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10 questions with historical fiction author: Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor is the author of "The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic" and "A Memory of Violets (available February 2015).
Hazel Gaynor is the author of "The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic" and "A Memory of Violets (available February 2015).
Courtesy of Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor, author of "The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic" and "A Memory of Violets (available February 2015) 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?

I would love to be Charlotte Bronte. I am so intrigued by her life, and that of her sisters. I would love to share her experience of being a novelist with only paper, quill and a small writing table. I would also love to know how it felt to live in an era without technology and where relationships were determined by social status and conventions of formality. I’ve visited the Bronte parsonage in Haworth, Yorkshire. It absolutely fascinates me.

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

Having written two novels set in 1912, I’d have to say 1912. This was a fascinating era, with so many changes taking place, particularly for women. Everything was so dramatically different after 1914, so 1912 was one of the last years where society had lived without the experience of war. I think that makes it a particularly interesting year.

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

Charlotte Bronte, Anne Boleyn, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Charles Dickens. I would make a traditional roast dinner, with Yorkshire puddings, and serve my very best baked vanilla cheesecake for dessert. It would certainly be an interesting evening!

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

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. It has been the home of the Percy family for 700 years and is a stunning castle with incredible history. It is also where the Hogwarts scenes from the first two "Harry Potter" movies were filmed, so that makes it especially cool!

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

Wow. Who to choose?! I think I’d go with Philippa Gregory and Kate Mosse. I was lucky enough to meet Philippa Gregory and she is a fascinating woman and such a talented writer. I’ve never been to Carcasonne in France and would love a personally guided tour by Kate Mosse. I loved her trilogy of novels set in France.

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

I’d have to say that Louis XIV was more dashing, but Henry VIII was far more interesting.

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

Anne Boleyn. What a woman. What a life!

8. English monarchy or French monarchy?

Being an English girl, I have to say English monarchy!

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

Classics: "Jane Eyre". "Great Expectations". "Wuthering Heights".

Contemporary: "The Help". "The Snow Child". "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society".

10. Tea or coffee when writing?

Coffee. Preferably served with a large slice of cake and a refill on standby.

Hazel Gaynor's official website:

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