25 September, 2012

Death on a Longship by Marsali Taylor Guest Post and Giveaway!!

Death on a Longship by Marsali Taylor

 Join me in welcoming Marsali Taylor, author of Death on a Longship, to Celticlady's Reviews!!

Thank you so much for having me here today!

What started you off writing?
I can't remember a time when I didn't write!  My mother still has a little notebook of  'stories' I wrote when I was six, mostly accounts of something that happened in our holidays, with a little picture beside each.  In my teenage years, I wrote long stories - including detective and mystery stories - about the same set of characters.  Then, at University, I moved on to historical romance, and I wrote two historical novels before returning to mystery fiction.

Where do you get your ideas for a plot?
My plots are usually sparked off by something quite random - a sentence I read in a book, or a comment I hear.  The idea for Death on a Longship came when Marnie's mother-in-law, the actress Linda Marlowe, was speaking about a very well known Hollywood star who was known in the business to be gay, but went to extraordinary lengths to cover it up.   Who?  Go on, tell us ...  I don't want to be sued, and you wouldn't believe me anyway if I said the name!  That got me thinking about characters who would create such a cover up, and the story grew from there.  I tend to get the plot first, and then think about what kind of people would behave like that.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a mystery novel?
Plot, plot, plot!  Get your ingenious idea, then think about your characters, and how it would affect them, how they would affect it - let it simmer for ages in your head before you start writing.  I do a chapter-by-chapter table, with a column for each sub-plot.  Of course it never works out that neatly in practice, but knowing where I'm going helps a lot.

Do you have any pets?
We have one pony and four cats.  The pony is a Shetland, with lots of belly and hair, and short legs.  He's called Fergus, an Irish name because his father was Ninian, and he believes he ought to be a house horse.  When I invite him to give me a hand keeping the grass short, he eats for a bit, then you hear clip, clop, clip down in the hall, and have to leave my desk to escort him back out.  The cats are Emma, the black boss of the household, who escorts me to my desk each morning, Magnus, who came to us as a starving stray, and is now a 6kg stripey softy, and the two kittens, Miss Matty, who's a very pretty tortoishell, and Major Petrov, who shows his Russian Blue grandmother in his beautifully soft grey coat.  Petrov is going to be a big softy too, but Matty is a small fiend, with suffragette tendencies - dat's m'cat.

What was the last book you read?
I've just finished Val McDermid's latest thriller, Vanishing Point.  It's got such a bobby-dazzler of a plot that I'm scared to describe it, in case I spoil one of her neat twists.  Now I'm deep in Dickson Carr's The Murder of Sir Edmund Godfrey.  It's the story of a real-life case from the England of Charles II, and he makes the London of those days so vivid.  Next, for my readers' group, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall - the 'to read' pile beside my bed never seems to get any smaller.

If you HAD to live somewhere in the world besides Shetland, where would it be?
Hmmm ... the West Highlands of Scotland are home too, from my childhood summers there, if we could get a nice remote cottage there, or I adore the Poitevin region of France, with its rolling, silvery fields and wonderful food and wine, but that's too far from the sea, a whole 50 miles.  I need to see a lot more of the world - I've always wanted to go to Canada, and see the Rockies.  It would need to be somewhere rural, with a marina nearby - at the moment my personal best time from doorstep to in the voe with engine off and sails up is 17 minutes.  Or, of course, a house with its own pier and beach - that would do.

What is your most decadent indulgence?
My biggest indulgence has to be my boat - I can't afford her, yet I couldn't bear to give her up, and be trapped on land.  She needs so much doing to her - half of the electronic instruments don't work (I can sail without them, though the depth sounder can be a life-saver in fog, so I wish that worked), and new sails would be good, and I'm waiting for the engineer to come and clean the injectors, so that the engine works - it's not really sensible to go out without it, although I might on a medium wind day.  I'm not sure a boat counts as decadent, though ... so maybe it should be my Chanel perfume, Allure, and my Lush 'Floating Island' bath bombs.  There's nothing like an hour-long scented bath with a good book to make the world feel rosy, and I do like to go into school or off to the cinema on a waft of French perfume.

Thank you Marsali!!!

About Death on a Longship 
When she talks her way into a job skippering a Viking longship for a Hollywood film, Cass Lynch thinks her big break has finally arrived - even though it means returning home to the Shetland Islands, a place she hasn't set foot on since she ran away as a teenager to pursue her dreams of sailing. When a dead woman turns up on the boat’s deck, Cass, her past and her family come under suspicion from the disturbingly shrewd Detective Inspector Macrae.

Cass must call on all her local knowledge of Shetland, the wisdom gained from years of sailing, and her glamorous, French opera singer mother to clear herself and her family of suspicion - and to catch the killer before Cass becomes the next victim.

 Marsali’s Bio
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.                   

Giveaway Info
Marsali is giving away THREE prizes; a copy of Death on a Longship at each blog stop on her tour, a 1st place grand prize giveaway at the end of the tour of some silver Viking-inspired jewelry from the Shetland Islands, and a 2nd place $15 Amazon gift card.
1)      To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book (open internationally for ebook or the US, UK, and Canada for a print book). Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.
2)      To win Viking-inspired Jewelry OR a $15 Amazon gift card: Click the link to go to the contest’s website and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post. A first and second place lucky winner will be selected on October 1st. First place person gets to choose which grand prize he/she wants. The second place person gets the remaining grand prize. Open to every country.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like a terrific mystery. I'm looking forward to the author's knowledge of the area to add n especially authentic feel to the story. Should be a good one. Please enter my name for the chance to win a copy.

  2. I love everything Scottish and this sounds like such a good book!! I envy the author for living in what is such a beautiful part of Scotland, from what I have read. I can't wait to read this book and would love to be entered to win a copy:)

    Thanks so much!
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  3. thanks for stopping by Carl and Julie!!!



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