Secret of the Sonnets - Author Interview and Blog Tour Giveaway
Miranda Hatch is a scholar, and at the advanced age of twenty-six, she is undoubtedly a spinster. Her single-minded ambition leads her not to seek a husband but to discover the lost manuscripts of William Shakespeare. So when she discovers a connection between the Bard and the local dashing marquess, she pens a letter requesting access to papers that might secure her academic triumph.
Lord Robert Hamilton is drowning in debt and must turn things around or risk losing his ancestral home. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, he has little time to bother with a letter from an M. Hatch requesting access to ancestral papers—until he realizes there may be some financial merit in granting the request. To his great surprise, M. Hatch turns out to be none other than the lovely Miss Miranda. The pair soon embarks on the trail of a centuries-old mystery, drawn together not only by their shared goal but by their growing attraction. However, someone else is seeking the priceless papers, and they will not hesitate to remove anyone in the way of glory.
INTERVIEW WITH SAMANTHA HASTINGS
Was there anything particular in the sonnets that inspired this story?
When I was researching my Master’s dissertation, I came across older copies of The Sonnets which had been “reordered.” I was fascinated that scholars as recently as the 1930s, thought that Shakespeare’s Sonnets had been preserved in the wrong formation and they assumed that they could fix it; or, reorder them by guessing and grouping similar ones together.
I loved they mystery throughout the book, was there anything in particular that propelled that part of the story for you as you were writing it.
One of my professors at the University of Reading, in Berkshire, UK, told a story of a woman who refused to donate money to Oxford University unless they exhumed William Shakespeare’s grave to find his missing manuscripts. Before then, I did not know that Shakespeare’s manuscripts were missing and that only six of his signatures had survived the last four centuries.
What was your favorite thing about researching and writing this story?
Probably the Shakespearean insults! I wanted a witty way for Miss Miranda Hatch and her antagonist, Sir Antony, to fight with style. My favorite quote, “More of your conversation would infect my brain.”
Have you always been a fan of Shakespeare? What is your favorite Sonnet?
I have always enjoyed Shakespeare; the beautiful language and all the rhyming. I love the 14-line structure of the sonnets; the iambic pentameter, ten syllables, and a heroic couplet. My favorite sonnet is 116, because of the 1995 adaption of “Sense and Sensibility.” #Willoughby
I really loved the historical aspects including Anne Hathaway, was there any truth to the secret of the sonnets?
No spoilers, but the dates and details about Anne Hathaway Shakespeare in the book are all accurate. However, in the 16th century, there were not public schools for girls and it would have been unlikely that Anne was literate.
What was your journey into writing that brought you to this book?
My first draft of this book began in 2013; but I had been tossing the idea around in my head since graduate school in 2003. Miranda and Robert have made quite a journey over the years. My writing needed to improve and the story required a more worthy opponent for the bad guy. But I loved Miranda so much and her relationship with her parents that I kept coming back and redrafting it. I adore how it turned out and I hope you do too!
Is there anything that you would like to share and say about this book?
I love smart heroines who can save themselves. Miranda is unabashedly clever and adventurous on foot (less so by horse). The hero does not save her. Nor does she save him, but together they are both happier and better versions of themselves.
Who are some of the authors that inspired you in your writing?
I have adored Jane Austen since I was 12 years old. I was quite horrified in college to realize that I was not the only one! I am a huge fan of Georgette Heyer, who in my opinion, created the Regency Romance genre. Richard Peck weaves humor into heavy subjects rendering them poignant; which something that I aspire to. Cindy Anstey’s Love, Lies, and Spies inspired me to write again after stopping for several years. I published my first book, The Last Word, with the same imprint as her; and we shared an editor.
Do you read your reviews? Why or why not?
I usually read my reviews on Netgalley, a website for early readers before publication. I rarely read reviews on Goodreads, because even if you read 10 glowing reviews, one bad review can ruin your day. I do read reviews on social media if I am tagged; so please tag with care.
What do you want to say to your readers about this book?
You don’t have to be an expert on Shakespeare to enjoy this book. The hero, Robert, most certainly is not. The heroine, Miranda, is a beautiful journey that takes her out of researching other’s stories into living her own.
Samantha Hastings brings a fantastic mystery to the Regency Era that revolves around no other than the Bard himself. The story is wonderfully written and I was drawn in and captivated almost immediately . The mystery was fresh and covered a scholarly topic.
The couple at the center of this had beautiful chemistry. Their interest at the beginning was strictly scholarly on her part and financial on his, but as they uncovered the Secret of the Sonnets and unlocked the mystery, their chemistry and attraction grew.
I love the combination of a mystery and a love story and this one was well written. I loved every minute of it and would recommend it to others. Miranda's knowledge of Shakespeare leads them on the adventure of a lifetime. The final outcome, and the Secret of the Sonnets are not to be missed.
I received an early copy through the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest review.