Monday, August 23, 2010
Win a copy of Krakow Waltz
Do you like historical romances with unusual settings? If so, then my new book, Krakow Waltz, might be one for you. It's out this month in paperback and as an ebook and is set mostly in what we now call Southern Poland.
Poland has had a chequered history and for most of the 19th century didn't exist as a country. Following the Napoleonic Wars, the Treaty of Vienna (1815) carved it up between the neighbouring powers: Russia, Prussia and Austria. However, the city of Krakow was designated as a self-governing "free city" and stayed that way until it was annexed by Austria in 1846.
Part of my family comes from Krakow, in fact my mother was born there, and so it's a city I've visited many times over the years. By some miracle, the historic centre survived the Second World War and so you can walk around today and get the feel of how the city would have been at the time my novel is set in 1817.
In the novel I names the streets where the main characters live and have set scenes in notable places that still survive today including the 15th century Collegium Maius (the oldest part of the University) and the famous 14th century gothic St Mary's Basilica in the main market square. If you visit Krakow do visit these places and if you walk the streets of the old town you'll be able to get a sense of how some of the action in Krakow Waltz is played out.
Balice forest, a notable venue for duels in the 19th century, is now where Krakow airport is situated. (A little like Hounslow Heath which is now London's Heathrow airport.) And Castle Szalynski in the countryside is loosely based on Niedzica Castle in Southern Poland. I revisited Niedzica the summer and will post some photos next time I blog.
To celebrate the publication of Krakow Waltz there is a giveaway contest on goodreads.com. Closing date is 31st August so hurry to be in with a chance to win one of three copies.