Blog tour time!! As soon as I read the synopsis for Shelley and the Unknown Lady, I knew I wanted to feature it in some way on my blog. I studied Shelley (both Percy and Mary) and Byron in school and I’ve always had a soft spot/fascination for them, so seeing this historical fiction look at his life and possible love…I was allll for that!
As you scroll through, make sure to check out the synopsis, my interview with the author, Lona Manning, and a giveaway!! (don’t we all love a giveaway??) Alright, let’s get started!
SHELLEY AND THE UNKNOWN LADY
BY LONA MANNING
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
eBook; 177 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s brief and turbulent life was as passionate and haunting as his poetry.
Romantic, idealistic and impulsive, Shelley had several intense love affairs.
When Shelley drowned at sea, he took his secrets with him.
Did a beautiful, lovelorn lady really follow him throughout Europe, as he claimed? Did Mary Shelley ever learn about this rival for her affections?
Shelley and the Unknown Lady is a carefully researched imagining of the true-life tragedy behind the mystery.
This novella is a stand-alone story excerpted from Lona Manning’s Mansfield Trilogy.
Praise for Lona Manning’s Writing
“Many try to emulate [Jane] Austen; not all succeed. Here, Manning triumphs.” -Blue Ink Reviews
“Manning’s books are… maniacally well-researched, gorgeously written, and wholly accurate in character. I can’t wait for the next one! I wholeheartedly recommend her books…” -Goodreads reviewer
BR: What drew you to Percy Shelley and writing a book with him as a main character?
LM: The funny thing is, I’m not a big poetry buff and I was never really into the Romantics. I knew the famous story of Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein during a cold, rainy summer in Geneva while she and Percy were staying with Lord Byron, but not much more. But after I read Daisy Hay’s book, Young Romantics, I got the inspiration for including Shelley in my Mansfield Trilogy. He represents the spirit of revolution, of the change and unrest that was bubbling in England at the time.
BR: What first sparked the idea for Shelley and the Unknown Lady?
LM: Shelley told Lord Byron that a beautiful, wealthy, high-born lady had fallen in love with him and trailed him around Europe. Shelley might have been lying, (but what a weird tale for a grown man to tell his friends!). Or maybe there is a kernel of truth to the story. That got my imagination going.
BR: Was there a scene that was more difficult to write in this book? What was it and why was it hard to get on the page?
LM: Definitely the ending. I felt kind of badly in giving my readers a tragic ending, but if I was going to stay true to history, it had to be tragic. I had to go away and think and re-think how to handle it a few times.
BR: How much research went into this book? Was there one thing you learned that surprised you?
LM: I did a lot of reading for this book! I am one of those people who gets obsessive about things that interest me. Shelley has that effect on some people, thankfully, so a lot of historians and poetry-lovers have researched every aspect of Shelley’s life. I had a lot of material to draw on, including his letters and Mary Shelley’s letters. But some mysteries remain.
I’m surprised by how modern Shelley was. He was out of step with his times. He would have been more at home in the 1960’s during the Hippie “flower power” days.
BR: Is there any part of your writing process that you think is unique to you?
LM: Wow, that’s an interesting question. I never thought about it before. Probably not, but I enjoy a lot of things about writing. I enjoy the spontaneous, almost unconscious part of writing when you get an inspiration out of nowhere, when the characters start talking to you. I also like the conscious, “how can I fix this plot hole” aspect of re-writing. I enjoy reading and learning more about the craft of writing.
BR: Are you working on anything new readers can look forward to?
LM: I plan to collect the blog posts I wrote when I was an English teacher in China and adapt them in a book. It will be great to look over all my photos and re-visit those memories as I write!
About the Author
Lona Manning loves reading, choral singing, gardening and travel. Over the years, she has been a home care aide, legal secretary, political speech writer, office manager, vocational instructor, non-profit administrator and ESL Teacher. She has also written true crime articles for www.CrimeMagazine.com. She began writing A Contrary Wind, her award-winning debut novel, while she was teaching English in China. Manning and her husband raised their family in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. You can follow her on Twitter or Goodreads or at her Facebook page, “A Contrary Wind” where she posts on all things Jane Austen.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 5
Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 7
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Thursday, October 8
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Saturday, October 10
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Sunday, October 11
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Monday, October 12
Guest Post at Coffee and Ink