North of the Azores: A Q&A with Ruth Danes
‘North of the Azores’ is the first book in the ‘Life on Other Islands’ series. Today we welcome author, Ruth Danes, to the blog to answer a few questions.
The year is 1780 and the Devil’s Isles, a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, have recently been conquered by Britain after a brief war. The inhabitants of the Devil’s Isles practice magic and both human and animal sacrifice. Nebula, a young princess from the islands, struggles with this and is beginning to question what she has been taught.
Aware of a plot to kill everyone on the islands, Nebula defects to the British side where she takes on a new identity and a new life. Under the name Adeliza, she works in England as a maid for a Dr Moon. Only two men know her real identity; the kind-hearted doctor and the seemingly terrifying Mr Lastman.How long have you been a writer?I wrote short stories when I was a child. I made little hand-written books from sheets of A4 paper and illustrated them. Then school, university and the world of work took over. I wrote a couple of appalling novels in my teens which will never again see the light of day but I did not start to write again until November 2014. I had just changed jobs and had a much better work-life balance. What inspired the idea for ‘North of Azores’?I have lived in four countries, including the UK, and I speak three languages including English. On living in a new place I have experienced a sense of otherness and of being somewhere strange. However, I soon learned which differences matter, which don’t and how you can be happy in more than one place and in different circumstances. What attracts you to Historical Fiction?History to me is a series of stories which I find interesting and I think by understanding the past we can better understand the present and try to avoid repeating mistakes. I also like the sense of going somewhere out of this world when I read history or historical fiction. How did you research the book?I already knew quite a bit about the late 18th century which is when the book is set. Google was also my friend! What is your favourite underrated novel?They aren’t novels but I think the books by the cyclist Josie Dew, who has cycled in many different countries, are both interesting and inspiring. She has so much courage. Bad things occasionally happen to her but she just gets back on her bike and keeps going.
Where can we buy your book?You can buy it on Amazon here. It will be published on 1st November but you can pre-order it before then. Ruth will be celebrating the launch of ‘North of the Azores’ on Friday 3rd November at Nottingham Writers’ Studio, more on this here. For more information on the author and her books, visit ruthdanes.com