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Monday, July 9, 2012

Giveaway!! "The Queen's Vow" by C.W. Gortner~Excellence in Historical Fiction

"No one believed I was destined for greatness."

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.

Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become

Isabella of Castile.

Particulars of the Book:
Pub Date: June 12, 2012
Pubisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 400
Authors website:  C. W. Gortner


C.W. Gortner is the author of The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Tudor Secret. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. His novels have garnered international praise and been translated into thirteen languages to date. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.

He's currently at work on his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about the early years of Lucrezia Borgia, as well as the third novel in his Tudor series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles (US) or Elizabeth's Spymaster (UK).

Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. lives in Northern California.

An Interview with the Dame :

Hello, Christopher.  Welcome to A Bookish Libraria!

I’m so delighted you’ve agreed to allow us to get to know you and your book better.  I have several questions! 

I can tell you you're one of my very favorite authors.  Your book was just captivating and scholarly at the same time.  You brought life to Isabella.  What a force she was in creating the entire world as we know it.  Wonderful book! 5 stars from me.  And the highest recommendation to my readers who enjoy all genre.

1)    First of all, please tell us a special something about what makes you “tick.”  When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?
Sleeping! No, I’m kidding. Well, not really. These days, authors have to do much more than write books. A large part of promotional /marketing campaigns revolve on social media and blog tours, all of which require more writing and screen-time. I can spend up to 11 hours a day on the computer. I’m also writing two books a year, so that doesn’t leave much time. But, when I am free to do other things, I love to read, of course; I like to exercise (nothing extreme J); dine out; travel; and, oh yes, shoe shop. I have an obsession with shoes – which is rather silly, considering that I wear slippers most of the day while writing! I also love movies.

2) You chose a specific genre, a place and time to write about, what made you choose it?

I think it chose me. Since childhood, history has fascinated me, in particular the Renaissance. Something about the era, the personalities, the glamour and upheaval—it all enthralls me. I’m also drawn to other eras, but the 15th and 16th centuries are truly my lodestone as a writer. I can look at almost any country within this time frame and find something of interest. Spain, however, is a place that I have called home since I was a boy. I’m half Spanish by birth and was raised in southern Spain, coincidentally right by a castle that once belonged to Isabella of Castile. I grew up surrounded by palpable, visible remnants of the past; history was part of my every-day life, not obscure or distant at all.

3) Bronte or Austen?  Hemingway or Hawthorne?  Why?

Bronte: because it’s dark, complicated, and rarely easy. Hawthorne: for sensitivity, and insight into our shared humanity.

You've just confirmed why I love you so much, Christopher!!  :]

4) In your opinion, what makes a book a great one? 

Depends on the reader. While we, as writers, write to be read, because we have a story we must tell, it’s ultimately the reader who turns our words into experience. The readers must decide if our stories move them. I personally think that a great book is one that transcends the limitations of today. Twenty years from now, can we pick up that book and be moved? Will its words still speak to us?

Yes!  You are so right...  More confirmation of what makes your books so great!

5) Which author(s) most influenced your love of books from childhood?

 I grew up reading John Steinbeck, Cervantes, Dickens, Bronte, Kazantakis, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Francoise Sagan, as well as Frank Herbert, Robert Ludlum, Jacqueline Susann, Jean Plaidy, and Rosemary Hawley Jarmen. I was indiscriminate; I read everything I could. I think that when we’re young, we need to read a lot of different styles and genres: classics and contemporary, throw-away and keep-sake. Reading expands our knowledge of the world and the human condition: the more we absorb, the more we learn. Nothing should be forbidden.

6) Read any good books in the past 6 months?

Yes, several. But if I mention a few and somehow forget the book by one of my author friends—which has happened before—I’ll be ashamed of myself.

7) Choose 4 guests from any era for dinner.  Who would they be and what would you choose for a topic of conversation?

Elizabeth I, Catherine de Medici, Philip II, and Cesare Borgia. No specific conversational topic; just having them at the table should provide plenty of talk.

8) Which of your characters is most like you?

It would have to be Brendan Prescott, the lead in my Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. Though there’s a part of me in every character I write, I must always be respectful of my historical characters’ own uniqueness: they bring their distinct personalities, established by their experiences and their lives. Sometimes, I don’t agree with them. I don’t even necessarily like them, at moments, particularly if they show cruelty, prejudice or intolerance: these aren’t traits I find attractive. However, Brendan is my creation. While he’s very much a part of his Tudor world, he also carries a lot of me in him.

9) If you could cast your book for a movie, who would you choose?

 If only I had the luxury! For THE QUEEN’S VOW, I like to cast a young unknown, someone who’s ready for a break-out role and hasn’t accumulated recognition. On the other hand, if a famous name is required, as it so often is in Hollywood these days, I wouldn’t mind seeing Emily Blunt as Isabella.

10) Worst habit you have?

Impatience. I hold myself to high expectations and can be quite driven, and self-condemning, if I don’t feel that I’ve achieved my potential. It helps me to accomplish things but it’s not very conducive to relaxation.

11) How much research did you do before and during writing?

I tend to cram in a lot of research when approaching a project. It’s tough to quantify just how much, because in most cases my research for a particular book has been going on for years, sometimes as part of another book. I never know when the muse will strike and so, I’m a bit of a magpie: I gather pieces of everything as I go along. Once I focus on a specific project, however, I research intensively, as well as travel to the places I want to see, before I start to write. I need to get a real sense of the characters and their world— but research in of itself can be seductive, so once I have that sense and I know in my gut that I’ve enough material to start writing, I start writing. If I run into blocks while writing (as invariably happens) I stop and return to my research. One of the advantages of being a writer of historical fiction is that the research can serve as a regenerative spark at any time during the process.

12) Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation.  What did you want to be?

To be honest, I don’t recall. I want to say a writer, of course, but I suspect I probably wanted to be an actor or an astronaut. But I was writing stories when I was ten, so perhaps deep down inside, I already knew what is was I wanted to be. 

Thank you having me. I hope your readers enjoy THE QUEEN’S VOW. To learn more about me and my work, please visit: www.cwgortner.com

Thanks for joining us on The Bookish Libraria, Christopher, it's been such a pleasure to have you here!  I've enjoyed this interview so much.

Here's a trailer of "The Queen's Vow" :

 See the whole tour schedule for "The Queen's Vow here: http://hfvirtualbooktours.blogspot.com/2012/06/cw-gortner-on-tour-for-queens-vow-novel.html

Enter for your own copy of
"The Queen's Vow"
by joining my blog on
"Networked Blogs"
or GFC on the sidebar
leave your name and email
address in the comments
as well as a note
to Mr. Gortner

*Note: This giveaway is for the US and Canada only...and it ends on July 31st.



Such a lovely interview! Inspiring!

- Courtney P

sidhekist at gmail dot com


Having read - and loved! - all C.W. Gortner's previous books, I am most anxious to read "The Queen's Vow."


Bookluvrs Haven

It's been a while since I have read a good historical fiction novel, and I do love picking these gems up! So this sounds really interesting and will be adding it to my 'to read' list. But crossing my fingers to win a copy :) Thank you for hosting a giveaway for it. Great review and interview.

Bookluvrs Haven


i so need to read this book!! added to my WishList!!!

congrats to CW!!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Angela - Bookaunt

This book is on my wish list. I have been following the blog tour and I have enjoyed reading all the questions and answers.

C.W. Thank you for taking the time to answer everyones questions and doing the interview.

I am now a gfc follower and networked blog follower: gfc:griperang Networked: Angela Holland

griperang at embarqmail dot com

Lara Newell

Really enjoyed reading the interview!


Google follower:
lafra86 at gmail dot com


I love your books and I would love to win this one!!
Thanks for the giveaway!


C.W. Gortner

Thank you for hosting me on my virtual tour! Good luck with the giveaway. I hope you enjoy THE QUEEN'S VOW.


I was hooked on Mister Gortner's works after reading "The Tudor Secret" and I couldn't put "The Confessons Of Catherine De Medici" down! It was interesting reading and learning more about the woman whom I only vaugely knew as Mary Stewart's mother in law. "The Last Queen" and "The Queen's Vow" are now on my list of Must Reads! :) ;) :D


follow on gfc & networked blogs (Lori Thomas)

Love C.W. `s books!!! Would love to add this to my collection. Great interview.



Elizabeth Wood wood83@ymail.com

Such a awesome interview I would love to read this book :)



So looking forward to read this book, and adding this in my library!



I feel the same way about Bronte's books. It is dark and complicated and that is what makes me care for the characters.

When it comes to a story I love I definitely turn the words into my own reading experince. It's a terrific feeling.



I would love to win this one! I've read about Isabella as a side character in a novel but would love to read one just about her. She sounds fascinating.

Thanks for the interview! I love hearing about what makes an author tick.

libraryofmyown at gmail dot com

Laura Kay

I'm following GFC Laura Kay. Thanks for the giveaway! I love author interviews and reading how they were writing even as kids!

Laura Kay


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