Saturday, December 8, 2007

Free Giveaway and Loaded Questions with "Signed, Mata Hari" author, Yannick Murphy

Dear Loaded Questions Readers,

The response to the first giveaway, featuring Lauren Willig's Seduction of the Crimson Rose, was really great. When I told a few publishers about the giveaway and how well Loaded Questions readers had responded they were more than happy to send along a few books for our next giveaway. This one is particularly exciting, introducing our Signed, Mata Hari Book Giveaway! We are not offering just one Advanced Reader Copy, but five brand new hardback copies of Yannick Murphy's Signed, Mata Hari. Why this book? Yannick Murphy's new novel I have been reading it and enjoying it quite a bit.

Contest Details: Getting yourself entered in the giveaway is easy! There are two ways:

1. See the box in the left margin of the blog? It says "Subscribe to Loaded Questions with Kelly Hewitt". This is a great way to receive email updates whenever new posts are made to Loaded Questions. Enter your email address in order to sign yourself up for the service. You will receive an email verifying you request to be signed up. It's as easy as that. Once you have signed up, your email address will automatically entered in the contest! Already signed up this way for a previous contest? Read Option #2.

2. Reply to this thread. This is an easy option, click the reply button and write a little something -- introduce yourself, share your favorite author or book with the rest of us, anything will do. Once you have written a reply and provided your email you are entered in the contest! This is also the best option to enter in the contest for those of you who have already signed up for the email list in the past.

Note: Those who are frequent readers are encouraged to continue to sign up for Loaded Questions giveaways! If you have entered one of our giveaways before you must do one of the above listed in order to be re-entered for the Signed Mata Hari Giveaway.

The final day to enter in the contest is December 30th, 2007. The contest winner will be announced on January 1st, 2008!

Good luck!

Below is a synopsis of the book and exclusive interview with the author.

Signed, Mata Hari by Yannick Murphy
November, 2007 - 288 pages - $23.99

Signed, Mata Hari is a fictional novel by Yannick Murphy that follows the life of Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, the woman who reinvented herself to become Mata Hari. Margaretha, born in the Netherlands in 1876, went on to married a Dutch naval officer named Rudolf MacLeod and moved to Java. Margaretha moved to Paris, France where she worked as a circus horse rider named Lady MacLeod. In 1905, however, she changed her name to Mata Hari, which translated to "Eye of the Day". Mata Hari quickly became a famed exotic dancer and began to work as a courtesan to wealthy and powerful men from Russia, France, and German. In other words, this is a fascinating woman whose life was full of intrigue, secrets and transformation.

Kelly Hewitt: Margaretha Zelle, the woman who would later become the famed exotic dancer Mata Hari is a fascinating historical figure that has been portrayed in movies, on television, and in books. What was it that drew you to write about Mata Hari?

Yannick Murphy: If you had asked me who Mata Hari was before I had the idea to write about her, I would have been able to tell you that she was a dancer and a spy, but I wouldn’t have been able to give you specifics. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you which country she had spied for. I wouldn’t have even been able to tell you which world war her acts of espionage encompassed. So when I read a short article published in Smithsonian Magazine that provided a few details, my interest was peaked. I wanted to learn what the rest of her life had been like.

Kelly: What was your research process before writing Signed, Mata Hari like? What periods of Mata Hari’s life did you feel more important to study?

Yannick: I didn’t set out to research only one aspect of her life, and I didn’t feel as if one period of her life were more important than the other to study. The more I read about her, the more I knew it was going to be an exciting book to write. I was curious to see if my writing process could clue me in as to what events occurred in life that eventually had her facing a firing squad.

Kelly: History tells us that Mata Hari was eventually executed by a French firing squad at the age of forty-one because she was believed to have been a spy for Germany. It has been discussed and argued by a number of historians over the years who are unsure of Mata Hari’s guilt. What is your stance? Do you believe that Mata Hari was a double spy?

Yannick: My gut feeling is that Mata Hari did involve herself in some spying. Whether or not she did it for money or intrigue is anyone’s guess.I’d like to say that she dabbled in it. Dabbled doesn’t sound like a weighty enough word to describe an act of espionage that gets you shot, but I can imagine that Mata Hari’s own perception of her involvement could be described in that manner and that she might have even used the word “dabble”.

Kelly: I read on your website that you have had some good news lately about the upcoming publication of a children’s book Baby Polar. What can you tell us about this title?

Yannick: Baby Polar is about a polar bear who one day loses his mother in a blinding storm; don’t worry, he’s eventually reunited with her. The story illustrates to little ones that even though they may sometimes be afraid, they will eventually find some comfort, and in this case it’s the comfort of the warm Polar mama who when Baby Polar stands between her legs feels as if he’s standing protected in a warm cave, hearing the beating of her strong polar heart.

Originally, I wanted to illustrate the plight of polar bears since they are losing their ice floes from which they hunt due to global warming. In effect, I wanted to send a message. The idea, though, did not resonate enough with the everyday lives of children, so I changed it. No one likes to be lectured. I’m hoping that children who read the book will be able to relate to it and become enchanted with polar bears and feel a natural desire when they grow up to preserve the habitat in which they live and in which we live.

Kelly: Which do you prefer more, writing fiction novels or children’s books?

Yannick: I don’t prefer writing one or the other. A different kind of energy goes into writing children’s books than novels, but they are both challenging. With children’s books I always have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to describe every action or detail, and that I should leave a lot of that up to the illustrator.

Kelly: Signed, Mata Hari has an interesting format. It consists of short chapters that often have different narratives. How did you come to write the book in this manner?

Yannick: I’ve always been drawn to the short form. I like how quickly I can get in and get out with a story and to see how much of a kick in the teeth I can deliver in a short time frame.Writing Mata Hari in short reveries was just a natural progression that developed from my fascination with the short form. The short chapters with different narratives created form and structure for the novel. It gave it its own kind of dynamic effect, as if there were a little engine running on every page, keeping me going, keeping me anxious to see what turns the story would take next.

Kelly: Signed, Mata Hari is a historical fiction but your other titles, The Sea of Trees and Here They Come don’t really fall into one particular category. Is there a particular genre of fiction that you feel you fit into as an author?

Yannick: I hope I don’t ever fall into writing a particular genre of fiction, that would mean some kind of death for me. I like knowing that, in the future, I’ll write about whatever strikes me. As a writer I like knowing that I can still surprise myself, because if I can do that, then I know I have the power to surprise you, the reader, as well.

Kelly: Is there a genre that you haven’t written in yet but would like to?

Yannick: I’ve written short stories, essays, plays, screenplays, novels and children’s books. I’ve never written poetry, and I’m curious to see if one day in my life I’ll feel compelled to write it. Right now, though, I see poetry as one of the most difficult forms. How can one say so much in so few words and make every sentence an event? Maybe one day, though, I will take on the challenge.

Kelly: I really enjoyed this book and think that there are plenty others out there who will really like it as well. And so I ask on behalf of all my readers, what can we expect your next novel to be about?

Yannick: I’m working on a novel about a young woman during the Mexican Revolution.


Wendy said...

Hi Kelly! This looks like the kind of book I'd enjoy - please enter me in the drawing! I already subscribe to your blog through I never miss a new post :)

windycindy said...

Hi, I have heard of "Mati Hari", but not enough to know much about her! I would love to read this book. Please enter me in this fascinating book contest! Thanks,Cindi

Marg said...

Hi Kelly! this does sound like it could be a very interesting read! I'd love to be entered into the draw!

Meg Jackson said...

Hi Kelly! I joined the group a couple of weeks ago and have loved your interviews! This book looks great. Thanks for the opportunity to possibly win an early copy of the book!

Vickie said...

Mata Hari has always seemed a mythical creature to me. I know she existed, but in a far different atmosphere than mere mortals. I admire that she remade herself into a fantastic creature. I would like to be entered into this drawing.

kitty said...

This sounds like it would be a good read. I'd like to be entered in.

RR2 said...

This sounds really fascinating. I'd really like to read this book. Please enter me in the draw.

Rashmi said...

Sounds like a terrific read. I've subscribed and also posted about this great contest on my blog. Hope that's ok.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book. I would love to read it. Please enter me in the contest.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Very cool sounding book and a great interview, Kelly. I can see this book getting some serious Internet legs -- please enter me for the contest. I just might read it and pass it along through a contest of my own!

(adding you to my reader now, in fact)

dodo said...

I always think that Mata Hari was one of the most interesting real life spies - sort of like a Bond girl - glamarous, beautiful, and mysterious. I would love to read more about her.

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