Friday, November 27, 2020

The Last Blast of the Trumpet by Marie MacPherson - Book Tour

The Last Blast of the Trumpet by Marie Macpherson @PenmorePress1  @scotscriever  @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours 


Blurb: The Last Blast of the Trumpet

Conflict, Chaos and Corruption in Reformation Scotland

He wants to reform Scotland, but his enemies will stop at nothing to prevent him.

Scotland 1559: Fiery reformer John Knox returns to a Scotland on the brink of civil war. Victorious, he feels confident of his place leading the reform until the charismatic young widow, Mary Queen of Scots returns to claim her throne. She challenges his position and initiates a ferocious battle of wills as they strive to win the hearts and minds of the Scots. But the treachery and jealousy that surrounds them both as they make critical choices in their public and private lives has dangerous consequences that neither of them can imagine.

In this final instalment of the trilogy of the fiery reformer John Knox, Macpherson tells the story of a man and a queen at one of the most critical phases of Scottish history.

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Author Interview

1. What would you consider to be your Kryptonite as an author? 
I had to look that up! I thought it must mean my superpower but it’s the opposite – I think. Flitting about on social media – time wasting activity that distracts me for getting on with writing.

2. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 
Feel the fear and do it anyway.

3. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
Half a century ago my local library was a dour place where you had to keep quiet or be thrown out.  There was only one shelf for children’s books – all very worthy titles such as Kidnapped, Treasure Island, The Water Babies, Heidi – but I snapped them up, taking them home to read under the blanket. I loved getting lost in a book that took you to a far-off place and time. Nowadays young readers are lucky to have so much choice.

4. If you could dine with any literary character, who would it be and why?
The Wife of Bath from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales would brighten up any dinner. This bold, wealthy widow, who married five times was the Zsa Zsa Gabor of her time. She goes on pilgrimages, not for religious reasons but like today’s regular cruiser, to see the world and to find a mate. In a male dominated world she uses her sexuality to control men and get what she wants.

5. What is your most unusual writing quirk?
When making notes, I cannot write with pen or biro because they turn my writing into a scribbly scrawl, only pencil which has to be super sharp. But since I can’t seem to find a decent pencil sharpener that doesn’t chew up the leads, I have to buy lots of new pencils. Hearing that lead was poisonous, put me off chewing the ends.

6. What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
Thelma and Louise

7. If you could own any animal as a pet, what would it be? 
Can I have two? A red squirrel - they’re great problem solvers – and an eagle that could take me on its back to go flying.

8. Have you ever met anyone famous?
 Ian Rankin may be famous now but he wasn’t when he was part of our clique of PhD students in Edinburgh. When he abandoned his thesis on Muriel Spark to write crime fiction, us geeky postgrads warned him it would never take off… The rest is literary history. Meanwhile, around the corner in a cafe J.K. Rowling was scribbling stories about wizards, of all things. If I only knew then what I know now …

9. What is the first book that made you cry?
 Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. So many tear-jerkers in that collection. The Little Match Girl, The Little Mermaid and the Toy Soldier made me howl yet I went back to read them over and over again.

10. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
 Years to research – writing at least 9 months.

11. What creature do you consider your "spirit animal" to be? 
With the name Macpherson it has to be our clan emblem, the Scottish wildcat.

12. What are your top 5 favorite movies? 
Casablanca, Dr Zhivago and anything by Guillermo del Toro who makes the scariest films ever. Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage, The Shape of Water.

13. What fictional character would you want to be friends with in real life? 
That would be Alison, the Wife of Bath again. She could teach me a few things about life.

14. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
Just sit down and get on with it. That book won’t write itself. There’s no time like the present to start.

15. What book do you wish you had written? 
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

16. Tell us 10 fun facts about yourself!
I love tapdancing

I’m trying to teach myself to jive with a door as a partner.

I practise Tai Chi to relax.

I’m multilingual: I speak Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian – not all at the same time.

I lived in the Soviet Union for a year and also worked as a travel guide there.

I’ve been interrogated by the KGB several times.

I met Superman’s stepmother in Leningrad.

I won the Moscow Marathon – by default, I hasten to add. A tale for another time.

I ran the first Madrid half-marathon -and didn’t win.

I’m a late bloomer – I didn’t start writing fiction until I retired.

                                      17. If you could live in any time period, what would it be and why?           
I’d love to go back to 16th century Scottish court of Mary, Queen of Scots and solve one of the greatest crime mysteries: who killed Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley. Saying that, I give it a go in The Last Blast of the Trumpet.

18. What is your favorite genre to read?
Historical Fiction, funnily enough. I loathed history at school – which was all about memorising dates and dull facts about Corn Laws and parliamentary acts to be regurgitated in exams. Historical fiction brings the past to life, describes the details of daily living, what people ate, what they wore, and most of all gets into their heads.

Author Bio

Scottish writer Marie Macpherson grew up in Musselburgh on the site of the Battle of Pinkie and within sight of Fa’side Castle where tales and legends haunted her imagination. She left the Honest Toun to study Russian at Strathclyde University and spent a year in the former Soviet Union to research her PhD thesis on the 19th century Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov, said to be descended from the Scottish poet and seer, Thomas the Rhymer. Though travelled widely, teaching languages and literature from Madrid to Moscow, she has never lost her enthusiasm for the rich history and culture of her native Scotland.

Writing historical fiction combines her academic’s love of research with a passion for storytelling. Exploring the personal relationships and often hidden motivations of historical characters drives her curiosity.

The Knox Trilogy is a fictional biography of the fiery reformer, John Knox, set during the 16th century Scottish Reformation. Prizes and awards include the Martha Hamilton Prize for Creative Writing from Edinburgh University and Writer of the Year 2011 awarded by Tyne & Esk Writers. She is a member of the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), the Historical Novel Society (HNS) and the Society of Authors (SoA).


Twitter: Dr Marie Macpherson @Scotscriever

Facebook Author page:

Instagram: @scotscriever


Publisher page: Penmore Press:

 Review Quotes 

‘Macpherson has done for Knox what Hilary Mantel did for Cromwell.’ Scottish Field

‘This richly realized portrait of a complex man in extraordinary times is historical fiction at its finest.’  Linda Porter, author of Crown of Thistles; Katherine the Queen, Royal Renegades; Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II

‘Marie Macpherson has once again given us a cavalcade of flesh and blood characters living the early days of the Scottish Reformation in a complex tale told with economy and wit.’ S.G. MacLean, author of The Seeker Series and Alexander Seaton mysteries

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