Tag Archives: Reign of the Marionettes

A History Book Disguised as a Debut Novel

Today, I am interviewing Sheena Macleod author of Reign of the Marionettes, a historical novel set in the Highlands in Scotland.

Welcome, Sheena!

Q: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

A: I live in a small seaside town in Scotland with my family, and two dogs – Lola a Dalmatian and Missy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  My working life was spent in mental health nursing, first as a practitioner and then as a specialist practitioner (Cognitive Behavioural Therapist). Around this time, I moved into nurse teaching, gaining an MSc in Advanced Mental Health Nursing and then a PhD.  After taking early retirement from the University of Dundee, I combined my love of history with my passion for research and set out to write a series of historical fiction novels. Reign of the Marionettes, a historical drama based in Restoration London, is the first of these books and my first published novel.

Q: When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

A: I love to read and have since childhood. I became interested in the Highland Clearances and started researching the life of the Duchess of Sutherland – Elizabeth Sutherland Leveson-Gower – who is regarded as one of the principal agents involved in clearing tenant farmers from the internal straths and glens of the Highlands in Scotland to make way for sheep.

I traced Elizabeth Sutherland’s family back through the generations, trying to understand her background and role in the Highland Clearances. The main character in Reign of the Marionettes, Elizabeth Herbert, is a distant relative of the Duchess of Sutherland.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

A: From history. Fact is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

A: I write historical drama and enjoy including small details of the time. Despite writing historical fiction, I try to keep a current feel as if events are happening now.

Q: How are your books published?

A: Reign of the Marionettes is published by Dark Ink Press.

A short story, “Ghosts of Culloden”, was published in a fiction anthology in March this year by the One Million Project. Over a hundred authors from around the world contributed short stories to form three anthologies- Fiction, Thriller, and Fantasy. All proceeds, less costs of publishing the anthologies, will go to help Cancer Research UK and homelessness.

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Reign of the Marionettes

Title of Book: Reign of the Marionettes
By: Sheena Macleod
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Excerpt: CHAPTER ONE
The Cavalcade

Grey clouds formed over London, casting dark shadows across the river entrance to Whitehall Palace. In the dimming light, Elizabeth stepped through a double door, set high on the crumbling facade of the palace wall. As she weaved her way through the throng of courtiers gathering on the cobbled courtyard, their accusing faces turned towards her.

Keeping her head down, she pulled her fur-lined cloak tight against the biting air and quickened her steps. Her thoughts filled with concern for her family. At forty, she’d already spent a lifetime glancing behind her, looking for danger. A surge of fear, tinged with excitement coursed through her. Could the approaching cavalcade bring them greater freedom? She dared not even think it. All she could do now was wait and hope.

Reaching the stone balustrade, overlooking the privy stairs, Elizabeth stopped and gazed out in surprise. All along the riverbank bonfires blazed into life and flames lit up the darkening sky. It was as if half of London had come to watch the procession of gilded barges sail up the Thames. The left bank of the river had transformed into a teeming mass, and shouts of, “No papists!” rang from the milling throng.

“Meu amigo, Baroness Powis.”

A smile formed on Elizabeth’s face. She hadn’t heard Queen Catherine approach, and she turned around. Her smile faded. Since they’d last met a few days before, Catherine’s olive-tinted skin had paled, and dark shadows had formed beneath her eyes.

She curtsied. “Your Majesty.”

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Filed under Authors, Books, Genre, Historical Fiction