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. Ashley LaMar from Closed the Cover and CTC Virtual Book Tours answers 10 questions about the genre she so loves.
1. What was the first historical fiction novel you ever read?
I've always read books that would be considered historical fiction but if I had to pick one it would be "The Last of the Wine" by Mary Renault. I'm certain it wasn't the first but it was the first truly memorable one. It was required reading in a world history class I was taking in high school and there was an uproar about it. There is one small passage, just a few sentences really, that insinuate homosexual groping between a politician and a young male servant. There were parents who wanted the book banned from the school and who made improper statements regarding the morals of the teacher. It ended with a civil lawsuit but controversy made me more excited than ever to read the book. I would say that controversy is what really sparked my interest in history and historical fiction.
2. What are your favorite historical fiction novels?
I have a special attachment to war fiction specifically World War II and the American Revolution. I have read the entire "White Indian" series (originally titled the Colonization of America Series) by Donald Clayton Porter at least three times. There are 28 books in that series and they cover from the early settlement of America through the American Revolution. My name was inspired by the character Ashley Wilkes in "Gone with the Wind" so it holds a spot among my favorite historical fiction novels. More recently I would say that "The Schellendorf Series" by Lyn Alexander, which covers a period of time from World War I through the Nuremberg Trials, has made its way into my favorite historical fiction novels as well as "Of Blood and Brothers: Book One" by E. Michael Helms and "The Sea-God at Sunrise" by G.L. Tysk.
3. Who are some historical fiction authors you have interviewed or worked with?
One of the historical fiction authors I interviewed last year and whose book I sent out on tour just this week is G.L. Tysk, the author of "The Sea-God at Sunrise". She is currently working on her sequel which I'm very excited about reading. I've also worked with Lyn Alexander, the author of "The Schellendorf Series"; E. Michael Helms, the author of the "Of Blood and Brothers" series, "Proud Bastards and Deadly Catch"; Christoph Fischer, author of the "Three Nations Trilogy"; and Enid Shomer, author of "The Twelve Room of the Nile". I reached out to a few publishing houses this past week about interviewing a few of their historical fiction authors but as of today (Sept 27th) I am still awaiting reply.
4. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
I would be Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator although she is usually referred to simply as Cleopatra. I find her to be one of the most fascinating women in all of history. Her family ruled Egypt for 100 years before her birth and then she herself became Queen at only 18 years old, the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty. There is so much mystery surrounding Cleopatra. The identity of her mother is only speculation and her ethnicity has also been questioned having been rumored to be Greek or African rather than Egyptian. She organized and commanded an army, defeated her brother, ruled Egypt and had affairs with both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. She died a tragic death by her own hand yet she lived a thrilling life! I would love to be able to answer some of the questions surrounding her lineage and identity as well as experience this influential time in Egyptian, Greek and Roman history.
5. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
It's hard to say because I find myself the most fascinated by the years surrounding either a major war or the Great Depression. Would I have liked to live in one of those eras? I don’t know. There is a lot of tragedy that surrounds those events. If I had to choose I would probably say 1925 just so I could experience America during the “roaring twenties.”
6. You're having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
I would invite the epic poets Virgil and Homer as well as Cleopatra, George Washington and Pocahontas. It may be an eclectic group but it would make for some interesting conversations and cover a lot of history.
7. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
The Chateau de Chambord at Chambord Loir-et-Cher, France. During World War II it safely housed some of the priceless pieces of art from the collections at the Louvre and Compiegne. It is also the castle that inspired the castle depicted in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Every reader in the world is envious of that library. If I lived in the Chateau de Chambord one of my first goals would be to duplicate that library.
8. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
I actually do not reach much about King Henry VIII and all of his wives. It’s not a favorite time period of mine and the market is so saturated I find myself disinterested. I would say either Jane Seymour or Anne of Cleves. Their lives with King Henry VIII involved the least amount of drama and I do find Jane interesting as she is the only one to be buried alongside Henry VIII.
9. Do you read traditional books or use an E-Reader?
I read both. I live in Florida and I’m afraid to take my iPad to the beach around the sand and the water so I always take a traditional paperback. When I’m reading at home or while traveling it is easier to read eBooks. It all depends on the circumstances. I was resistant to reading on the iPad for a while but when my husband bought me one for my birthday I gave in and tried it. I admit it, I was hooked pretty quickly.
10. Tea or coffee when reading and reviewing books?
Coffee! I’m usually up very late reading and reviewing books. The coffee helps me to stay awake and coherent.