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Woman Reading - Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Woman Reading – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Tell us a little about yourself.     My name is Carla.  I am a 38 year old female living in Southwestern Ontario. (I call it the armpit between Windsor and London.) I am a Stay at Home mom right now. Previously I was a student. My favourite past times, include reading, writing, gardening (though I’m not very good at it) and I love dog shows. I currently own a CKC Champion Black Russian Terrier.

Please tell us about your reading habits and preferences.     I don’t really keep track of how many books I read in a year. If I really had to guess I’d say between 25 and 30. I read at night, which often results in me falling asleep. If I don’t fall asleep I end up reading way beyond my ‘if you don’t turn out the light you’ll regret it when the alarm goes off’. I like longer books but, if a story catches my interest, I will read a shorter book. I love Historical Fiction, but have been dabbling in some Fantasy and will read Horror if it catches my eye. I bought an e-reader but found I enjoy reading real books far more.

How do you decide which books to buy? What influences your purchases?    I found Michelle Moran on a dare from my husband. He dared me to leave the book store with one book. Her book, Nefertiti, was the one I left with and I was totally hooked. Many of my influences come from the back of books I’m currently reading. A lot also come from author’s own recommendations. Some also come from me going into the book store and saying, ‘gee, that sounds good’, I wonder…  Some of those turn out okay, others, not so much.

What do you like about historical fiction? What don’t you like?    Oh goodness, I like everything about Historical Fiction. I love that it can transport me to a Tudor Court, or an atrium in Greece, or a dais in Egypt or even a feast in Rome.   What don’t I like.. I don’t like that women were often treated badly, or that people were used as a bartering system.

What types of historical fiction do you prefer?    I’ll read about any period in History but I prefer reading about Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and other Ancient civilizations. I also love reading about Henry the 8th and that particular time in Tudor History.

Do you have historical fiction books or authors you would recommend to other readers? Can you tell us why?

  • Michelle Moran
  • Kate Quinn
  • C.W. Gortner
  • Stephanie Thornton

Michelle’s writing has taken me to several places in several time periods. Her writing is always well researched, and the story she tells, while providing some neat historical points, is what keeps me coming back.

I was really impressed with the way I was able to see exactly what C.W. Gortner writes about when I read his books.

As for Kate Quinn, I threw a book of hers across the room because one of the characters was a big fat jerk. The book bounced off the wall and hit my sleeping husband … but I really enjoy her novels!!

I just finished one of Stephanie Thorton’s books, she made me cry and the choices her character had to make resonated with me because I’m a parent … she also made me snort a couple of times!

In today’s world, there are so many opportunities to talk and learn about books – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, book clubs – can you tell us about your experiences, where you go to talk or learn about books, why you enjoy discussions about books?    My main outlet for discussing books is Facebook. I enjoy the discussions because, much to my husband’s chagrin, it helps me to buy other books by authors I may not have heard of.  

What advice do you have for writers of historical fiction?    KEEP WRITING!!!!!!!!!!!  Write about more obscure characters as well. Many readers of Historical Fiction would like to know about ‘bit players’ in the court of King Henry VIII, or lesser known Pharaohs, Kings, concubines and so on. Keep cheesy sex scenes out as much as you can.  While some sex scenes are okay … don’t make them overly descriptive.

Is there anything else about reading historical fiction that you’d like to comment on?    Reading historical fiction, at least for me, gives me an opportunity to be a fly on the wall in the Tudor Court, or enjoy a feast in Rome, or sing with a Bard in Medieval England (pretending to sing is the only way you want me to sing!). I can be a spy, or a fool, or I can visit a Pharaoh on their dais, or in their burial chamber.  It keeps my brain working and it keeps the hope alive that one day I can go back to school and study for that History degree I wanted to get when I was younger.

Many thanks for participating, Carla. Parenting doesn’t leave much time for reading so I’m impressed that you still manage 25 to 30 books a year! I’m like you in wanting my reading to transport me back in time.