We’re so excited to have Katherine Longshore, author of the recently released GILT with us today!
About Katherine: Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever. Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.
And about GILT:
In the Tudor age, ambition, power and charismatic allure are essential and Catherine Howard has plenty of all three. Not to mention her loyal best friend, Kitty Tylney, to help cover her tracks. Kitty, the abandoned youngest daughter of minor aristocracy, owes everything to Cat – where she is, what she is, even who she is. Friend, flirt, and self-proclaimed Queen of Misrule, Cat reigns supreme in a loyal court of girls under the none-too-watchful eye of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.
When Cat worms her way into the heart of Henry VIII and becomes Queen of England, Kitty is thrown into the intoxicating Tudor Court. It’s a world of glittering jewels and elegant costumes, of gossip and deception. As the Queen’s right-hand-woman, Kitty goes from the girl nobody noticed to being caught between two men – the object of her affection and the object of her desire.
But the atmosphere of the court turns from dazzling to deadly, and Kitty is forced to learn the difference between trust and loyalty, love and lust, secrets and treason. And to accept the consequences when some lessons are learned too late.
(Deb Joanne’s note – I’ve never known much about the history of Henry VIII, but I absolutely devoured this book!)
And now, our interview with Katherine:
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
Hilary Mantel’s WOLF HALL. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2009, and though I can’t claim I always understand the prize winners when I read them (no matter how hard I try to be literary), this one caught my interest. Why? Because it is narrated by one of the most complex characters in history – Thomas Cromwell. He was an advisor of Henry VIII, a religious reformer, a schemer and conniver, and an essential element in the fall of Anne Boleyn. I’d been reading a lot of histories and biographies about the time, and had, of course, read a few Philippa Gregory novels and other historical fiction. But I had never come across something that made an historical figure so real, so visceral, so human. Like someone you might meet on the street, but hope never to do so. I can’t wait to read the sequel, BRING UP THE BODIES, but I’m making myself wait until after I’ve finished my own series about the era.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Richard III, both fictional and nonfictional. I love Shakespeare’s interpretation of him as a crookbacked villain – misshapen in body and soul – capable of anything, any evil. And I love the Ricardian apologists’ view as well. That as a young man, Richard was a loyal brother and honorable soldier. I feel sorry for the man that history tells us lost his wife and only son, who became the vilified antagonist for a crime that perhaps he did not commit, and for taking actions that perhaps he really thought were best. And I love to ponder which version – and which parts of them – are truth.
Where do you love to be?
I love to be in the middle of the ocean. When I was twenty-five, I got a job as a steward on a NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association) research ship. I washed dishes, waited tables and made beds for the officers and scientists on board. Not a glamorous job, but for me it was worthwhile. We spent thirty days at a time in the Pacific with no sight of land. I get horribly seasick, suffer a little from claustrophobia and am a terrible control freak, so you’d think being on a small, rocking boat from which I couldn’t hope to escape would have made me crazy. Instead, I felt like I was nestled in the lap of the world when I sat on deck during my evening breaks, watching the clouds, the swells, the dolphins and flying fish. Watching the sunset, waiting for the green flash that never came. After dark, beneath a bowl of stars, made speechless by meteors arcing across the sky. There’s nothing like it.
Which talent do you wish you had?
I wish I had the talent of asking the right questions of anyone at any time, to make them feel comfortable and talk for ages so I don’t have to. I love conversation, but don’t like to talk about myself. And I hate awkward pauses, especially the ones that drag out for minutes at a time.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you love. Not what you think will sell, or the hot topic du jour or what the agent at a conference says will be the next big thing. Write what you write, because it will be what you write best.
If you want to find out more about Katherine or GILT, here’s where you’ll find her:
Group Blog: http://yamuses.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/kalongshore (@KALongshore)
Thank you so much, Katherine – we can’t wait to see what’s coming next from you!