Monday, August 20, 2007

An Introduction

Welcome to Loaded Questions with Kelly Hewitt. In conjunction with a series of interviews I have been doing for over the last year I have decided to begin this blog, a place where I will discuss the new and upcoming books sent to me by publishers, preview upcoming author interviews, and share my opinions.

It feels fitting to first discuss some of my most favorite authors. I am, as you will come to see, a great fan of historical fiction. I am currently working on my masters in Early Modern English history and I find myself craving a good historical fiction to balance some of the drier and less entertaining history books I consume on a regular basis. That being said, my favorite historical fiction authors are:

Hella Haassee, In a Dark Wood Wandering - Haassee is a living master. The real shame is that many of her novels have not been translated from her native Dutch. In a Dark Wood Wandering is a compelling and well-researched novel about the mad French King, Charlies VI and the royal family's struggle to gain power by the King's weakness.

Margaret George, The Autobiography of Henry VIII - Margaret's novels based on Cleopatra, Mary Stuart, Helen of Troy and others will always have a special place in my heart. These novels were among my first forays into historical fiction and really ignited an interest. Last year I had the chance to interview Margaret George. Read the entire interview here.

Pearl Buck, The Good Earth - A few years ago I traveled to China and spent quite a bit of time in Beijing discovering the amazing history of the city. I have to admit to having been a bit of a fool about Chinese history but I knew the moment that I stepped foot in the Forbidden City. Peal Buck has written amazing novels about China and India that offer a glimpse into the lives of Chinese farmers and the ways in which their lives changed. I think I really came to appreciate Buck after I began reading Sons and A House Divided, books that are part of The Good Earth trilogy. Buck's body of work still amazes me.

Anchee Min, Becoming Madam Mao - Like Buck, Anchee Min is an author I discovered after having returned from China. Her autobiography and historical fiction, which all take place during the Cultural Revolution, are absolutely fascinating. She provides a first hand account of the tumultuous revolution that took place in China. I am always actively looking for a way to reach Anchee Min to do an interview. If you happen to know her or an agent/publicist please let me know!

It isn't all historical fiction...

Christopher Moore, Lamb - Moore is one of the funniest guys around. I fell in love with his style the moment I began reading his book Lamb, about the thirteenth apostle, Biff, who is returned to the living in order to tell the real story of Jesus. He's zany, funny, and edgy. I recently did an interview with Christopher Moore. You can read the whole interview here.

Mary Roach, Stiff - Mary Roach's books are so good because she knowns very little about the subject she's tackling. In Roach's debut book she researched the curious lives of human cadavers and the even more curious things people do with them. Her second work follows the search for the human soul. Wherever Mary's going I am coming along. The audacity with which she approaches experts in the fields she studies inspires, the humor she uses when dealing with weighty issues endears. I just got an email from Mary about the next book (to be published this spring) that is about sex and the laboratory. I also recently interviewed Mary, the entire interview can be found here.


Wendy said...

Love your site, Kelly! I have an idea that will increase traffic to your you know what Mr. Linky is? I wonder if you put a Mr. Linky on a post after an author interview...and gave people the opportunity to link their reviews of books written by THAT author to your site if you wouldn't get TONS of interest. The Saturday Review of Books is very very popular...check it out. Just a thought I had this morning reading your blog :)

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