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10 questions with historical fiction author: Cate Campbell

Cate Campbell is the author of "Benedict Hall" and "Hall of Secrets".
Cate Campbell is the author of "Benedict Hall" and "Hall of Secrets".
Courtesy of Cate Campbell

Cate Campbell, author of "Benedict Hall" and "Hall of Secrets" 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?

Of course, every life story has its tragic moments, so it's hard to
imagine myself being another person. I would probably want to make
different choices! I might have enjoyed living the life of Eleanor
Roosevelt, though, because she used the position she was given to make a
very real difference in the lives of Americans. I also thoroughly admire
the great contralto Marian Anderson, who made a wonderful career and sang
for decades in America and in Europe.

2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?

I hope this won't seem like ducking the question, but I think I like
the present period as much as any. Our lifestyle would be envied by most
people from most eras, I'm quite certain! Our quality of life, our
medical care, our knowledge of the world are so much greater than at any
time in history--it would be hard to leave any of that behind to live in a
different period.

3. You're having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?

This would be a most entertaining party! My guest list would include
Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt (there she is again!), Princess Diana
(just because I'm curious) and President and Mrs. Obama, because they
fascinate me, and because I'm sure my other guests would love to meet

4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?

Highclere! Highclere Castle is where "Downton Abbey" is filmed, and I
almost feel I know it already. I would love to see that view from the
gallery and to have tea in the library.

5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you'd like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?

My friend Nicola Griffith, the author of "HILD", would be excellent
company. I'd also invite Philippa Gregory, because her 1920s novel was
part of my inspiration for the "BENEDICT HALL" series. Hers is set in
England, and mine in the U.S., but her understanding of the period would
be wonderful to explore.

6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?

They were both terribly naughty, don't you think? It's hard for me to
consider Henry VIII, because I find I'm done with the Tudor period. I'm
aware of the hundreds of historical novels set in the Tudor era, but I
read the biographies and other nonfiction books about Henry and his
daughters when I was young, and exhausted my interest. I'd have to do
research on Louis XIV. I'm more interested in Eleanor of Aquitaine!

7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?

Is it okay to say I don't have a favorite? I pity them all.

8. English monarchy or French monarchy?

English, at least in the past two centuries. In the days of Eleanorof Aquitaine, they were so intertwined it's hard to regard them separately. (And there's another Eleanor! Isn't that fascinating?)

9. What three novels could you read over and over?

These are the books of my childhood. "SMOKY" is one that I loved as a girl, and can still read with pleasure. I also adored "THE WIZARD OF OZ", and I could re-read "THE LORD OF THE RINGS" more or less endlessly. Tolkien was himself a historian and a linguist, and the layers of meaning in the trilogy reveal themselves gradually.

10. Tea or coffee when writing?

Coffee in the morning, green tea in the afternoon! I have a tea shop I like to visit, with my computer, where they make a lovely pot of tea and where they play classical music. A good place to write!

Cate Campbell's official website:

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