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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Blogtour: Interview with Quenby Olson, the author of Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons


Author info: Quenby Olson lives in Central Pennsylvania where she spends most of her time writing, glaring at baskets of unfolded laundry, and telling her kids to stop climbing things. She lives with her husband and five children, who do nothing to dampen her love of classical ballet, geeky crochet, and staying up late to watch old episodes of Doctor Who.

Find Quenby online: WebsiteTwitter,

Book Information: Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson Series: A Miss Percy Guide (#1) Published: October 26, 2021 Genre: Comedic, Fantasy of Manners Pages: 347 CW: very mild profanity
 
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon

INTERVIEW

Thank you for joining us, Quenby, and welcome to Fantasy Book Critic! Before we start, tell us a little about yourself.

*mild panic* Well, I’m Quenby Olson (most call me “Quen”) and I live in Central Pennsylvania with my family (one husband, five kids) and spend way too much time rewatching the same movies and over and over.

Who are some of your favorite writers, and why is their work important to you?

I love authors like Le Guin, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley, L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, because… Well, all for different reasons. Gaskell was amazing at slice-of-life stories. Austen, all of the manners and drawing room drama. Shelley because of Frankenstein, of course. And on and on. I’m probably forgetting a dozen others I could name, but they were all so wonderful with their characters, their worlds and commentary. I could (and do) read them over and over.

What do you think characterizes your writing style?

I’m going to be honest and admit that I am terrible with questions like these. I’m very bad at examining my own writing style and process, but I think attention to prose and details really underlines my style.

How would you describe the plot of Miss Percy's Pocket Guide if you had to do so in just one or two sentences?

Quiet spinster inherits dragon egg. Egg hatches. 



Okay, so you have decided to write a book, where did you start? Research? A scene that came to you? A character that you dreamed up? Tell us what got the ball rolling?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever “decided to write a book”. I think it’s more that the idea comes to me - usually first with a scene and the main characters - with as much subtlety as a whack-a-mole hammer over the head, and then suddenly I’m writing the story without ever really figuring out how I got there.

How did you come up with the title?

While driving. I knew that I wanted it to have a “field guide to dragons” kind of sound to it, and it just grew from there. I’m occasionally tempted to congratulate myself on its cleverness until I have to fit it into a tweet or hear someone say it out loud and then I have all the regrets.

How does it tie with the plot of the book?

So it’s given away pretty early that Miss Percy goes on to author Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide (to the care and feeding etc.) after the events of the book. In fact, she is shown to be writing the titular guide during the book. In other words, what you’re reading is kind of a massive prologue or ‘making of’ Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide (care, feeding, etc.)

If that makes sense.

How many books have you planned for the series?

Three books, ye olde classic trilogy format. Book One is - obviously! - finished, Book Two is written but still in need of polishing, and Book Three exists as some notes and fancy ideas in my head.

Who are the key players in this story? Could you introduce us to Miss Percy's Pocket Guide 's protagonists and antagonists?

Well, Miss Mildred Percy, first of all. In her early forties, a spinster, and someone who has always put other people’s needs before her own. Then there’s Mr. Wiggan, town vicar and potential love interest for Miss Percy. (He also has a housekeeper, Mrs. Babbinton, who bakes all the best things and could probably knock a villain down with a deftly wielded rolling pin.)

As for villains, we have Mr. Hawthorne, who believes the dragon egg belongs to him, and also Miss Belinda Muncy, niece of Miss Percy, and definitely someone to keep an eye on for the duration of the trilogy.



Cover art is always an important factor in book sales. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of Miss Percy's Pocket Guide?

I wanted something simple, mostly because I went and chose an extraordinarily long title and needed that to fit on the cover without it looking like a bowl of alphabet soup. So I looked at some of the books on my shelves and my eye was drawn towards Terry Pratchett’s covers, which - at least here in the US - were pretty much just an object/figure in the middle, the title, and the author name. Here’s me, here’s the title, and here’s a baby dragon. It does what it says on the tin, so to speak.

Have you written it with a particular audience in mind? Who'll enjoy it?

Of course my first instinct is to say that everyone will enjoy it! But honestly, if you’ve ever watched a BBC miniseries with Judi Dench and thought it needed a touch more humor and also some dragons, this is the story for you.

What are you most excited for readers to discover in this book?

That they don’t hate me and immediately want their money back.

What are you currently working on that readers might be interested in learning more about, and when can we expect to see it released?

Currently, I’m working on (editing) Book Two of Miss Percy, which is titled Miss Percy’s Travel Guide (to Welsh Moors and Feral Dragons). That should be out later in 2022. I’m also writing a historical vampire novel, which is part dark comedy and also features friends-to-lovers, a floofy cat, and a himbo. That probably won’t be out until very late 2022, at the earliest I’m estimating. Oh! And I have another historical romance (The Vicar’s Wife, NOT the vicar from Miss Percy) which should be out in the spring, if things don’t go horribly awry.

Thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions. In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

I hope whoever picks up Miss Percy’s Pocket Pocket Guide finds some comfort, some happiness, some humor in its pages. I wrote this book to comfort myself during some difficult times, and if it helps to put a smile on the face of even one other person, I’ll count it as time very well spent.

NOTE: Many thanks to Justine, Timy & the Storytellers On Tours for giving us an opportunity to take part in this tour. Here's the tour's full schedule.





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