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Y’all!!! Today’s featured author is a “new-to-me” favorite!!! Seriously, I have read one of her books and I love her, that’s all it took! She’s sharing some favorites about her newest release (y’all need to read it, really, really), her latest bookish news, and a giveaway!!!
About the Author
Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel. Her first Bible study DVD and study guides, The Verse Mapping Series, will release in spring, 2018.
Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read. You can connect with Kristy in her WRITING DESK newsletter at: KristyCambron.com
Five Favorite Behind the Scenes Secrets
from The Illusionist’s Apprentice
Kristy: The main character’s name has a hidden meaning… My great-grandfather was a coal-miner from New Castle, England. So the family story goes, he loved animals and tamed a wild wren into a pet, teaching it to land on his shoulder and eat from his hand. He named his pet “Jenny Wren” – also the name of a character in Dicken’s novel, Our Mutual Friend. My sister is named Jennifer, but we always called her Jenny Wren from that family history. I wanted to honor her, so Wren Lockhart bears that special name.
Beth: I love that! How special for your sister and your family to have Jenny Wren live on in your story. 🙂
Kristy: Harry Houdini wasn’t the first choice as the mentor in the story… We originally wanted to wrap a story around the unique perspective of Bess Houdini, Harry Houdini’s wife (similar to Mable Ringling’s story in The Ringmaster’s Wife). But after determining Wren’s character would be an infamous female illusionist on the vaudeville circuit, we knew the story must encompass the mentor’s perspective– and how that wisdom affected Wren’s life and showmanship. We could see no way to tell that without Harry Houdini’s influence occurring in a grand way.
Beth: Readers certainly get a more intimate look at the vaudeville lifestyle this way, very interesting!
Kristy: The novel was born in a brainstorming session with bestselling suspense authors… I’ll be the first to admit it was an incredible experience to brainstorm in a room with some of the most gifted women in the field of suspense writing Christian fiction. I’m not giving spoilers away, but those women helped craft the opening scenes for the book – placing a cemetery, a botched vaudeville show, and a corpse – all in the first chapter! I’m grateful for the mentoring those authors gave this writer-gal, and helped nudge me into my first mystery/suspense novel.
Beth: I love hearing about authors working together and supporting one another. That is wonderful! 😍
Kristy: The title never changed… I usually don’t select my book titles. Like much in the publishing industry, we have teams of professionals who are sooooo good at things like titling books. But from day one with this story, it was always whispering that the title would be The Illusionist’s Apprentice. I loved it. And fortunately for me, the titling team also loved it. So, here we are… a title that always knew its own name. 😊
Kristy: The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a stand-alone novel, but it has connections to The Ringmaster’s Wife… If you read John and Mable Ringling’s story in The Ringmaster’s Wife, you might find a connection or two between both of these Jazz Age Entertainers novels. Hungarian artist and illustrator, William “Willy” Pogany, was a close friend of the Ringlings and Mable contracted him to design much of the whimsical paintings on the interior of their famed Ca’ d’Zan mansion in Sarasota, FL. (Readers might notice that he also makes a cameo in that book.)
In The Illusionist’s Apprentice, Willy Pogany’s iconic illustrations in Wren’s beloved Welsh Fairy Book is woven into the story. It’s also noted that Harry Houdini’s real-life manager was a friend and business acquaintance of John Ringling – so the entertainment circles of the circus and vaudeville really do overlap both in history, and in the novels.
Beth: Now I’m even more eager to read The Ringmaster’s Wife!!! I enjoy connections between stories!
Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.
Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.
In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.
Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.
Beth: This is a wonderful story, reader friends! Get your hands on it!
Tell us about your latest bookish news
Kristy: I’m so excited to share that I’m working on several new things in 2017!
For fiction, I just finished writing Book #1 in a new split-time historical fiction series set in Europe– THE LOST CASTLE series. We’re just beginning the editing process on the first novel– set in France’s Loire Valley– and will follow that up with Book 2 in Ireland (2019), and Book 3 in England (2020). I’m terribly excited about this new adventure and can’t wait to explore the stories of fairy tale castles in Europe. Book #1 will arrive in bookstores in February, 2018.
And new for me… I’m also writing non-fiction this year too! I’m working on (2) DVD Bible studies with my publishing family at HarperCollins Christian Publishing. If you’re interested in simple but life-changing Bible study through #VerseMapping, you’ll get to join in when these studies release in April, 2018.
Beth: Yay!!! So much excitement for you and your readers!!!
Kristy: I have some mega-fun news to share – beginning April 17-21st, #IllusionistsApprentice will be one of eight selected HarperCollins Christian Publishing titles available at participating Sam’s Club stores across the country! (So you’ll be able to pick up snacks in the same place you can buy Christian fiction books for your summer reading by the beach!)
Beth: Convenience is a must and who doesn’t like one stop shopping?!
Kristy: I’ve loved visiting with your readers, Beth! Thanks for letting me share some of the secrets behind the writing process, and what Wren’s world looks like behind the stage curtain. Have a magical reading experience, dear friends!
Beth: Thank you for sharing with us today, Kristy!!!
Kristy Cambron has generously offered to send one fortunate reader a signed copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice! (US only)
Do you have a special nickname or story behind your name?