SOURCEBOOKS AND MY BOOK ADDICTION AND MORE PROUDLY PRESENTS…
MBA&M: Did you always want to be an author?
First of all – thank you so much for having me on your blog!
YOU ARE SO WELCOME,IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE HAVING YOU WITH US!
I first knew wanted to write novels when I was twelve and my mother bought me a book – a novel called ‘The Far Distant Oxus’ which was written in the 1930’s by two teenage schoolgirls, called Katherine Hull and Pamela Whitlock. I remember firstly loving the book, and secondly, being amazed that the writers were pretty much the same age as me. If they could do it, I reasoned, so could I. And thus began a desire to create a novel which I didn’t actually manage to realize for about three decades! I still have a few pages of the early attempt I made just after finishing Hull and Whitlock’s book. It is truly unmemorable.
MBA&M: If not an author what would be your career choice?
Well, I’m a qualified English and Drama teacher, so the sensible answer to your question is just that – I’d stick to school-teaching. I do enjoy the raw energy teenagers bring to life, even if it can be pretty challenging at times! But idealistically, probably a theatre director. I have my own small theatre company, and really enjoy directing – in many ways it’s quite similar to writing, in that you imagine the scene, work out motivations and emotions and reactions, etc, and then bring them to life. Only with directing, you use real people to bring the scene to life, rather than words. Does that make sense?
It was sort of decided for me, because I chose to tell the back-story to Victorian poet, Robert Browning’s monologue, ‘My Last Duchess’. My need to tell that story, once I’d had the idea, was really all-consuming so I just had to get on with it, and the fact that the historical figures the poem describes existed in the sixteenth century in Italy just came with the territory. I don’t really think of myself as a ‘historical novelist’ though – I just like to tell a good story, and it just so happens that the stories I’ve told so far happen to have taken place in past eras. I might well write a contemporary novel at some point.
MBA&M: What where some challenges in writing your genre?
Two things spring to mind. One is perhaps the most obvious – the research. Every novelist researches their books, whether they are set in the present, the past, the future, or some alien environment known only to the writer. But for the historical novelist, the research is perhaps particularly painstaking – for instance, I have an etymological dictionary, and check the origins of almost every word I use, to make sure it (or an equivalent) existed at the time my novel is set. When the word I want is more modern than I can allow myself to use, it can be really annoying!
The other thing is idiolect – making sure that the style of the language I use creates a sense of a past time, without it feeling either stilted or like a pastiche. For my characters, after all, their language is modern and entirely of their own present, and I want it to feel like that for the reader, only it isn’t the readers’ present, if you see what I mean. So I try to create an idiolect which is perhaps more lyrical than our modern prose, while retaining a believable sense of sixteenth-century modernity (sorry – I hope that makes sense!). And, for me in particular, as my books are set in Italy four hundred and fifty years ago, I have the added challenge of creating an idiolect which works as a pseudo-translation from the Italian as well! It’s not easy, and none of it is taken for granted.
MBA&M: What is one of your quirkiest things about you?
I asked my children this one, as I really couldn’t think of anything. They assured me that I’m much too boring to have any quirks at all, but my older daughter (who is 18 years old) said that it seems quirky to her that, as a mother of two teenage girls, I hate shopping quite as much as I do! What else? I’m a strict vegetarian, and I absolutely detest bananas (no idea why!)
MBA&M: What do you believe is the allure of your genre for readers?
What people tell me is that they love finding out about life in other eras, and other places, and yet they love the fact that fundamentally people haven’t changed much over hundreds and hundreds of years. People still love and hate, they are frightened and jealous, depressed and angry and bitter, joyful and happy and excited, just as much as they were centuries ago. So while learning about past times and customs, readers can engage with characters who are going through totally recognizable experiences.
I hope all that made sense – thank you again for inviting me onto the blog. It’s been a pleasure. I hope you enjoy ‘The Courtesan’s Lover’ !
Best wishes, Gaby x
Visit her website at:
THE COURTSAN’S LOVER
- Paperback:528 pages
- Publisher:Sourcebooks Landmark (May 1, 2012)
- ISBN-13: 978-1402265884
Book Description(from Amazon)
“Gets under your skin.”
—Praise for the novels of Gabrielle Kimm
Francesca Felizzi knows she wields an immense power over men. Her patrons see only a carefree courtesan, and they pay handsomely for the privilege of her time. Francesca never saw him coming, the man who cracked her heart open and ruined her for the job. But he’s shown her what a gaudy facade she’s built, and she doesn’t know how to tear it down without taking her beloved daughters with her. The wrong move could plunge all of them into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began her perilous work all those years ago.
An exquisite tale that explores the intricate nature of a mother’s heart. The Courtesan’s Lover draws you close and whispers in your ear. In the tradition of Sarah Dunant and Marina Fiorato, a compelling and vibrant tale from an up-and-coming fresh voice that readers will want to savor.
Thank you for spending time with us and our guest today!!