“Yoga for Writers” at the Historical Novel Society London 2014 Conference


* As of 7/21/2014 the “Yoga for Writers” workshop has been replaced with a panel talk “Art and Artist in Historical Fiction” which I am also part of. If and when, a slot opens at the conference to resume the yoga workshop I’ll let everyone know. ~ Namaste!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be leading an hour workshop “Yoga for Writers” on Sunday, September 7, from 11:00-12:00 am at the upcoming Historical Novel Society London 2014 Conference.

At the workshop, I’ll be sharing some of the obscure esoteric history of yoga, along with guiding writers through a sequence of poses to ease tensions in the body and mind, with the intention of creating the internal type of space that creativity likes to manifest into: calm, relaxed and centered.

Make sure to wear comfortable clothes, ones you can easily bend and move in. Also, bring your yoga mat if you have one or a towel.

Namaste. See you there!

Click here to see the conference program schedule.


Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series featuring Maryanne O’Hara

CWe are now in week six of our interview series at the Historical Novel Society. This week’s feature author is Maryanne O’Hara of the acclaimed novel Cascade. With tension on every page, this story of a 1930′s female painter who faces hard life choices to pursue her artistic dreams as her town faces extinction, stirs deeply one’s empathy and enlightens on the costs to create.

Click here to read



Cascade was just chosen as the Boston Globe’s 2014 Summer Book Club read! Join the disscusion: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/book_club


Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series featuring Alana White

my_cover Alana coverIt’s already week five of the Historical Novel Society “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series”! This week’s feature author is Alana White and her historical mystery, THE SIGN OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN. The novel is set during the Italian Renaissance with a weeping painting at the center of the intrigue!

Learn about a real hidden poem found recently in a fresco, and many more fascinating details!

Click here to read!

The Artist’s Call, the Writer’s Calling

art of books“The Artist’s Call, the Writer’s Calling” debuted in the Historical Novel Review, issue 68, May 2014. There is a online reprint of the story available at the Historical Novel Society website for society members. I was inspired to write this article after an engaging exchange between author Susan Vreeland and I on the subject of art in fiction in the fall of 2013. I had visited her author Goodreads page and was deeply moved by a post, “Art in Fiction Part I”. A must read.

We are now midway through the online follow-up series “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series” at the Historical Novel Society,featuring each author who contributed to the print story.

For the love of Art in Fiction! Join Facebook group: Love of Art in Fiction

Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series featuring Donna Russo Morin

The Kings AgentIt’s week four of the “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series” at the Historical Novel Society. This week’s feature author is Donna Russo Morin of THE KING’S AGENT, an adventurous art quest set during the Italian Renaissance and the rein of François I,King of France. Learn about how the Louvre came into existence and how art was obtained for its worldly collection!

Read on and learn more from this interview chock-full of fascinating details!

Click here to read!

Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series featuring Michael Dean

IHogarth_PBLast week was week three of the “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series” at the Historical Novel Society. Michael Dean was the featured author and his biographical novel depicting the 18th century life of British painter and engraver William Hogarth in I, Hogarth.

Don’t miss this interesting interview!

Click here to read!


Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series featuring Mary F. Burns

P of ArtistI’m excited to share the link to the second week of the Historical Novel Society’s “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series”. This week features Mary F. Burns, author of Portraits of an Artist, and her biographical novel about American portrait painter John Singer Sargent.

A must read fascinating interview!

Click here to read


“Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series” now live at the Historical Novel Society!


Susan Vreeland’s upcoming release Lisette’s List (August 26, 2014) It’s now available for pre-order.

I’m thrilled to announce the first post of the two-month “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series” has debuted! Author Susan Vreeland, preeminent writer of art in fiction, kicks off the series with her profound observations and reflections. Join us at the Historical Novel Society website each Saturday for an in-depth interview with a historical novelist who has explored the realm of art and artist in fiction. Where each writer shares fascinating details into this ever-growing literary niche.

For the Love of Art in Fiction click and read on… Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series featuring Susan Vreeland

And join the new Facebook group: Love of Art in Fiction

An Interview with Martin Lake about A Most Dangerous Love

325CA_GD_LAKE_final_2(2)It’s my pleasure to welcome Martin Lake author of A Most Dangerous Love, and the writer of numerous books. A Most Dangerous Love is an adventurous romp through King Henry the VIII’s court, private quarters, and the filth of London during the Tudor era. Lake has brought to life the fictional protagonist, Alice Petherton, a maid-of-honor to Queen Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife. The novel explores and reveals the difficulties of being a young beauty, for being attractive can be dangerous. Lake exposes the struggles and sacrifices to live, when one possesses an alluring countenance and a clever mind. The costs are high as is the danger. The story is well-written, with well-drawn characters, and beautiful metaphors and similes throughout. It is a fast paced read, and if you love the Tudor era you’ll enjoy this speculative tale.

Stephanie Renée dos Santos: How did you decide or I should say, what attracted you to your protagonist Alice Petherton?


King Henry VIII

Martin Lake: I had just finished writing the first draft of the third novel in my series about the last English king of England. I like to rest a book after the first draft and had nothing to do. But I knew I wanted to write something, maybe a short story. It was very early in the morning. I sat at my computer and wrote a sentence:

“To be a servant at the court of King Henry is to live with your heart in your mouth. This is so whether you are young or old, male or female. I am young and I am female. So the danger to me is considerable.”

I sat back in my chair, intrigued. The character had a strong voice and, I came to realise, a strong will. I think it’s fair to say that the early part of the novel was very easy to write; in a way I think that Alice had more to do with it than me. I was certainly intrigued by a young woman who decided to become the lover of a man twice her age who had already dispensed with his first two wives and uncounted lovers. It was a long while before I found the reason that she did so. In the meanwhile I was beguiled by her vivacity, her intelligence and her sense of survival.

SRDS: Is she a real historically documented person from the Tudor era?

ML: No. Henry VIII had many lovers and even made the son of one of them a Duke but Alice Petherton did not exist. Having said that, I was three-quarters of the way through the novel when I came across a reference to the two Shelton sisters, one of whom may have had an affair with Henry at about the time I set the novel. In some ways, Mary was rather similar to Alice which pleased me greatly.


Lake’s imagined image of his protagonist.

What archival materials did you access to inspire and flesh out her

ML: I was keen to find a picture which would represent Alice and spent a long time looking at portraits of the time. In the end I found Durer’s 1505 portrait of a young Venetian woman which I kept in mind as I wrote.

SRDS: How much of her character is based on real accounts?

ML: To be honest, I don’t think much at all. Women were not much written about at the time and if they were it was often because of prurient male interest. I like to think that there were plenty of women like Alice around. Despite her strong nature and determination she was one who managed to avoid too much grief.

SRDS: What went into your research for the time period?

ML: The authors I found most useful were Alison Weir and Ian Mortimer. They have a wealth of information and are easy to read.

I used a wonderful website which details 16th century costume (not a subject I have any expertise on) by looking at contemporary portraits. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have bookmarked the site. So if any of your readers know about it please let me know. The other resources I made use of were maps and pictures of Henry’s palaces, maps of London, the web-site of the Tower of London and, most useful, the website of Hampton Court Palace with its descriptions and plans.

In terms of written material I made a great deal of use of the Lisle Papers. They are such a complete and rich treasure-house that I had to limit myself to how much time I spent reading them.

I also confess to using Wikipedia. People complain that it is rife with errors. There are some but I always try to triangulate the articles to make sure that they are backed up by other authorities. You can find some fascinating detail there. For example, this morning I needed to know the name of the French Ambassador at the time. Books by Alison Weir provided me a clue but it was Wikipedia which enabled me to flesh out the details.

SRDS: Are there some fascinating titbits that you were unable to include in
the novel, but can share here?

ML: Great question. The temptation of any historical writer is to shove in all the fascinating things they have found but I think it is important to resist putting in anything which does not add to the story. I think the thing which I would most liked to have included was how manipulative, callous and ambitious Jane Seymour was. I’ve hinted at it but her nefarious nature is quite something. One thing I would love to have included was that she spent the whole day of Anne Boleyn’s execution in finalising her wedding ceremony and gowns. Now there’s one confident woman.

SRDS: What are you working on now?


Nicholas Bourbon

ML: I’ve just written the first draft of a novel set in the time of Alfred the Great. It’s complex and needs a lot more layering. But in the meanwhile I’ve been drawn into a follow-on to A Love Most Dangerous. I’ve sketched out the plot and have found some fascinating new characters including a rather interesting and handsome Frenchman called Nicholas Bourbon.

I took one look at his picture and thought he has to play a big part in the novel.



About the author: Martin Lake lives on the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm forcing him to rein back his work. However, every cloud has a silver lining, and he decided to concentrate on his life-long passion for writing. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and young adult fiction. He has a series of novels set in the turbulent years following the Norman Invasion of England: The Lost King: Resistance, Wasteland and Blood of IronsideMoving down the centuries and across the continent is Outcasts, the first novel in a series about the common men who were knighted by Balian of Ibelin to defend Jerusalem against Saladin.Artful is set in the middle years of the Nineteenth Century and concerns the further adventures of the young rascal after he has been transported to New South Wales.He’s currently working on a second novel about Alice Petherton, and a one set in the time of Alfred the Great. His work has been broadcast on radio. He won the first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on ‘The Wind in the Willows.’  This is available at all e-reader outlets as are a further three collections of short fiction.

Visit Martin Lake at:  http://martinlakewriting.wordpress.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MartinLakeWriting Twitter: @martinlake14 Email: martinlakeonefour(at)gmail(dot)com . And subscribe to his newsletter: http://eepurl.com/DTnhb .

To Buy A Most Dangerous Love:

USA version: http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Lake/e/B004Z13HPA

UK version: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Martin-Lake/e/B004Z13HPA

Australia version:  http://www.amazon.com.au/s?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Martin%20Lake&search-alias=digital-text

Interviews at the Historical Novel Society

As of late, I’ve been interviewing historical fiction authors for the Historical Novel Society. Here are a couple of recent posts:

Fallen Beauty

An Interview with Erika Robuck, about her latest release Fallen Beauty (debuted March 4, 2014). If you love the Jazz Age and eccentric American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay dive into this novel about a small town seamstress, Laura, who finds herself in an unacceptable social society position and forced into the world of the Bohemian poet. There is some exquisite prose in this novel. I recommend it.



divided_Inheritance_fc_-665x1024An Interview with Deborah Swift, author of A Divided Inheritance. Deborah is a storyteller of the common folks’ struggle and the author of two other novels set in seventeenth-century England.  But, A Divided Inheritance early on takes leave of England and transports you to Spain at the height of swordsman duels,craftsmanship, and training. This interview is fascinating and gives insights into behind the scenes of this well-written novel. Recommended.


Note: June 1st at the Historical Novel Society features page begins the “Art in Historical Fiction Interview Series”,where for eight Sundays I will share an author interview that inspired the soon-to-be-published article “The Artist’s Call, The Writer’s Calling”, Historical Novel ReviewMay 2014. Stay tuned!