June 24, 1944 |
Indianapolis, Indiana, US
|Pen name||E. L. Swann|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
I hate to tell you this, but I did not even like visiting Versailles. I found it just too ornate. It was like a complete diet of cotton candy, marzipan, and whipped cream. It gave me the mental equivalent of one of those toothaches you get when you bite into something too sweet.
To me, the most important thing is to tell a good story. If I can do that, I think that enlightenment, respect of nature, etc. follows.
I did not find that writing a diary with a lead male character differed in any essential way from writing one with a female character. They all had the same challenges in terms of attempting to establish an identity, coping with loneliness, friendships, relationships.
It is not a happy lot being a princess in any country, but especially Japan in which every tiny aspect of one's life is governed by the most rigid rules of protocol.
I love thinking of movie stars who could play the characters in the books I write. I think Charlize Theron would make a lovely Marie Antoinette.
I think Sacajawea was caught in a series of tragic situations – her kidnapping as a child, her being passed from tribe to tribe, being sold into marriage. However, I never thought of her as a tragic figure. I do not think she was a victim in the way we think of tragic figures.
I think the Lewis and Clark Expedition was the greatest undertaking in American History. I think landing a man on the moon pales next to it.
I love thinking of movie stars who could play the characters in the books I write.
I think, first and foremost, Marie Antoinette was intellectually impoverished. She really had never been introduced to the notion of abstract thinking – of thinking at all in any profound way.
In our community here in Boston, we have had a tremendous influx of Russian Jews and Haitians. We call these people immigrants. But they come for the same reasons that William Bradford and William Brewster and John Carver came.
With my husband, I have twice sailed across the Atlantic in a sailboat one third the length of the Mayflower. I know Atlantic gales inside and out. I endured one that lasted for three days with winds up to fifty knots.
I loved to read, and if I could've been a professional reader, that's probably what I would've wanted to be!
Mary Queen of Scots is the most 'normal' girl who became a queen that I have ever written about.
In terms of the Japanese royal family, they were considered the direct descendants of a god. They are regarded as all-powerful and possessors of unimaginable wealth, and yet they are, more often than not, literally prisoners of tradition.
Whether you are a twelve-year-old princess or a twelve-year-old regular kid, you need to know you are loved and respected.
I can read a newspaper article, and it might trigger something else in my mind. I often like to choose in historical fiction things or subject matter I don't feel have been given a fair shake in history.
Never in a million years would I want to live at Versailles with Marie Antoinette or anybody else. I hate to tell you this but I did not even like visiting Versailles. I found it just too ornate. It was like a complete diet of cotton candy, marzipan, and whipped cream.
I treat all my characters as if they were real, and I am scrupulous about the details of their lives.
I always wondered what it was like to be just a normal kid growing up in trying times or during a great moment in history.
My mother was a great advocate of women's rights, a member of the League of Women's Voters and lifelong member of Planned Parenthood and an advocate of a woman's rights in terms of reproductive issues. She was also a founding member of Common Cause in the state of Indiana.
Thinking – in particular abstract thinking, which most of us are introduced to through the study of mathematics and literature – helps us learn that we can become problem solvers.
When I was growing up I loved reading historical fiction, but too often it was about males; or, if it was about females, they were girls who were going to grow up to be famous like Betsy Ross, Clara Barton, or Harriet Tubman. No one ever wrote about plain, normal, everyday girls.
I was actually very hesitant to write about Marie Antoinette. She seemed at first glance – well, I cannot think of any other term – an airhead of the first degree.
Manic depressive people often have incredible energy and a slightly skewed, but nonetheless valid, way of looking at things.
I am not saying that the Renaissance in any way was a feminist movement – hardly. But the arts flourished, and in more social settings as opposed to being confined to the church.
I have always been fascinated by paleontology and prehistoric people, and I've always thought that one of the most intriguing moments in human history was the birth of artistic imagination. I always loved those cave paintings.