Ever since I caught a glimpse of the cover for STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD by Jane Nickerson, I’ve been ecstatic to get my hands on it. Historical fiction, a fairytale retellings, intoxicating danger, and well, an awesome cover. I had a chance to read an early galley of STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD and let me tell you – it was everything I wanted it to be. And more. Here’s a little Q&A I had with the author herself. And be sure to scroll down to the end – there’s a pretty awesome giveaway!
Jane Nickerson: Mississippi, 1855. A canny heroine pits her wits against a charming, but uncanny guardian. STRANDS has it all—lush setting, glamorous gowns, romance, and—TERROR.
(I cheated a bit by shortening the title—STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD is a very long title.)
IceyBooks: What inspired you to weave a retelling of a fairy tale—and Bluebeard at that?
Jane Nickerson: I’m fond of fairy tales—they’re romantic and interesting and they’ve stood the test of time. But they’re also bare-bones stories. It’s fun to read between the lines and add details and characterization. As far as Bluebeard goes, I have to admit that for a nice person (which I think I am), I have a morbid streak. I was fascinated by the sinister story back when I was a kid. As I began to write I was also intrigued by M. Bernard’s character, and how an abusive serial killer could hide behind his charisma and fool intelligent women.
IceyBooks: Do you have a favorite line that was removed from the original draft of STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD?
Jane Nickerson: Goodness, there’s lots of them. I had to be brutal in what I cut out. Here’s a bit of dialogue I was sorry to delete because it shows M. Bernard’s sinister qualities and Sophie’s spirited response to them:
“If one were to think about it, one would realize drinking blood, as the Masaai tribe does, is only natural. After all, one’s body is filled with the stuff, therefore it must be healthy to take in more.”
I shrugged. “Nothing is more natural than death and disease, but I wouldn’t pursue those either.”
He laughed lazily.
IceyBooks: I, for one, am absolutely in love with your cover. What were your first thoughts when you saw it for the first time?
Jane Nickerson: Relief. Since an author in my position has little say in what the cover will look like, I had been afraid that the essence of the story wouldn’t be captured in the art. But the artist depicted it perfectly—a sweet but strong female character, a period setting, romance, and mystery. Beautiful!
IceyBooks: Tell us a little bit about how you signed with your agent.
Jane Nickerson: Of course I had queried lots of reputable agents and had a few requests for the STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD manuscript. Wendy Schmalz, of Wendy Schmalz Agency, however, was the first one to read it and to call me. She told me she loved the story and wanted to represent me. She admitted that she wasn’t usually fond of gothics, but that she had been riveted by STRANDS and couldn’t put it down. I almost cried, because, you know… So, I immediately took her up on the offer and I have not been a bit sorry. Wendy is wonderful.
IceyBooks: Give us the three:
-Places you would love to visit:
1. Highlands of Scotland,
2. 1800’s Mississippi—to see what it was REALLY like,
-Books you can’t wait to read:
Jane Nickerson: THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER by Megan Shepherd (because I wish I had thought of that title and that subject), FIRE, by Kristin Cashore, because I enjoyed GRACELING, and DEAD END IN NORVELT, by Jack Gantos, because it’s the 2012 Newbery award winner and I always like to read the winners.
-Types of food you’re craving right now:
Thanks so much for having me!
For many years Jane Nickerson and her family lived in a big old house in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where she was also the children’s librarian. She has always loved the South, “the olden days,” gothic tales, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. She and her husband now make their home in Ontario, Canada.
Add STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD to Goodreads
BUY THE BOOK
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .
When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.
Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.
Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.