Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kelly Gardiner: A few of my favourite things...

The next author in the ‘Few of my favourite things…’ 2015 HNSA Conference interview series is Kelly Gardiner. She will be appearing at a round table discussion on the question: ‘What can historical novelists and historians learn from each other?’ on the 20th March 2015 and in Personal Histories: In Conversation with Toni Jordan and Posie Graeme-Evan on 22 March 2015. 

Kelly Gardiner’s historical novels for young adults include Act of Faith and The Sultan’s Eyes, both of which were shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and listed as Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Her novels for younger readers include the ‘Swashbuckler’ historical adventures, set in the world of the Mediterranean pirates. Her latest novel is for adults: Goddess, based on the life of the seventeenth century French swordswoman, cross-dresser and opera singer, Mademoiselle de Maupin. Kelly teaches writing, research skills, and digital literacy, and works at the State Library of Victoria and La Trobe University.

Contact Kelly Gardiner on her website or her Twitter @kmjgardiner or on her Facebook.

A few on my favourite things…

Book as a child and as a teenager?
My favourite book when I was very small was A Little House of Your Own by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers and Irene Haas, My favourite teen reads were the historical novels by Geoffrey Trease, Rosemary Sutcliff and Leon Garfield.

I am full of admiration for the various ways in which Sarah Waters masters voice, and Hilary Mantel’s skill with character and point of view. But I don’t really have a favourite author. 

Period of history?
I am fickle – fascinated by the Victorians at present, but my last three books have been set in the seventeenth century, and the next in World War I. 

Character in one of your own books?
That’s easy: Julie d’Aubigny – Mademoiselle de Maupin – in Goddess. I didn’t invent her, just tried to interpret the real woman whose life and adventures were too amazing to be fictional. She was a cross-dressing, sword-wielding opera star in the court of Louis XIV. You honestly couldn’t make it up.

Scene you enjoyed writing?
I always like writing dialogue, especially the perky-heroine-goes-into-battle type scene. And swordfights, which I act out in my lounge room, sword in hand, to make sure they’ll work. In Goddess there are several scenes featuring famous duels – on one evening La Maupin was challenged to three duels at once, and she fought the three noblemen, one after the other, and beat them all.

Place to write?
I have a tiny writing room at home, but I’m not sure it’s my favourite place. It lacks an ocean view. Or any view at all. 

Step in the process of writing? E.g. researching, drafting, editing etc
I love the research and drafting, and those moments where the two come together.

Method of writing i.e. longhand or typing?
Mostly on the laptop, but I scribble all sorts of places and times in notebooks and on various devices.

TV program /movie?
Rarely historical because I get cranky about anachronisms and want to shout at the screen (and do when I’m a home – in the cinema I just scoff as quietly as possible). At present, in the endless hiatus between series of Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black, I am obsessed with Arrow and The Great British Bake Off. What those TV shows say about me, I don’t know. 

Comfort food?
Fish and chips. Thanks for asking. Now I need some.

A sparkling, witty and compelling novel based on the tragic rise and fall of the beautiful seventeenth century swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d'Aubigny (also known as La Maupin), a woman whose story is too remarkable to be true - and yet it is.

Versailles, 1686: Julie d'Aubigny, a striking young girl taught to fence and fight in the court of the Sun King, is taken as mistress by the King's Master of Horse. Tempestuous, swashbuckling and volatile, within two years she has run away with her fencing master, fallen in love with a nun and is hiding from the authorities, sentenced to be burnt at the stake. Within another year, she has become a beloved star at the famed Paris Opera. Her lovers include some of Europe's most powerful men and France's most beautiful women. Yet Julie is destined to die alone in a convent at the age of 33. Based on an extraordinary true story, this is an original, dazzling and witty novel - a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman.

Kelly Gardiner will be appearing in the following panels at the 2015 HNSA Conference:

20 March 7.30 pm  ROUND TABLE DEBATE
Enjoy a lively round table discussion with Kelly Gardiner (Chair), Deborah Challinor, Jesse Blackadder, Rachel Le Rossignol and Gillian Polack as they ponder the question: ‘What can historical novelists and historians learn from each other?

22 March 9.00-9.45 am   Session One
Personal Histories: In Conversation with Toni Jordan and Posie Graeme-Evans
What attracted Toni Jordan to historical fiction after writing acclaimed contemporary novels? And why did Posie Graeme-Evans change careers from being an enormously successful television director, producer and executive to an historical novelist immersed in distant times? Join Kelly Gardiner in learning these story tellers’ own histories.

 22 March 11am-12pm Library Room 1
Phryne Fisher and Other Fantasies: The Female Detective in History
A panel will discuss this theme which will be the subject of a forthcoming special edition of ‘The Australian Journal of Crime Fiction’. There is an opportunity to submit your article to the magazine.

For more information on all our panels, please visit our site for programme details. And you can buy your tickets here.

You can also sign up to the mailing list to be the first to keep up to date with breaking news on the HNSA conference in 2015. 

Please consider visiting us on Twitter and Facebook to help us spread the word! 

Here’s a tweet you might like to use:

Here’s a few favourite things for Kelly Gardiner @kmjgardiner on #HNSA2015 blog @histnovsoc

Register now for the #HNSA2015 conference! Let’s make a noise about #historicalfiction

And please take a look at our FREE BOOK OFFERS!

The first 30 ticketholders to purchase a ‘Standard’ Whole Conference Ticket will receive a free copy of either The Lace Balcony by Johanna Nicholls, The King’s Shadow by Barbara Gaskell Denvil or The Island House by Posie Graeme-Evans. 

All ticket holders will receive a Momentum ebook bundle in celebration of Felicity Pulman’s launch of Unholy Murder.

The first 50 fully paid ticket holders will receive a copy of Sherryl Clark’s new book Do You Dare – Jimmy’s War in celebration of her launch. 

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