Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interview with C. W. Gortner

Please welcome Author C. W. Goner who sat down with us for a Q& A.  Make sure to come back on June 20th to read my review of his book, The Queen's Vow.

Welcome C. W.!

K&A: What inspired you to become a writer?

C. W.: I think I was born with the urge to write. I’ve always loved books, ever since I was a child. My mom tells me that when I was little, she’d take me into a book store, and I’d turn quiet and spend hours browsing, even before I actually knew how to read. Once I learned to read, I was unstoppable. I devoured every book I found, so that my parents had to hide the racy stuff, like the Jacqueline Susann novels. I also started making up my own stories while quite young; I’d write them down in spiral-bound notebooks and illustrate the covers. Throughout high school and college, I continued to write, though I never considered that I could actually choose to be a writer. I never saw “author” as a career choice. Then in my mid-twenties, my father asked to read a manuscript I was working on: it was my first historical fiction novel and after he read it, he suggested that I find an agent. He actually encouraged me to seek publication— and set me on the path to becoming a full-time writer. It took 13 years and much trial and error, but once I realized that I might actually be able to write for a living, I would not accept defeat.

K&A: Where do you come up with the idea for your books?

C. W.: Odd ways, actually: it can be a portrait at a museum that sparks an idea, or a place, or sometimes even a line in a book. I often come up with ideas while researching a project I’m already working on. For example, I started conceiving THE QUEEN’S VOW while writing my first novel, The Last Queen. In that book, Isabella is older, already established; the sober queen of legend. In order to depict her accurately, however, I read everything I could about her life and I remember thinking, Wow. She had such a dramatic youth, as tumultuous and dangerous as Elizabeth I’s. What a great story this would make.
K&A: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

C. W.: I recently completed the second book in my Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. It starts a few months after the end of The Tudor Secret and is titled THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY. US and UK publication will be in 2013; Brendan’s next adventure is a dark quest set in the winter of Bloody Mary’s reign, shortly before the Wyatt Revolt.

Currently, I’m writing my next historical novel for Random House, about Lucrezia Borgia and her so-called Vatican years, when she’s thrust into notoriety as the pope’s daughter and embarks on a savage struggle to define herself as a woman even as she battles her family’s ambitions and her own heart. Lucrezia is my first ‘non-queen’, so to speak; though once again, I’ve found myself drawn to a woman who’s been vilified by history. I am enthralled by Lucrezia and her world, as I hope readers will be.

K&A: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

C. W.: My favorite is always the character I’m currently writing; I tend to fall in love in with my characters. As far as characters by other authors go, I’m always drawn to Philip Ashley, the narrator of Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel. He’s conflicted and impulsive, driven by suspicion and doubt; his heart is not cruel, yet he unleashes tragedy. I think he’s a magnificent creation by a master writer. Philip is not a hero— indeed, he’s an anti-hero—yet once he starts telling you his tale you cannot stop listening.
K&A:  Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

C. W.: I used to say, I’d love to be a wolf. But these days, I think I’d like to be a well-loved, companion dog. I think that it must be marvelous to live so completely in the moment; to experience the world through your senses, and to love with such nobility of heart.

Thank you so much for having me. I sincerely hope readers enjoy THE QUEEN’S VOW. I’m always available to chat with book groups via Skype or speaker phone; to learn more about me and my work, please visit me at:

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