Saturday, January 16, 2021

Children's Fate by Carolyn Hughes - Book Tour + Giveaway

Children’s Fate

How can a mother just stand by when her daughter is being cozened into sin?

It’s 1360, eleven years since the Black Death devastated all of England, and six years since Emma Ward fled Meonbridge with her children, to find a more prosperous life in Winchester. Long satisfied that she’d made the right decision, Emma is now terrified that she was wrong. For she’s convinced her daughter Bea is in grave danger, being exploited by her scheming and immoral mistress.

Bea herself is confused: fearful and ashamed of her sudden descent into sin, but also thrilled by her wealthy and attentive client.

When Emma resolves to rescue Bea from ruin and tricks her into returning to Meonbridge, Bea doesn’t at first suspect her mother’s motives. She is happy to renew her former friendships but, yearning for her rich lover, Bea soon absconds back to the city. Yet, only months later, plague is stalking Winchester again and, in terror, Bea flees once more to Meonbridge.

But, this time, she finds herself unwelcome, and fear, hostility and hatred threaten…

Terror, betrayal and deceit, but also love and courage, in a time of continuing change and challenge – Children’s Fate, the fourth MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE.

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 Author Q&A
1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Perhaps to be more bullish about my creative writing, to believe in myself as a writer, and certainly to share my writing with others, instead of keeping it more or less a secret. To be honest, it never occurred to me until I was middle-aged that I might make novel writing a career. I got on with making a more conventional career, first in the computer industry, then later as a technical writer. I loved my work, and found it very satisfying. I wrote creatively in my spare time, and enjoyed that too. But it was only after my children left home that I wondered if I could ever have my stories published. I don’t really regret the career I had but in some ways I do wish I’d thought about the possibilities of publishing when I was younger. Of course it’s easier to publish now, with the option of self-publishing, but you still need to believe in yourself, and you need to gain validation from others, by sharing your work and getting feedback on it. That’s my advice to myself!

2. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
I’ll choose one that perhaps inspired my love of history. This Land of Kings 1066-1399 is a children’s book, published in the 50s. It has bright illustrations, and I won it as a school prize – I was nine – for “Progress”! As it covers the Middle Ages, perhaps, long ago as it was, it sowed the seed for the Meonbridge Chronicles?

3. Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
No, I never even considered it. I loved theatre as a child and wanted to be a stage designer. But, after university, my first career was as a computer programmer… However, having written creatively as a child, I continued writing through my 20s and 30s, drafting bits of novels and short stories. But I never thought of publishing any of them – I simply enjoyed the writing process. It was only in my middle age that I began even to imagine that maybe I might like to “be an author”. And I sent a novel out to a few agents, with no success. Eventually I studied for an MA in Creative Writing, for which I produced the historical novel that became the first in my Meonbridge Chronicles series, Fortune’s Wheel. And it was then that I said to myself, “Yes, I’m going to do this!”. I did want to be an author and I was going to achieve it one way or another. And now, of course, I have…

4. What is the first book that made you cry?
Black Beauty, I suspect. Doesn’t it make everyone cry?

5. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
The first book in the Meonbridge Chronicles series, Fortune’s Wheel, took about six years from when I started writing it to when I finally plucked up courage to get it published in 2016. The next three have taken roughly a year each, being published in 2018, 2019, 2020. I would like to write faster, so I could publish more often, but I think that just isn’t possible for me. All writers are different! At least writing in series makes it slightly easier in that much of the “world” and many of the characters are already clear in your head. But there is always something new to discover. For example, for book five, which I’m just starting to write, I need to know more about life in a castle, and about the training of knights, and about tournaments, none of which I’ve needed to know much about before. So that research has to be done. But once I’ve done that I should be able to crack on writing the story…

6. How do you select the names of your characters?
I try hard to ensure that the names of my characters were more or less current in the 14th century. I consult a website (Medieval Names Archive,, which gives lists of names according to the years when they were popular. Some names were generally very common. John, for example, might have been the forename for dozens of men in a small village! But of course in a novel you can’t have several people with the same name, otherwise it would get confusing, so I choose a range of names. Many of the forenames I choose are still familiar enough today – Emma, Richard, Susanna, William, Tom, Ann – but I do like to choose at least a sprinkling of much less modern names – Hawisa, Amice, Ivo, Fulke, Warin and Mariota – to help underline that these people are not 21st century. Choosing slightly strange forms for some family names too adds to the mediaeval feel: atte Wode, Collyere, Brouderer, le Bowyer, Wyteby. I’m a fan of Susanna Gregory’s historical mystery novels set in the 14th century, and I’ve been struck by her use of this simple enough device of odd-sounding names, and decided to follow her example.

7. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
What a difficult question! I made a longlist, and then a shortlist, and I’ve had to cross off films I’ve really loved. But I’ll go with these:

·         Brief Encounter (1945), a British romantic drama, made extra weepy by the music, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2.

·         It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), an American Christmas fantasy drama, in which a guardian angel shows George, who’s on the brink of suicide, how his family and community would suffer if he’d not been born. Another great tear-jerker!

·         West Side Story (1961), a musical based on Romeo and Juliet, set in New York City in the mid 1950s, a multiracial, blue-collar neighbourhood. Wonderful music and dancing.

·         The Producers (1967), an American satirical comedy with Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, all of whose films I’ve really enjoyed. The theme and storyline was controversial but I still find it hilarious, and even now, because it’s entered my consciousness again, I’ll probably have one of the songs (it’s about musical theatre) repeating in my head for days…

·         Koyaanisqatsi (1982), an American experimental film, which has wonderful footage of the American landscape in all its forms, but no dialogue or voiceover, just music by Philip Glass. I think the film is simply depicting the relationship between people, the natural world and technolog. However, the word koyaanisqatsi means “life out of balance” in the language of the Hopi Native Americans, so I guess the film-maker thought that relationship was not well-balanced. But as there’s no commentary, you are probably meant to make of it what you will…

I’ve just noticed that all my choices except the first are American! There are of course loads of British films that I love too, but you only allowed me five…

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just write! You have to practise, practise, practise, to learn how to plot, how to draw engaging characters, how to write convincing dialogue. To hone your writing skill. Writing makes you a better writer, though not of course if you are not self-critical or unwilling to accept criticism from other people. So write, and somehow get your work in front of other people, by which I don’t mean agents and publishers but other writers and readers, who will give you an honest opinion. And, talking of readers, you must also read yourself. Lots! So you can learn what works and what doesn’t, and then emulate the best techniques yourself.

9. If you could live in any time period, what would it be and why?
To be honest, I don’t favour any other period over our own. I love writing about the Middle Ages but I really wouldn’t have wanted to live then. Of course I wouldn’t have known how much more comfortable (in all ways) life was going to be seven hundred years in the future, but knowing what I know, I’m happy to be here now…

10. What is your favorite genre to read?
Although I do read historical fiction, and I also enjoy psychological thrillers, I think my favourite reads are British crime novels, such as those by Anne Cleeves, M.W. Craven, Elly Griffiths and Angela Marsons.

Author Bio –

CAROLYN HUGHES was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After completing a degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the government.

She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest several years ago that writing historical fiction took centre stage in her life. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

Children’s Fate is the fourth novel in the MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLES series. A fifth novel is under way.

You can connect with Carolyn through her website and social media:

Social Media Links –

Facebook: CarolynHughesAuthor; Twitter: @writingcalliope; Goodreads:


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  1. Thank you so much, Jasmine, for joining the book tour for Children's Fate and helping to give the book a boost. And thank you for a very enjoyable interview.

    1. You're very welcome! :) Thank you for the interview!


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