Sharon Biggs Waller, author of "A Mad Wicked Folly" answers 10 questions about her avorite 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 say Abigail Adams because she had moxie and she was in a very warm and loving marriage, which was probably not the norm in the 18th century. She’s one of my favorite historic figures because she was probably our first feminist. In 1776 Abigail warned her husband that he must “remember the ladies” when creating new laws separate from Great Britain’s, and told him that women would not go along with any law that excluded them, and were willing to foment rebellion.
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
1920 in the United States, which is when women’s suffrage was ratified. But only if I could be part of the coterie of women (Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, for example) who were on the front lines, fighting hard to get the vote. I can imagine myself standing in front of the White House keeping silent vigil and pointing out Woodrow Wilson’s hypocrisy. At least I hope I would have the guts to do it. In truth I would have probably been found working in garment factory!
3. You're having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
I would have a gathering of feminists with Abigail Adams as the guest of honor. She was our first outspoken feminist so I think she deserves to be celebrated. I’d also invite American suffragists Lucy Burns and Alice Paul, and British suffragists Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Sylvia. I’d make them a Thanksgiving dinner to honor them for their work. For dessert we’d have a huge red velvet cake with ice cream.
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
Hever Castle in Kent, which was the girlhood home of Anne Boleyn, and then later given to Anne of Cleves by Henry VIII. It’s more of a manor house than your typical drafty, cold castle, and I like its charm and coziness. The grounds are beautiful too and it’s very peaceful.
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you'd like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
Diana Gabaldon, author of the fabulous "Outlander" series, and my friend Katherine Longshore, who wrote the Tudor YA series, "GILT", "TARNISH", and "BRAZEN".
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
King Louis by default because King Henry was an abusive monster as far as I’m concerned. I mean, he had no compunction with murdering his wives and thought very little of women. He put aside the two smartest women in his life—Katherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves, and if he hadn’t died before he could get around to it, he would have had Katherine Parr arrested. I am not a fan of Henry’s, that is for sure. I think it’s quite ironic that a woman, his second daughter, Elizabeth, left a bigger and better legacy.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
Anne of Cleves. She was very intelligent and knew how to survive in Henry’s court. She would have been a very good queen for Henry, if he’d had any sense.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
"OUTLANDER" by Diana Gabaldon, "REBECCA" by Daphne du Maurier, and "THE LITTLE PRINCESS" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
Tea. English or Irish Breakfast with milk and sugar.
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