VERY happy to welcome Anna Mazzola back to the blog today to talk a little more about her novel – The Unseeing – which I loved and will be reviewing in full soon when I’ve found enough superlatives. The Unseeing is based on a real life murder case and is atmospheric and fascinating, I was absolutely riveted by this one from first page to last so I was very pleased to get to delve just a little deeper. You can also read a little more about it HERE if you missed Anna when she was last visiting the blog, dropping in on her way to First Monday.
One of the things I was very taken by – the very realistic setting and the way you brought Victorian London to life, weaving it almost seamlessly into the narrative. Most especially prison life for our main protagonist Sarah Gale. How did you achieve that – and do you think Historical settings are something you would stay within for future novels?
That’s very kind of you to say so. I did lots of research, of course, including reading accounts of Victorian convicts and prison reformers, to try and understand how life in Newgate might have been. From that I constructed my own picture of the prison and Sarah’s daily existence, and hopefully that comes across to the reader. I love reading about the past and envisaging how people’s lives might have been, so I’ll be writing historical fiction for a while yet, although I’m going to venture into the twentieth century soon!
The political machinations of the day play a strong role in the story – especially as that is how Sarah gets to tell her story – as a lawyer yourself how much does position and power influence the law do you think? Is Justice really blind?
Although things aren’t as stark as in Sarah Gale’s day (when people were sent to the gallows without proper trials), serious injustices still occur, and the vulnerable continue to be ill-served by our justice system. Sadly, I think status and financial power still matter, particularly given the cuts to legal aid. Justice is supposed to be ‘blind’ (i.e. neutral) when dispensing justice, but that isn’t the case for Sarah and it ain’t always the case now.
Can you tell us anything about what you are writing next?
Sure. I’m currently writing my second historical crime novel, set on the Isle of Skye in 1857, a few years after the Highland Clearances. It’s about a young woman called Audrey who goes to work for a collector of folklore and discovers that a young girl has gone missing, supposedly taken by spirits. Of course that’s not what she believes is going on.
About you in 5 easy soundbites –
Tea, coffee or other.
COFFEE. I can’t write without coffee. In fact, I can’t do most things without coffee.
If you could live anywhere in the world you would live…
At the moment? In Scotland, I think. With another house in Antigua.
No 1 on the bucket list
The Northern Lights. I know it’s cliché, but I have to see them.
If not writing and not law then you would like to be…
A doctor. Surely the most fascinating and useful job there is. Unfortunately, I was rubbish at science so have ended up making stuff up all day (that’s the writing part, by the way, not the lawyer bit).
One book you recommend to everyone.
Gillespie & I, Jane Harris. It should have won more prizes.
Thank you so much!
Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Liz!
About the book:
Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola’s THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding.
After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?
You can visit Anna at her website HERE
Or follow her on Twitter HERE
To Purchase The Unseeing clickety click right HERE
Or if you’d like a special signed copy from the gorgeous Goldsboro clickety click HERE
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