Star Guest: Kelly Gardiner talks about Act of Faith

Hi and thanks for having me as a guest on your blog.

I thought I’d tell you a bit about my new book, Act of Faith.

It’s an adventure story set in Europe in the 17th century, when everyone seemed to be at war with one another, lots of books banned, and people were put on trial and even killed for their ideas.

It’s the story of a girl, Isabella Hawkins, who lives in England as the Civil War breaks out – she and her father are forced to flee the country and she ends up in Europe working in a printing house run by Master de Aquila and his apprentice Willem.  In those days, girls often weren’t educated, and printing was a relatively new technology that people used to spread ideas and question authority.

Act of Faith is about Master de Aquila’s campaign to change the world, one book at a time, and how that gets him into terrible trouble – and what Isabella and Willem do to try to save him.

It’s a bit different from my other novels, which were about pirates (the Swashbuckler trilogy, which you can also borrow from your wonderful library).  But they have a lot in common too, because they are adventure tales about freedom, and friendship, and they are set in very turbulent times in history.

The other thing they have in common is that they all take a long time to write, because I have to do an awful lot of research before I even start to write.  I have to know everything about people’s lives, in different countries, hundreds of years ago. I need to know, for example, what they ate, what clothes and shoes they wore, what kinds of houses they lived in. Did they ride horses or travel in carriages or boats? What did they learn at school? What did they read, sing, smell like? What would they see around them – which trees and flowers, what kinds of people or shops?

It’s like the world’s biggest school project. So I spend many months looking things up in books and on the web, visiting museums and libraries, looking at maps and paintings, and sometimes even doing the things that my characters do.  When I wrote the Swashbuckler books, for example, I went sailing on lots of ships, learned how to tie sailors’ knots, and visited Malta so I could walk in the footsteps of all my fictional characters.

Sometimes I think it would be much easier if I could just make everything up.

But doing all the research is fun in its own way, even if much of what I learn doesn’t even end up in a book. I just have to know what’s right, so that I don’t write anything wrong – if you know what I mean.

So I hope you enjoy reading about Isabella and her adventures in Act of Faith, or about my pirate crews in the Swashbuckler books.

In fact, I hope you enjoy reading almost anything.

My websites: (all about pirates)

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