Author Interview: Bev Stout

I recently read and reviewed Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout. (You can check out my review here.) It was a great Young Adult Historical read, and here is my interview with the author where she talks about her book and characters (without any spoilers of course!) 🙂
Bev Stout
Bev Stout

What inspired you to write Secrets of the Realm?

Secrets of the Realm was a project I started for my family. It is a gift to them, something I hope they will pass on to each new generation.

Secrets of the Realm is set in 18th Century England. Have you ever had the opportunity to visit England (UK)?

No, but I did a lot of research to keep the story true to the era and location.

What type of research did you have to do in order to write Secrets of the Realm and its sequel, Return of the Realm?

After writing the rough draft of Secrets of the Realm, I then filled in the blanks. I researched all aspects of sailing and eighteenth century England that would be relevant to the story. To get the feel of actually being on a sailing ship, I explored the decks of a nineteenth century sailing ship moored in San Diego. The seasickness episode was gleaned from personal experiences of myself and a family member who will remain anonymous. It was not as dramatic as the scene in Secrets of the Realm.

Are there any plans for a book 3 in the Secrets of the Realm series?

There might very well be a third installment. It’s too early to say for sure.

When can we expect Return of the Realm to be published?

I’m shooting for the spring of 2014.

How did you choose Annie’s male name, Andres de la Cruz?

Andres de la Cruz was my great great grandfather. My husband thought I should not have an 18th century English girl’s mother be of Spanish descent. After I researched the fishing village I had chosen for Annie’s birthplace, I discovered its relationship with the Spanish Armada. I then knew my decision on Annie’s heritage, and using my great great grandfather’s name, would work.

Doc is such a sweet man once you get to know him, is he loosely based on someone you know in real life?

Doc is every tortured soul I have met, and will meet in my lifetime. He is that person who is unapproachable. But if you let yourself get to know him, you will be glad you did.

What made you decide that Chris would be lame?

Being lame, made Christopher the perfect character to be Annie’s best friend. They both managed to overcome the cruel hands that fate had dealt them.

As a fan of Captain Hawke, can we know why he seems to hire the “rejects” or those traditionally not hired to be sailors?

Not all of Captain Hawke’s crew members are rejects. Those who are, though, were hired because the captain sees potential in everyone. Captain Hawke knows first hand what it is like to be judged by society.

Which character in Secrets of the Realm would you most likely be friends with in real life?

That is a hard question. I love so many of my characters, even Symington! And as much as I admire Annie, she would be difficult to have as a friend. I’m a rule follower. She isn’t. Then, there’s Christopher. Let’s face it. How can you not love that boy? He has a big heart, and he finds joy in just being alive. It would be fun to be friends with Barrette, too. If I were able to keep myself from being distracted by his muscles, he would make me laugh a lot. Being friends with Captain Hawke would be an exciting experience. He has led such a colorful life for a man as young as he is. Oh, I have to pick just one. Okay, it would have to be Christopher.

In 140 characters, how would you summarize Secrets of the Realm?

Teenage girl faces adversity with unwavering spirit. In her quest to find her place in the world, she touches the lives of those she meets along the way. Don’t know if that is 140 characters or not, but it will have to do.

Can you give us any information without spoiling us on the Return of the Realm?

You can expect new adventures for Annie, but different than the ones she had encountered in the first book. New characters will be introduced in Return of the Realm. But as the title suggests, former characters will return, as well.

You can buy Secrets of the Realm at:
Amazon: Kindle or Paperback or Audiobook
Special Review, YA Historical

Book Review: Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout


I want to thank the author Bev Stout for giving me a copy of her book in exchange for a honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

Blamed for her uncle’s death, fifteen-year-old Annie is on the run. Knowing the perils she will face on the streets of eighteenth century London, she disguises herself as a boy. Her life on the streets is cut short when she becomes Captain Hawke’s cabin boy.
Not only must Annie work alongside the Realm’s motley crew of outcasts and gentlemen, she must also keep her superstitious shipmates from discovering she is a girl.
Annie vows she will never leave the Realm, where dreams are chased, shattered lives can mend, and secrets are stowed like keepsakes in an old desk drawer. But when her past catches up with her, can she return to the Realm? More importantly, will she have a choice?


A lot of YA Historical novels that I’ve read, seem to have dumb-downed their language, or they use contemporary english in order to make it easier for the reader to read. Secrets of the Realm is different. The first thing that we notice when reading this book is that we get a very different english than the one we use everyday. We also learn sailor slang of the era the book is set in. If you ever find yourself time traveling into the past, this book might save you from trouble. It also teaches you how to become a cabin boy if you are a girl. 🙂

At first, I wasn’t so sure if I liked Annie. Her temper and her actions seemed to get her into trouble all of the time. Through the course of the novel though, she grew and I started to like Annie a lot more. The secondary characters that I absolutely loved and dare I say loved before Annie, were Doc and Christopher. They both helped Annie in so many ways and made Annie a more relatable and personable character.

Now, let’s talk about someone I’ve been avoiding on purpose for several reasons and that is Captain Hawke. For a while there, I didn’t know how old Captain Hawke was, but towards the end, I figured out how young and handsome he is. I dare not say more for the sake of not spoiling you.

I also want to point out quickly that Annie’s attitude for a girl in 18th Century England is not the norm. I love that she prefers sailor clothes over frilly dresses, and that she is strong willed. We can really see the difference in her attitude when the men are telling a story about something dangerous that happened out at sea and one of the lady’s at dinner is fainting, saying such a story was giving her vapors. The author clearly shows how differently women were viewed in the 18th Century.

Lastly, I enjoyed the culture created by the sailors in the Realm. In the Realm, they are all family and all depend on each other to defend the boat and help it get across the seas to its destination.


I really enjoyed Secrets of the Realm even though it was a little slow at first. It is important you take in everything as you read it because some parts of the book are jam-packed with really fast paced scenes. I had to re-read some parts in order to fully capture what had been written.

If you like Historical fiction and are a fan of the sea and the sea life, I would recommend this book to you.

Rating: 4/5