My inbox is overflowing with authors’ interviews! It’s so exciting!
Up today is the first of our two historical fiction authors, Marissa Doyle!
C: Have you always been interested in history? Once you knew that you were going to write a book (if it was a conscious decision), did you know immediately that it would be historical fiction?
MD: I've been a history geek since I was nine, when I saw "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" on Masterpiece Theatre and couldn't get my hands on enough books about English history, fiction and non-fiction. But no, I didn't start out writing historical fiction--Bewitching Season was actually my fourth completed novel. The first was a fantasy set in a made-up world, and the next two were contemporary fantasies.
C: I love that one of the first descriptions of your novels on your website is “heroines who discover their own unique strengths and abilities [and] heroes who are worthy of them.” Can you expand on why you think that this is so important?
MD: I love writing about the balls and the dresses and all the girly-girl stuff of the 19th century...but I don't like writing about wimps or shrinking violets. I guess I'm a product of my women's college (Bryn Mawr), which was full of brilliant young women doing amazing things. It's just my personal code to write about strong, intelligent heroines who solve their own problems and don't wait for someone else--especially a guy--to rescue them--it's what I want for my daughters, and their friends, and all young (and not so young) women.
C: How much research goes into one of your historical fiction novels?
MD: A lot. I have a research library of hundreds of books and periodicals and documents, and I use it--books on everything from clothes to food to etiquette to houses...you name it. I do my darnedest to get the details in my books as authentic as possible, because (a) it's loads of fun (b) I feel I owe it to both my subject and to my readers and (c) it's part of my secret mission to show teen readers that history can be fascinating and exciting and yes, relevant. If I can get some of my readers to have their own history inspiration moment the way I did with "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," then I'll be a very happy author.
C: What was your favorite book as a teenager?
MD: Oh dear. What year? I went through several favorites - "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and "The Perilous Gard" early on, as well as Jean Plaidy's dozens of novels about the kings and queens of England. When I was about 15 I discovered Victoria Holt and was on a Gothic romance binge for years. The books that really stand out from that time in my mind, though, are T.H. White's "The Once and Future King" and Evangeline Walton's "Mabinogion Quartet."
C: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Fifth Annual TBF?
MD: Well, definitely my co-presenter on historical fiction, Alisa Libby, whom I got to have lunch with this winter at ALA...and Lisa Schroeder, a fellow Class of 2k8 member...and...well, all of them!
Well, Marissa, just like you can’t wait to meet all our awesome TBF authors, we can’t wait to meet you! Thanks so much for answering these interview questions for us!