Kelly Gardiner, author of “Act of Faith” and “The Sultan’s Eyes” answers 10 questions about her favorite time period in history, her favorite figures from history, and the age old question of coffee or tea.
1. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
Leonardo Da Vinci’s personal assistant. Never a dull moment.
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
One of those years on the cusp of great change, such as the fight for women’s right to vote or the legal abolition of slavery. Imagine how determined, sometimes angry, energetic and chaotic it felt.
3. You’re having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
Elizabeth 1, Grace O’Malley the pirate queen, Julie d’Aubigny (subject of my next book and endlessly entertaining), Aphra Behn and Napoleon Bonaparte. But somehow I don’t think they’d get on all that well. There might be a food fight. Or a duel.
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
Versailles. Wouldn’t everyone?
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you’d like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
Sarah Waters and Hilary Mantel. Although I’d be too shy to say a word to either of them. Perhaps I could just carry the luggage.
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
Louis was more dashing but I suspect Henry was more interesting – both complex, brilliant and sometimes difficult men.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
I think Catherine Parr comes out of the whole sorry saga as the most dignified and sensible, in spite of her husbands. A formidable intellect, a published author, extremely well educated, and passionate about educating girls, including Elizabeth.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
I can’t answer that. It might start another war.
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
I do read “War and Peace”, and “Pride and Prejudice”, over and over. If I need comfort reading, it’s the “Harry Potter” series. Always.
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
Very strong coffee in the mornings, tea in the afternoons.
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