Friday, April 06, 2007

Brenda Rickman Vantrease at the library

Last night, Brenda Rickman Vantrease spoke at our library, the Velma Teague Library in Glendale, AZ. She's the author of the new historical novel, The Mercy Seller, a sequel to her international bestseller, The Illuminator. Vantrease was a teacher and librarian before chasing her dream to be a writer. She had 136 rejections for the book she wrote prior to The Illuminator. The full page color ad in The New York Times publicizing that book coincided with her 60th birthday. Not a bad birthday present. That book has been optioned for film.

Vantrease said she loved the Middle Ages since she was a child reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine. She set The Illuminator in the 14th century in Medieval England. It's the story of a man who illuminates translations of the Bible. The Mercy Seller is set thirty years later, and features the granddaughter of the illuminator, as well as a pardoner, a man who sells pardons with a permit from the Catholic Church to do so. He is based on Chaucer's Pardoner, but Vantrease had the task of making her pardoner into a likeable character, despite the fact that they were despised during the Middle Ages. The Mercy Seller brings together two plotlines, one set in England and one in Prague.

Brenda Rickman Vantrease found a period in history she was interested in. She said she then found the people who were dominant during that period, and added her fictional characters. She puts together two timelines as her outlines. One is a historical timeline. One is a timeline featuring her fictional characters. She then weaves the two timelines together into her stories.

The third book in her historical fiction series will be set in Tudor England. A friend of the Vantrease family summed up The Illuminator well. He was a nonfiction reader only, but after reading and enjoying the book, he said, "This is just nonfiction with imagination."

The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease. St. Martin's Press, ©2007. ISBN 9780312331931 (hardcover), 432p.


Inside A Book said...

I just received the book The Illuminator from my hold que at the Mesa Library. I wish I had known the author was in town as I would have traveled across town to hear her. The book is intriguing.

I happened upon your blog today --- what fun to find another book junkie so close. I loved reading through your reviews, info on upcoming releases and life in general.

Are you attending the Book Festival next weekend in Phoenix? I look forward to hearing other authors speak there - I'm hoping the weather cools a bit for their sake!

Oh, Happy birthday!!

Lesa said...

Thank you for the birthday greetings! And, thanks for stumbling across my blog. I hope you come back.

I doubt if you'll be back on today, but Brenda Vantrease is going to be at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale tonight at 7 pm.

I'm not going to the book festival next weekend. But, as a fellow book junkie (smile), I'm taking my husband to The Poisoned Pen on Tuesday night when all three of the Kellermans are going to be there, and then next Sunday I'm treating myself to a return there when Jim Butcher signs.

I have already registered for Murder in the Desert in July! I don't know if you're a mystery reader or not. I'm a reader in general, but mysteries are my favorites.

I hope you come back! And, I'll be running a new contest on my blog by about 7 pm tonight. I offer two books every Friday night.