November 23rd, 2009


Five questions

From a_d_medievalist.

1. How did you meet the marquis?
Neither of us can remember how we met for the very first time. We were both members of the Cambridge University SF Society and must have been told each other's names at some point. But the first memory either of us have of meeting and talking is in around 1985/6, at a party, when for some long forgotten reason we got talking and he pretended to strangle me. Various other things happened (including me being engaged to someone else for a while) and we finally got together in 1987.

2. How much do you consciously inject your social/political beliefs into your novels?
I don't know. I don't consciously set out to do so (except for my short story 'Strong Brown God', which was written for an explicitly political anthology) but I tend to notice that such things have crept in fairly early and end up working towards and about them. Living With Ghosts is fairly light on politics, I think (although the rich/poor divide is in there). Grass King is a lot more overtly political and became so from its third chapter.

3. Who is your favourite historian (to read)?
Peter Sawyer, definitely. I love the acuteness in his writing. I have a soft spot for G R Elton, too, though I don't agree with him!

4. You're having a party, and you have to invite 5 people each from history and fiction, as well as several LJ friends: who do you invite?
Oh, that's difficult. The fictional characters are fairly easy -- I'd like all of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d'Artagnan in their fictional personae, plus Freddy Standen from Georgette Heyer's Cotillion, because he's at home in any social situation. From history... Gruffudd ap Llywelyn and Trahaearn ap Caradog, my two favourite 11th century Welsh kings; Cardinal Richelieu, because he's much maligned and was a cat lover; the Russian dissident writer and former victim of Stalin's purges Eugenia Ginsberg, because she's my heroine; and the remarkable Marie de Rohan, duchesse de Chevreuse, because she's one of the cleverest and most interesting women in French history (though she and Richelieu did not get on at all). From LJ? Oh, even harder... narkil, of course (aka the marquis); anef, because she's always a good guest; anna_wing, because she could handle Richelieu, I'm certain; desperance, because he'd never forgive me for having both Freddy and Aramis present and not inviting him; and stevegreen, because he's great company and he would write the event up afterwards with skill and flair.

5. What is your dream holiday (and does it include writing?)?
That's something that changes regularly, because I'm one of those people who works out where she really wants to go, then saves up and goes. China is high on my list, as is Northern India. I like to tour around and see edifices and mountains and lakes and.... Ad learn about the history and culture. And the marquis has to come, too. I might write, I might not: it would depend on what I was working on at the time.

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