Thursday, March 13, 2014

Guest Post - Rebecca Hazell's The Grip of God

Please welcome today, Rebecca Hazell, author of The Grip of God.

The Magic and Mystery of Writing Historical Fiction

What happens when a plot grips a writer and won't let go? This happened to me many years ago, but it took many more to give in and write the novel--in my case three! Meanwhile, among other things, I wrote and illustrated educational materials and award winning nonfiction books for young readers. Little did I realize that I was honing the skills I'd need to write an epic saga set in a vanished time, covering about ten different conflicting cultures. It took seventeen years just to do the research, but what an adventure!

The first mystery is why I waited so long to get going, because writing these novels, The Grip of God, Solomon's Bride, and Consolamentum, was such a magical experience.

I loved my young heroine, for one thing. Despite living seven hundred years ago, she is much like you or me but for the fact that she is swept along in the the Mongol invasion of Europe, flees at last to what she thinks will be safety, falls into the hands of the Assassins, is thrust into the conflicts between Crusader and Muslim, falls in love--and lots more.

Back to magic and mystery, what also happened was that I would put in a made-up detail and then discover it was true. Here are a few examples. As a child, I had imaginary friends, a tiny old man and woman, though the old woman had a bird bill instead of a mouth. I put them into the story as a way of linking my heroine with another character who appears much later. But then, researching my story, I discovered that there actually is a Slavic house spirit from ancient times, an old woman with a bird bill for a mouth!

Another example: I put a blue vial of rose water into the story as a nice detail, then traveled to Paris and found that exact vial in a museum I had never visited before.

Even taking our children to Disney World was magical and mysterious: it was hosting a huge traveling exhibit about traditional Mongol culture, including attire, saddles, weapons, and personal items like chopsticks and hankies, all of which went straight into my story.

Perhaps the biggest element of magic was discovering that I am related to my heroine. Technically this is impossible, since I made her up. Or did I? In researching my family tree, I traced my ancestry all the way back to medieval Kiev, and when I visited it a couple of years ago, it felt like coming home. Several new friends even commented on how I could easily be Ukrainian. So who knows? Maybe she really did exist, and maybe ...

So in writing this trilogy, I learned just how magical and mysterious our world really is as I sought to recreate a lost era and make it real to you, dear reader.

About the book
Duncan, BC Canada: Award Winning Writer Rebecca Hazell Releases First Book in Trilogy of Historical Fiction Novels

Rebecca Hazell's The Grip of God, the first novel in an epic historical trilogy, is available on and its affiliates and by special order through your local bookstore. The saga’s heroine, Sofia, is a young princess of Kievan Rus. Clear eyed and intelligent, she recounts her capture in battle and life of slavery to a young army captain in the Mongol hordes that are flooding Europe. Not only is her life shattered, it is haunted by a prophecy that catalyzes bitter rivalries in her new master's powerful family. She must learn to survive in a world of total war, always seeking the love she once took for granted.

Sofia's story is based on actual historical events that determine her destiny. Readers will delight in this very personal and engaging tale from a time that set the stage for many of the conflicts of today's world.

Praise for the trilogy 

“How deftly and compellingly Hazell takes the reader with her into that mysterious and exotic world, and makes it all seem so very close to hand!” – Peter Conradi, Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature and author of Iris Murdoch: A Life, and of A Very English Hero.

"I enjoyed watching her morph from a spoiled sheltered princess with slaves of her own, into a tough, savvy survivor, with a new awareness of social injustice. The book is action packed. I couldn't put it down." -- from a review on

"I got completely caught up in the characters and story and always looked forward to getting back to them. What a fully fleshed and fascinating world you developed and it was wondrous to learn so much about that time and the Mongol culture. Your gifts come out in your lush descriptions of place and objects. All very vivid and colorful." --author Dede Crane Gaston

The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order. The subsequent two novels in the trilogy are scheduled for publication later this year.

About the author

Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases.

She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Visit Rebecca:

Watch for my review and a giveaway coming up tomorrow. You can also visit other posts and enter giveaways on the blogs listed below.

Tour Schedule: 
Monday, February 17  
Tuesday, February 18
Guest post/giveaway at Must Read Faster

Friday, February 21
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, February 24
Review/giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, February 26
Review at A Rose in the City

Thursday, February 27
Review/Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Friday, February 28
Guest Post at Book Drunkard

Monday, March 3
Review at She is Too Fond of Books

Thursday, March 6
Spotlight/Giveaway at Celticlady's Reviews

Friday, March 7
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, March 10
Guest post/review/Giveaway at Lost in Books

Thursday, March 13
Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Review/giveaway at Create with Joy

Friday, March 14
Guest post/giveaway at HF Book Muse- News
Guest post/giveaway/review at Le Vanity Victorienne
Review/Giveaway at The True Book Addict


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