Imogen Robertson, author of "Circle of Shadows", "Island of Bones", "Anatomy of Murder", "Instruments of Darkness", and "The Paris Winter" (available November 18, 2014) 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 think it would be Suzanne Valadon. She was a painter in Paris during the Belle Époch and I fell for her completely while writing my novel "The Paris Winter". She knew everyone, was incredibly talented and though her childhood was very tough she lived with such bravery and passion. I would love to see life through her eyes.
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
If I can take modern medicine with me and you can give me plenty of money so I can travel about and see the world, I'd like to go back to the 1780s. Great music, great literature and I've always thought I'd benefit from doing the Grand Tour through Europe.
3. You're having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
I'll have Suzanne Valadon because she will bring us the gossip from Montmartre, Samuel Johnson and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu for wit and polish. Mozart because he combined genius with being fun at parties and Amedeo Modigliani because as well as being a wonderful artist and friend of Valadon's he also liked to play the flute and recite large chunks of Dante.
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
I saw some beautiful castles when I was researching CIrcle of Shadows in southern Germany, so I think I'd like one of those please. Something on top of a mountain in the Black Forest full of art treasures and with a three story library and a turret where I can sit and read.
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you'd like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
That's easy - Robyn Young and Alex von Tunzelmann. Robyn has written two best selling trilogies and though Alex's books are non-fiction, she'd working on historical screenplays now. They are two of my best friends, both brilliant and we make each other laugh a lot.
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
Louis XIV, please. I would love to watch him build Versailles. That said, the people who I find most interesting in history are normally those at the edges of things rather than the monarchs in the middle.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
Catherine Parr. She managed to survive for a start, but was also a key influence on her step-daughter Elizabeth I.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
Not sure either of them have an unblemished record, but I am English and if you say anything against the monarchy here the Queen comes round and looks at you in a disappointed fashion, so English please.
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers, An Infamous Army - Georgette Heyer
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
Coffee, coffee, coffee. In fact I'll just go and put the kettle on.
Imogen Robertson's official website: