies that are looking for the reviews that I signed up for please know this is very hard to do. I will be stopping reviews temporarily. My husband passed away February 1st and my new normal is a bit scary right now and I am unable to concentrate on a book to do justice to the book and authors. I will still do spotlight posts if you wish it is just the reviews at this time. I apologize for this, but it isn't fair to you if I signed up to do a review and haven't been able to because I can't concentrate on any books. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. I appreciate all of you. Kathleen Kelly April 2nd 2024

14 March 2012

The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot Interview for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

I have just finished reading The Sister Queens and hated for it to end, it was that good. I will have my review and giveaway up next week but in the meantime please join me welcoming Sophie to Celticlady's Reviews...

 Tell me about your book. What was your motivation for writing The Sister Queens?

It is a pleasure to introduce The Sister Queens.  Set in medieval France and England, the novel weaves the story of Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence—sisters who became queens (of France and England). Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals, but they were also life-long friends and their mutual devotion helped each to navigate the challenges posed by love, war, political intrigue and betrayal.

The novel’s focus on how sisters shape each other makes it very personal.  I am half of a pair of close sisters.  My sister was my college roommate and we still speak just about every day.  Most important for present purposes, my sister was a key motivator in my decision to purse my writing.  At the time she gave me a nudge, I held my dream job (lawyer at a large firm).  Unfortunately, it was proving to be far from dreamy, so I was having a “what am I going to do next” crisis.  I can’t have any sort of crisis without my sister (much as she probably wishes I could).  I was angsting on the phone and my sister said, “I know you are making up a story in your head . . . pick up your dictaphone and start saying it out loud.”  She knew I was a storyteller because I’d spent most of our childhood entertaining her with “continuing sagas” on our way to and from school, and she was 100% right I was making up a story in my head.  Her words resulted in my first manuscript.

While my sister motivated me to reinvent myself as a writer, the motivation for the story in the pages of The Sister Queens came from a footnote.  I was researching a totally different project and there were Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia and Beatrice.  Even in a footnote it was clear that these sisters were remarkable women who had all made significant political marriages.  I wondered how they could have largely slipped through the fingers of history (particularly the eldest as they’d become queens of France and England).  The fact that they had been overlooked aggravated me.  So, I started a file with their names on it, vowing to come back and tell their story.  The Sister Queens fulfills that vow.

For those interested in reading the back-cover-blurb for The Sister Queens, it is posted at my website here:

 How did you get interested in writing historical fiction?

I am a history geek from a family of history geeks.  My undergraduate degree is in history; so is my husband’s.  My sister has her doctorate in history and is professor.  My childhood was filled with visits to historical places here in the US and as I got older I had the opportunity to visit many historical sites throughout Europe (first while studying abroad and later through leisure travel).  History has always been my thing, so when I started writing historical fiction was an obvious choice.

 What kind of research did you do for The Sister Queens?

I did a substantial amount of both primary and secondary source research for the book.  One of the great things about life in the internet age is improved access to information right from your desk—everything from the contents of scholarly journals to digital copies of manuscripts.  Being able to search WorldCat from home rather than going to a reference librarian. . .who doesn’t love that?!  Of course I have stacks of old-fashioned books as well which I am constantly tripping over.

 What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful writing lair up in the top corner of my house.  It was designed specifically for my two artistic passions—writing and glass bead making.  The writing half of office/studio has large windows with views of the woods.  I even have a cool little deck/balcony that connects my office to my husband’s office.  The deck is strictly an “adults-only” space and I can get wireless internet out there so in warm weather I can write outside.  Dedicated writing space isn’t my issue then, time is.

Two of my children are still at home so “School is my friend.”  I bet every parent who works from home can identify with that.  Generally I write five days a week as if it were my job because it is.  I don’t set daily goals but I do set weekly goals, and I fill out a word count chart to keep myself honest.  I’ll admit that during these heady immediate-post-release days my writing discipline has slipped (and the numbers on my charts show that).  Then again, I am devoting lots of time and energy to promoting The Sister Queens and that’s a big part of the author job description these days.  So perhaps I can still claim I am behaving professionally.

 What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Working on the days when my muse is not.

Some days writing is unavoidable—characters talk to me while I am driving; I have to get out of the shower to write down a scene before I forget it; I, as an author, am under siege.  Those are the good days. The great days.

But many days I sit down at my computer, with my handy plot outline, stare at the screen and think “oh god.”  That’s when I like to keep in mind something I read, probably in the writings of Abraham Heschel, about how you don’t have to feel prayerful to pray.  Sometimes you have to put yourself in the correct posture for inspiration to happen—whether that inspiration is spiritual or creative.  If I don’t sit at my desk and make myself put words on paper there is absolutely no chance I will write a good paragraph or even a good sentence.  If, on the other hand, I go through the motions of writing, almost as if it were a ritual, than I am ready when the muse comes back to her desk.  And generally there is a moment, even on the toughest days, when the characters come to life and take over, when my fingers can no longer keep up with my thoughts.

Thank you so much Sophie for answering my questions.....


Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals.  They were also queens.

Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages--but never truly parted.

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.


Sophie Perinot writes historical fiction. In Spring 2012 her debut novel, The Sister Queens, will be released by NAL. Set in 13th century France and England, The Sister Queensweaves the captivating story of medieval sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens – their lifelong friendship, their rivalry, and their reigns

Ms. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. She left the law to pursue artistic interests, including writing. An avid reader, especially of classic literature, and life-long student of history, it seemed only natural that Sophie should write historical fiction. As someone who studied French abroad and a devotee of Alexandre Dumas, French history was a logical starting point. An active member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences.
Active among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal (a moniker she also uses at Agent Query Connect, Sophie is a regular contributor to the group writers' blog "From the Write Angle" http://goog_2004292005/com. Find her on facebook at
For more information, please visit Sophie Perinot's WEBSITE.  You can also find Sophie on her blogFacebook and Twitter.

Link to tour schedule:
Links for author Sophie Perinot:  WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
Twitter Event Hashtag:  #SisterQueensVirtualBookTour 

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