Interview with Marie-Louise Jensen

Today I’m really lucky to be sharing an interview with Marie-Louise Jensen. Her novels include The Girl in the Mask, Between Two Seas and The Lady in the Tower and she is one of my favourite historical fiction authors.

1. When writing historical fiction, how much time do you spend researching beforehand?

I spend a great deal of time researching. About two months per book. For Daughter of Fire and Ice and Sigrun’s Secret, I spent six weeks camping in Iceland looking at museums, archaeological sites and reconstructions.
Of course it isn’t all as exciting (or as expensive!) as travelling in Iceland. I spend a great deal of time in libraries too. And the research carries on as I write and even afterwards as I keep needing to check things that came up or I didn’t know as I was writing.

2. Your books are set in different eras. Which period was your favourite to write?

I loved all of them! I did really love the Viking era. It was so thrilling to discover and re-imagine. But the Georgian era appeals to me a great deal too. I’ve read a lot written in and set in that era, so it feels very real to me.

3. Aside from writing, what is your favourite thing about being an author?

I love school events. It’s such fun going into to talk to young people about my research and my stories, sharing my excitement about them. I always dress up and take extra costumes, which is fun. In connection with The Girl in the Mask, I’ve been doing events in a highwayman costume – including a replica pistol. And it’s always fun to talk about books in general (not just mine) and meet lots of enthusiastic readers.

4. Do you have any advice to give to people who would like to write historical fiction?

It’s the same advice for anyone who wants to write anything really – READ! Read lots of historical fiction and old books too – both classic and obscure. I developed a real thing for the classics and started with Jane Austen and Dickens and read and read – George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, the Bronte sisters, Ann Radcliffe and so on. All those fine books really helped form my knowledge of past times. How people behaved and spoke and lived their lives. Without any of that, it would be very hard to slip (in a literary way) into the past or find a historical ‘voice’.

5. If you could be a historical figure for the day, who would it be and why?

Now there’s a tricky question! I wouldn’t want to be anyone famous; I’d rather be an unobtrusive observer. But wouldn’t it be amazing to meet Shakespeare and see him working in the theatre? Or to walk through a city in the past to see all the sights, hear the noises and smell the smells? I often wished when I was writing The Girl in the Mask, that I could have just a few hours to wander around early Georgian Bath to see what it was REALLY like.

6. If you could bring one of your book characters to life, who would it be?

Another impossible choice! It would be amazing to meet Thora from Daughter of Fire and Ice with her ability to read auras. Sophia from The Girl in the Mask would be lots of fun and would enjoy our century too, I can imagine.

It’s not a crime to steal a heart

Smugglers are cut-throat rascals. At least that’s what Isabelle’s always been told. But when she’s rescued from drowning at sea by the crew of a notorious smuggling ship, her principles are thrown into confusion. Outwitting the king’s men fills her with excitement, especially when she’s with one mysterious smuggler in particular . 

Smuggler’s Kiss is published on March 7th and you can order it here

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Bookaholic 007
    22 February, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Awesome interview! I haven’t yet read books by this author, but I think I should as I love Historical Fiction! 😀

  • Reply
    Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
    22 February, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Never read anything by this author but I probably will now I’ve read this interview. 🙂

    The Mile Long Bookshelf

  • Reply
    Rebekah Campbell
    22 February, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I loooove Historical Fiction so I’ll need to check Marie out 🙂 She sounds like so much fun! Great questions, Lucy 😀

  • Reply
    23 February, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Awesome interview! I’m not a big fan of historical fiction mainly for all the reasons everyone else LOVES it, because sometimes the setting takes the center stage and feels like TOO MUCH, but I do know tons of people who enjoy tons of research in their books, so it’s awesome to see Marie spend so much time researching 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.