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Words of wisdom from Carolyn Meyer: everyone needs a couple of flying pigs. (Or at least small flying pig figurines.)
On to the recap of her very first appearance for her latest book in the Young Royals series, The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Carolyn treated us to a brief look at her early career as a writer for The New Yorker. The only trouble, she said, was that The New Yorker didn’t realize she was in fact writing for them: everything kept coming back and never seemed to end up in the magazine. Eventually she found her way to children’s books, and The Wild Queen is the seventh in her series on the turbulent early years of characters like Elizabeth I and Cleopatra.
A few brief questions from the audience:
Why historical fiction? Because research is easier than writing. Also because Carolyn is fascinated by the constricted lives these girls led, and how they managed to make their mark on history under trying circumstances.
Where does she do her research? Entirely on Google. (Another joke.) Okay, some Google. But also the local university and public libraries, and by traveling to the place she writes about. She didn’t travel to Britain for this book, but previous visits supplied plenty of scenery and facts.
How does she decide who to write about next? Often, one book will lead to another. Many of the figures in the Young Royals series are linked in some way: Queen Elizabeth and her sister (Bloody) Mary Tudor; Catherine de Medici and her mother-in-law Mary, Queen of Scots, who was also Elizabeth’s cousin. But people like Marie Antoinette and Cleopatra just beg to be written about, without any connection to other books.
All this, and homemade scones from Alamosa Books.