Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interview with Sarah Barthel, author of Mackenzie's Cross

I'm thrilled to have Sarah Barthel, author of Mackenzie's Cross, with me today. Sarah is not only an amazing author, she's a great friend and critique partner and I'm very excited about her debut novel.

Mackenzie's Cross
by Sarah Barthel

Mackenzie’s life has always been one of duty. However, in a land where even the Brotherhood of the Knights are becoming power hungry mongers, how can a young kitchen maid maintain her morals when tempted with all she’s never had? In the end, the truth is even more complicated than Mackenzie had ever imagined. Medieval Historical Fiction, Sweet, Christian, & Inspirational Romance

Isn't the cover beautiful! 

Please help me welcome Sarah to my blog.

Cherie: Tell us about your novel, Mackenzie’s Cross, in your own words.
Sarah: Mackenzie’s Cross came about because I kept reading historical novels in which a male character was threatened with a huge change in social station.  I wanted to explore what would happen were a female to find her life turned upside down by something other than marriage.  When I started I didn’t realize it was going to be a murder mystery, but as I wrote the Duke died and the plot shifted. 

Cherie: I enjoy stories that whisked me to another time, and I love that you have a strong female character who has to help solve such a terrible crime. Can you tell us a little about your writing process like?
Sarah: Typically, I start with an idea and form it into a really basic plot.  Then, after writing the first draft (which is usually terrible), I start working on characters and molding the rough edges of the story.  I’m a big outliner and find that with each draft I add more chapters and more details.  I know some writers which operate the opposite, but for me, each time I visit my story there is something more to tell.

Cherie: Oh, I agree! I'm always adding to my W.I.P. too. Where did you get the idea for this novel?
Sarah: For Mackenzie’s Cross, it started with that initial question, how would a female in the middle ages handle a change in her station.  As I developed Mackenzie’s character, the idea continued to develop.  A lot of the characters you meet were brought in through questions I had in research.  For example, Lady Elizabeth was formed because of a side note I read that psoriasis sufferers were often condemned as Lepers because of the similarities in the rashes. 

Cherie: That is interesting, and it's a bit scary how easily it was to be condemn back then. What was your most difficult chapter to write?
Sarah: There is a scene after the Duke dies in which Lady Evelyn comes to speak with Mackenzie.  Because it is so heavy on dialogue it was difficult to make it read authentically.

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Mackenzie that we don’t learn about them from reading the book?
Sarah: She is really athletic. I imagine she hikes, runs and could probably give Patrick a run for his money horseback riding.

Cherie: I like her already, and love knowing more about her. So tell us, what are you working on now?
Sarah: Currently I’m working on a novel set in 1875 Illinois where a girl pretends to be insane to avoid marriage to her fiancĂ©, whom she knows to be a murderer.  While in the asylum she befriends Mary Todd Lincoln and discovers what is really important in life.

Cherie: That sounds intriguing. I can't wait to learn more about it. Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you. Try to answer in five words or less:

Favorite color? Blue

Secret crush? (It can be anyone real or fictional.)  Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Definitely

Have you ever experienced that head-over-heels, tingly, have-to-get-to-know-someone feeling yourself? Yes, with my husband.

Who are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy? Drawn to the good guy except in Les Mis.

What’s the first thing you notice about a guy? His eyes. 

Favorite movie or television show? Wizard of Oz and Mrs. Arris Goes to Paris.

Guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process? I put on Les Mis soundtrack and drink ice water.

Favorite place to write? Panera.

Are there any types of books you don’t read? I don’t tend to read science fiction—I try, but usually don’t finish them.

It has been a pleasure to have Sarah here today. You can get Mackenie's Cross today! What are you waiting for? 
For Kindle or Nook
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble


  1. What a beautiful cover--and the story sounds great!

  2. I agree! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sounds like a lot of research went into this book. Great interview and I can't wait to read this. :)

  4. Sounds wonderful, I will have to get it this weekend...perfect summer vacation escape! Thanks,