This post is a work in progress–a response to many of your requests. I promise to update it with portraits of the chief characters of Catherine’s court who appear in Empress of the Night.Read More
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.
This is my latest blog on Writing Historical Novels:
Memoirs and letters are a historical writer’s cherished source. They provide the authentic voices of the past, not only facts and gossip, but rare insight into the thoughts of people long gone.
Writers of memoirs and letters differ vastly, and the work of some is much more precious than others.
I am often asked about the inspiration for “The Winter Palace.”
I am Canadian, but I am also Polish and in the Polish consciousness, Catherine the Great has always held a prominent place. This powerful and enigmatic woman whose love life intrigues and shocks generation after generation has crushed Poland and changed the course of her history.
I was drawn to Catherine for some time. Like me, she is an immigrant who had to re-invent herself, a German princess who came to Russia when she was fourteen. She is a powerful woman who survived and triumphed in a misogynous world and her presence towered over the eighteenth century Europe, the time I find irresistible.Read More
There have been many excellent biographies of Catherine the Great.
My favourites are…Read More
I have travelled to St. Petersburg in the spring of 2008. I have visited Catherine’s palaces and gardens, experienced the famous white nights when the sun does not let go.
Here are some of the highlights from this visit.Read More