Author Guest Post

An Interview With Sophia Dee from Maid of Secrets

October 13, 2016
Jennifer McGowan
Author of Maid of Secrets

Maid of Secrets is the first book in the Maids of Honor series and is our featured free read this week, available until 10/24!  In the Maid of Honor series, we meet five intrepid young female spies in service to Queen Elizabeth I. One of the most intriguing of those spies is Sophia Dee, niece to the Queen’s astrologer. In light of her story, Maid of Wonder, which just went on sale in paperback this week, author Jennifer McGowan tracked her down for an official Maid of Secrets interview!

Hi Sophia! Thank you so much for agreeing to stop by! Before we get started… Just curious, did you see this interview coming?

Hello! I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to speak with you. And yes, I had a feeling that I would be asked questions over the course of these few weeks. I might seem rather quiet to start, but don’t let my reticence fool you! I’d share more about myself, if only I wasn’t so, well… odd.

First off, many readers consider you to be the most mysterious Maid of Honor. Tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know from the book.

Hmmm…how about this: when I was still quite young and a ward of my uncle, I could tell if someone liked me or not almost immediately upon meeting the individual. I assumed everyone could do this, and so I thought nothing of it—until the day one of Uncle’s friends came to visit and nearly ran into me without looking, dropping his papers in his haste. When we made eye contact, I immediately screamed and ran from the room, so powerfully could I feel the man’s fear and hatred of me. Uncle said he was just distressed that I’d made him clumsy, but I knew it was more than that. Later I learned that the man was an agent for the Church, who’d heard rumors about my supposed gift. I think he rather thought it was more of a curse.

Well, everyone is eagerly waiting for your psychic skills to manifest so that you’ll be the greatest asset to England. How does The Sight work? Has it ever bothered you?

I can tell you this: you’ll learn a great deal more about my gift in Beatrice’s story, Maid of Deception. It is the most basic of things, really, how it all works—you’d think I would have stumbled on its process earlier! But sometimes the simplest discovery can be the most profound.

However, as to whether the Sight bothers me—yes. I can tell you it does. I know I may seem tedious at times, fainting or showing nerves or hiding myself away. But it’s only because the power that I feel building inside me is so great, it seems that it will spill out of me entirely unless I am very careful. And until I can fully understand it, I shall always be a little afraid.

Who’s your favorite Maid of Honor? *Shhh I won’t tell anyone, pinkie promise*

Ah! That’s a hard question, but I must say it’s Jane. Although all of my fellow spies are smart and resourceful and strong, Jane among all the others is at peace with who and what she is. She is resolute and unflinching in her self-regard. And her sorrow is so deep, it is etched into her very bones. I know well that her story is not yet complete—and I cannot tell you whether it will end happily—but mark my words: Jane will find that she is capable of more than even she believes.

Okay, I now have a few rapid-fire questions for you. Favorite thinking spot?

The Cloisters— the benches they have there make for excellent thinking!

Truth or Dare?

Truth, always.

Worst dress you had to wear?

The white “serving girl” dresses the Queen prefers her Maids to wear—I am already so pale, they make me look like a ghost.

Strangest Sight?

What I really saw when I held the hand of my betrothed…but completely refused to believe. If you’ve read Maid of Secrets, you know the secret!

Thanks so much for dropping by, and I’m sure many will love to read Maid of Secrets! *Whispers* Do you foresee Jennifer writing more books for the Maids of Honor series? Pretty please?

Between you and me…yes! Beatrice’s tale, Maid of Deception and my tale, Maid of Wonder, are available now from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers!

Thank you so much for having me here with you today!

Maid of Secretsby Jennifer McGowan

In this breathtaking start to a series, a secret society of young women make up Elizabeth I’s most trusted royal guard. God Save the Queen—or the Maids will.

Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?

Maid of Deceptionby Jennifer McGowan

Elizabethan glamour and intrigue abound in this heart-pounding Maids of Honor novel, which Kirkus Reviews called “a quick-paced romance” that will “thrill and engage readers with a penchant for history.”

Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth’s secret protectors, who has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.

Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her uncanny ability to manipulate hearts. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen sets Beatrice up for failure by pairing her with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.

Maid of Wonderby Jennifer McGowan

Sophia must master her psychic ability if she is to save the life of Queen Elizabeth and her fellow maids from a dark prophecy, in this third book in the Maids of Honor series.

Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy in Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible prophecy haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies.

Thrust into a dangerous competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen’s personal astrologer, and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France.

In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle’s striking assistant? Or should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of danger and death?

As new dangers surface and the prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown—and herself.

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