Author Interview: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

Norton Conyers Manor Home

One of my favorite things about having this little space of internet is sharing it with others (who knew sharing could be so fun!). Anyway, I’m excited to have Michelle Griep here today because, honestly, I just love how she describes her novel, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. But, even better, this book incorporates Charles Dickens. What! Yes. I just love books with layers.

And Christmas. Shhh, I know it’s September. But everyone knows that Christmas starts early for artists, whether writers or musicians!

Let me introduce you to Michelle Griep!

About the Author: Michelle GriepMichelle Griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or Pinterest.

About 12 Days at Bleakly ManorAuthor Interview: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger…and love?

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series–a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale–by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

Author Interview: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

Quick (1-Word) Answers:

  • Favorite Dessert: Chocolate anything
  • Pet Peeve: Chewing out loud
  • Current Read: Last of the Mohicans
  • Song on Repeat: “Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown

Cordially Barbara: Oh my goshhhhh. I love “Get Up Offa That Thing,” too! I’ve seen a couple of neat YouTube videos with sweet dance moves. Such a good song. I might need to go listen to it now.

In-Depth Questions

1. What inspired 12 Days at Bleakly Manor?

Honestly? My publisher contacted me and asked if I’d consider writing a 3 book series (with one coming out each year for the next 3 years) that would be in the Victorian era and somehow incorporate Charles Dickens into the storyline. Who could turn that down?

CB: I don’t think I could. That sounds like such a fun idea/assignment!

2. Did the characters of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor teach you anything while you were creating the story?

Mostly just that kindness covers a multitude of sins.

3. On a day of inclement weather, what would your protagonist be doing?

If all her mending was done, she’d curl up with a great book and a cup of earl grey tea.

CB: That’s me. Every Day.

4. Is there a line or quote from 12 Days at Bleakly Manor that you just love?

Gah! Only one? That’s like asking me to pick which of my children is my favorite. So, here’s one, but there are oh-so-many-more . . .

“You don’t have to be right. You just have to be.”

That one speaks to me personally, taking the pressure off of always wanting to make sure I’m right.

CB: I love that. And, hmmm, I guess I’ll have to grab a copy of your novel to enjoy those other lines!

5. Did you travel to research 12 Days at Bleakly Manor?

I didn’t specifically travel for Bleakly, but I have been to England several times and take snippets of notes to incorporate into future stories. Maybe how a place feels, or how a room is set up, or even fun people I meet to base a character off of.

Norton Conyers Manor Home

Norton Conyers Manor Home

I crafted Bleakly Manor after an old manor home we’d visited. Last year I toured the Norton-Conyers Manor. It’s the same medieval building that Charlotte Bronte visited and afterwards wrote Jane Eyre.

Stairway inside the manor home

Stairway inside the manor home

CB: I’m swooning. Wow.

6. I like to write book reviews where I compare the book to food. What would you compare 12 Days at Bleakly Manor to?

Fruit cake. I know, blechh, right? But that is the perfect food in so many ways:

  • It’s a Christmas dessert.
  • It’s filled with nuts (just like the characters visiting Bleakly Manor).
  • The words “fruit cake” evoke an emotion in everyone. . .which is my aim for everything I write.

CB: Oooooo! I love that choice of food for your novel! When I compare food to books, I choose the food for many reasons, just as you did. 


What Christmas books are you looking forward to reading?


  1. Trisha Robertson   •  

    Such a fun interview! I really enjoyed reading 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. I’m going to have to pull it back out in December to read & enjoy again! ❤️

    • Barbara   •     Author

      ooooo! You’ve read it? I would love to read it! I just know that I would enjoy it. I have a soft spot for classic literature twined with a modern writer retelling!

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