Sunday, March 10, 2013

Author Interview: Carolyn Meyer

 I am so excited today to bring you this interview care of Mod Podge Blog Tours!  Carolyn Meyer was always one of my favorite authors growing up.  She's written an amazing array of books that encompass all different genres.  She is one of the most prolific and beloved young adult authors living today.  Some of her most famous work includes The Young Royals series and several of the Royal Diaries books that most of us devoured in middle school (I know I did).  That is why I am so honored to have her here today as part of the blog tour to promote her newest book, Victoria Rebels.  This historical fiction novel is based on Queen Victoria's actual journals and, therefore promises the same realism and legitimacy that readers have come to expect from Meyer's work.  I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on it.  

Carolyn has very nicely agreed to an interview about her new book and so, without further ado, onto the interview!

Some of my favorite books growing up were The Royal Diaries series and your Young Royals series. The characters have such a genuine and unique voice. How do you prepare to get inside the head of someone that actually existed?

I become as well acquainted as I possibly can with my subject by reading about her and the world in which she lived. And you've put your finger on something here: voice. That's the hardest thing for me, because it involves language as well as thought process. Marie-Antoinette, an Austrian by birth who spoke French with some difficulty, was tricky enough, but I really had a rough time figuring out how to capture Cleopatra's voice from more than two thousand years ago. She spoke whatever kind of Greek was spoken at that time. Big debate: would Cleopatra have used the equivalent of contractions? I decided that she would speak formally to her father, informally to her sisters and servants. Fortunately, I had no such dilemma with Victoria, because she kept such extensive diaries that I had a pretty good notion of how she would have sounded.

How did you develop an interest in European royalty?

One day several years ago the editor with whom I had worked on several books remarked, "Have you thought of writing about the Tudors?" And I said no, I hadn't thought about it, I didn't know a thing about English history, and I wasn't all that interested. But then I began to think about it, and to read a little, and I became fascinated by the queen they call Bloody Mary. And the rest is history. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that.)

Which of the young royals was the most fun to write about?

I like the bad girls, particularly Anne Boleyn and Marie-Antoinette, because history has painted them as such evil women. And they weren't evil. They were complex people caught up in the currents of the times and made some pretty serious miscalculations. I also enjoyed writing about Victoria and showing that she wasn't nearly as prim and proper as we assume she was.  

Historical fiction continues to be one of the most popular genres in literature. What do you think makes historical fiction so relevant and relate-able, especially with younger readers?

I think it's the recognition that thoughts, feelings, fears, desires--the whole gamut of human experience--has not changed, although the trappings have. I believe it's empowering for a girl who, like Victoria, doesn't get along with her mother, to see that this kind of conflict is nothing new, and that you can survive the rough times and go on to live your life.

You write across so many genres. Along with historical fiction, you've written contemporary, mystery and even non-fiction. Which is your favorite genre to write?

Actually non-fiction gave me the foundation for writing fiction--I learned how to do research effectively and how to use it to tell the story. I used to do contemporary novels, but frankly I find historical fiction much more fun. 

Which books inspired you growing up?

Remember that I grew up a looooong time ago, and I don't really remember what I read as a kid. I was always trying to talk the librarian in our little town into giving me more grownup books to read, but she was a friend of my mother and made sure I didn't get my hands on anything at all racy, which of course was what I was interested in. 

If you are remembered for one piece of work, what would you like it to be?

I don't think I've written it yet! (LOVE IT!)

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It is truly an honor to be able to interview you.

And my pleasure to reply, Catie! 

Thanks so much for checking out the interview guys and please take a look at Victoria Rebels and let me know what you thought.  Also don't forget to enter the giveaway below for you chance to win a copy of Victoria Rebels or Cleopatra Confesses care of Mod Podge Blog Tours!

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