So if you haven’t noticed I’ve been AWOL these last couple weeks! Well I’m back with a one of a kind special blog tour spot from Penguin Canada! Caroline Pignat is coming out with a new novel called Unspeakable which is about the Empress of Ireland’s tragic sinking.
This book blew my mind! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not but once I started I couldn’t put it down. I felt anxious, and heartbroken for Ellie and Jim’s tragic story but also so curious about the entire ordeal of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland. I wasn’t aware of this event in Canada’s rich history and you all know me I love a good romance (albeit a bit tragic).
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Caroline and I can’t wait to share it with you! Unfortunately my review isn’t ready yet BUT check out the interview and the synopsis to this truly Canadian novel!
1. What first sparked your interest in the Empress of Ireland?
To be honest, I’d never heard of the Empress of Ireland until I was asked to write a story about it. The fact that such a huge event in Canadian history was seemingly lost really intrigued me and as I learned more about the ship, the sinking, and the stories of the people aboard, the more excited I became about sharing it.
2. Is any of the romance based on people?
Ellie’s life as a stewardess was greatly inspired by the memoirs of Violet Jessop, a woman who had served aboard several huge liners including theTitanic. Ms. Jessop writes about one of the crew, a man who, like Jim, is moody, quiet, often hard to read, and at times, hard to love.
3. Are there any more historical novels in your future after writing UNSPEAKABLE?
My next novel, THE GOSPEL TRUTH, is coming out this Fall with Red Deer Press. It’s a free verse novel set in a tobacco plantation in 1857 Virginia and it’s told in the voices of six characters including the master, his daughter, a houseguest (based on Canadian abolitionist Alexander Milton Ross), and three slaves. I’m sure I will always have some historical fiction in the works, because I never get writer’s block in that genre. A trip to the museum and I’ve got a dozen new ideas!
Does Caroline sound absolutely AMAZING?! You should definitely check out her writing, she is even more wonderful and imaginative there!
On her first voyage as a stewardess aboard the Empress of Ireland, Ellie is drawn to the solitary fire stoker who stands by the ship’s rail late at night, often writing in a journal.
Jim. Ellie finds it hard to think of his name now. After their wonderful time in Quebec City, that awful night happened. The screams, the bodies, the frigid waters … she tries hard to tell herself that he survived, but it’s hard to believe when so many didn’t. So when Wyatt Steele, journalist atThe New York Times asks her for her story, Ellie refuses. But when he shows her Jim’s journal, she jumps at the chance to be able to read it herself, to find some trace of the man she had fallen in love with, or perhaps a clue to what happened to him. There’s only one catch: she will have to tell her story to Steele and he’ll “pay” her by giving her the journal, one page at a time.