Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Karen Engelmann

Karen Engelmann's new novel is The Stockholm Octavo.

From her Q & A with Hilary Williamson:

Q: You chose a fascinating period in Swedish history for The Stockholm Octavo, one little known to Westerners aside from those of us who have read Annemarie Selinko's Désirée. What drew you to this era?

A: Living in Sweden for nine years, it was impossible to avoid the Gustavian age — even for an American illustrator with no interest in history. The drama, culture and controversy of Gustav III captivate people still, and the city of Stockholm is infused with his spirit. It was not until many years later, writing The Stockholm Octavo, that I immersed myself in this history and had a genuine “Now I get it!” moment. Gustav III and his era are juicy subjects that rival any others in European history and deserve much more attention. TSO is a start; even if its narrative is more fiction than history, the details of Gustav's reign are real.

Q: Do you find it ironic that, at a time when other rulers were brought down by not listening to the masses, King Gustav III was assassinated for trying to do too much, perhaps too fast?

A: Yes, it is an irony, but the desire to maintain political control is as powerful as trying to gain it. The aristocracy in Sweden was gunning for Gustav from the time he came to power in 1772. He staged a bloodless coup, replacing a constitution heavily favoring the nobility (which was terribly corrupt and dangerously influenced by foreign powers.) From that point on, a significant portion of the aristocracy wanted Gustav out. Eventually, they succeeded. On the other hand, the commoners adored their King (even when he made himself a near absolute monarch) and his death only inflamed their animosity toward the aristocracy and fervor for reform. Gustav's political reforms may have helped the nation avoid a violent struggle, but...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Karen Engelmann's website.

Writers Read: Karen Engelmann.

The Page 69 Test: The Stockholm Octavo.

My Book, The Movie: The Stockholm Octavo.

--Marshal Zeringue