This is my December blog for Writing Historical Novels:
I’d like to invite you to a dentist’s office. Not a modern one, though, but one a character in your next novel set in the 19th century might have endured. I have based its description on a few drawings and some research into the history of dentistry.
My latest guest blog post from Writing Historical Novels:
In Poland where I grew up, Catherine the Great has always been an object of hatred and scorn. After all, she is the Tsarina who, with the help of Prussia and Austria, wiped Poland off the map of Europe for over a hundred years. She is the empress who crushed the last Polish uprising and made Poland’s king – her one time lover – her prisoner. The Poles still cannot forgive her the bloody massacre in the suburbs of Warsaw during the Polish uprising of 1795. She is routinely referred to as “this horrible woman” and a “hypocrite”. Since mid-eighteenth century she has been a symbol of imperial Russia, a woman feared and despised, hated and cursed. A view shared by generations of Turks and descendants of Ukrainian Cossacks.
The latest guest blog I wrote for Writing Historical Novels.
The women of the Age of Reason have captured my imagination. Their voices sound much closer to our contemporary sensibilities than the voices of their daughters and grand-daughters. For starters, they are not coy about their sexuality. The eighteenth century women would’ve found the Victorian ideal of a woman as “angel of the house” separated from the desires of the flesh odd or even preposterous. Many among them, especially if they had the luck of being born or married into aristocratic families, claimed an active role in the misogynous male world and were quite successful in their endeavours.
As an Evergreen Award Nominee I was asked for a guest blog on the importance of libraries in my life. Here is what I wrote for Open Book Ontario:
Libraries have always been an essential part of my life. In the Poland of my childhood books were inexpensive, but the most popular ones disappeared from bookstores as soon as they arrived, and thus a library offered the best chance to get them. Libraries were plentiful, though ruled much more sternly than the Canadian libraries I use now. A librarian, even the most friendly one, was a custodian of vast, inaccessible bookshelves, a censor who might decide that a book I craved was “too serious” for me and refuse to let me take it home.