Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Author Interview- Susan Coventry

I'm excited to present my 1st author interview, conducted in Q&A format via e-mail with Susan Coventry, author of The Queen's Daughter and book blogger on Reading World.  She also mantains her own web site and was the winner of my 50th Follower Giveaway/Challenge.

What was a key inspiration for you to become a writer?

I'd have to say the main stimulus for writing was reading. Reading was my escape, my way of relaxing, but at some point I suppose I needed a greater challenge for my own imagination. I wanted to create stories, not just absorb them. I think that many people who read a lot develop a love of the written language that inspires them to write. We learn some of the necessary skills (grammar, basic storycraft) by osmosis. But while writing per se is not difficult for a reader (it was something I did as a hobby for many years as a creative outlet) "becoming a writer" was a much more serious investment of time and energy. That involved learning to edit, being willing to show people my work, and learning to listen to criticism and incorporate suggestions in revisions. The more work I put into it, the more inspired-- or obsessed-- I became.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Always a difficult question. I have so many. I think of different ones at different times.  Dorothy Dunnett, Cecelia Holland, Colleen McCullough, and Margaret Frazer are some of my favorite historical novelists. I absolutely love Gerald Morris's Arthurian books. I admire Jude Watson/Judy Blundell. And then my favorite "dead old white guy" writers are Hemingway and Thomas Hardy-although it's been ages since I've reread any of their books.

Tell us a bit about The Queen's Daughter.

The Queen's Daughter is the story of Princess Joan, the youngest daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II. Her childhood is shaped by the rebellion of her brothers (Henry, Richard and John) against her father, followed by the imprisonment of her mother for instigating the rebellion. Joan's ideas of familial duty and love are warped by notions of the overriding importance of power and ambition. The story follows Joan on her journey first as the child bride of the King of Sicily, then as a young widow accompanying her brother Richard the Lionheart on crusade, and finally as a young woman seeking happiness with a man whose ideas of power and ambition clash head-on with what she has believed all her life.

Is historical fiction a natural niche for you as a writer or are you open to writing in different genres?

At this point, I can't imagine writing in any other genre. Historical fiction is what I enjoy reading the most and what I understand best.

What drew you to Joan of England (the daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II)?

Count Raymond attracted me to the story. I was researching the Albigensian Crusade for an idea for a different novel. Raymond is one of the leaders of the people of the south, the side that eventually lost. He was such a romantic tragic figure. I fell in love with him. And then I discovered he had been married to Eleanor of Aquitaine's daughter. When I looked back into their story, I was hooked.

Being an avid moviegoer, I have to ask:  Any thoughts on cinematic representations of this family, such as The Lion in Winter (Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Peter O'Toole as King Henry II) or Becket (also with O'Toole as King Henry II)?

I love Katherine Hepburn in anything. So I had to see The Lion in Winter and I think it's a brillant movie. It helps to know a bit of the historical background or it's easy to get lost in some of the verbal sparring that goes on, but I really enjoyed the way the family was portrayed.

I haven't seen Becket (I read it in high school!). I'm not much of a movie goer. Something about sitting in a dark theater with the bright lights on the screen almost always gives me a migraine, so over my formative years I developed a bit of an aversion to going to the movies. Nowadays I could easily rent them and watch them on the small screen, but somehow I never seem to be able to set aside the time. If I'm in my house, there are too many distractions. Was Becket as good as The Lion in Winter? I should probably rent it, shouldn't I?

What is the best piece of advice you have received about writing?

The best piece of advice is be patient. Every step of the way.

Thanks Susan!

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