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10 questions with historical fiction author: Lori Benton

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Lori Benton, author of "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn" and "Burning Sky" 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?

The list of historical figures I’d like to have known is long, but to actually be one? I can’t honestly say I’d like to have been anyone from history. I’d much rather be alive now, writing about them. How about being someone for a week and a day? For that amount of time I wouldn’t mind being Sacajawea, during the Lewis & Clark expedition to the Pacific.

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

I love the perspective we have looking back on history, the challenge of trying to understand different times, putting myself in the shoes of those who walked them—and slipping out of them too. But for the sake of discussion… 1787, as the United States was being defined and crafted.

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

Benjamin Franklin, Sir William Johnson, Abigail Adams, George Rogers Clark, and his younger brother William Clark. They each experienced and influenced critical periods of the 18th and early 19th century. And I’d like to think they’d get along over supper, though throwing loyalist William Johnson into this patriotic mix could prove interesting.

4. What historical home on the American frontier would you like to live in?

Sir William Johnson’s home, Johnson Hall, built north of the Mohawk River in New York, 1763.

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

James Alexander Thom and Liz Curtis Higgs.

6. Who was more dashing and interesting, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington?

I admire them both, yet scratch my head over aspects of their characters, as best we know them. But I’m more intrigued by the seeming contradiction that was Thomas Jefferson. I’d like to know the man.

7. Which if the first six First Ladies do you most admire?

Abigail Adams, probably because I know more about her than any other of the First Ladies. Love her letters to her husband.

8. Royal Colonies or United States?

There’s so much interesting history on both sides of the Revolutionary War, but I find the early decades of statehood a fascinating period in history, for all the accomplishments and tragedies it birthed.

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

"The Summer of the Danes" by Ellis Peters; "To Say Nothing of the Dog", or "How We Found The Bishop’s Bird Stump At Last" by Connie Willis; "The Red Heart" by James Alexander Thom.

10. Tea or coffee when writing?

Coffee, but only half-strength, and only two cups a day. Any more and I’m asking for trouble!

Lori Benton's official website:


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