Friday, May 23, 2014

Susann Cokal

Susann Cokal is a historical novelist, a pop-culture essayist, book critic, magazine editor, and professor of creative writing and modern literature. Her new magnum opus is The Kingdom of Little Wounds, set in the Scandinavian Renaissance; it received starred reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, and an ALAN citation from the National Council of Teachers of English.

From her Q & A with Dodie Ownes at School Library Journal:

Sometimes I felt like I needed a scorecard to keep track of the King and Queen’s connections, and their relationships with the court and other countries. Royal families sure are messy, aren’t they?

Yes, they’re messy—tangled—and especially so back then [in late-16th century Skyggehavn, Scandinavia], when it was a tight tangle: the same families married into each other, though they ran different countries and duchies, so it wasn’t always easy to say who was related to whom and where the alliances lay. There was so much in-marrying that when a man (always a man) wanted a divorce, he could usually prove that a marriage was null by reasons of consanguinity—blood relations. So you were supposed to marry someone from a select group, and then you had to please that person so your marriage wasn’t declared an incestuous sin. Alliances were shifting more often than on an average episode of Survivor; [and] anyone in favor for the merest moment was suddenly besieged by other courtiers hoping to get a leg up on the ladder. I imagine it all as the kind of clog you find in a U-joint under your sink—all tangled up, tightly wound, everything...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Susann Cokal's website.

Writers Read: Susann Cokal.

--Marshal Zeringue