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Author Interview with Historium Press author, Katarina Dunne - author of "Lord of the Eyrie"

Author Bio:

Katerina Dunne is the pen-name of Katerina Vavoulidou. Originally from Athens, Greece, Katerina has been living in Ireland since 1999. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Athens, an MA in Film Studies from University College Dublin and an MPhil in Medieval History from Trinity College Dublin. While she used to write short stories for family and friends in her teenage years, she only took up writing seriously in 2016-17, when she started work on her first novel.

Katerina’s day job is in financial services, but in her free time she enjoys reading historical fiction and watching historically-themed movies and TV series. She is passionate about history, especially medieval history, and her main area of interest is 13th to 15th century Hungary. Although the main characters of her stories are fictional, Katerina uses real events and personalities as part of her narrative in order to bring to life the fascinating history of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, a location and time period not so well-known to English-speaking readers.

For any comments or further information, you can contact Katerina by email:

Book Buy Link:

Book Blurb:

Love, War, and the Price of Loyalty

Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary, 1440:

Finally home after five years away, warrior-nobleman Sándor Szilágyi is met by a dying father, a resentful younger brother, his child-bride all grown up and the family estate raided by the Ottomans. As he struggles to adjust to life as a landlord, Sándor's authority is challenged by two strong-minded and fearless women: Margit, his faithful and righteous wife, determined to keep him on the straight and narrow; and Anna, his sister-in-law, a scheming temptress bent on ruining him in order to take his land.

After committing a mortal sin and desperate to win back the woman he loves, Sándor seeks absolution by accepting his overlord's summons to fight the Ottomans. But his obsession with war will lead him down a perilous path.

Loyalties are tested, danger lurks around every corner, and Sándor's struggle to balance his duty to protect his land and family from his relatives' greedy hands, as well as his duty to defend his country on the battlefield, will come at a terrible cost.


"In a world of chivalry and honour, Ms Dunne brings to life the harsh and raw reality of medieval 15th-century Hungary. So often, historical novels are fixed in the settings of England and France, but this one shifts the story to a place and time not familiar to most historical readers, thus giving a fresh look at the time period while connecting readers to the familiar landscape of war, love, lust, betrayal, loss, and pain." - The Historical Fiction Company


Author Interview:

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I actually haven’t been on any. I visited Jane Austen’s house in Bath, does that count?

Tell us the best writing tip you can think of, something that helps you.

Before I write a scene, I visualise it, even rehearse it in my head as if I am part of it. This helps me put myself in my characters’ minds, speak their words and feel their emotions

What are common traps for aspiring writers? Advice for young writers starting out.

Many aspiring writers feel a little insecure about their works while others think their manuscript is great and are reluctant to accept feedback. The best advice is to reach out and connect with other writers and readers. Do not be afraid or shy to share your work and ask for advice. And then listen to feedback. Your novel is not perfect, and it will probably never be perfect. You don’t have to agree with everything, but 8 out of 10 times if you follow the feedback, it will lead to vast improvement in your writing

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

To read more. The more you read other authors’ work, the more you learn about the craft.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I connect with published and aspiring authors on FB groups and learn about their projects. I have also got together with a few other new writers with works in progress and we have created our own group, where we read and comment on each other’s work, ask questions and have Zoom meetings.

Can you give us a quick review of a favourite book by one of your author friends?

One book I really enjoyed was “Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar” by Jess Wells. It is a masterfully written, original and mesmerising tale of marginalised people fighting against the odds. With a touch of the magical, the exquisite prose brings to life the strange and intriguing world of folks who, despite being rejected by society, can create something amazing when working together. The subtly hidden messages, vivid descriptions and unique characters, make it one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Holding my published novel in my hand motivates me to continue writing. The same goes with reviews and comments by readers. I feel proud of my achievement, and this encourages me. Also, I have learned to work on feedback and make my re-writes more productive.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I spent a lot on my book cover. But it was very important to create an eye-catching cover, which reveals the spirit of the story and is also aesthetically pleasing.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I read the Odyssey and the Iliad in my first year of secondary school in Greece. I was totally captivated by the story, the characters and the language.

What’s the best way to market your books?

I am new to self-publishing, so I am still learning. Historium Press and Dee have been great support in my journey. At the moment, advertising my book in other people’s blogs as well as FB pages seems to have some effect, but it’s still too early to know for sure.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

As my era is late medieval Hungary, I research primary and secondary sources of the period for the historical and political events. In addition, I find manuscripts of the era to be a great visual source for dress, weapons, buildings, cultural and religious elements etc. I spend some time understanding the main events and characteristics of the period while writing the early drafts of the story. Then, I go into more detailed research and update the manuscript at a later stage up until the very last draft, to make sure I have everything right. I include an author’s note at the end, presenting the historical background of the era and providing suggestions for further reading. I also include a pronunciation guide for the Hungarian names and a glossary of Hungarian words that I have used in the story.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Yes, in a way. With writing I can forget about my everyday problems and immerse myself in a different world, where I am in control of the events. It helps me, especially when I am facing a difficult period in my life as it gives me the chance to escape reality for little while.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I don’t think it was a specific work of fiction, but rather a combination of many novels which have inspired me and made me realise how powerful words can be.

What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

Respect for the person above all. And lots of research. Things become more difficult the further in the past a story is set in. Sources from the past have always been biased, depending on who wrote them. So, they have to viewed with a critical mind.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

As my book is new, I have only had very few reviews. They have all been positive so far. I suppose if I received a bad review, I would check to see if it makes sense and use it to improve in my next book. If it were unreasonable or had an ulterior motive, I would not let it affect me.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

As someone writing in a foreign language, I need to work much harder than a native English speaker to find the right words and imagery in order to make the prose more artistic.

Tell us about your novel/novels/or series and why you wrote about this topic?

My first published novel is Lord of the Eyrie, the story of a Transylvanian nobleman in 15th Hungary, who is torn between his duty to protect his land and family from his greedy relatives and defend his country against the Ottomans. Medieval Hungary is rarely a setting for English-language historical fiction. Its history is as fascinating as that of England or France. With this and my future projects, I am trying to make elements of this history known to English-speaking readers.

What is your favourite line or passage from your own book?

“Not every problem in life can be resolved with the sword” This is the advice given to the hero by his wife as he struggles to turn from a soldier to a fair and compassionate landlord.

What was your hardest scene to write?

A particular death scene (I won’t say whose, but those who have read the book will know what I am talking about) It was heart-breaking to me as well, and I ended up shedding many tears over it.

Tell us your favourite quote and how the quote tells us something about you.

“The one thing I know is that I know nothing.” (a quote attributed to Socrates by Plato) - You could say this is my motto in life. I always search for knowledge and for personal improvement and development. I don’t take anything for granted, and I acknowledge my own limitations.

1 Comment

Malve von Hassell
Malve von Hassell
May 20, 2022

I enjoyed reading the answers in this interview.

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