Monday, August 26, 2013

Gillian Bagwell

Gillian Bagwell united her life-long love of books, British history, and theater to write her first novel, The Darling Strumpet, based on the life of Nell Gwynn. She has lived in London, now lives in Northern California, and enjoys returning to England to conduct research for her books.

Her latest novel is Venus in Winter.

From Bagwell's Q & A at the Reading the Past blog:

The heroines of your three historicals have all been strong women who associate closely with royalty (in different ways) although they aren’t royal themselves. Why do you enjoy writing from this viewpoint?

Part of the reason is that I have sought out characters that haven't been written about so much that everyone knows about them and it's hard to make their stories fresh. At the same time, women at or near the top of society are the ones whose lives are best documented. Undoubtedly there were many middle class and working class women who led interesting lives, but didn't leave much of a record.

Women who were associated with royalty were also in a position to participate in or observe compelling and important historical events, and I think readers might relate more to their perspective as relative outsiders than they do to the thoughts of a queen. And of course female lead characters seem to work better than men, or at least that's what my agent says, so that eliminates the kings and princes themselves, and leaves the women around them.

You’ve moved a little further back in time with this book, from the 17th century to the 16th,, and from the Stuarts to the Tudors. Was this a fairly easy shift for you to make?

Yes and no. I learned about Jane Lane in the course of researching The Darling Strumpet, and had Charles II tell Nell Gwynn a little about his escape after the Battle of Worcester, but there was no way...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Gillian Bagwell's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Venus in Winter.

Writers Read: Gillian Bagwell.

--Marshal Zeringue