Critically acclaimed author Charlotte Gordon's newest book is Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. Earlier works include Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Story of America's First Poet — a Massachusetts Honor book for non-fiction — and The Woman Who Named God: Abraham's Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths.
From her Q & A with Anna Russell for the Wall Street Journal:
Why were you drawn to Wollstonecraft and Shelley?Visit Charlotte Gordon's website.
I’d heard of Wollstonecraft and I’d heard of Shelley, of course, but somehow I never understood fully that they were mother and daughter. They’ve been historically taught as separate figures, but Mary Shelley was an expert on her mother: She read every book her mother ever wrote countless times. She was an expert on all things Wollstonecraft.
The narrative toggles between the two lives—Wollstonecraft in the late 1700s and Shelley in the early 1800s—almost as if they’re growing up together. How did you keep everything straight?
When I first wrote out my draft of what the book would be, I alternated kind of naturally. When I went back for my first serious draft, I wrote first the life of the mom and then the life of the daughter, and just had a sense of where to break them. But you should have seen my desk—piles of sticky notes and papers. I loved the process, I really felt like I was eavesdropping on their lives. To get to read their journals—it’s...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: Romantic Outlaws.