Author Interview: Emily VanderBent / Crimson Time


Welcome Readers, to another Author Interview. Today we are talking with Emily VanderBent about history, writing, and her new book, Crimson Time. Wow, isn't that cover amazing!


JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Emily. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

EVB- I’m from Illinois in the chilly Midwest near Chicago. Aside from reading fireside with a hot chai and writing a little too late into the night, I love being outside, touring museums and historic sites, and spending time with my family and friends. A perfect day would consist of each of those things, preferably somewhere in Europe where the history runs a little deeper.   

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

EVB- While there are time periods of history I enjoy learning and writing about, I’m more drawn to the different stories of women in the past than to a particular era or event because women’s stories so often go untold all throughout the past. I do, however, really enjoy early modern Europe, particularly the era of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart. Women rulers in general are fascinating to me, but Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart are especially so for their familial tie (they were cousins) that simultaneously connected them and set them at odds with one another, as well as their similarities and differences. They existed in this complicated dance their entire lives that continued even after Mary was beheaded. I’m also interested in female espionage, particularly during the Civil War and World War II, as well as the dynamics of the French Revolution and Roaring 20s.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be? If your favorite is not a female-who is your favorite female figure and why?

EVB- This is so hard, because every time I think I have an answer, I learn about another amazing woman and it changes, but aside from Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, I would have to say Elizabeth Van Lew. She ran a spy ring for the Union during the Civil War right in the Confederate capital of Richmond Virginia. The correspondence and contraband her ring smuggled around the country helped turn the tides of the war. She was also responsible for saving the lives of many Union soldiers held as prisoners of war in the local Libby Prison. She was smart and passionate, but overlooked, which was the perfect combination for her to make a difference.

There are so many questions I would love to ask, but If I could only ask one, I would ask Mary Stuart if she wrote the casket letters or Elizabeth I if it was a set-up because there are strong arguments on both sides. I’m interested in how the truth would change the way we view the lives and reigns of the two women.

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

EVB- Crimson Time is actually historical fantasy, but I do have plans for some pure historical fiction as well as some pure fantasy novels in the future. I’ve always loved writing and history, and could never wrap my head around why people didn’t find it interesting or want to interact with the subject. By writing historical fantasy first and toeing the line between the genres, I hoped to engage those people with an aversion to history in a more natural, informative, but entertaining way. Through all of my works it is my goal to share the stories of women in the past and pique an interest in and appreciation for history in my readers.

JMR- Your book is written for Young Adults. How is this different from writing for older adults? What adjustments did you make to your writing to appeal to the YA audience?

EVB- I read a lot of Young Adult fiction and that age range of the genre (specifically the older end of the spectrum) is the target audience I wanted to reach, so it flowed pretty natural for me since I was familiar with the genre and knew who I was writing for. What I love about the Young Adult genre is that although it has a target age range, many people, both older and younger, are still drawn to the books. Choosing Young Adult felt like the best way to make Crimson Time accessible to younger readers, but also interesting to older ones. 

I would say the main difference between writing for YA verses older adults is what you say and how you say it. If YA was a movie rating, it would be PG-13. YA authors can and should deal with complex issues and heavy topics in their writing, but when those moments take place, wording needs to be carefully considered and crafted just right.

JMR- Emily, tell us about your new book, Crimson Time.

EVB- Crimson Time is the first book in a Young Adult Historical Fantasy series. In it, we follow Adelaide as she is thrust into the world of the Red Rose Society: a secret organization composed of the descendants of historical figures. If she wants to get into the Red Rose Society and one step closer to discovering the truth about her parents’ deaths, she’ll have to survive a trip to the past and outwit the other initiates before the clock runs down.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

EVB- I am currently working on book two of the Crimson Time series, which will publish in December. Right now, I have things planned for three total, but that could always change depending on where the story wants to go in the third one. I’m not sure which I will start with, but after I finish the Crimson Time series, I have a few historical fiction stand-alone novels I would like to write as well as a fantasy/high fantasy series. I am also in the peer review process for a feature chapter in a collaborative book entitled A Girl Can Do: Recognizing and Representing Girlhood and will continue to produce blogs for both my personal website and Girl Museum.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

EVB- I am most active on Instagram, but you can find me at the following social media handles.

         Instagram and Facebook: @emilyvanderbent_author

         Twitter: @emvan6


         Girl Museum Blog:

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

EVB- What inspires you to write the most? 

Several things inspire me to write, but the core drive behind anything I write is my passion for writing and history and desire to see the stories of women in the past told and acknowledged. I think we’ve grown use to thinking there is one grand narrative of history and it is the one we are taught in school, but as important as it is to know that narrative, it is equally as important to recognize that it is not the only one. I also think the way history is taught turns people off to it because they think it is either boring or unnecessary to know, but the truth is history is so much more than memorizing dates and a few well-known figures. History is layered and complex. It is people, their actions, and reactions. I think the more people truly begin to understand what history is, the more people will love it and see its importance. I think the weight of that knowledge causes you to live a little differently knowing your present will be someone else’s past and set the stage for someone else’s future.

I am also inspired by the fact that in pursuing my dreams, another girl might be inspired to pursue her own. The more we as women lean into our passions and pursue our dreams, the more we are able to own our individual and collective stories and write a narrative for our life we are proud of.

JMR-Thank you, Emily, for stopping by, it's been a fun and informative chat. Readers, I have included a link to Emily's book below.



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