Author Interview: Tiffani Angus


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

TA-Hi and thanks for having me! Well, I live in Bury St Edmunds, England. It’s a medieval market town, and I live right next to a brewery established in 1799 and the ruins of an abbey founded in 1020! For fun I like to read and do ‘homey’ things like sew and bake. A perfect day for me is a day off with no schedule (my job is very ‘schedule-y’), with the weather not too hot, with someone else to cook for me, and a trip to the cinema. Or a day at Disneyland, because I’m from California and that is the best most perfect day ever!

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

TA-That’s such a touch question because I love so many of them. My favorite is often whichever one I’m currently researching! I do tend to gravitate towards the Elizabethan era because I find Elizabeth I fascinating, but the later seventeenth century in Britain is also a draw because of the plague, the great fire of London, and the developments in science—in it ‘as’ science—that were taking hold.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

TA-Under normal circumstances I’d say Elizabeth I, but right now I have to say Nicholas Culpeper, who was an apothecary and physician in the mid-1600s and whose writing brought medicine to the masses. I’d like to ask him about his wife: What did she teach you about home remedies and how much did her experiences influence your work?

JMR- When I read your bio it sounded like several people crammed into one! From technical writer to copy-editor. How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

TA-I had a strange path to being a fiction writer; I had this idea that I needed to go to university before I could write, so I didn’t really get started until I was close to finishing my BA! The first story I remember writing was for a class on the Black Death about a village in the 1600s being infected by fleas in a fabric shipment, so I pretty much started out writing historical fiction. When I realized that my comfort zone was SFF, I melded the two together and write mostly historical fantasy now. I like to take real historical people and tweak their lives and experiences somewhat by inserting fantastical elements. The technical writer and copy-editor gigs were to pay the bills, but writing fiction is what I love to do.

JMR- I also write historical fiction and have a time-slip novel. I often wonder if given the choice I would time-slip. Would you? When and where would you go?

TA-Of course I would! The first time and place I would go is back to the early 1500s here in Bury St Edmunds. I want to see the abbey in all its glory before it was surrendered to Henry VIII and demolished sometime after. I would have been able to see the church’s tower from my house, it was so tall! After that I’d want to go to Elizabeth I’s coronation.

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

TA-When I was doing research for the book, I traveled to various historical gardens, from Sissinghurst to Biddulph Grange, Kentwell Hall to Hatfield House, and took thousands of photos. The garden in the book is an amalgam of all these places, but the closest I felt to any of the characters was in the walled gardens I visited. I love a walled garden, whether for fruit & veg or for pleasure; they’re like jewelry boxes, where precious things are kept, so of course they’re the most magical part of any garden!

JMR- Tiffani, tell us about your new book, Threading the Labyrinth.

TA-Threading the Labyrinth is about 400 years in a haunted garden. It’s basically Tom’s Midnight Garden or The Children of Green Knowe but for adults. The book opens with Toni Hammond, an American, learning she has inherited the remains of an estate in Hertfordshire, but what she really needs is money to save her failing art gallery. When she gets to the estate, though, she starts to experience unexplained things in the garden. The book is set up so that readers can ‘thread’ the labyrinth of the garden’s history, with a narrative that weaves in stories about workers from the garden’s past: weeding woman Joan in the 1620s, who fears the voices she hears in the garden; Thomas, a man who’s returned from fighting in the colonies in the 1770s to questions about where he truly belongs, but the garden itself has plans for him; Mary, the head gardener’s daughter, who uses her camera in the 1860s to capture mysterious images in the walled garden at night; and Irene, a Land Girl in 1941 whose personal loss prompts the garden to reach out to her. There’s so much more, but I don’t want to give it all away!

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

TA-I am nearly finished with a full draft of my next novel, which is a total 180 from Threading. As an academic, one of my research interests is apocalyptic fiction, and women’s bodies in this subgenre. The novel focuses on that: I get to destroy and then rebuild the world, with a mostly all-female cast! I’m also working on a non-fiction book about writing that is under contract, and my next novel after this is tentatively about Nicholas Culpeper, but will require a lot of research.

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

TA-I am all over the place and easy to find.
My web site:   
Twitter: @tiffaniangus
Instagram: doc_tiff

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

TA-What was it like to publish a debut novel during a pandemic? It was definitely an experience! The book was supposed to come out April 13, 2020. Lockdown happened a month before, so Amazon canned pre-orders for physical books right then, which meant we (my publisher and I) had to shift the publication date to July, but the ebook still came out unexpectedly in April! My in-person signing at Waterstones in Cambridge was cancelled, by launch at Eastercon (one of the UK SFF conventions I regularly attend) was cancelled—as was the convention—and a party I had started planning to throw to celebrate the book (because when you’re an adult, you don’t have a reason to throw a party other than a wedding!) was cancelled. It was a huge letdown and I had to shift all the marketing online, immediately. It was a learning experience, and I am now ready for whatever happens next time round. If anyone is interested in how I tackled it, I wrote up a blog article about it here:

JMR- Readers, I know you'll want to check out Tiffani's book, so I've included a link. 


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