22 June 2012

Blog Tour: In the Shadow of Vesuvius by Liz Carmichael

Title: In the Shadow of Vesuvius
Author: Liz Carmichael
Pub. Date: March 18, 2011
Author & Book Links:
Amazon / Author Page
This is a tense story of a young slave girl trying to escape the coming devastation of Herculaneum during the 79.CE Vesuvius eruption. It’s well-paced, with great characterization and believable situations. It’s well-researched with a lot of elements of the time period which gives the reader an authentic picture of the era. Mira knows what's coming and her goal is to save her young charge, Remy. The whole book takes place in less than twenty four hours and keeps the action flowing from the first page.

If you're looking for a good fast read with some history and adventure, I highly recommend this book. Although a YA book, it's appropriate for all ages from Middle Grade to Adult. It has something for everyone.

Author Liz Carmichael has stopped by today with a guest post for the In The Shadow of Vesuvius blog tour. Hope you all enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Hi, I’m Liz Carmichael, author, editor and illustrator, and I’d like to thank Christy for giving me the opportunity to do a guest post here today.

It would be nice if I could say In the Shadow of Vesuvius was written in one easy step, with just the editing and proofreading to follow. I’d be lying. The final version is far removed from the first draft, which was almost taken up by Allen & Unwin but, in the end, wasn’t quite strong enough for their list.

So I pulled the whole thing apart, cut eighty percent off the end, and changed the body of the story to take place over the twenty-four to thirty-six hour period of the 79 CE Mount Vesuvius eruption, although there were still aftershocks for days afterwards.

It’s always important to me to have a map handy when I’m writing, to make sure my characters don’t go taking a wrong turn into a bikie bar when they were heading for the baker– if it’s a fictional town I make my own street plan.

After downloading the current map of Herculaneum’s streets, I drew my own street map and added another, imagined, seventy-five percent to the town. There’s a New Zealand site: http://proxima_vertati.auckland.ac.nz/herculaneum/index.htm which allows us to take a virtual tour of the town of Herculaneum where the story is set. This was tremendous help in working out just how large some of the houses were, and how wide the public streets were, as well as the lanes. It doesn’t matter if I don’t use all my finds, what matters, to me as a writer, is that I know all those little details.

Even with all the details to hand, something was lacking in the telling of the story. I rewrote it several different ways, until I started the web site. And there began writing my main character’s back story - in her voice. When I set up the web site it was not my intention to use it for Mira’s earlier life, I just fell into it naturally (I guess you could say my muse took over, and about time too). That’s when I really got to know Mira so much more of her than I had through all the rewrites. From there I rewrote the whole story in first person point of view, and kicked myself for not thinking of doing it that way to start with, though I know it was what happened through writing on the web site that really did the trick.

In a few days An Unfortunate Journey, the early part of Mira’s life, will be published for younger readers. And that came about, mainly, because a mother, who found the site, read each day’s posts to her children after school then shared her own and the children’s reactions to those daily writings with me. Talk about giving a writer encouragement. Thank you, Kate, Maddie, and Felix.

Thank you SO much for stopping by, Liz! I'm honored to be a part of your blog tour!


  1. The link for the map didn't work for me but I love it when books let us see how the author pictures the setting with maps or illustrations! I hadn't heard of this one before.

    1. I got to the site by copy and pasting. If you still want to take the virtual tour, I know you won't be disappointed.

  2. Hey! Rosa here to tell you that!
    Congrats!!!! you've won the Liebster blog Award! go to http://bajanrosabooks.blogspot.com/2012/06/liebster-blog-award.html to see what it is about

    1. Thanks, Rosa! I'm going to go check it out!!! That's so awesome!

  3. Hi Giselle,

    So sorry the link didn't work. Maybe they've taken it down, I'll try to find another way into the site for you, because it's great to be able to travel those ancient street and enter some houses.
    Okay, here;s the new link

  4. Thanks again, Christy. It was fun.