Blog Tour + Q+A: Beautiful Star by Andrew Swanston

Saturday, January 13, 2018
One of my reading goals for 2017 was to read more diversely which sadly I didn't achieve but I hope to read a little mow diversely in terms of genre, characters and format in 2018. I do read historical fiction, it's one of my favourite genres but I haven't read a historical fiction short story collection, until now. I was very kindly sent an early copy of Beautiful Star & Other Stories from The Dome Press and I was also able to have a few of my questions answered by the author, Andrew Swanston.

*Beautiful Star & Other Stories by Andrew Swanston (256 pages - available now) ★★★ (3.5)
The blurb of this book features monks, kings, crime, battles and swashbuckling adventures instantly intrigued me as well as the gorgeous cover! Also it's historical fiction and it is relatively short at under 300 pages so I knew I'd enjoy it.

There are seven short stories within the collection, of varying lengths, topics and characters, all of which I liked but my favourites from the collection have to include: Beautiful Star, The Flying Monk, The Tree and A Witch and A Bitch, the latter focuses on witchcraft accusations which is one of the most interesting aspects of history, for me at least!

I loved the range of time periods, topics and focuses of the stories as it means that there's something new in each story as well as a new adventure and characters. I love the setting of the stories and it has just reinforced my love for historical fiction and history in general.

I've read The Incendium Plot by Andrew Swanston (which I rated 4/5 stars) last year and I loved it so I knew I'd love this collection. The authors writing is rich, detailed and paints a truly vivid image of the scene, characters and their emotions even within a very short story. If you are looking for an immersive read filled with historical events but you don't want to commit to a full length historical fiction novel then definitely check out this fantastic short story collection!
1. Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring writers?

When I was a wee lad of thirteen my headmaster asked me what I wanted to do in life. I told him I wanted to be a writer. Fifty years later my first book (The King’s Spy) was published. So my advice to aspiring writers of any age is NEVER GIVE UP.

2. What are your top five books that you'd recommend to everyone?

A terribly difficult question but I will plump (in no particular order) for the following because I have either read them more than once or would like to read them again: The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho, Samuel Pepys - The Unequalled Self: Claire Tomalin, The Aeneid: Publius Virgilius Maro (Virgil), His Dark Materials Trilogy: Philip Pullman and The Jeeves Omnibus (2 vols): P G Wodehouse.

3. Who are your favourite authors? Any lesser know authors that you love?

In addition to the above: Rose Tremain, Robert Hughes, Jared Diamond, Ben Macintyre, Michael Lewis, Anthony Beevor, Tom Holland and John Boyne. All their books are ‘must reads’. I cannot offer any ‘lesser knowns’ but instead recommend two authors who set me to reading: Conan Doyle and C S Forester.  Sherlock Holmes and Horatio Hornblower are my two great fictional heros.

4. Are there any books that have inspired your work or influenced you as a writer?

P G Wodehouse for his dialogue and economy of words, Philip Pullman for his wonderful story telling skills, P D James for her elegant style and Anthony Beevor for making history come alive.

Are you a fan of historical fiction? Have you or will you be reading this book? 


  1. 50 years later! Oh my goodness! What persistence though, that is so cool! :)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  2. The short story about witchcraft sounds really interesting.

  3. This sounds so good!! Love the Q&A x

  4. It’s got me thinking about which 5 books I would recommend to people now x

  5. This really doesn’t sound like my cup of tea! I prefer either biographies or thrillers! X

  6. I love a great chic flick or autobiography x

  7. Ah I like short stories - nice and quick to get through! x

  8. Reading something like this would be really unusual for me but it sounds good and love he Q&A x

  9. Amazing that he never gave up after 50 years! x

  10. love the sound of this book!

    Serene xoxo

  11. How amazing that you got to do a Q&A with the author of the book!xo

    Char |

  12. What an amazing opportunity! I do love historical fiction, but I have not yet read this one. It will be added to my reading list. x

  13. I do like to read historical fiction from time to time so I may give this a go xx

  14. Such an interesting post, thank you for sharing!

  15. How amazing that he persevered for 50 years! x

  16. I love that you've done a Q&A with a writer, very inspiring!

  17. What a great little interview - very interesting! x

  18. I loved reading this! I love having a nosey at what types of books people are interested in!
    Chantelle x
    The Girl In The Tartan Scarf

  19. The Q&A was incredibly interesting to read, it's so nice to get to know someone more with a personalised Q&A! xx


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