It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Ms. Bianca M. Schwarz – a talented writer and intriguing lady. Today is a big day for her – she is getting her debut novel – A Thing of Beauty: A Dark Historical Thriller – a beautiful blend of historical novel, mystery with gothic elements and romance. It is also book 1 of her series The Sir Henry March Mysteries. Bianca took some time off her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her work, writing and very interesting biography.
But before we meet Bianca we will learn something about the novel itself.
Blurb: To the ordinary observer, the wealthy Sir Henry March, cousin of a duke, seems a typical London gentleman. But to the Crown, Henry is a powerful asset, secret defender of the country. When he sees an injured girl stumbling down the side of the road, he must stop.
The stepdaughter of an abusive innkeeper, Eliza Broad is from another class entirely. But the moment Henry lays eyes on the spirited and beautiful girl, he feels a connection. To protect her, he takes her into his home.
In Henry, Eliza finds a rescuer, handsome and kind beyond her wildest dreams. But danger is at their heels. On Eliza’s trail is one of London’s vilest and most notorious pimps, a man whose connections tie him to a dark world of sadism and treachery.
In this dark, historical thriller, can Eliza and Henry fight to protect England, their hearts, and their lives?
Lilah: So, Bianca, when did your passion for writing begin? Did you have any attempts before you came up with the idea for A Thing of Beauty?
Bianca: I have always loved stories in all their forms and have always written in one form or another but it took me a long time to think of myself as a writer. I’m horribly dyslexic and had it in my head that no one would take me seriously as a writer because of it, so I went to film school after I finished my degree in English Lit. There I learned how to tell a story visually and ultimately I think it made me a more visual writer. But I am a writer, first and foremost.
A Thing Of Beauty is my third book but it is the first one I have shown to anybody. And no, I still wont show those other two to anyone.
L: How did you decide to try your hand at historical fiction? What provoked that story and those characters?
B: I think it was less Historical fiction and more that specific time period that drew me to it. The Regency period is interesting for many reasons. First of all this is when the novel really came into it’s own as a popular and respected literary form. Then there is the political and social turmoil of the period stemming from revolution in France and America, the chaos of the Napoleonic war and the beginning of the industrial revolution. And let’s not forget the fashion of the time.
The story and the characters sort of found me. I read a lot and wanted to write something I would want to read so I did a lot of daydreaming and then started to write those daydreams down.
L: Your novel is very rich with historical details, from the design of the clothes and to the accents and dialects. How much time did you spend on research? Could you give advise on the newbie historical writers on how to proceed about their own homework?
B: I do like to create rich detail in my imaginary worlds. I have a degree in English Literature and a particular interest in the 18th and 19th century novel. That helps with finding the tone of the language and the vocabulary. I try to maintain a certain authenticity of the time throughout the book but did take some license with the Cockney. I had to research a lot of origins of terms and phrases, but much of the Cockney is what I overheard whilst living in the East End of London for a decade. And then I also had a great editor, Carolyn Schweitzer, who pulled me up on a few terms that did not belong.
Researching period clothing through fashion plates and museum sites is just plain fun so that is a rabbit hole I indulged in with gusto. Food is easy, I know traditional English cooking and I know what grows when in the English climate. The natural medicines and what they were used for I learned at my mother’s knee, who had learned it from her grandmother. She had a tea or salve recipe for literally everything. All I had to do was verify that these medicines would have been available in London at the time.
In terms of giving advise about research, I always start with something I know and go from there. Research is so much easier when you know where to start. It also helps to be interested in the subject, research can be very drawn out and laborious.
L: You are rather worldly lady who have had the chance to experience living in very different countries and societies. To what extent has that influenced you as a person as well as your writing?
B: I think my perpetual itchy feet define me in a lot of ways. I grew up in Germany, became a fully defined human being in England and then moved to the West Coast of the USA to follow my dreams. There is no telling where I will end up and I like it that way.
But I think the most important thing you learn when you live in different places is that people are pretty much the same anywhere. Customs may be different but the fundamentals are the same. There are good and bad people everywhere, there is always more that unites us then divides us and the people who can’t see that are the ones who cause the most suffering.
My writing benefits from the fact that I have first hand knowledge of a lot of places. It definitely makes it easier to imagine my characters in those those locations and describing them is a lot easier.
L: Now that A Thing of Beauty is a fact what are your future writing plans? Should we expect a second novel of the Sir Henry series anytime soon? Do you have ideas for other stories?
B: I’m in the middle of writing the next Sir Henry Mystery. There are two more books in the series and I may write two companion novellas as well. When I’m done with that, I have a project with Vampires I’m sitting on right now. It’s a world history according to vampires and a lot of fun but so far I have not had much time to work on it.
You can order A Thing of Beauty on Amazon as of today. Enjoy it!