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Monday, September 09, 2013

Renee Duke - The Disappearing Rose

Want a free copy of The Disappearing Rose?  
 Renee will award one to a randomly selected commenter who reveals the title of the very first time travel/time cross-over book he/she ever read.  

Today's vict...interviewee, Renee Duke, talks about her writing experiences and introduces us to her new book, The Disappearing Rose, published by MuseItUp Publishing. Time Travel and Alternate History together. Travel with the characters back to the 15th C.


The two little Princes in the Tower disappeared five centuries ago – so what are they doing in our time?

As far as Dane and Paige are concerned, it’s an ordinary enough summer.  They’re in England to visit relatives and portray medieval kids in some historical documentary. Nothing strange about that.  Their father’s a filmmaker, and they’re used to that sort of thing.  What makes this project a bit different is the family heirloom, an ancient medallion capable of transporting them, and their English cousin, Jack, back to the fifteenth century.  Now, instead of recreating history, they’re living it – along with two young princes who disappeared from the Tower of London and were never seen again.  And unless they  can find a way to help them, they might share the same fate.

Qs and As:

(Q) Thank you for joining us today. Renee. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you and a little bit about yourself.

I can be found at my website ( and on Facebook, though both are quite basic at the moment and due to be revamped.

BIO: Renee Duke grew up in  both England and Canada and has dual nationality.  A former ECE teacher and Out-Of-School programmer, she has worked extensively with children in all age brackets.  She especially enjoys sharing her own love of history through interactive programmes designed to help kids recreate the past.   

(Q) Tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links.

The Disappearing Rose, is the first of five books in my Time Rose series. The series focuses on an ancient medallion that has the power to transport kids through Time and get them to help children who are in trouble. It seeks one particular child, but in order to help her, other children have to be helped, too. The medallion has been in the same family for generations, and generations of children have used it. The current travellers are Paige, aged 13, her brother Dane, 11, and their cousin Jack, 9. Paige and Dane are Canadian, and Jack is English. The Disappearing Rose of the title is England's boy king, Edward V, who, along with his younger brother, disappeared from the Tower of London back in the fifteenth century. The modern day kids have to make sure that disappearance isn't fatal.

Buy Links:

(Q) Where did the concept for the book (or books) come about?

I love the Tower of London, and I've been interested in the mystery behind the disappearance of the little princes ever since I was a child. I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually write about them. I didn't necessarily think of doing it as a time travel story, but that's how it worked out, and ideas for succeeding books in the series came from doing this one.

(Q) How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

Over two years. There was a lot of historical data to go through, and since what happened to the princes, and who caused it to happen, is still quite a fairly controversial subject, there were a lot of theories to sift through. Besides that, I was still working as a teacher and raising my offspring when I started The Disappearing Rose and couldn't devote myself to it full time.

(Q) Which authors have most influenced your own writing?

I don't know if how much they’ve influenced my own writing, but my favourite historical fiction writers are Norah Lofts, Jean Plaidy, and Edward Rutherfurd, my favourite contemporary fiction writers are Elizabeth Peters, Leonard Wibberley, and Mary Stewart, and my favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy writers are Robert Heinlein and Patricia Wrede. I'm also a great admirer of P.G. Wodehouse whose humour I don't think anyone else is ever going to come close to.

(Q) What do you do for fun other than writing?

I read, watch TV, and go to the theatre. When younger, I also used to travel extensively and go horseback riding. I still travel (just not as much), but getting up on a horse is just a lot tougher than it used to be.

(Q) Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

My Muse drops in anywhere, anytime, in regards to initial ideas, but classical and easy listening music can sometimes spark creativity too.

(Q) In your ideal world, put in order those of most value to you: true love, family, success at writing, world peace, clean air and water, other.

Success in writing is important to me, but family and love come first. The others, in order, would be an end to hunger and oppression, world-wide clean air and water, a respect for all living things, and world peace. That's last because, if you achieve the others, it will come, too.

(Q) Plotter or pantser?

A combination. I always have a basic idea of where I want to go with a book, but let the characters and the story itself take me there after I get started.

(Q) Coffee or tea?

I'm allergic to coffee, and although this is sacrilege for someone who holds a British passport, I'm not that fond of tea. I prefer cocoa or hot chocolate.

(Q) Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they? 

My current project is Book Three of the Time Rose series, which is set in the Okanagan Valley of BC, where I now reside. The first two books are set in England and the last two will be in Europe.

(Q) What do you do to market your work? How did you start and where do you learn to market?

I really haven't learned how to market yet. This is all new to me. Other than mailing out notices to everyone who has ever supplied me with their e-mail address, and appearing on blogs the last couple of weeks, this is my first venture into marketing.

(Q) If you'd like to add anything, please do so.

I believe history should be fun as well as instructive. I've been doing interactive history units with 6-13-year-olds for several years now, and a Teacher's Guide for The Disappearing Rose should soon be available.

(Q) How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

Excerpt from The Disappearing Rose

While they were eating, Paige continued their earlier conversation. “If we do connect to the princes again, how are we going to explain that disappearing act you did last time? They must have wondered where you went—and why the people you claimed to be related to had never heard of you.”

Dane took a long suck of his ice-lolly before answering. “I’ve been wondering about that. It might be best to just go with the truth.”

“We can’t,” said Paige. “They’d freak. We already know Ned couldn’t handle anything too ‘abstruse’. The concept of time travel is about as abstruse as you can get. We don’t even understand it ourselves.”

“I know but—”

“But nothing,” said Paige. “You told me how they reacted to your flashlight. They thought it was magic—black magic. Back then, people thought anything they didn’t understand was black magic. They even used it to explain the king’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. Rumour had it that she and her mother were into sorcery and had put some kind of spell on him.”

“Ned and Dickon were both okay with the flashlight once I explained it to them,” Dane informed her. “And I seriously doubt that they thought their mother was a witch.”

“That doesn’t mean they didn’t believe such things existed,” said Paige. “And even if we convinced them we weren’t in league with the devil, we’d never convince anyone else. I can’t say I’ve ever thought about getting burned at the stake, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.”

“We won’t have to convince anyone else,” said Jack. “We can just make up answers to other people’s questions as we go along.”

“Oh, can we? Good at that sort of thing, are you?”

Jack smiled sweetly. “Teachers enter my stories in competitions. I’ve won several. Mummy says I have a vivid imagination.”


  1. Thank you, Renee, for visiting my blog during Time Travel month. It was a pleasure to read about your new book, "The Disappearing Rose."

  2. Renee, the premise of your story is fascinating. I agree that history needn't be a dry subject, and time travel books like yours are wonderful venues to help kids learn. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis was one of my first time travel reads, a very different take on the genre. I wish you much success with your writing!

    1. Thank you. My own first time travel (well, time cross-over, really) was Nevil Shute's An Old Captivity.

  3. I forgot to mention my first time travel book. It was the classic "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells. While kind of stodgy writing, the idea stuck and I've been fascinated by the concepts ever since.

    P.S. Don't forget, readers, you can download several classic time travel books from the 19th C. I'll add the link to the Time Travel Books listed in the upper right column on this blog.