Juliet (my review), to The Book Chick today! Despite her busy publicity and writing schedule, she kindly took the time to answer a few questions for me.
The Book Chick: Juliet must have required an incredible amount of research to write. Is that level of research something that you would consider doing again for a future novel?
Anne Fortier: There is no getting around the research, when you are writing an historical novel. The further back in time you go – the more difficult the research. But I quite like digging into the sources, because I learn a lot, and what I discover often inspires me. I think it would be very hard to be an author if one didn’t like to do research; I suppose you would have to set the story in your own everyday surroundings, or create a futuristic world out of your own imagination. I know I will be doing a lot of research for my next book as well, but I am quite looking forward to it.
TBC: Juliet offers us an alternate version of the events that led to the creation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Is the account entirely fictional, or are there parts of that story that are based on fact?
AF: The medieval Siena stage setting, if you will, is all based on fact, while the individual characters are my invention. It is true that the Tolomei and Salimbeni families had a feud, and that the Salimbenis had a reputation for being arrogant and ambitious, but there is no evidence of a tragic love affair involving any of their children. Mind you, that sort of thing would never end up in history books … undoubtedly there were many love tragedies back then – but we will never know.
TBC: The cover of your book is visually stunning and I'm sure that it will entice many readers to choose your book at the bookstore. Did you envision the cover while writing the book? If so, was the end result what you had pictured?
AF: I didn’t actually have a cover in mind while I was reading the book, but afterwards, when the publisher asked my opinion, I told them I envisioned something dark and medieval … perhaps a narrow alley with moonlight shadows. However, I do love the rose very much, and agree that it is a very fitting symbol for Romeo & Juliet. Of course, the book is coming out with very different covers all over the world, but hopefully, “by any other cover, the book will smell as sweet … “
TBC: What is a typical day of your life like when you're busy working on a novel?
AF: I usually start the day by reading what I wrote the day before over breakfast, and then take a shower while musing on the paragraph to come. If I have a few good pages by lunch time I may stop there and tend to other things, because I find that often, when I write all afternoon as well, the writing becomes loose. So, I usually obey the Cinderella Principle: Stop while you’re hot. When I was younger, I used to think that I wrote much better at night; now I rarely write beyond five in the afternoon, unless I am home alone, in which case I don’t stir from that computer, even to shower …
TBC: What books are on your nightstand right now?
AF: Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, which I read to my baby daughter; a book with facial exercises; Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters, which I am currently reading; and The Cult of the Presidency by Gene Healy, which I am planning to read next.
Thank-you so much to Anne for stopping by! She is touring several other blogs right now, so be sure to check her other interviews out as well.