Sunday, June 24, 2012

Carolyn Meyer and THE WILD QUEEN

Carolyn Meyer appeared at Alamosa Books last Saturday to talk about her latest installment in the Royals Series - The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary Queen of Scots. Carolyn told how young Mary left Scotland at the age of 5 to be raised in the French court, as she was betrothed to the future king. After being widowed as a teenager, she returned to Scotland to rule a wild and unwieldy country. Here are some excerpts from the School Library Journal Review.   "The scheming and rivalries of Scotland are covered in such a way that the novel makes complicated history accessible and intriguing... Vivid descriptions of her education and socialization at the French royal court display the author’s extensive research."

Carolyn's discussion of her research was fascinating. She knows her subjects well, and tries to visit the countries she writes about whenever possible. She weaves in so much detail, it's hard to believe she wasn't actually present as the historic intrigues unfolded. I'm currently writing a novel containing many historical elements, so I know how time-consuming such research can be.Not only is Carolyn a master at recreating history, she does it in such a way that she makes history extremely accessible to teen readers. The intense accounts of love, betrayal, jealousy and revenge rival the drama of a Jersey Shores episode, but with style and class... and proper English.

To give an example of how accessible her books are for young readers, I'll share a personal example. I was recently sitting in my living room reading The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette, when my teenage daughter walked in and said, "I recognize that book. I read it. It's really good." What is noteworthy is that my daughter hates reading, and she hates history. I can't count the number of books I've given her, praying to instill a love of literature, hoping she would find among the pages characters who spoke to her. If done well, historical fiction can do that. Carolyn does it well!
Carolyn gave me an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Wild Queen when we were in Chicago at the International Reading Association, but that didn't stop me from buying books. I went a little book crazy and purchased:
Doomed Queen Anne
Beware, Princess Elizabeth
Mary, Bloody Mary

When I got home, I hid them away. I'm giving them to my daughter for her birthday. Oops! Hope she's not reading this post.

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