Can a book have a Quinceanera? The Sister Queens has now been on sale for 15-weeks.  I almost forgot because I am hard at work on a new, 16th century, novel. Still a little celebrating is in order lest the toddler book get jealous of the new baby book.  And just in time for the little anniversary party the novel received an excellent review from The Medieval Bookworm.  Meghan kindly calls The Sister Queens:

an excellent work of historical fiction . . . . Certainly the best I’ve read this year set in the Middle Ages.”

and says:

It’s in part the relationships between the sisters, though, that makes this an excellent book. Yes, they have their children and their husbands, but they also always have one another, and it’s the sort of heartwarming female relationship that doesn’t always dominate mainstream fiction in quite the way it should.”

 Cue the confetti!

For the superstitious, thirteen is hardly an auspicious number.  And, as those of you who’ve read my blog post at Book Pregnant know, a novel more than three months past its release can start to get lost in the shuffle, leaving its author with a case of the not-so-new-anymore blues.  Call me a cockeyed optimist but I choose to face the thirteen-week anniversary of the release of The Sister Queens with a list of thirteen reasons (in no particular order) that I am grateful to be JUST WHERE AND WHEN I AM.

1.  My day started with this touching shout out from fellow writer Joey Francisco.  Joey reminds us that reading can transport people—even people oppressed by pain and illness—and she challenges authors to “pay it forward” by donating a copy of their work to the book cart at their local hospital.  What a timely reminder of the magic of fiction, and what a fantastic service idea!

2.  Reviewers have been generous.  To date The Sister Queens has received more than three-dozen very positive reviews.  Most recently, The School Library Journal declared:

Word on the street (rather, consensus among historical fiction bloggers) is that this is an author to watch whose book is a page-turner, fast-paced, emotional, passionate, well-written and carefully researched.”

3.  The Fans are FANTASTIC.  I am constantly hearing from new people who love my book and support my writing.  Readers, your notes, direct messages, and tweets mean so very much.  Thank you.  Thirteen weeks on, I am still receiving photos from Queen Spotters around the country.  Got another picture of The Sister Queens lounging on a bed inMaine just this past weekend.

4.  I’ve been invited to be a Presenting Author at the 2012 Baltimore Book Festival.  What better way to spend the last weekend in September?  I will be participating in a number of panels including a discussion of “Trends in Historical Fiction” and (oh JOY) a reconstitution of the “Sex and the Historical Novelist” panel that Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray and I created for our triple-author appearance in April

5.  I hit my all-time high Amazon ranking for The Sister Queens in trade paperback on my twelve-week anniversary!  Looks like buzz is building sales even if The Sister Queens is not a “new release” anymore.

6.  High fives, hand-holding and the occasional shoulder as needed from fellow writers make a solitary profession less so.  I’ve never been in a more supportive profession.  From the marvelous writers whose blurbs grace The Sister Queen’s cover, to the twenty-nine fellow members of my debut author group, Book Pregnant, the past thirteen weeks have been full of fellow writers willing to lend an ear or a hand as I navigated my debut.  Talk about renewed faith in mankind.

7.  Team Sophie rocked the postcards.  Team Sophie is made up of readers who signed on to share their enthusiasm about The Sister Queens.  Their first mission was mailing a few custom postcards to recommend the novel to friends.  Team S, you all made a serious dent in my pile of postcards :) and I don’t doubt for a moment that the buzz you generated caused an uptick in sales.

8.  Book clubs made me feel welcome.  I am now a book-club veteran with both live and skype appearances under my belt (here’s a picture of the Georgia club that provided my first skype date).  A chance to discuss the themes and characters in my novel—that’s like chocolate, red wine and good sex all rolled into one. Bless you book clubs. Bless you.

9.  My wip (work in progress) feeds my need.  Sometimes I love it.  Other times . . . it makes me feel like I am trapped under something heavy.  But the truth is I can’t live without the magical time-traveling rush I get from writing.  So I am happy for my current manuscript which keeps me cocooned in the 16th century.

10.  My family reminds me there are more important things in life than how many words I write each day.  When the muse doesn’t cooperate and I descend from my office grumpy and fershimmeled the faces of my husband and children remind me the day is still a success in other, more important, ways.  And when the muse does cooperate and I forget about making dinner, I am grateful that my family rolls with it (generally) without complaint.

11.  The twenty-five readers who reviewed The Sister Queens on Amazon, and the many more who reviewed it on Goodreads took the time to make a difference.  You have powerful voices and help others make reading and purchasing decisions.  Particularly at Amazon your numbers move algorithms, influencing how often and where my book is recommended to other visitors. Thanks!

12.  Nearly 300 people have “liked” either my book page or my author page at Facebook :)

13.  My agent and my editor had faith in me (and in The Sister Queens).  That faith permitted me to step on the roller-coaster that is publication.  It’s been a wild ride so far, but I haven’t thrown up yet! That’s something isn’t it?

Here’s to the next thirteen weeks with all their triumphs and trials!

 

 

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Just in time for the 12-week anniversary of the novel’s debut, The Sister Queens has crossed the three-dozen-review mark.  And just look what the kind folks at Fresh Fiction are saying:

This is the must read novel of the summer for anyone with a passion for historical fiction.”

 And:

Sophie Perinot’s magical storytelling transforms history into a page-turner medieval saga.”

 Let me tell you, it is not everyday a 500 page novel gets called a page turner!  I am very grateful for the kind words.  And I do hope fans and followers of Fresh Fiction will pick up a copy of my novel for their beach bags.

I am very pleased to add another super review to The Sister Queens’ collection!  With over thirty positive reviews now in, I am grateful for and humbled by this embarrassment of riches.

The latest praise comes from Onyx Book Chateau where Kyrsta gave the book 4 ½ stars and had this to say:

I absolutely adored this book! It was a fully engaging novel and remarkably relatable – I could totally imagine these two sisters carrying out a relationship through letters throughout their lives as rival queens.”

She had particular praise for the dialogue which she said was:

written effortlessly as it flowed in a natural way, it never felt forced or fake.

As for who should read the book, Kyrsta would:

recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and especially to those of you out there who have a sister – I saw so much of my sister’s and my relationship in these pages (I saw myself being Marguerite and my sister as Eleanor) and I was able to reflect upon our own relationship.”

Everybody knows there is no better way to celebrate success than with friends!  Today I am celebrating the 8-week anniversary of the release of The Sister Queens (hooray).  But I want to take a moment to celebrate how special this day is for two of my fellow historical authors as well.

Today is the 4-week anniversary of Kate Quinn’s brilliant Empress of the Seven Hills.  It is also the 4-week anniversary of Elizabeth Loupas’ entrancing The Flower Reader.  Now I could go on all day about how wonderful these ladies’ books are – but why take my word for it?  Both have received considerable praise since they hit shelves.

Peeking Between the Pages say’s of Kate’s Empress:

The characters in this novel just jump out at you. They have a depth to them and the life in Ancient Rome is described so vividly you feel sure you are experiencing it all with your favorite characters.”

 While Amy at Passages to the Past purrs:

 No one does Ancient Rome quite like author Kate Quinn”

 Damn straight!

 Praise for Elizabeth’s book includes this from The True Book Addict:

The Flower Reader is rich storytelling and its characters are real and interesting.  The historical details were obviously meticulously researched.  Throw in some intrigue and scandal and we have a book that will appeal to all readers, not only fans of historical fiction.”

I hope you’ll forgive me for rounding out this book-realease anniversary celebration with a clip from the newest review of my own book.  The Tulsa Book Review said:

The Sister Queens is historic fiction at its absolute finest. I simply cannot wait to see what this author does next. She’s already won herself a spot on my list of favorite authors. In all of its colorful prose, deep and eccentric characters, and historical brilliance, this book can be summed up with one word: phenomenal. Brava!”

Happy anniversary ladies! And many, many happy returns.

Put on your party hats!  There is something to celebrate!  The Sister Queens just received an extremely laudatory and exquisitely written review at Let Them Read Books.  Lines like these had me blushing at my desk:

Sophie Perinot’s writing style is simple and honest and all the more eloquent for it.

* * *

I was reminded of one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Sharon Kay Penman. (Although Ms. Perinot’s style is deliciously more sexy :) There’s not a word out of place, and I must have marked a dozen beautiful passages of description and observation. Whether the emotion is grief, anger, or love, Perinot gives it life and evokes it from the reader.”

* * *

Historical fiction lovers rejoice! A new and true talent has arrived on the scene!”

And while I am busy hugging myself (yeah, I do that), you should plan on returning to Let Them Read Books tomorrow because Jenny will be hosting a giveaway.  I will also be guest posting on a new reading list I started at Goodreads—a list you may be very interested in.

 

Today’s review of THE SISTER QUEENS comes from a fellow historical writer, Julianne Douglas of  Writing the Renaissance. My favorite quote:

Congratulations to the author for finding a little-explored moment in history and bringing it to life for modern readers with verve, demonstrating how the bonds of sisterhood transcend not only distance, but time.”

They do indeed!

I am flattered that Julianne, a professor of literature, calls the novel:

an admirable debut, well-written and richly imagined, peopled with unique characters and simmering with conflict. Despite its length, the story never bogs down with unnecessary detail; the politics of thirteenth-centuryFranceandEnglandare sketched with just enough detail to support the dramatic action. The focus remains on the sisters’ relationship throughout, assuring thematic as well as structural cohesion.”

I hope you will venture over to Writing the Renaissance today and read the rest of her review.   Then stop by again tomorrow when I answer a series of questions generated by Julianne’s reading of the book.

By my count this lovely review of The Sister Queens from Kathy at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi marks the TWENTY-FIFTH on-line review received by the novel.  Twenty-five is a milestone.

I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every member of the virtual-world book community who took the time to read my debut and share their thoughts on it.  I am grateful.  I am humbled.  And in many cases I was very moved.

As for Kathy, she believes The Sister Queens would make a “fascinating choice” for book clubs and says:

There is just so much drama and intrigue and it can be told from so many perspectives… and reading such a novel told from two sisters’ points of view is refreshing and, honestly, a little unexpected. I did not realize, when I was offered this novel for review, that it would be such an intimate tale.”

If you have missed any of what has been said about The Sister Queens, the “Reviews” blog post category should bring up a complete (or nearly complete) list of links as well as some highlights.

The Sister Queens started their week at The Maiden’s Court where Heather enthused:

The pages of this read absolutely flew by at a pace much faster than my recent reads this year. This is a testimony to just how well written these characters were and how invested in their lives I became. You are simply sucked into all of the ups and downs that these women face.

Then, after stuffing themselves with four-week launch anniversary cupcakes (no, wait, that was me), the queens received “4 Willies” (can I just say I love that) at To Read or Not to Read, where Marcie said:

Perinot makes you care about these characters. She nailed the bond that only sister’s can have. The love, the jealousy, and also the deep friendship. This book was a page turner that I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Thank you ladies!  So glad you had The Sister Queens on your reading lists.  Hope your words will encourage others to add the novel to theirs.

It has been a good week for The Sister Queens in the blogosphere – a very good week.  Just since Tuesday the novel has received FIVE reviews, all of them good.  Here are highlights from what some of the fabulous women of book-blogging had to say.

From Broken Teepee:

Ms. Perinot’s characterization of the two women is fascinating and I found it quite hard to put the book down; in fact, I read it in one sitting. I love writing that grabs you and won’t let you go like that. I want to continue with these two women and their complicated men. I hope that Ms. Perinot is considering further books on unsung women in history as she does have a magical way with words. A way that brings long dead characters to very real life.

Briar Patch Books said:

Perinot’s writing is almost flawless, and she brings to rich life characters who lived more than 600 years ago, no small feat. Readers will enjoy the romance of the tale but also the sibling connection between the sisters.”

And the Bookish Dame at A Bookish Libraria had some kind words about the characterization and dialogue in the book:

Her two sisters, as well as their two kings, the wicked mother-in-law ~ White Queen Blanche of Castille, and the sisters’ children are so magnificently drawn. I could absolutely see them alive and feel their hearts’ emotions and motivations. Beautifully written. Dialog was also appeared to be effortlessly rendered; it flowed and felt so natural.  The intimate communications between characters were meaningful and telling.”

 Several reviewers highlighted something I’ve believed (and trumpeted) since I first began reading historical fiction—the genre transcends history and speaks to issues as real and relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago. As Books, Belles, and Beaux put it:

While leading the life of a royal wife in the 13th century certainly has little bearing on life today, the relationships each sister shared with her husband, children, and extended family is certainly relevant to today’s reader.

While I Heart Words points out:

Yes, Sophie Perinot’s debut THE SISTER QUEENS takes us through medieval battles, the crusades, and some juicy court politics, but it is truly a story about two women and their quest for fulfillment.

All I can say is WOW ladies!  And thanks.  These last three weeks have been a marvelous whirlwind.  Turns out holding my book for the first time in a Barnes & Noble was just the beginning of the thrills.  Discovering there are readers who hold my book in their hearts—that’s the biggest thrill of all.