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Interview with E.M. Powell, author of The Blood of the Fifth Knight



E.M. PowellE.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller The Fifth Knight, which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in the northwest of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society (HNS), International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America, as well as a reviewer of fiction and nonfiction for the HNS.

Her latest book is the historical mystery/thriller, THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT.

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About the Book:

The Blood of the Fifth KnightEngland, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, E.M. Powell. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is the sequel to my bestselling debut, medieval thriller The Fifth Knight. So I wouldn’t quite describe myself as multi-published-yet!

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I had a very unusual route to debut publication. Thanks to my agent, the peerless Josh Getzler at HSG, The Fifth Knight was signed by Thomas & Mercer as a Kindle Serial in 2012. Kindle Serials were an Amazon program where books were published in episodes (in my case, six), each two weeks apart. The episodes were downloaded automatically to buyers’ Kindles. There was a discussion board for each episode and I gained loyal readers. The Serial version sold really well, and then was released as a complete book.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

The first episode went out a month after signing. I said it was an unusual route!

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Pretty much stunned! I had been writing and trying to get published for ten years. Signing with an agent in 2012 was such a huge milestone for me. Then to get an offer in October, and then to have my story out there in November felt surreal. It was also strange in that I couldn’t actually get hold of the book while it went out as episodes. Kindle Serials were only available in the US, and I’m in the UK. But my arms hurt. From pinching myself. A lot.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I mentioned the discussion boards for Kindle Serials. So talking to readers and engaging with them was the first tangible thing. How lovely was that? Getting feedback about each stage of my story was very exciting. But I had to be really, really careful about spoilers. That was fine at the start. But as the book went further on, it was tricky at times to remember exactly which events fitted into which episode. I consulted my notes so much!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Getting published has definitely boosted my confidence. I have also found my market, which is for medieval thrillers and mysteries. That in turn has helped to target my research in finding unusual (sometimes gruesome!) aspects of history.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The support and generosity of readers and other writers alike. I mean those people who take time out of their own busy lives to help support and spread the word about my books. It happens time and time again and it genuinely never fails to amaze me. I hope I reciprocate, but I always feel like I’m in debt.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Hearing from readers who have loved my books. I’m an avid reader and the feeling of getting lost in a book, where the world fades away, is second to none. To think that I have done that for someone else is genuinely humbling and the absolute reward for me as a writer.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Learn your craft. You wouldn’t expect to pick up a block of wood and carve it into a perfect, tiny version of the Statue of Liberty on your first attempt. But some folks can. Because they’re spent a long, long time learning to choose the right wood, the right tools. Rejecting clumsy versions. Cutting their fingers on the blade. Having their attempts crack or splinter because they carved wrongly. Yet they do it over and over again, learning all they can, until they produce the finished article. It’s the same with novel writing. So learn the craft. And never, ever give up. You’ll get there!

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