Today, as part of Simon and Schuster Canada’s #TimelessTour blog tour of historical fiction, I’m interviewing Susanna Kearsley, author of Bellewether.
1. If you lived during the time period in your book, how do you think you would have fared and why?
Well, for one thing, I’m an asthmatic with allergies to feathers, hay, and horses, so I don’t think I would have fared too well at all. I cannot speak for how I would have felt if I’d been born in that time, but if you were to take away my allergies and asthma, and transport me, as I am now, back to Lydia’s time and place, I would find the social injustice of slavery impossible to live with, and feel stifled by the restrictions placed upon women. We are all products of the time we live in, and I belong firmly in mine.
2. If you lived in the future and were to write historical fiction about 2018, what do you think you would write about and why?
No matter what the historical time period, I like to write about ordinary people and how they’re affected by the events of their time, so I imagine I’d do the same if I were looking back at 2018. Any historical fiction set in our current time is, I think, going to end up looking very much like historical fiction set in other disordered times when there is a rise of authoritarian regimes and a corresponding rise of rebellion against them. History repeats in predictable patterns, and people respond in predictable ways. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, is about ordinary people caught in the terror of the French Revolution. Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak, chronicles lives torn apart by the Russian Revolution. While Still We Live, by Helen MacInnes, is about an ordinary Englishwoman visiting friends in Poland at the beginning of WWII, who is trapped there when the Nazis march in. To writers of the future, our time will seem equally turbulent.
3.When you worked as a museum curator, was there a particular story about your museum that captivated you like Lydia and Jean-Philippe’s story did for Charley?
No, but the home of one of my United Empire Loyalist ancestors, on the east coast of Canada, is now a museum, and reading letters from that side of the family, as a child, gave me one of my earliest feelings of connection to my own past, so I’ve always had a special interest in filling in details of the lives lived in that house.
Celebrate historical fiction with the Timeless Tour, from April 16 – May 4!
For more information, visit www.timelesstour.ca.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for the invitation to participate in this blog tour.