Jessica James, author of "Shades of Gray" and "Noble Cause" 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?
So that I could meet Colonel John Mosby—the Confederate cavalry commander the main character in my novel NOBLE CAUSE is based upon—I’d like to be Laura Ratcliffe. She was a spy who lived in northern Virginia and saved Mosby’s life once by warning him of an ambush.
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
It would be a hard life, but I’d like to go back to 1863, the height of the Civil War and the year the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. I live on a hill overlooking Gettysburg, and would like to experience what they saw and heard here.
3. You're having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
Oh, that would be so much fun—but so hard to pick just five. I’d have to start with George Washington, a man whose wisdom, humility and faith I am always trying to emulate. Sticking with the Revolution era, I would love to chat with General Francis Marion, who fought in the southern theater. Of course, I would have to invite Colonel Mosby, and also his commander, the flamboyant General JEB Stuart. And since I suppose I need a female to share some conversation with among all of these warriors, I’ll invite Joan of Arc.
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
Since I write about the American Civil War – I’d like to change “castle” to “plantation.” I would love to live in Boone Hall in Charlestown, S.C. or Welbourne in Middleburg, Va. I’m going to visit the beautiful Oak Alley in Louisiana next month and have a feeling I’ll have a “new favorite.”
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you'd like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
That’s a hard one because I mostly read 19th century fiction, so the authors I most admire are not alive. Two contemporary authors I do recall as being brilliant writers are Lucia St. Clair Robson and Diane Gabaldon. I think we could have a good time together.
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
I know very little of King Louis XIV, so will go with King Henry – but only when he was young and dashing.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
Anne of Cleves because she outlived everyone.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
Two classics, "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Tale of Two Cities", and then "Shanna" by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I read that as a teenager and never forgot it.
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
I drink a pot of coffee in the morning and then switch to tea in the afternoon .
Jessica James's official website:
Check out Jessica James's tribute to love letters written by well-known figures of the Civil War in "From the Heart":