Interview and giveaway: The Inquisitor’s Niece

The Inquisitor’s Niece
by Erika Rummel

Inquisitor’s Niece Erika RummelDescription of Inquisitor’s Niece by Erika Rummel

Publisher:  Bygone Era Books, Ltd. (March 31, 2016)
Category: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-941072-38-7
Tour Date: May/June, 2016
Available in: Print & ebook, 394 Pages

The path of true love never runs straight. Alonso and Luisa love each other, However there are a few obstacles to their happiness: the husband she was forced to marry; her uncle, the Regent of Spain; and Alonso’s Jewish family. Mix in the meddlesome Natale, whose loyalty is always to the highest bidder, and you have a story of a courageous couple determined to be happy together, despite the cards being stacked against them.

Using the tumultuous period of Spain immediately following the deaths of Ferdinand and Isabella as her canvas, Erika Rummel paints a portrait of an era where Cardinals hold supreme power, Jews are forcibly converted to Christianity, and the spies of the Inquisition are everywhere.

Praise for Head Games by Erika Rummel

“Head Games is a unique and entertaining adventure with heart. There are the thrills of the adventure itself and we get to see the depth of the characters as they experience their fast paced South American quest. The story felt new and fresh!”-Valerie Mitchell, Mama Likes This

“This is a fast paced page turner.  A suspenseful, thrilling roller coaster ride with lots of twisty, loopy sections.  Head Games is an apt title for this enthralling read. “- Joy Renee, Joy Story

“Identity’s a big theme in this work, so if you’ve ever felt you were someone other than yourself, if you thought you might like to try living in someone else’s skin, if you’ve wondered whether your friends and loved ones were not exactly who they claimed to be, then this psychological labyrinth might just be your winding road to a good read”.- Carole Giangrande, Words to Go

About Erika RummelInquisitor’s Niece Erika Rummel

Erika Rummel is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books and three novels: ‘Playing Naomi’, ‘Head Games’, ‘The Inquisitor’s Niece’.

She won the Random House Creative Writing Award (2011) for a chapter from ‘The Effects of Isolation on the Brain’, which is forthcoming. She is the recipient of a Getty Fellowship and the Killam Award.

Erika grew up in Vienna, emigrated to Canada and obtained a PhD from the University of Toronto. She taught at Wilfrid Laurier and U of Toronto.  She divides her time between Toronto and Los Angeles and has lived in Argentina, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Erika’s Website:
Erika’s Blog:

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(ready made questions)

How much time and effort went into your research for the book?

Years of research! In fact I first wrote a biography of Cardinal Cisneros, Inquisitor General (title: Jimenez de Cisneros. On the Threshold of Spain’s Golden Age) – then made him a character in my novel.

How long did it take you to complete?

This novel started out as a complex story interweaving the lives of three men and the woman who appeared in their dreams. On the advice of friends I simplified the story, but it took me a very long time to make up my mind what to cut out. And in a way I’m still sorry I did. Maybe I should write another novel picking up on what I let go?

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?

The covers of my previous two novels were designed by my painter husband. They are rather artistic, perhaps a little too artistic – no one ever commented on them. This time my publisher presented me with a number of commercial covers and allowed me to choose one. Readers clearly love the mysterious scene of a cloaked woman running through a forbidding-looking vault. I get lots of comments. My take-away lesson: A cover must be more than esthetically pleasing. It must be evocative.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

My favourite is the cliff-hanger scene in which Luisa rescues her lover, and they escape their pursuers. It’s a classic good guys vs. bad guys situation, and of course the good guys win. Isn’t that how we all want life to pan out?

Describe the room you are sitting in as though it was a scene in one of your books.

The sun is slanting through the window, and I have to angle my computer to make out what’s on the screen.  My desk isn’t very tidy. There are piles of papers and post-its stuck everywhere, and a large envelope labelled “Action!”, which I try to ignore because when I’m in the mood to write, that’s the only action I want to take.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Reading! I took early retirement from university teaching (you guessed it – I taught history).  The job required reading a great deal of non-fiction to keep up with the literature in my field. Now I am at leisure to read what I want, and I enjoy it immensely.  I do miss the contact with colleagues and students, but I get in more face-time with friends. I love coffee chats, don’t you?


This giveaway is for one ebook or print copy only
and is open to the U.S. and Canada.
This giveaway ends on July 1, 2016 at midnight pacific time.

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Book review: Midnight in Europe


Midnight in Europe

Midnight in Europe
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this audiobook for free in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post
as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
Midnight in Europe
Alan Furst
Narrated by: Daniel Gerroll

Publication Date: June 4, 2014
at Simon & Schuster Audio


Duration: 8:13 hours
ISBN: 978-1442368170

spy novel / historical fiction

Source: Received
from the publisher for review


Buy this book

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

       New author challenge

2014 historical fiction  2014-Audio-Book-Challenge-Button


new eiffel 3

I had not yet read any book by Alan Furst, so I seized the opportunity as this audiobook was graciously sent to me by  Simon & Schuster Audio. At the difference of the previous one they sent me, All The Light We Cannot See, Midnight In Europe didn’t leave me that ecstatic.

Click to continue reading

Book review: House of Rocamora

House of Rocamora banner

House of Rocamora


Donald Michael PLATT

346 pages

Published by Raven’s Wing Books/Briona Glen on November 19, 2012

paperback received from the publisher
via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Twitter Hashtag: #DonaldMichaelPlattVirtualTour

House of Rocamora

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

hf-reading-challenge-2013 New Authors 2013

European RC 2013 aroundtheworld2012


Rating system

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “Isaac (Vicente) de Rocamora was a Spanish monk, physician, and poet. He was born about 1600 of Marano parents at Valencia and died April 8, 1684, at Amsterdam. Educated for the Church, he became a Dominican monk (assuming the name “Vicente de Rocamora”) and confessor to the Infanta Maria of Spain, subsequently Empress of Austria, who honored him greatly. In 1643 he openly adopted Judaism, taking the name of Isaac. He studied medicine, and then settled in Amsterdam, where he engaged in the active practise of his profession. He became physician to and director of several philanthropic societies in that city, among them the Maskil el Dal and Abi Yetomim.

Rocamora was one of the judges of the academy of poetry, Los Sitibundos, founded by Manuel de Belmonte; but none of his poetical works, either in Spanish or in Latin, has been preserved. His son Solomon de Rocamora also was a physician in Amsterdam.”

Quite a life  journey!

House of Rocamora presents Isaac’s life as he arrives in the Netherlands. There’s not really any big plot or intrigue, it’s just about his daily life away from the terrors  of the Spanish Inquisition – even though he sometimes wonders if he might still be too close to their claws. It is about his integration in the Jewish community (I let you read the book to determine how much integrated he is or wants to be), within the context of Christian/Jewish relationships, and relationships of various groups within the Jewish world itself. It is also about his new career: his studies and new position as a medical doctor, and the family he will raise.

I had actually totally forgotten all the connections between Spain and the Netherlands, specifically that following a series of alliances and marriages, the Netherlands ended up under Spanish rule, until January 30, 1648, with the Treaty of Münster!

Apart from that, it was interesting to see the daily life among Jewish people (it reminded me a bit of Rashi’s Daughters, though set in France  a few centuries earlier), scholars, and doctors.

So the book was ok, but I think  it could have been a novel with some real plots around the life of Rocamora. It would have made it more lively. My thinking is that if the book does not have too much have a plot, why not then write a real biography, not a historical novel.
Around chapter 40, it got a bit confusing about several other members of the Rocamora family we had not  much heard of before.

Also, the editing is not too good: words or letters missing, doubled or in the wrong order. Plus on many pages, especially in the first half of the book, some long passages were in grey, as if the printer had run out of ink. This was really weird. I don’t know if it was just my copy (not even an ARC!) or what.


A new life and a new name … House of Rocamora, a novel of the 17th century, continues the exceptional life of roguish Vicente de Rocamora, a former Dominican friar, confessor to the Infanta of Spain, and almost Inquisitor General.

After Rocamora arrives in Amsterdam at age forty-two, asserts he is a Jew, and takes the name, “Isaac,” he revels in the freedom to become whatever he chooses for the first time in his life. Rocamora makes new friends, both Christian and Jew, including scholars, men of power and, typically, the disreputable. He also acquires enemies in the Sephardic community who believe he is a spy for the Inquisition or resent him for having been a Dominican.

As Isaac Israel de Rocamora, he studies Medicine at Leyden and, at age forty-six, receives a license to practice. That same year Rocamora weds twenty-five year old Abigail Touro, and together they raise a large family. During his time in Amsterdam, Rocamora has a bizarre encounter with Rembrandt, serves the House of Orange as physician, and advises Spinoza before the philosopher’s excommunication. He survives a murder attempt, learns from the great English physician Harvey, and a surprise visit from a childhood friend leads to an unusual business venture.

Life is never routine or dull for Rocamora. The intrigues start with his arrival in Amsterdam and do not end until he takes his last breath.


Donald Michael Platt

Born and raised inside San Francisco, I graduated from Lowell High School and received my B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley and won a batch of literary cash awards while in graduate school at San Jose State.

When I moved to southern California, I began my professional writing career. I sold to the TV series, MR. NOVAK, ghosted YOUR HAIR AND YOUR DIET for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse producers, among them as Harry Joe Brown, Sig Schlager, Albert J. Cohen, and Al Ruddy as well as Paul Stader Sr., dean of Hollywood stuntman and stunt/2nd unit director. Also, options were taken on my unpublished WWII fighter ace novel and several treatments.

After living in Florianópolis, Brazil, setting of my horror novel A GATHERING OF VULTURES, Dark Hart 2007, Briona Glen 2012, I moved to Florida where I wrote as a with: VITAMIN ENRICHED, pub.1999, for Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown Vitamins; and THE COUPLE’S DISEASE, Finding a Cure for Your Lost “Love” Life, pub. 2002, for Lawrence S. Hakim, MD, FACS, Head of Sexual Dysfunction Unit at the Cleveland Clinic.

Currently, I reside in Winter Haven, Florida. My magnum opus historical novel, ROCAMORA, set in 17th century Spain and Amsterdam during their Golden Ages, was released by RAVEN’S WING BOOKS at the end of December 2008. It has been republished by Briona Glen, September 2011. My completed sequel HOUSE OF ROCAMORA was published by Briona Glen November 2012, and I am polishing a completed novel set in the 9th century Carolingian Empire about another unusual historical character, Bodo, the Apostate.

Please visit Donald Michael Platt’s Website for more information.

The previous book was called Rocamora, and it was 2012 Finalist International Book Awards for Historical Fiction. I hope the trailer of Rocamora also gives you the desire to read House of Rocamora.