Thursday, December 5, 2013

CBB Promotions Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: The Master's Book (Philip Coleman)

The Master's Book by Philip Coleman
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Genre: Upper MG or lower YA Mystery/Thriller
Age: 12+
Publication Date: March 15th, 2013
Page Count: 236
Tour Dates: Dec. 2-13

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene...
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?
Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

Book can be found at: GoodReads | Amazon

Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.

Author Sites:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I had written two fantasy novels and wanted to do something different. It seemed natural to go back to the three years I spent in Brussels for several reasons. First of all, they were some of the happiest years of my life and so I could write about them with passion. Secondly, since I write for young adults, that was the period when my own children entered adolescence. Finally, despite its reputation as the capital of EU bureaucracy, Brussels is full of history and parts of it (only parts) are quite beautiful, not to mention the fact that the beautiful historic towns of Ghent and Bruges are nearby. What brought this together was reading the story of the Master of Mary of Burgundy, the anonymous medieval artist that produced beautiful 
illuminated books for the last Duchess of Burgundy. I decided that this should e the focus of the story. 

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?

Definitely Stephanie. I was inspired to write initially after reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, so those of you who have read these books won’t be surprised that I like feisty girl characters. Physically I based her appearance on some of the beautiful mixed race children that were classmates of my own children in the European school.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel. Of all the stories I’ve written or am writing this was the one where I agonised most over the title. It had five different titles during development and several others were considered.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I like the scene where Sean and Stephanie meet Sylvie Grégoire in the Museum of Musical Instruments Café, mainly because it’s funny and shows up a lot of the character traits of the three protagonists. It just flowed when I wrote it and the only alterations that it required were minor factual ones that I made after I went back and checked the location (which is amazing, by the way).

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now? 
Two things. Firstly I learned how important it is to revise possible. It’s good to have two projects on the go so that I work through a version of one, then switch to the other and then go back to the first with a fresh eye.
Secondly, writers need to be realistic. Most of us will do this for love and we won’t be able to give up our day jobs. Well-meaning people try to encourage us with the stories of JK Rowling and EL James but these are so exceptional that we should put them to the back of our mind. We would be as well off buying lottery tickets and reaming of a jackpot win as we would be dreaming about a hit on that scale.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like way it emphasises the historical roots of the story, as well as the element of mystery.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2014?
I am hoping that Denise Mina, the Scottish crime writer, will have a new book on 2014, since she manages about one a year (see below). And, at the risk of getting Game of Thrones fatigue, George RR Martin’s latest instalment is slated tentatively for 2014, though I expect that date will shift.

8. What was your favorite book in 2013?
That’s a hard one! If you mean books that I read in 2013, I would say The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. If you mean books that I read that came out in 2013 then it would be The Red Road, by Denise Mina, who writes gritty crime novels set in Glasgow.

9. What’s up next for you?
Going back to Question 5, I have two very different projects on the go, though it’s still early to judge how successful they will be. One is a sequel to The Master’s Book, which will centre around the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The other is a young adult sci-fi, for slightly older readers than I’ve written for before. 

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?
No, except to thank you for inviting me for this interview.


  1. I really loved that this book takes place in another country and another city. Anything in Europe is fascinating to me though... I loved learning more about Brussel's, but I loved the children in the book as well. And Stephanie is a great character! And I loved that he was able to bring diversity to the book without it really being an 'issue' in the book, you know?

    Thanks so much for hosting a tour stop!

  2. Sounds like a fantastic read! Great interview :)

    ~Veronica Vasquez~