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.
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?
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.
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 .