Friday, March 8, 2024

Book Tour + #Giveaway: Before the Emerald Crown by Michelle Dalrymple @RABTBookTours


The Before Series, Book 5


Date Published: 02-28-2024

Publisher: Sword and Thistle LLC


In a time nearly ancient, before a brave Scottish princess defied her mother, a young woman has lost everything.

Except for her unexplainable talent for magic.

Now Magda's being hunted, and in her attempt to survive, loneliness and desperation take control.

Until she meets someone who offers her a chance at happiness, at normalcy, at the fullness of life. Then she discovers something wrong, so shockingly wrong with this hopeful future, and she must make a harrowing decision to ensure her survival.

And she will have to draw on all her magic to do it.

Actions have repercussions -- Magda knows this better than anyone else -- and with her magic, she will ensure everyone else learns that lesson as well.


Interview with Michelle Deerwester-Dalrymple (or just call me Michelle)

    Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

    I read Outlander when it was first released in the early 1990s, and it was different from the other historical fiction I’d been reading at that time. Between that, the classical lit I had to read as a Literature major in college, and historical romance/fiction in general, that helped frame how I looked at fiction overall.

    How do you select the names of your characters?

    I don’t have one specific way – but if I hear a name I like, I’ll jot it down. Then I use baby name websites, usually ones that are historical or cultural, depending on the time period and location of the characters. For Before the Emerald Crown, I used ancient Scottish names, and I named the goat after a queen :)

    Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Sometimes, and I usually try to connect it to other books I’ve written. For this book, a running commentary in the book is that a lone woman living in the woods is always thought of as a witch, and my readers will see this as a theme in several books. It’s a bit of a joke on how we have stereotyped women, especially single, older women, who live outside of society’s norms for the time.

    What was your hardest scene to write?

    Steamy scenes in my steamier romances. I want each one to be unique and romantic and passionate. But in Before the Emerald Crown, since it is low-steam, that was less of an issue. For this book, it would be the fire scene. I write great death scenes – I have my adult daughter who is one of my beta readers nightmares after she read one of my earlier books with a guy who caught on fire – so I know that it’s a skill I have, but they are also the most difficult because of the level of distress and sorrow and trauma, really any scene with intense emotion, and I want to make that as real and tangible for the reader as I can.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    Each of my series is interconnected standalones, for the most part, and my Before . . . series is no different. Each book is part of my larger fairy tale villain universe, but each can be read on its own. While reading the whole series can add to the immersion, readers can pick up each book and read it for a full story with no cliff hangers or previous book knowledge needed!

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    I wanted to take a villain that hadn’t been addressed before and start the backstory for her. It’s not a big, adventurous fantasy story, it’s a more introspective tale of a young woman thrust out on her own and coming to terms with who she is and what she must do in the world. I feel it came across well and that I have the witch in the woods and name and history.

    What inspired you to write Before the Emerald Crown?

    In Before the Emerald Crown, not only do we have a villain backstory, we have one that hasn’t been told before – the book focuses on the witch in the woods character (which is also one of my fave character tropes) from the Disney Brave film. We haven’t had her backstory yet, and since watching the film, I wondered, what would make her craft such a twisted curse? So I wrote that story.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the next books in (Insert name of book or series) or what you have planned for the future?

    My next release is a genre-switch – it is a military romance (my hubby is a cop and former Marine, and I teach on a Marine base, so I have lots of book fodder for that!). Her Tempting Protector is book 3 of my Tactical Protectors: Marines series.

    But the next book in the Before series that will release this summer (fingers crossed) is Before the Red Cloak. This book departs the Disney universe and takes on a more traditional fairy tale story – that of little Red Riding Hood. It is darker, a bit more gothic, takes place in rural France, and the tagline is: What happened before the wolf in the woods?

    Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Before the Emerald Crown?

    The main character, Magda, is a sprightly young woman who finds herself in possession of a talent no one can explain -- not her parents, not the sage woman in the woods, not the fae. She can speak to animals and charm wood. Not all that exciting. Believing the rumors that she must be a changeling, Magda set out to learn about this charming talent and about herself. As her charming talents grow, Magda explores more of her world and meets someone who might discover her darkest secret and destroy them all.

    Her mentor, Ganeen, comes to her rescue when Magda is orphaned and helps her become comfortable with exploring her “charming” as Magda calls it. SHe becomes a substitute mother for Magda.

    Then we have the ever-faithful Mathilda, a little, energetic goat named after Empress Mathilda, the not-quite Queen of England in the middle ages.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    Since much of what I write is historical, I love taking that history, bending it, and crafting a new world. As a fairy tale, Before the Emerald Crown doesn’t have to be historically accurate, and I think that helps me in the creative process quite a bit.

About the Author

Michelle Deerwester-Dalrymple is an award-winning author of historical romance -- Scottish, Highlanders, and Ancient! To Dance in the Glen was recently a bestseller! She also writes contemporary romance as M.D. Dalrymple -- police and campus romances, and as Strawberry Chase, paranormal romance author.

Winner of the Top Ten Author Academy Award for 2018, Best Indie Book 2019, and N.N Night's 2021 Winner for Scottish Romance.


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