Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

Welcome to my stop in THE FORBIDDEN ORCHID by Sharon Biggs Waller Blog Tour hosted by Rock Star Book Tours!!! Today on my stop we have a Guest Post + an awesome Tour-Wide Giveaway!

Published: March 8th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical
Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls' father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China. 
Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors' prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie's father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family—and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China. 
But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer? 


TOPIC # 1:

The path at becoming an author.

I started writing fiction in the early 90s and I promised myself then that I would not give up, no matter what. I knew I was venturing into a world filled with rejection, but I looked at rejection with a critical eye, and each time I received one I vowed to become a better writer. For instance, I used to get notes about my characters, so I took an entire year to learn about building characters, and now that’s my favorite part of drafting a story. Also, I can say, to any aspiring writer out there, don’t be too quick to go to the self-publishing route. There are many great books that are self-published, but make sure you have your writing chops and that you can write long-form fiction first. Hire an editor to look at your manuscript, make those revisions. In fact, I recommend you do this if you plan on going the traditional route, too. You want that manuscript to be as clean and perfect as possible. It’s you’re the first and only impression you’ll make, so you want it to be a good one!

 TOPIC #2:

Behind the worldbuilding...

The story takes place in three parts: Victorian England, a tea clipper, and China after the Opium Wars. So that meant a lot of research for me! But I love to do research, so it’s all good! All three settings are very compelling, with their own politics, ruling societies, villains, and those who are marginalized. I really wanted to show the people who are changed by those in power, not just Elodie. Women in Victorian England had little power, apprentices on a ship had little power, Han and Manchu women in China had little power. Each had to find a way to be free, and that was very interesting to write.

I went back to England in July and visited the Cutty Sark, the last tea clipper in the world, Darwin’s House, and Kew Gardens (another setting in the book). I always try to visit the locations if possible and walk in my character’s footsteps. I would have loved to go to China, but I’m a poor writer and my funds don’t stretch that far! Maybe someday.


Character Profile: Elodie

When the story opens Elodie is 16, and she lives in a small village in Kent. She’s the oldest of 10 sisters, and because her father is absent, traveling the globe searching out new plant species, and her mother is unwell, she is responsible for her entire family. But she longs to travel with her father and see the world. She wonders what lies outside her little village but thinks she’ll never be able to discover it. She’s never left her village to travel to London, only an hour away by train. But little by little she begins to create a little corner of the world for herself by seeking out plants in the nearby woods and renovating a dilapidated greenhouse attached to her house. When her father doesn’t come home to Kent after a disaster in China, Elodie has to leave her village and beg her father to return to China to finish his mission. Because Elodie loves her family fiercely, she’s caught between what she wants for herself and what she wants for them. She thinks she holds the entire family together, which is a lot for a young girl. She really, really hates being manipulated and it makes her suspicious and angry when people try to push her around. Her love interest is Alex Balashov, the dishy Russian sailor who is the second mate aboard the tea clipper the Osprey.

Mia Wasikowska was always in my mind while I was writing ORCHID. She played Jane Eyre in in the 2011 adaptation with Michael Fassbender. She is amazing in it, and I imagine she would make a very fine Elodie.


Sharon Biggs Waller grew up around artists and developed a passion for Edwardian history and the Pre-Raphaelites when she moved to England in 2000. She did extensive research on the British suffragettes for her novel, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY when she wasn’t working as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer. She also writes non-fiction books about horses under her maiden name, Sharon Biggs. She is a dressage rider and trainer and lives on a 10-acre sustainable farm in Northwest Indiana with her British husband, Mark. Visit her at www.sharonbiggswaller.com.

1 winner will receive signed finished copies of THE FORBIDDEN ORCHID, A MAD WICKED FOLLY & swag, US Only.



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