Monday, June 16, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post: The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

Please join me in welcoming author Antonia Hodgson to Let Them Read Books! Antonia is touring the blogosphere with her debut historical fiction novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, the tale of a scoundrel with a heart of gold and a mystery to solve imprisoned in the famous gaol "where people fall dead as quickly as they fall in love, and no one is as they seem." Read on to discover how Antonia outfitted her writing space to craft her first novel, and enter to win one of two copies of The Devil in the Marshalsea up for grabs!


My debut novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, is a historical crime novel set in London in 1727. It will be published in the US on June 10. I’m celebrating by sharing with you this picture of my desk. Yes, it is an odd way to celebrate, but it’s mid afternoon here and too early for champagne. Here it is.

To make this even more pointless, I didn’t actually write The Devil in the Marshalsea at this desk. I wrote it at my living room table, swishing my books and laptop to one side at mealtimes. I bought this shelving system with money from my first publishing deal. I had dreamed of a desk just like it, because it is important to have dreams about Swedish mid-century modern shelving units. If I had dreamed of unlimited power and riches, I would be disappointed at this point in my life. But I have my Swedish mid-century modern shelving unit and I am happy.

I did write my second novel at this desk. I’ve just delivered the first draft to my editor. I had a slight fear that I wouldn’t be able to write anything at my new desk—that I would end up shuffling back to the familiar comfort of my living room table. Luckily, this was superstitious nonsense. It turns out I can work almost anywhere. Once I’m writing I’m completely immersed in what I’m doing and wouldn’t really notice if I was sitting on a dog.

For the desk-curious, here are a few things to note:

1. That is a very comfortable Eames chair. I found it in a second-hand office furniture shop. Along with the footrest, it is the reason I can still straighten my back.
2. The picture tacked up behind the laptop is a London street map from 1731. While writing book two I spotted a place called Phoenix Street, which is the sort of street name novelists make up when they want to go all metaphorical. I’ve used it, obviously.
3. Always, always a coffee cup.
4. The books are a mix of eighteenth-century histories, novels, and primary sources. The book on the magazine rack is a reprint of a 1735 compendium called The Lives of Remarkable Criminals. Everyone gets hanged. Or burned at the stake. (Remarkable criminals of the 1730s were only burned at the stake if they had committed treason. But because women were “ruled” by the men in their family, if they killed their husband or father this was considered “petty treason” and they were burned to death. This point seems to have taken a gloomy turn, hasn’t it? Let’s move on.)
5. The picture on the top shelf is a modern painting of an eighteenth-century landscape design—Studley Royal in Yorkshire. Shortly after I took this photo, the picture fell off the shelf and smashed me over the head. Which leads me to my one vital piece of advice to aspiring writers. Never place an inspirational framed print above your desk without first securing it properly, preferably with hooks.

Thanks, Antonia! I can't wait to read the book!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected. Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!


Wanna win your own copy of'
The Devil in the Marshalsea?
Simply leave a comment on this post with your email address, and you're entered!

This giveaway is open to residents of the US only and ends at 11:59 pm Monday, June 30, 2014. Winners will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!

The Devil in the Marshalsea is on a blog tour!


  1. This fascinating historical sounds enjoyable and intriguing. Thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. This feature is captivating and the novel would be unforgettable. Love the locale and the era. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! I have added this book to my TBR list. Raquel36m (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Love the sounds of this one, thanks. nanze55(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. Thanks for the chance.

  6. Wow! This sounds fantastic!
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  7. This looks like something I would love to read. Thanks for the giveaway.


  8. This is the first I've heard of this book, but it's going to the top of my TBR and Wish List.

  9. Lovely writing space. I have extrapolated the advice regarding inspirational framed prints to include all artwork and non-aspiring non-writers as well. Appropriate hooks have been installed. Thank you.

  10. Oh right, my email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx. TTFN

  11. First read about this novel a week or so ago and immediately added it to my wish list. Sounds like such a unique setting. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Truly a fun AND funny guest post! Would love to read this one - thank you for hosting the giveaway

  13. I have heard nothing but stellar reviews of this book! I love getting a peek at the author's writing space (at least one of them) really gives you a feel for the person, looking at their desk doesn't it? Thanks for sharing the post and having the giveaway!

  14. It sounds like an amazing book. Grateful for this opportunity to win!
    alto1jr @ hotmail dot com

  15. shamy at post dot harvard dot edu
    This title is particularly intriguing to me among the season's hist fic releases--thanks for featuring and giving away! --kas

  16. That is a very nice desk and shelf system. The story has a unique setting.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  17. It sounds like a fantastic book, and I love the mystery of the murders. I would love to read this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


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  19. I love the combination of murder, mystery & historical fiction. This books sounds fantastic!


  20. I would love to read it, thank you for the chance :)

  21. In Dickens' "Little Dorrit" The Marshalsea isn't all that bad! On the surface at least....I think the Republicans want to bring back debtor's prisons..."everything old is new again!"

    This novel seems intriguing's setting in the good/bad 18th century. Please enter me.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I can't believe, that in 1735 they were still burning people at the stake! What a horrible death! This sounds like a very interesting read.

  24. How intriguing! Jdawnking at gmail dot com

  25. This looks like a great book - I would love to read it!

  26. Sounds like a cool entertaining read! Love this stuff!


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