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10 questions with historical fiction blogger: Stacy Millican

Stacy Millican runs The Novel Life.
Courtesy of Stacy Millican

The world of historical fiction features great authors and great bloggers and book reviewers who help promote the wonderful novels written by these fantastic historical fiction writers. These bloggers and reviewers have a passion for historical fiction and are proud to promote the works they read and enjoy. Stacy Millican from The Novel Life answers 10 questions about the genre she so loves.

1. What was the first historical fiction novel you ever read?

Ahh, can you ever forget that first taste of historical fiction?!? Mine was "The Expected One" by Kathleen McGowan which I gobbled up in a few hours. I still go back and read the series periodically finding little tidbits I've missed.

2. What are your favorite historical fiction novels?

My absolute favorite is "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruis Zafon. Zafon's creative genius blew me away, and oh, how I wish I could visit the "Cemetery of Forgotten Books!" Kathleen McGowan's "The Book of Love" weaves mythology, theology and history to create a unputdownable read. And I can't leave out "The Other Side of the Sun" by Madeleine L'Engle. Such a profound novel set in post Civil War South Carolina touching on racism, religion {not just theology but Christianity, voodooism, & agnosticism}, and the powerful strength of love.

3. Who are some historical fiction authors you have interviewed or worked with?

I have interviewed Kathleen McGowan who is as lovely a person as she is a writer. Carolina de Robertis fascinated me with "Perla" describing the era in which over 30,000 citizens of Argentina "disappeared." She also seems to be an incredibly beautiful person both inside and out. C.W. Gortner is the absolute master of history and quite charming in his own right. His ability to write historical female characters in such a believable manner is a gift. Another favorite author I've worked with is M.J. Rose. She is as enigmatic as she is talented {and I've read every. single. book. of hers!}

4. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?

Can I go back in time with the knowledge of history as it happened? If that's the case then I would want to be either Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova, Empress Consort of Russia or Eva Braun, long-time girlfriend of Adolf Hitler. As Her Imperial Majesty I would be sure to do away of any association with Grigori Rasputin and definitely make much more of an effort to befriend the Russian citizens. Filling in as Eva Braun? Well, I'm not quite certain what or how I would accomplish this but I would be certain Adolf Hitler never rose in power nor had the chance to inflict such terror and horror across Europe.

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

That's a hard one. I don't believe there's any other time period I would prefer. I'm too partial to hot showers, flushing toilets and washing machines!

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

Anastasia Romanov - I've always been fascinated with the Romanovs, especially Anastasia. {interesting fact: "Stacy" is the derivative of "Anastasia"}
C.S. Lewis - My all-time favorite male author. Brilliant, creative and loves children - what better combination?!?
Dr. Seuss {Theodor Seuss Geisel} - we share the same birthday AND his quotes are incredibly inspirational!
Madeleine L'Engle - My all-time favorite female author, and since she passed away in 2007, she counts as "history," right?
Margaret Mead - Her anthropology work and subsequent published papers changed the way we view adolescence. I also used her most famous quote to 'rally the troops' when I worked at a non-profit: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."

Can you imagine that particular combination of historical figures all together?

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

Castles are magnificent features of architecture, and I would love to visit any one castle or every single one; however, I don't really have a favorite castle. What I do have is a favorite cathedral I would love, love, love to visit, live in, hide out in, explore for days, sleep in the rafters, anything. The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Chartres is an absolute marvel of beauty, workmanship and theological interest. I've wanted to visit Chartres ever since I first heard of it as a young girl. The idea of being able to walk the famous labyrinth or view the stained glass windows depicting Jesus' lifetime is a lifelong dream of mine.

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

Honestly? I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit, but I'm not a fan of the Kings & Queens. I couldn't even tell you who the wives of King Henry VIII are much less pick out a favorite.

9. Do you read traditional books or use an E-Reader?

Both. There's always something magical about cracking the spine on a brand new physical book. The texture of the cover and the pages. . .the bookish almost musty scent. . .the physical weight of the book in my hands ~ it all is an experience to never throw away. Even a used book, oh, and especially a really dusty ancient book ~ that's the best!

The E-Reader has its advantages as well. I can read about a book then download it practically instantaneously. I can highlight long passages, keep notes on what I read right there on the screen and even look up a word I don't know almost magically! The dictionary aspect of the E-Reader is definitely my personal favorite - LOVE that part! I can highlight a word and get all sorts of information about it without really interrupting my reading. That one benefit alone is a good reason to put E-Readers in the hands of school-age children and teens. They are more apt to look up an unfamiliar word while reading on an E-Reader in this time of instant gratification - heck, I'm much more apt to look it up on an e-reader as well!

10. Tea or coffee when reading and reviewing books?

Depends. Sometimes it's a cup of hot Irish Breakfast tea. Sometimes an iced caramel macchiato 5 pump from Starbucks. Most of the time it's a tall glass of sweet southern iced tea.


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