Educated at Boston University and St Andrews, M.M. Bennetts is a specialist in the economic, social and military history of Napoleonic Europe. The author is a keen cross-country and dressage rider, as well as an accomplished pianist, regularly performing music of the era as both a soloist and accompanist. Bennetts is a long-standing book critic for The Christian Science Monitor.
The author is married and lives in England.
Bennetts’ latest book is Of Honest Fame.
You can visit the author’s website at www.mmbennetts.com.
Thank you for this interview, M.M. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?
Of Honest Fame is a spy thriller set against the chaos of the Napoleonic wars and Napoleon’s disastrous Invasion of Russia in 1812. It opens with an unknown man, an assassin, attempting to kill a young British agent, a boy, which turns out to be part of a pattern. This sets the other British agents searching for the assassin, as well as for the leak who’s betrayed them. So it’s a story of the hunted becoming the hunters a fractured world of mirrors within mirrors, of mysteries, of loss, of war and spying travelling through London, Paris and on into war-torn Poland and Bohemia.
More and more authors are realizing the potential for sales that derives from virtual book tours. Can you tell us your personal reasons why you chose a virtual book tour to help get the word out about your new book?
The virtual book tour was originally my publisher’s idea, because it can be very hard for a British author to gain access to the American market. Good grief, it’s well night impossible for a British author to understand the American market, because it’s so different and so much more internet savvy than ours. So, once my publisher explained it to me and I saw some of the great results, how could I be less than enthusiastic?
Is this the first time you have heard of them?
Yes, we just don’t have anything like them over here in the UK. But equally, I spend my life researching the early 19th century, so I hope readers will forgive me for not being quite up to speed with the advances of the early 21st.
What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?
I hope that this book that I have written, which is, I believe, a story to captivate the reader, but also written as beautifully as I could write it–taking the reader on a journey through Europe as it was–will reach a wider audience and that we can have that precious conversation of writer to reader. And perhaps then, I guess, that they will love it as much as I have come to.
Do you promote online through other means? Website? Blog?
I have kept a blog for well over a year and that covers both writing and history with the odd blog on horses thrown in for balance. But now I also have a website, slightly different in focus, www.ofhonestfame.com.
Who maintains your website?
My publisher maintains the website, but obviously with much of the written content contributed by me.
What are your experiences with offline booksignings? Do you have much luck selling your book through that method?
Offline booksignings can be utterly brilliant. You get to meet the most wonderful people, talk to them, exchange ideas with them, engage with them, have a laugh together. Then too, they can be pretty dire because they are wholly subject to whatever sporting event is taking place or completely drowned out by a sudden rainstorm, so you sit there, on your own, looking like a lemming. So they run the gamut.
Here’s a fun question. If money were no object, how would you promote your book?
If money were no object? ‘Struth, I honestly don’t know. A cracking great book trailer with horses running and a bit of filming done in some ancient city like Prague that hasn’t changed much, one that would convey the drive of the book, the atmosphere.
Thank you for this interview, M.M. Do you have any final words?
Only how much I’ve enjoyed all the various interviews I’ve done–they’ve made me take a hard look at my own work, and this book in particular, and that’s been a most interesting and revealing experience.
If you’d like to follow along with M.M.’s virtual book tour with more interviews, guest posts and reviews, click here!